Cause There’s Never a Bad Time to Kick the Trans…

Fear of a Trans Planet Redux

Natasha Vargas-Cooper, American Conservative (yeah, for reals):
Womanhood Redefined

Let’s be frank, Trump is a monster.

An open traitor to America who slipped through on one of the most stolen technicality elections to ever exist and has done everything he can to hurt people and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the law will never apply to rich white guys.

But one of the most monstrous aspects of him has been his effects among the bigots. We’ve had a growing nazi problem for awhile as neo-nazi groups have used things like Reddit and 4chan to recruit new members and radicalize angry white men clamoring for a new Apartheid that’ll shut up the existence of anyone not white or male.

But Trump normalized them. Made them a key part of his campaign, gave them support, made those messages one of the two major party positions. And so now, we have a dual problem.

One is that Republicans are natural authoritarians and the media is cowardly. Meaning, many Republicans who would under normal circumstances see things like outright swastikas as something they wouldn’t openly support are now being radicalized into full-blown anti-semitic conspiracy theories and open calls for genocide as if it’s all a game. And the media trained for years to present everything as “two sides and the truth is in the middle, otherwise we’ll be accused of bias” are ill-equipped to handle when one of the “mainstream views” is open fascism and the active elimination of certain people from America. Which is why they normalized his hate speech in the first place.

Two is that his rise has emboldened all the bigots and hate groups. He’s basically said to them, yes, open hatred is in again and you have the power to do as you wish with marginalized groups. So we see it in the rise of bomb threats against Synagogues, in the burning down of Mosques, in the rise of all types of hate crimes, in ICE agents and TSA agents gleefully harming people and taking special pleasure in doing it in front of people’s families, and we see it in how every hate group is getting a little louder, a little bolder, a little less willing to hide their open hatred to the existence of others and a little more blatant about their recruitment efforts.

We’ve seen this last piece a lot with the KKK openly distributing recruitment fliers during Trump’s campaign and presidency, with proud nazis smugly preening in front of cameras willing to normalize them (at least until they get punched in their smug faces*).

*Which, hey, are you a media personality who thinks that giving a nazi free air-time on your program to “expose” them is a good idea? Well, a) fuck you, but b) don’t fucking greet them as a cheeky little fellow you’re going to get a beer with after the program, because the life and death of others is just a game to you. Instead, invite them on and then punch them in their fucking faces. Like, we only need one smarmy media host to do that before we’ll see these nazis getting wary of talking to anyone to further recruit for their causes. (Seen Richard Spencer around half as much as Bleach-blonde Röhm lately? Yeah, guess which one got punched in the face? That’s really all it takes. And if you have the privilege to get up close to them, you should take the opportunity to wallop them in front of a bank of cameras or if you’re a cowardly shitheel, just let a masked figure from the audience run down and punch them for you. Bring ’em in for that explicit purpose.**)

**But Cerberus, you used to be big on non-violence. Yeah, used to is about right now that my friends and family are being threatened on the daily by a group that is itching to start on me as soon as they can find the angle.

And the result of all this openness is that bigoted groups and folks who once hid on the left have now been openly revealing their willingness to join conservatives if it’ll mean hurting a group they hate. We saw that with Chad Hardwick of Out Magazine who gave a fawning profile to Bleach-blonde Röhm before coming out after the election of fucking Pence to VP as a conservative shitlord who loves Trump. And we’re definitely seeing it with the TERFs who are taking this opportunity to try and stir hatred against everyone’s favorite marginalized punching bags and make common cause with the folks openly trying to recreate the Gilead society from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • One may wonder why I, a nominal feminist, am posting on a site that believes that no woman should be working outside of the home, but you’re forgetting just how much I hate the fact that trans people exist and how they occasionally exist in ways that make you realize they exist. Like one of them objected once to a play I don’t even like and then I was thinking ew, these people exist and thus must be eliminated off the face of the Earth. Typical Friday, am I right?

Which yeah, can be the shorter of the entire hate movement wrapped up in Trump’s base. The angry bitterness at the idea of privilege eroding to the point where people other than white straight Christian male-dominated couples are humanized and allowed to just exist as people in a handful of locations or locales.

The idea that someone can exist without your permission and how it feels like a genuine slight to someone who has never actually experienced oppression, the way you are “forced” to acknowledge that existence and react to it.

Hell, it’s the origin of why so many Trump supporters flocked to Twitter after his election to rage at liberals, because even though “their guy” won, what they wanted most of all was the fantasy that the nazis sold that all the liberals would retreat scared in the election of a fascist dictator and stop talking about their life experiences and recloset themselves from any public life so that bigots could go back to pretending that those people don’t exist.

And it’s why no amount of appeasement makes these bigots happy, because what they are actually angry about is that they can never go back to a state of ignorance over the existence of someone different and the terrifying prospect of actually having to do work oneself to change or recognize the way your actions harm others.

And it’s clung to, because there’s power in hatred. If you believe that a certain category of race, religion, gender, sexuality are subhuman, then you get to be fundamentally superior to whole swathes of a country without doing anything and no matter how far you fall you can feel superior to even the most successful member of your hated group.

And that’s why the nazis recruited with such fervor under Obama. Because to white supremacists, clinging to the idea that they were better than any black man got heavily challenged by the existence of Obama as president cause it’s hard to make an argument that some wife-beating angry Redditor living in his mom’s basement is actually superior to the President of the United States.

