Thursday, 26 February 2009

Today's Battles

At Qweerty one of a breed that's all too common. When Feminists talk about the Patriarchy, and the arrogance of male privilege, this is what they mean.:
At the risk of sounding controversial, I visit Queerty because I am a gay white male. I have no interest in 'women issues'. While I'm not opposed to sporadic and infrequent attention to lesbians, I do not want this blog devoting any more time to their cause....Simply because I am gay does not mean I care about lesbians, bisexuals or transgender persons. I don't even know why some people try and group us together as one cause - GLBT - because we are not. I can see some purpose to grouping G + L and even Bs together, but not Ts. I am quite comfortable being male, and I hate being associated with crossdressers. I find Ts offensive and do not want to extend any rights to them. Remember, had we not tried to press for "gender identity" clauses in all legislation, but instead limited it to "sexual orientation", gay marriage would be legal in every state. I have to agree with straights when they observe how bizarre and socially-inept crossdressers are, with their drug use and alcohol abuse.

Transgender persons should fight their own battles, because at the moment they're hindering the rights of gays, lesbians and bisexuals everywhere.

p.s. I am not opposed to lesbians reading the blog.
btw. In terms of transvestites, I do not hate them. I like the one that appeared on the Tyra show recently. She was very human, although obviously depressed and (before Tyra rescued her) was homeless. This is embarrassing: as gay men try to gain acceptance, we need to do so on the basis that we are educated, affluent and have greater disposable incomes (due to a lack of dependents). Crossdressers go against everything we work to attain.
I am quite content with how I live my life and, unlike you, I don't need to pretend for a moment that I must have the support of crossdressers so to be successful. I'm very happy surrounding myself with men, both gay and straight, and women, lesbian and straight. I don't need to go looking for peasants or (not to be mean) heshes for some form of validation.
I did not matriculate with a Juris Doctor in Law so to defend transvestites. I did so for selfless reasons, to work on bringing marriage equality for gay men and lesbians everywhere. It pains me when all our hard work is undermined by crossdressers, most of whom as Tyra shows, are welfare recipients, homeless and addicted to illicit drugs. They're embarrassing and as a "community" bring out reputation into disrepute.
I will also be the first to admit that I have not done enough to stop Prop 8 or work towards legalizing same-sex marriages. I practice commercial law (and don't believe in pro bono work) so naturally I'm very busy. However, I HAVE made a personal commitment to work towards legalizing same-sex marriage this year. I am happy to boycott businesses, picket churches, etc., and by the end of the year I will know I have made a difference. Yes, I can accept that as of today, I have done very little for our 'cause', but that will change.
Sure it will. Part of my reply:
You're supposed to be a lawyer, right? JD from UCLA?

Does the name "Shannon Minter" ring a bell? Here's a hint: on the legal team opposing Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court. While you are doing … what, exactly?

I can understand your spiteful jealousy of someone in the limelight like him. Someone actually doing something about gaining same-sex marriage rights, rather than sitting dotting i's and crossing t's on foreclosure memoranda and bills of sale.

He's also a Transman. One of those people you wouldn't give any rights to. You know, the unemployed drug addicts, not someone big and important like you.
Most of our opponents are people of goodwill. But sometimes you do run across the genuine article, a grade 'A' Arschlock as they say in Germany.

Moving right along... to the Billingsgate Gazette:
I'm not a stereotypical gay rights activist, not some out-of-stater wearing a clown wig and rainbow face paint, hysterically shouting rhyming cliches while tossing glitter. I'm a pro-capitalist, Republican-leaning professional who's held an 8-5 job since college and my wardrobe is very conservative. I'm a fifth-generation Montanan, educated in a wonderful rural school and a proud alumna of Montana State University. I also happen to be a trans-woman.

A tragic fact about my situation and that of many others with regard to current Montana law is that, even though I'm highly qualified for my job and even though I've, through my effort and ideas, brought millions of dollars to the company where I've worked for nearly 20 years, I could at any moment and without recourse be eliminated from my job simply because I am transgendered. Further, if that should occur, I'd find myself facing a hostile job market in which I could be denied a chance at any job for which I apply simply because I'm part of the minority GBLT community.
A woman after my own heart. I gave a smidgin of support in the comments, to show she's not alone.

Thence to the Gainesville Sun, and the Independent Florida Alligator, where I gave essentially the same comment on both. "Re-use" it's called, not re-inventing the wheel.
" This campaign is about dishonesty. It's about deliberately stirring up hatred based on natural fears for childrens welfare. Using children in a way that amounts to abuse and bearing false witness.

Getting down to fundamentals, it's about the fear that the law will allow paedophiles to thrive. And preventing that is worth removing existing human rights for some, and making sure that others are never granted them.

