June 23, 2011

"You are not one of us!" said the separatist transsexual

The separatists  transwomen intensify their attacks on crossdressers and "transgender", immensely fearful of contamination by association.

White Pride

Separatist ideologue and HBS International general, Rose White, has now declared war on the presence of drag queens in Pride Parades in Calder-dale, Britain. The argument:

“Drag queens – homosexuals dressed as women – and drag kings, women dressed as men, performing as stereotypical crossdressers promote, foster and reinforce the belief among the audience that any bloke in a frock must be a homosexual.” she says. “If these people are allowed to perform in the town in the Pride, they must have a prominent sign stating ‘We are homosexual men – not transexuals’."

In other words: "You are not one of us!"

This is the same woman who in a recent book called grouped everyone she did not like into the following toxic salad:

"The enemies are Fouratist homos, the public, the press, bigots and fools, ignorant medics, penny pinching political manipulators, BRSS dykes, religious pedophiles, closed homos and unfortunately the unaccepting homos a.k.a. Manginas who themselves try to become HBS [Harry Benjamin Syndrome] in the vain hope that masquerading as a woman will help them refuse to confess that they are just homos and not HBS."

The "closet homos" also include crossdressers and crossdreamers.  We are all disgusting gay men in her view.

Rose is definitely at the extreme end of the separatist scale, but the fact is that there are quite a few that share  similar conspiracy theories of there being a Transgender Borg Collective of men masquerading as women.

The Borg

Suzan, who writes one of my favorite blogs on transsexual topics, dislikes Rose White intensely. She nevertheless falls into the same trap of turning all non-transsexual transgender people into a conspiracy: 

"The Transgender Borg collective are the real problem. They are like a cult demanding every one use the exact same language to describe their personal experiencing of what it means to have been born with transsexualism.



"They insist post transsexual women describe themselves as 'transgender' and 'identify as transgender' while claiming to be non-op transsexuals, which means they will never ever let a surgeon's knife any place close to their male genitals.

"To call them on this is to open oneself to all sorts of abuse including charges of elitism, separatism and essentialism."

I wonder why!

Anyone who has followed the discussions at this blog and over at Crossdream Life will know that there is no cult, but a wide variety of ideas and beliefs about what crossdressing, crossdreaming and other transgender conditions are about. 
An autogynephiliac who does not know how to hold his handbag

I have friends who believe in psychological explanations, fetishistic explanations, and cultural explanations. Then there are those, like me, who believe crossdreaming is  gender dysphoria, based in biology. 

Yes, there are those who believe that all transgender conditions are social constructs with no biological basis. But theirs is only one of many approaches.

I am sure there are also those who try to force transwomen into  pigeon holes that do not fit them. God knows there are enough people out there that think that their own life experience should be used as a measuring rod for us all. But that does not mean that there is a monolithic bloc of of non-transsexual transsgender.

As for the argument of whether a woman should be defined by what she has between her legs... No, I won't even go there! 

There is no Borg, only suffering people trying desperately to make sense out of their lives.

Redefining words to win the argument

Ashley Love, transsexual activist and role model, has also joined the ranks of transwomen who try avoiding the touch of us untouchables:

"For you see, transgender is a sociopolitical term which is reserved for people who do not conform to gender, such as drag queens/kings, cross dressing and transvestite males, gender queer activists or gender non-conforming people who identify with their physical sex."

It is not. It is the separatists that define the word this way, and Ashley Love knows this. The term "transgender" is as an umbrella term uniting both transsexuals and the groups Love mentions in the paragraph above. 

Yes, I know that "transgender" sounds similar to the word "transgenderist", which was coined by Virginia Prince, the famous crossdresser guru. The choice of the word "transgender" as a top category was therefore an unfortunate one. Prince had already included her concept into a bigoted and offensive theory about transsexuals, a theory I definitely do not share.