But now, the bigots are ascendant and while the white supremacists are making the headlines, other hate groups are celebrating their own unique brands of awful.

Enter the TERFs.

Now, for those blissfully unaware, TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminists and are basically a group of feminist-identified women (and now some creepy straight male allies like Jesse Singal) who typically also identify as lesbians but primarily focus their activism on standing against “the trannies” and concocting elaborate conspiracy theories that we’re trying to forcibly recruit all lesbians into being secretly straight and so on. The details of what they use to justify themselves tend to be vague, but the hate is violently real.

They’ve openly petitioned medical boards to consider us delusional and encourage reparative therapy for trans folks*, they’ve harassed pretty much every trans person who’s ever existed online, and most damningly have made games out of outing trans kids to their parents and online nazis and trying to see how long it takes for the kid to take their own life or disappear offline.

*I recall quite bitterly how my parent’s TERF friend “instructed” them as to “the truth” about trans folks, leading to a lot of their vile abuse towards me and how she uncritically encouraged my dad to push hard for reparative therapy and view it as an existential crisis fighting for “real queer issues”.

So their awfulness isn’t new, but what is new is that TERFs are more and more openly working with anti-gay organizations and conservatives to “fight the trans menace” much to those organizations’ wry amusement.

But hey, just because this is growing on the fetid mango tree doesn’t necessarily mean it’s poisonous pulp, so let us trek down the swamp of deplorables and see for ourselves.

In the fall of 2015, the theater board of the women’s college Mount Holyoke announced that it would forgo the annual tradition of performing Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. The feminist classic is a 90-minute amalgamation of over 200 interviews Ensler conducted with women about their often fraught relationships with their vaginas. The 20-year-old production is a bit schmaltzy, outdated, and irritating for its unrelenting earnestness, but of course those very qualities make the play perfect for the university circuit.

Oh, you thought I was kidding when the impetus for joining up with people who would gladly see her barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen with a husband “keeping her in line” was the fact that a play she didn’t even like got cancelled.

Shame on you, Always Trust the Shorter!

But yeah, let’s just take a moment to bask in this. A woman in the year 2017 under Trump’s apocalypse of a presidency and his normalization of sexual assault and physical assault as well as his direct attacks on the right of contraception is instead primarily perturbed by an incident a year and a half ago occurring at a school she wasn’t a student of, involving a play even she thinks is outdated and in need of an update.

Man, bigotry is a hell of a drug…*

*But no seriously, this is going to become more and more relevant in the days ahead, but there needs to be more attention paid to how bigots cling to these half-remembered and frequently made up (cough cough Cologne sexual assaults cough cough) “attacks” by their victims while their victims have a new real atrocity a week and too many to focus on just one. Cause this distorted way of looking at the world and false equivalence is what bigots trade and recruit on. The idea that one minor most-likely-fictional incident justifies any level of hateful and violent response and openly working to make life as miserable as possible against this group. And one has to wonder how much is sincere and how much is the bigots knowing the victim pose sells well to a media too timid to call out any group that despises folks that are heavily marginalized.

Nevertheless, the Holyoke theater board decided not only to nix the play but also to issue a statement lambasting the work. Erin Murphy, a representative of the board, sent an email to students explaining the decision:

“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman. … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Oh my word! Can you believe this atrocity! Clearly all trannies must be lined up against the wall and shot in the face of this incredibly tame acknowledgment that old works frequently lose luster with the development of time and new contexts and a decision that the kids involved in the production no longer had their hearts in putting it on and that it doesn’t provide the comfort it once did.

How dare people other than me have different emotional reactions to things!*

*Again, this ties to a larger issues with all bigot movements. We saw this clear in the hate movement that ruined gaming, the angry violent reaction to reasonable critique and varied interactions with media material. The violent reaction to the simple idea that someone else might see something different in a work than you and may be bothered by that. And the angry demand that others cease to be perturbed by a work that alienates them so that they can be fully ignorant of the imperfections of the works they love and continue loving them uncritically and unquestioningly. And it’s why the hate groups continued duck behind free speech is a load of horseshit, because their hate movements are entirely based on trying to loudly shut down the speech of the marginalized in order to preserve an artificial ignorance.

On the college’s anonymous online message board, The Confessional, students cheered the decision. One called the show “blatantly transphobic.”

No, take a minute and really let this sentence sink in fully. This woman is joining forces with people who don’t even view her as fully human and would gladly wipe her off the face of the planet without a thought because one single kid on one single message board privately considered something transphobic.


A) This should illustrate the futility in polite engagement with bigots. Because even the most minor statement of our existence is going to be enough to enrage them. Like, she’s raging to the very usage of the word transphobic and is trying to act like that’s the equivalent of say, for example, hundreds of angry TERFs swarming some scared 14-year-old trans girl’s blog to endlessly shout slurs at her.

No matter what we do, they will hate us and they will use our kindness as a weakness to argue that even the mildest of responses is the equivalent to actual hate speech and calls for violence.

B) Of course the issue is the recognition of bigotry. Because bigots hate being recognized for what they are and hope they can shout everyone down into treating them like a civilized guest with reasoned arguments rather than someone motivated by the simple fear and hatred that someone exists that they are not familiar with and they want the right to remain ignorant about them.