That does not change the fact that the term, as it was defined by  Leslie Feinberg and Holly Boswell, was meant as an umbrella term. People may feel free to disagree with the term, or refuse to use it, but they have no right to turn it into its opposite.

It is personal

I must admit all of this is starting to get to me, because this way of redefining the word "transgender" so clearly an attempt to change the political and social reality, not by arguments,  but  by changing the meaning of language. It smells of 1984 to me.  Something positive is turned into something negative, and all of this because some people are embarrassed by being associated with people like me. 

This actually hurts -- a lot. I try to use my intellectual "male" side to cope with all this, deconstructing texts and ideologies in a "male" manner. But my inner woman  gets sick of the fact that women can spend so much time on attacking people like me.

Unfortunately, women -- who according to the stereotypes  are supposed to be nurturing and supportive  -- often end up ripping each others throats out. It reminds me of the girl cliques in the school yard:

"You are not one of us!!!"

It's a wonderful world!

Mind you, it is only women like Rose White who display their disgust in direct terms. Others have a tendency of coloring their rebuttal in sympathetic phrases like "I don't have anything against crossdressers, you know. If they are willing to leave me alone, I will leave them alone."

This  reminds me of the kind of people who desperately tried to save the price of their property by stopping black people from moving  into their neighborhood:

"Well, I have nothing against Negroes! Not at all! But they will be so much happier among their own!"

There is one phrase in Randy Newman's satirical song "Short People". In between the prejudiced ramblings about the ugliness of short people, comes the politically correct counterpoint:

Short people are just the same
As you and I
(A fool such as I)
All men are brothers
Until the day they die
(It's a wonderful world)



Scandinavian Danes and the like

The transgender/transsexual debate reminds me of the use of the word "Scandinavian" in my part of the world. Scandinavia is defined as the area of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This means that a Dane is  Scandinavian, but she is not  Norwegian. Pretty simple really.

Is a Finn a Scandinavian? Formally no, but Finland is one of the Nordic countries, which consists of the Scandinavian countries plus Finland and Iceland.

Are Finns and Icelanders offended if you call them Scandinavians? I mean, would you like to be associated with the arrogant Swedes, the crazy Norwegians and the lazy Danes?

The Finns don't mind, it seems. They brush the topic a side and invite you into their sauna. Polite people, the Finns.

However, you should never call a person from the Faroe Islands a Dane! The islands may be part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but they are a separate territory with their own flag and their own language.

They do identify as Scandinavians, though. They love the Scandinavian Borg.

A transwoman is not a crossdresser

In other words: A transwoman is a woman. She is not a crossdresser, she is not gender queer, she is not something in between.  She is a woman.

I am a non-crossdressing crossdreamer living as a man.  I do  not call myself a woman, trans or otherwise. Although whether I am a woman or not is not for Rose White to decide.

I do definitely have something in common with all these transwomen: a deep sense of gender dysphoria. My outer identity does not fit my inner personality. I feel like a woman on the inside, and find it very hard to adapt to the expected manly manners and beliefs.

Like  transwomen I have been forced to reconsider the truths of what society tells me about sex and gender, in particular the idea that all male bodied persons have to feel like and behave like the stereotypical male. 

Hence it makes perfect sense for me to have a cross-cutting category called transgender. It points to the fact that in some people the body they are born with is not aligned with the person they  are on the inside.

Some may get around this problem by learning how to express their personality in spite of the culturally defined gender roles. For others it is  a matter of realigning a male body with a female mind or a female body with a male mind. And some will just have to live with the pain.

We are not Scandinavians!

Fighting for the Non-Scandinavian way.
The problem is, of course, that the classic transsexuals, the HBS crowd and the rest of the separatist do not think of themselves as "Scandinavians".

They are more like -- I don't know -- pure bred Americans -- with not a drop of Scandinavian blood in their veins. (Minnesota remains that embarrassing uncle you do not talk about at family dinners.)

Their argument is that my gender dysphoria has nothing in common with theirs. Mine is caused by a sexual perversion or --maybe -- free choice; theirs is caused by biologically based female sex identity.

Or, as is the case with Suzan and Cloudy, my condition may be innate, but then we are talking about is  different kinds of biological inheritance.

Well, the followers of this blog know that I believe transwomen when they say they are born like this. I think there is a biological core to their sex identity (which is not the same as gender identity, by the way). But cannot see how it is possible  to argue that transsexuals have nothing in common with many of the "transgender".

Many transwomen start out as crossdressers

Here are the facts:

A large number of crossdreamers and crossdressers suffer from intense gender dysphoria. Yes, some of them manage to include their feminine side in their lives as men, but others do so only by suppressing their dreams, their hopes and their very being.

I have several crossdreamer friends who have considered suicide, but who have struggled on anyway, out of duty to their friends and love for their families. The fact that Blanchard and White thinks of them as self-centered narcissists is therefore offensive beyond words. So let's cut the crap, shall we? These crossdressers and crossdreamers are transwomen. There is no doubt about it. But they are still "Not one of us!"

Note that the majority of transwomen transition relatively late. This especially applies to the gynephilic ones, who, for various reasons try -- for a while -- to adapt to a male existence.

My guess is that one important motivation is their love for women. If you want to find a woman to love, you will try to play the role that you think women will find attractive. And the dominating narrative says that women love manly men.

So they try to be one. They get married. They get kids. And they are still miserable. They are still not in line with their true selves.

I think it is a reasonable guess that a significant number of these late transitioners have a history of crossdressing. That is: While they still had their male bodies they dressed up as women to explore that gender role and to get some relief from all the pretending.

It certainly looks like Rose White  did. As Zagria has documented, White has publicly admitted that she once was a crossdresser. That does not mean that she was not a woman then, or that she is a man now. She is a woman.

What it means is that the world is not so easily divided into "us" and "them", as White believes.

Dreaming of sex as a woman

And yes, given that we are all sexual beings, I would also guess that at least some transwomen,  while still living in their male bodies, got some sexual relief out of imagining themselves having sex as women.   What else could they do? Dream about having sex as men? I think not!

But does getting aroused by the idea of being a woman having sex make them "male fetishists" or "perverted autogynephiles"?

Yes, according to many of the separatists. It does.

This means that the separatists like White, by insisting that they have nothing in common with crossdressers and crossdreamers, stigmatize the large number of transwomen who have had  a crossdresser or crossdreamer past, in reality reducing them to perverted men.

I wonder how that must feel for these women. After years of painful self scrutiny they have finally come to terms with who they are, and then they are told -- by other transwomen -- that they are no good. 

It doesn't matter if their crossdreaming fantasies subside as they are able to express themselves fully as women. It does not matter if they now dress as women, live as women, breathe as women: They are still crossdressers in the eyes of the insiders.

In the words of Rose White:

"I know one person like this who was the effeminate little boy and is now a unhappy unconvincing homosexual post-op who sits legs gaping and has zero femaleness -- not even a handbag! Others I have had short contact with dress as male as possible and hate women's shops!"
Oh, dear!

I would like to end this post with another song:  Peter Gabriel's masterpiece on exclusion and suppression, "Not one of us". Unlike Randy Newman's song, this is not a piece of satire. But it hits you even harder.



It's only water
In a stranger's tear
Looks are deceptive
But distinctions are clear
A foreign body
And a foreign mind
Never welcome
In the land of the blind
You may look like we do
Talk like we do
But you know how it is

You're not one of us
Not one of us
No you're not one of us
Not one of us
Not one of us
No you're not one of us

There's safety in numbers
When you learn to divide
How can we be in
If there is no outside
All shades of opinion
Feed an open mind
But your values are twisted
Let us help you unwind
You may look like we do
Talk like we do
But you know how it is

You're not one of us
Not one of us

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!