And that’s the problem with white American culture writ large and why the GOP is willing to go to these extreme lengths to try and retain that cultural power. We simply hate owning up to our shit and the way our actions hurt others.

We will eel away, believe whatever conspiracy theory, make bed with literal nazis if it means avoiding taking ownership for our ill actions in the past and our ill actions in the present.

We make it seem like bigotry and the recognition of bigotry are equally bad crimes and justify violence against groups for pointing out the obvious. Hell, let’s not forget that states are currently trying to legalize running over protestors with cars because some black people dare notice and respond to white nationalists in the police force gunning them down by the hundreds with not even the pretense of a fair trial for those extra-judicial murders and the implicit terrorism that goes with them.

That’s how terrified white people like me are of owning their fucking shit and accepting some damn responsibility for once.

In other words, Mount Holyoke, a women’s college, decided not to produce a play about women and their vaginas because some audience members who identify as women—but don’t have vaginas—would feel excluded. The result was that women who did possess vaginas, and maybe had complex feelings about that fact, were out of luck. Further, anyone who wanted to see the play, or even star in it, was at risk of being accused of transphobia or bigotry.

HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE US OF BIGOTRY!!!! We’re not bigots, we’ll ruin your life and join hate movements to prove how not bigoted we are!

And yeah, that’s been 2016 writ large, hasn’t it? Angry bigots furious about being called out doubling down on the most violent and hateful bigotries they can in the hopes of silencing anyone who dared notice or speak up about their attempt to eliminate specific folks or groups off any form of public presence.

And then get even more furious when we dig our heels in and say fuck you, we’re not going anywhere. No matter how many of us you kill.

And well, the sad truth is that there’s nothing the marginalized can do besides that. It’s going to be incumbent on all of those who belong to their social circles to instead just belittle them at every point and break off friendships with them or deny them a public platform for their hate. To make it no longer worth it for them to cling to this petty hatred. To make it no longer rewarding to cling to these made-up grievances and deluded way of approaching the world. To make their denials of bigotry mean that we increase the thing, that more people they respect call them fucking bigots.

Cause that’s how you starve out a hate movement*.

*Yeah, yeah, exposure to those who belong to the group they hate existing as humans and being humanized by that is more effective. But the bigot is not going to spend any time in the presence of those they hate getting to know them unless they’re feeling small enough to actually try listening. Breaking their cycle of dependency on the hate movement is what allows them to actually interact and deal with the “absurdity” in their eyes of listening with open ears to the life experiences of those they despise instead of interpreting it through their bigoted lens where anything human can be dismissed as “activism” or “propaganda by secret Jews** somewhere”

**Remember how I said that all those “liberal” dogwhistles were basically about “jews” and that the evangelicals despise Jewish people as much as the nazis? Yeah, funny how obvious that all got when they dropped using the codewords and started openly ranting about how they think that evil Jewish conspiracies control all media and science and governments.

For her part, Ensler penned a response in Time magazine, saying, “The Vagina Monologues never intended to be a play about what it means to be a woman. It is and always has been a play about what it means to have a vagina. In the play, I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina.”

For those who are unfamiliar with the linguistic acrobatics of political speech on college campuses these days, Ensler’s assertion that she never “defined a woman as a person with a vagina” may seem confounding, as most people would agree that having a vagina is a fundamental aspect of womanhood. Nevertheless, we find ourselves at a moment in history when defining a woman as a person with a vagina is considered beyond the pale.

And here we see the full meaning of “they will never listen beyond their hateful lens until they feel like their bigotry is not supported in their communities and in their personal lives.

Like, here, we get the creator of the play herself being all “yanno, I’m not really married to defining womanhood by genitalia stuff, I was just tryin’ to de-stigmatize vaginas.” And yet, all the angry bigot hears is: AWOOGA, all hand’s on deck for an all-out-assault on womanhood!

Also, let us just take a moment to boggle at the sheer stupidity that would argue a body part defines a gender. Like, would a woman who gets a hysterectomy owing to cancer like my mom no longer be a woman? Should she be forced to get an X on her driver’s license? Should Lance Armstrong lose half of an M creating some nordic rune because he needed a medical procedure to save his life?

It’s basically the “marriage is defined by having kids” argument writ large and barely updated for the new hate object du jour.

The theater board’s decision to blacklist Ensler’s play was part of a broader movement within Holyoke to have a more “inclusive” campus.

Cause in bigot-land, independently deciding you don’t want to host something or protesting against it is the same as a direct attempt to completely destroy the livelihood of someone and force them to starve in their streets with their friends being banned from doing so much as giving them a kind word for fear of being targeted themselves*.

*Yeah, now that the free speech activists are arguing that people should be forced to give their money to people who actively harm them lest they commit “blacklisting”**, I’m less and less inclined to put up with it. Like, blacklisting was a thing. A real thing bigots did to anyone who wasn’t a bigot. And it wasn’t bad because folks lost a job on a show or were denied a book deal. It was bad because it was the intentional genocide of anyone who identified as a communist, banning them from any form of work in an industry and thus denying them the ability to survive by honest means. And it was so successful that even now as corporations openly poison our waterways and ask for the right to mistreat us in our jobs to the maximum extent possible, people are still scared of identifying as communist or socialist in America. So fuck your ahistorical bullshit.

**Oh yeah, we’re talking bigots being brought onto campuses right now. Cause yeah, the schools spend huge amounts of the student’s money to bring in these bigots, often limiting other groups’ abilities to bring folks in (which is the point, to deny the right of marginalized groups to bring in several small professors to talk on important subjects by spending all the money on some big-name bigot and give them a platform to incite hatred against those same marginalized groups***). And so fuck yeah, kids are going to riot about their money being wasted on shit like that instead of stuff that actually does something to help them.

***I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be infuriated at how libertarian horseshit allowed conservatism to brand itself as “free speech” protectors when everything they have ever done has been intending to limit freedoms of speech to critique them and silence those they see as subhuman. Like, how did we get to a point of worthless white bullshit that a large swath of folks are willing to go along with a worldview that poses that the freedom to harass and terrorize folks is a “free speech” issue rather than a condemnation of our police that refuses to respond in any way to harassment and terrorism by white people. Especially when these sorts of calculated uproars about freeze peach tend to be about punishing folks for daring to accept a group you hate. Speaking of which…

Throughout the 2014 academic year, students and faculty rallied around the effort to allow certain individuals—i.e., men who did not have vaginas but nevertheless identified as women—admission into the traditionally all-female campus. Six months before Murphy sent her note about the “exclusive” and “reductionist” nature of Ensler’s play, the president of Holyoke, Lynn Pasquerella, announced that the campus would be admitting transgendered women. The audience greeted the announcement with rapturous applause.

What? This storm in a teacup blew up in direct response to trying to find something, anything to get into an uproar about to disguise the blanket hatred of a women’s college acknowledging that trans women are women?

I’m so flabbergasted! Next you’re going to say that homophobes don’t actually give a fuck about cakes! My monocle is sure to pop from my resting place in the sheer shock and consternation of my surprise!!

But yeah, this is the real reason for this laser-focus on calling out this one school and trying to make an example of it. That they weren’t as bigoted.

And that’s why members of the privileged class speaking out about this are so important. Because these bigots are going to go after you as [group]-traitors, but that’s because they’re all hoping you are intimidated by that and remain quiet so they can continue their violence against the target of their hate in peace.

And that silence is critical, because bigots use silence to assume support. Every time they aren’t shouted out of the room, they assume they swayed the room and in time, if you let them stay, they will recruit others and normalize the casual hatred of others.

Yeah, turns out all that “recruitment” malarky about gay people was another fresh serving of It’s Always Projection from the usual suspects.

And that’s fine. Young people who have insisted that we treat those who are different with more acceptance and tolerance have tended to be on the correct side of history.

Yeah, always. The liberals have almost universally been proven right in every debate that has ever existed, especially in America. And while the path of denial about that has been violent and angry and has cost millions of lives of the marginalized, it hasn’t changed that fact.

And the bigots know this. They’ve just perfected the art of pretending their ahistorical regressive reflexive hatred of the other is somehow novel in the way that every other regressive movement in history isn’t*.

*And marks why we need to focus more of our history class on really pulling out the ugly mess that is historical hate movements. Because modern hate movements hide in sanitization of how brutally hateful these movements are and how often the arguments they used to justify the monstrous then are the same as those who seek to justify the monstrous today.

But trans acceptance is a twofold proposition: the realistic and the rhetorical. The realistic aims are easy enough to accept: access to sex-reassignment surgery and access to hormones (the role of insurance companies, psychiatry, and the state’s medical apparatus in connection to this demand is a thorny one that I will address later); the ability to use the bathroom of one’s chosen gender; bureaucratic institutions issuing a preferred M or F on documents; and to be treated with the overall dignity a civilized human being should expect.

The trouble arises when we are asked to concede to the rhetorical demands: when we are told to concede that womanhood is a construction and not a matter of biology; that surgical mutilation is brave; that men who decide to become women are immune from criticism after they’ve taken a certain amount of estrogen; that expression of discomfort is bigotry; and that the cause of women’s political and economic liberation is somehow hindered if we alienate transgendered women or if we discuss the realities of women’s biology.

And once again we get to the heart of bigotry. The attempt to make hatred seem the sympathetic cries of an underdog. Because America hates an underdog, but loves an underdog story, and especially loves couching cowardice or bigotry in a fictional underdog narrative that lets them view themselves having more power than their targets ever will have as some brave last stand battle for the very soul of civilization against an enormous and powerful horde.

If these people were actual underdogs. If they lost jobs for their bigotry, if they were no longer given endless platforms and speaking engagements to tour around spreading their bigotry. If there were real consequences for being a bigot and it actually did impact their lives a mere fraction of how oppression affects the lives of those they target?

They’d abandon it in a second.

All that matters is the narrative. That they are somehow materially harmed because some other people want the right to peace and that they have the right to rant and rave and hate a group but have no one else react negatively to that, and instead applaud as they call for the deaths or oppression of our friends and families.

That they are somehow oppressed by the mere existence of others. And in a way blatantly familiar to queer folks who well remember the homophobes hiding behind crocodile tears of being “labeled a homophobe” just because they were actively trying to block the ability of folks to get married or even be present in the hospital rooms of their partners as they died. And it’s why every one of these assholes needs to be shut down hard. And repeatedly.

In the same video, Pasquerella says that, to implement this “inclusive” policy, she will need to accommodate existing “communities” at the college, like the religious, the politically conservative, and the “radical feminists” who believe men who were born male, and lived much of their lives as men, “have a male privilege that attaches to that.”

Again, what’s puzzling here is the notion that it’s unacceptably radical to believe that biological males who use hormones or surgeries, or who simply have an overwhelming desire to be women, are not automatically women. Further, that women who assert that having a vagina is an essential part of womanhood (encompassing such experiences as pregnancy, menstruation, abortion, adoption, miscarriage, clitoral orgasms, etc.) are considered at best ignorant and at worst transphobic.

Aw, look at the little hate spew that thinks it’s a grown-up bucket of vomit. Who’s a little pile of hydrochloric acid and bile? You are!

Also, do… do you think we made up the term radical feminist to describe you*? Cause that’s actually your term for yourselves, describing a movement in feminism that radically sought to change the patriarchal structures of society. Like, here, you can look for yourself. But hey, I guess someone looking for an excuse to feel aggrieved doesn’t really need to bother with petty things like facts now that open propaganda is the theme of the day.

*I’ll always be tickled pink by whiny TERFs trying to argue that TERF is somehow a slur, when it might be the most respectful concession to the framing of a hate group that has ever existed, describing them with their own words and actions in a way that is as nonjudgmental as possible. And yet, they still claim it’s a slur. Almost like it doesn’t matter what we call them, all they want is to pretend to be heroes when committing villainy.

And now let us jump around a bit because this particular bigot is long-winded and a master of the “up-your-own-ass” style of “I’m not really a bigot, I just believe bigoted things and actively seek to take rights away from the folks I hate” “woe-is-me” bullshittery. And there’s only so much faux self-martyring a girl can take.

In truth, I possess no phobia about trans men or women, but as a lifelong feminist I think it’s preposterous to snuff out a critique of men, and their relationships to women’s bodies, simply because those men want to be women.

Speaking of which. Seriously, does anyone actually believe this shit except for fellow bigots whose world-view depends on it?

Like, everyone and their mother has heard every bigot on the planet use a variation of this line while justifying all manner of hateful bigotry. Like the KKK has used this line. Slavers used this line. Anti-suffragettes used this line. Fuck, even the Nazis used this line and still do today as anyone who has interacted for more than two seconds with a neo-nazi can attest. Fuck, Trump just used this line to dodge out of condemning anti-semitic attacks being done in his name and supported by his cabinet.

Not exactly the winner bigots keep thinking it is. As if magically saying “I’m not actually bigoted but” somehow changed the open hostility in their worldviews. Or like having one member of a community you can stand because he hates like you somehow gives infinite protection of ever being recognized as the vile bigot you are.

I mean for fuck’s sake, these are grown adults acting like kids on the playground thinking that because they have the ball that means that everyone else has to do what they say.

Second-wave feminists like myself, who view feminism as a liberation movement closely tied to political action (via the promulgation of “reproductive freedom,” sexual-harassment laws, equal pay, paid maternity leave, and universal child care), often keep our mouths shut regarding the way trans activists discuss womanhood and gender politics. This is rooted in a fear that our criticism of the trans rhetorical goals will translate into denying their realistic goals.

TERFs have literally been fighting against trans people and their access to any type of social or material support for over 40 years now and have never once shown any signs of “shutting up out of ‘deference'” to our rights. Fuck, even the concession that we should have any rights were hard fought by TERFs every step of the way, to the point where they even tried to write the medical textbooks and take over the organizations that are supposed to care for us, just to mistreat us and drive us into reparative therapy.

Also, I’m continuously baffled by bigots’ refusals to acknowledge that their actions matter and affect people. Like, so often, they want to pretend they are playing some complicated version of squash where we’ll all shake hands at the end and nothing really mattered.

And part of it, is that it doesn’t really affect them. Me having the ability to receive health care or me being banned from having health care doesn’t affect them very much. Me being murdered or me not being murdered doesn’t affect them very much. They can thus LARP about defeating the evil tranny menace while believing the results don’t matter.

And it’s why they can’t stand actual consequences for their hate*. Actual inconvenience. Because that’s what makes it real for them outside of a family member coming out. And that’s why that’s what they decry the most and try to make the “real story”.

*Which is also why they fixate on these half-incidents for years. It’s a warning to the groups they target that they should never respond violently to these acts of oppression and actually fight back lest their attempts to fight back be milked for years by bigots. Making them feel like responding to an attempted murder by shouting down a bigot or punching them will condemn all members of your identity and justify even more abuse against them. And then we see them define down “violence” until knocking over a trash can or pointing out something is sexist becomes “violence” against them they can rant about for decades**.

**Like, the hate movement that ruined gaming is still trying to milk one article having a headline of “gamers are dead” that referenced an art movement meme as some sort of justification for endlessly trying to murder women in gaming. Which raises the interesting question of “if literally everything you do is going to be used in the same way to justify the same attacks and if cops are never going to do anything to stop your harassers, then does it really matter anymore if you’re nonviolent in your attempts to survive it?”

She then goes on about choice and pregnancy as if that defines womanhood and as if most trans women weren’t violently pro-choice, because they are only too aware how public assaults on the right of bodily autonomy is a very shared oppression. And then we get this bit of standard TERF bullshit.

And how does switching between categories help free us of them? After all, if gender is so oppressive, so rigid and stupid, why not subvert it and play with it rather than go through radical, genital-mutilating procedures that reinforce it?

Here we come to one of the most tedious elements of the trans-assimilation movement: how dreadfully serious they are about their identities. Rather than existing as sort of a third gender like the hijra of India, or as androgynous gender renegades like David Bowie, Patti Smith, RuPaul Charles, or the stone-cold butch lesbians of the ’70s who had zero regard for looking feminine yet did not opt for double mastectomies and testosterone infusions, trans activists insist that they be identified as either strictly male or strictly female.

Ah, yes, wouldn’t be a TERF rant without the accusation that trans people “reinforce the binary”. Which is some rich bullshit right there.

Because a) the trans community is the reason there is any conversation about “the binary” and acknowledgment that there is space outside of it. And non-binary individuals throughout history have shown that it’s both a thing and that colonialist ideas of gender were largely enforced by intentional European oppression. b) Non-binary people exist and are a more and more visible part of the trans community. So we’re kind of the last people to ever insist that there ist only men und women, ja with strict defining lines. Hell, we’re the ones who invented most of the words and pronouns to describe non-binary experience because we had to to know who we are. c) With increased rights, more trans folks are taking more freedom in their presentation now that they know they won’t be denied care for it and shock of all shocks, show the same diversity of presentation as cis folks. Hell, probably more.

And of course, d) We hide in stereotypical presentations of gender because of violent hatred by society. Like, I often talk about “ideal gender presentation” versus “gender presentation” for this very reason. Because what we would present if we were allowed that freedom is very different than what we decide to do to try and limit the amount of bigoted fucks wanting to kill us, denial of any employment or social services, or people assuming they can erase our pronouns and identity if we dress even one iota out of the stereotype* and thus argue we are fake transtrenders.

*Something I am keenly aware of anytime I decide to throw on a pair of shorts or sweatpants for an errand and even more aware now that I’m exploring my identity as a demigirl and experimenting with adding more soft butch and agender affects to my regular style. And every time my fiancee has to spend half of an outing fighting fucks who feel it is their job to formally categorize them as one thing or another because they identify as non-binary.

But hey, it wouldn’t be a bigot screed if it didn’t try and use the results of oppression to try and justify the oppression itself (see also “of course we need to view all black people as criminals, look how many of them are in jail (for non-violent drug offenses or bullshit)” and “of course being gay needs to be fought, look how depressed they are dealing with our attempts to block their full humanity and bully them in schools” or very relevant today “of course we need to round up ‘illegal’ immigrants because they are committing a crime not immigrating through the process even though the process is deliberately broken to prevent any legal attempt to seek out citizenship and do it all by the book.”

Oh, for an additional bit of fuck you, it’s immediately followed by this paragraph:

Once they’ve transitioned to their preferred gender, it’s considered a serious act of hostility to refer to them by their former pronoun. Style guides for news outlets like the Associated Press and Reuters instruct reporters to refer to people by their chosen pronouns. Meanwhile the New York Times is even willing to indulge those who use made-up pronouns like they/x (in place of he or she).

Evil trannies reinforce the binary! That’s why they keep “making up” these different pronouns for non-binary identities… uh, er… they’re different and I’m learning new things and I hate it and it’s weird and I want it to stop!

Cause that’s really the message of all this nonsense. We’re existing and people are hearing about us and learning new things about us and so some people want us to violently die so they can go back to never having heard of us again.

Cause that’s the root of all bigotry. That. The refusal to learn or change or accept responsibility to the intensity that you will accept the more and more monstrous in order to cling to an ignorance that is forever lost and a demand that can never be met.

She goes on ranting for awhile more, proving that she knows absolutely nothing about biology by assuming that folks with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome are assigned female at birth and having no clue how hormones work, obsessing about junk and calling surgery mutilation, because that’s not at all a forced birth activist line, arguing against the concept of insurance if it helps people you dilike*, conflating gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia because those words sound alike and she’s never so much as taken a psychology class while still maintaining that she should be able to define and diagnose every trans person everywhere, and of course a whine about “the PC police” and “SJWs” and how they make up fake oppressions for attention.

*I like to highlight this bit, because it’s a stark reminder of how one angle of bigotry is frequently an entry point for a whole litany of conservative propaganda and conspiracy theories. Like, here we have a nominal feminist who is completely unaware that she’s already bought into conservative propaganda on insurance, activism, and abortion all in service to clinging to this petty hatred of trans folks for existing. And it’s the biggest thing we’re up against. People who have found it easy to slide all the way down to being nazis who watch Alex Jones and think the Rapture will happen any day because they were recruited on one angle of their hate and then inundated with all the rest until it all seemed to make sense. Mark my words, she’s going to be writing regularly for one of these sites within the year. Because for bigots, the hate is the entry point of unreason and tribal loyalty. Because its the first point where you stand athwart the world and say “Stop” and thus at the mercy of all manner of conservative bullshit. And why acknowledgment of trained biases is actually a healthy practice.

And we see the culmination of that descent in this final paragraph:

The trans-assimilation movement and its advocates hold that defying what the “system” or “hegemony” or “patriarchy” wants from you somehow “makes a difference.” These acts of personal defiance equate to a young feminist not shaving her underarms, a young man wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, or, now, a woman binding her breasts down so she can wear a men’s dress shirt. These acts are not the raw, amorphous stuff of collective movements or great societal change.

Divorce it from the context and just looking at the source, you’d assume it came from the typical anti-feminist bigot whining about “the kids these days”. And that’s the rub. For TERFs, even the F of that is sacrificeable in service to the TE.

And all the hate tumbles down to the point where you’re hating feminists and black people because the idea of a trans man doing something privately to make the pain when he looks in the mirror go away is that anathema to you.

And the rest becomes so much easier to buy. Because hate begets hate.

To the point where you’re cheering on a literal fascist and supporting open bigotry all in the hopes that it’ll make some liberal somewhere cry. To get “revenge” for something that never will affect you as much as your hostility affects them.

To the point where you’re writing an angry anti-trans screed in a period of time where trans kids are scared they are going to be thrown in camps alongside muslim-Americans and children of immigrants.

To the point where you’ve joined the rest of the hate groups out in force, being empowered by Trump to be as awful as you’ve always wanted.

To the point where you’re the same as every other insecure idiot suckered into a hate movement, trying desperately to justify it.

And the fact that they still feel they need to justify it is good. It means that they don’t feel they have full support yet to do what they want.

We’ll all need to be on guard and resist them ever feeling like they don’t even need to justify it anymore.

‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. It’s only been a fucking month with Trump, but already I’ve downed enough anti-anxiety medications to tranquilize a bull. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™


Comments: 25


Sorry for the missed week last week. I got distracted with Valentine’s Day and romantic stuff with the fiancee.


Still getting over that batshit press conference.

“Anti-semitism? Oh, yeah? Sit down! You know who the real victim is here? MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”


The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! 4:48 PM – 17 Feb 2017

Am I the only one around here old enough to remember when Vice-President Spiro Agnew used to call the news media “nattering nabobs of negativism”?

Fucking Republican liars, crooks and crackpots.


indulge those who use made-up pronouns like they/x (in place of he or she)

Damn you Shakespeare!



I got nothing for now but, Happy belated Valentines Day Friend.


As always from our beloved and esteemed Cerberus, an amazing post.

I found myself reading the description of “TERFs” and thinking, aghast, “Huh? There are separatist lesbian feminists who hate transpeople?” And then I remembered a story I read some 35 years ago.

I think–I’m pretty sure–that it was Robin Morgan who told the story. She wrote of her travels as an activist, bringing concentration to the political efforts of various scattered groups of aspirational change agents. I remember her saying that it was a lot of living-room suppers of brown rice in those macrobiotically-inclined days, and she traveled a lot and spent long days lecturing, workshopping, and counseling the lesbian-feminist community, who had no power to change society except by making enough noise at the very outermost fringes that some of it might leak into the middle.

It wasn’t exactly an easy life. One time, an exhausting conference concluded with a living-room dance party, and the activist, in disbelief, heard that the women who had just spent days working on radical politics had chosen to put the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” onto the turntable and were happily, heedlessly boogying away. The activist walked to the stereo, lifted the needle, picked up the record, and smashed it against the turntable, exiting the room to a profound, shocked silence.

At one conference, she said, much time and effort (in a time-and effort-challenged movement) was expended in considering the case of a transwoman who wanted to be included in the discussions. Most of the group objected, saying that, no matter the transwoman’s current identification, she had nonetheless lived her early life steeped in male privilege, and could thus be counted on to claim time and attention from biological women, as she was doing just then by demanding inclusion. A smaller group held that going through a difficult process to attain what the rest of the group had been born to was an indicator of dedication, and should be respected. Back and forth, back and forth, and in the end, the transwoman was included, whereupon many other participants walked out and refused to continue.

At the end of the conference, the activist gave a concluding speech. During her speech, the transwoman materialized on the dais (that was the activist’s impression of the incident), holding a knife and aiming for her. Several of the women at the conference surrounded the transwoman and disarmed her, and the transwoman fled the gathering. The activist picked up her speech, and, as I recall, her first remarks were that this incident was not surprising to her, and that careful monitoring of potential allies was key to building a successful movement, especially on the fringes.

At that time, with the Roe v. Wade decision only half a decade in the past and even rumored lesbianism a justification for job termination, child custody revocation, and unprosecuted assault, the expectation of homicidal opposition made a lot of sense. There are countless examples of why that expectation was well founded. Even the high-profile antiwar movement employed women pretty much exclusively as sex toys; Bob Dylan’s involvement with the vastly more talented Joan Baez turned into whining when she refused to drop her career in favor of worshiping Himself, and when Graham Nash split his pants at a photo shoot for a new CSN album, it was his then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell who was expected to locate and deploy a sewing kit. (The notable, and commendable, exception seems to be the Black Panthers, an organization that, from its inception, was organized and run, to a significant degree, by extremely capable women members. As far as I can tell, few members of the Black Panthers felt the need to belittle that.)

It’s not hard to understand how the separatist movement started, and not at all difficult to find innumerable excellent reasons for its continuation. I read an article just a few years ago about one of the last remaining lesbian-separatist communities (in Arkansas, of all unlikely places), and how one its senior members, having lived there for over three decades, was disinclined to rejoin a world with men in it, on the compelling argument that it was still too dangerous for women. If your entire being concentrates on loving women (itself a rare attitude, almost never reflected in American policy), it’s hard not to see mainstream American society as unremittingly hostile.

Having said that, there’s another phenomenon at work here. One of the most powerful tools of the feminist movement that began in the 1960s was consciousness-raising, a process that, if carried out conscientiously and with skill, awakened women to the nature of oppression and their own precarious, easily-revoked privilege. Once you see oppression in your own life, you will (almost) inevitably be able to identify it in the lives of others. It’s often said that feminism died in the late 1970s. I think that what happened was that it diffused: abortion rights, opposition to US-backed militarism in Central America, universal public education for all students, revising post-slavery society to eliminate bigotry as an excuse for oppression, food security, environmental preservation, demands for the recognition of the rights of minority populations (African-Americans, people of color, sex workers, immigrants, the poor, elders, indigenous people, the differently abled, women, LGBTs, Latin@s and Hispanics, and more), and other movements benefited from the commitment of women who had had that sickening, enlightening moment of “Wait a second…” in a CR group.

Movements for societal change often experience tension that grows into friction that ends in division. What’s the best way to effect lasting change? If talking is ineffectual and opening closed minds too slow, at what point do activists consider violence? Can activists confine themselves to marches and speeches with lives at stake? If activists, too, go low, at what point does that become yet another excuse for the rejection of the demand for greater openness in society?

Bigots may not be PhD-level professors of propaganda, but they do recognize exploitable divisions. And exploit them they do, driving wedges between members of movements for inclusion, recognition, and egalitarianism, with the goal of weakening demands for a more just and equitable society.

Objections by members of the targeted demographic seem merely to inflame the bigot’s hate speech. It’s clear that, as you say, the single most effective way to shut up a bigot is to have someone of that bigot’s same demographic denounce hate speech by pointing out that it’s untrue, indefensible, and likely to lead directly to hate action. A community whose members are 25 times more likely to die of homicidal attack than the general population, though, might be excused for adopting the opinion that waiting for CisStraightWhite allies to speak up is not an option.

The type of solidarity exhibited by the Mt. Holyoke students in calling for a recognition of transpeople’s right to respect by inclusion is rare. That a bigot is trying to pry apart the members of the community is to be expected. That they co-opt a hard-fought, tangled, painful debate to do so is reprehensible.


Cerb, I’d just like to voice my support. My family includes a member who prefers not to identify with a traditional sexual orientation.

I’ve gotta admit that we occasionally commit pronoun errors, but we are doing our best.


You go, Cerb. So glad to read your extended rants again. Spot on and eviscerating as usual.

Whee big fan.


Oh, and have a great big stress relieving hug:



For years, you insisted that Obama wasn’t born in the US.

And now you are denouncing “fake news”…?

Fuck you, you steaming pile of Day-Glo orangutang shit.


This is an age of Social Justice and Social Science, and we will not be turned backward, whether it concerns the etiology of components of sexual identity or anything else.

Let the dead-enders cavil over obsolete constructs like chromosomes and anatomy. What’s legally, socially and scientifically dispositive is My Most Recent Self-Identification.

If progressives ever had anything to learn from paleocons, it’s that moral certitude driven by powerful, self-referential emotion and tribalism must needs carry the day in public debate.


Nice straw men as usual, Inkberrow, but the Ray Bolger Fan Club is here.


This is

Fake News
words and music by Dr BLT


That’s straw trans man, Austin, thank you. Check your privilege.

Tribal Transsexuals

We’re playing the Fillmore on Friday @7:30 PM. Be there or be square.


I am guessing that this will be a short presidency.


Lengthy but informative article about the Conman-In-Chief’s lengthy financial relationship with Russia.

What’s that old RWNJ saying? “None dare call it treason.”


No, take a minute and really let this sentence sink in fully. This woman is joining forces with people who don’t even view her as fully human and would gladly wipe her off the face of the planet without a thought because one single kid on one single message board privately considered something transphobic.

Someone on (I think) Lawyers, Guns and Money coined the phrase “evil intersectionality” to describe this.

It really is a thing in the GOP. Yes, it is primarily the party of rich white Christian straight cisgender male etc etc etc… but it attracts a fair number of assholes from all backgrounds who are happy to join a movement of people who hate them as long as they all get to hate on someone else even more. (And the wingnuts are happy to welcome them). Black Republicans who join up because they hate immigrants, immigrant Republicans who join up because they hate blacks. Muslim Republicans who join up because they hate LGBTQs, LGBTQ Republicans who join up because they hate Muslims. Etc, etc, etc.

I first noticed this in undergrad, when involved in the campus religious community, though I didn’t have a word for it then. But at the time, I noticed that the most fanatical, sectarian, Catholic-hating Protestants and the most fanatical, sectarian, Protestant-hating Catholics were also invariably the most Republican members of their respective communities. It’s one of the oddities of life in a society as diverse as the U.S. that this sort of strange-bedfellows alliance has always occurred. But the GOP’s worked overtime in the last few decades to bring all the bigots under one roof.



For black folks stung by white racism, there is always the consoling fact that ‘WE’ love Jesus, but you Jews don’t…


TERFs, eh?

From here to infamy … Kapos gotta Kapo.

It’s a feedback loop.

Enforcing arbitrary privilege requires lowering standards.
Lowered standards degrade performance.
Degraded performance has costs & penalties.
More arbitrary privilege is needed to nullify costs & penalties.

There’s just one little teeny-tiny catch:
Each new iteration demands a higher cost.

Eventually the cost of maintaining this feedback loop is civilization itself.


Thank you, Cerb. As a longtime lurker (or as I call it, “reader”), I really appreciate everything you do to clarify and contextualize issues.


Magnificent web site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your effort!


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