When you look at the facts, in the 20 states and nearly 200 other counties and cities with similar or identical legislation, such fears were also raised, and often by the same out-of-state groups. They've always proven groundless.

But maybe Gainesville is different, unlike every other part of the USA. No-one who has seen some court decisions recently could say that there aren't some very "progressive" judges out there. So why do I say this is dishonest?

Because the law, even after amendment, still prevents discrimination based on sex. Any judge so "progressive" as to allow a man claiming to "feel like a woman today" to use a female restroom would have no compunction in letting a man who didn't feel anything of the sort do it too. Because you can't discriminate based on sex. That's what the law says now, and will say even after amendment. Exactly the same wording.

The fact that this has never occurred in Gainesville (or anywhere else in the US) proves that this legal theory is a beat-up, a Big Lie endlessly repeated to stampede people with fear. To terrorise them. The lawyers at the Thomas Moore legal centre know this, they just deliberately conceal it, and hope that by shouting loud enough, no-one will notice.

The people of Gainesville are being played for fools. They should be outraged at it. But unless someone draws this to their attention, how are they to know? If no-one in the 5th estate researches it and publishes it, they may well fall for it. "
Rather than being "collateral damage", it's obvious what the real target is. It's not a bug, it's a desirable feature. They just lie about it.

Finally, at After Ellen, a very good question :
I asked my friend, "If you were given only two options: 1) you could die OR 2) you could become a transman, which would you choose?" And she said that she would choose to die because being in a man's body she would feel trapped since her mind wouldn't match it. I, on the other hand, said I would choose to become a man. She said, "But wouldn't you feel trapped in the wrong body like how transgender people do before they transition?" However I don't believe I would, I think I would feel fine about it. It's not that I have ever felt trapped in the wrong body or wanted to transition. I just don't think I would feel trapped if I did.

What do you think? Would you choose option 1 or 2?
The responses are consistent with the hypothesis I advanced in BiGender and the Brain that some people are BiGendered - able to function to some degree in either gender role - but that most are not.

I made my choice, but I cheated by being TS in the first place. Rather than a descent into nightmare, it was a blessing beyond belief. Of course, I had to live through 47 years of transsexuality first.... I never came close to suicide though. Nowhere near.
People survive being blind, or quadraplegic, or brain-damaged, and still manage to lead worthwhile lives. Even with a male body, even when things feel terribly, awfully perverse and horrible, all the time, you can still help others. Even if your own life is irretrievably awful, you can still live, and even have a few moments of joy amidst the unending horror. You can save lives, and make your death worthwhile by heroic sacrifice rather than a meaningless self-destruction.

That's what kept me going, anyway.
It does for a lot, and that is a partial explanation of why so many of us end up in the military. A chance for a death with honour, a death with meaning, and a death which means someone else whose life is worthwhile gets to survive instead. That is a great victory. Victory? No, a veritable Triumph against impossible odds, spitting in the eye of an unjust Fate.

So, dear readers, what would you choose? An involuntary partial sex change, without full reproductive capacity, or suicide? Comments are open.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for being willing to keep fighting these battles. I hate that the anti-T crap exists in the GLBT community. It's exhausted me ever since the Lesbian Space Project in Sydney in the 90s. I do my best to best to advocate pro-T calmly but I boil over sometimes when it comes up. Thanks for being calm and active. xxx GenderSwapper
PS, I hadn't read your bi-gendered post before, I love it, I'm going to use the term bi-gendered.

Nica said...

Hi, Zoe.

Yes, I encountered this kind of person when I ventured out to the LGBT center in a city north and east of where I live. After a while I didn't go back.

Then I went south and west and found an lgbt center full of love and caring for all people no matter what their characteristics or situation.

The former kind of place can be devastating to a person who is seeking; the latter a godsend.


Battybattybats said...

I wonder at the bi-gender idea and crossdressers, because most (just about all) crossdressers struggle with being crossdressers, most try and 'quit' with many regularly getting rid of their cross-gender clothes etc in purges but these repressions merely create depression stress and anxiety and a correspondingly potent 'pink fog' when the pressure finally gets too great. Quitting doesn't last long-term and those that keep trying inevitably return.. and some kill themselves. Those that live only finding comfort with self acceptance and cessation of repression resulting in regular crossdressing, usually not needing to permanantly transition.

That does not sound like a comfort in being either gender but a need for both, or for some a need for one but ability to cope with the other enough to not require complete transition.

So I wonder if there may be more degrees of variation in the bi-gendered?

Those enough in the middle they can be happy either way, some who need to be both to be whole and those skewed enough to one side that they need to express it but not so far that they must transition? I'm sure many of them could happily transition but dont need to and yet none as far as I know coul (happily or unhappily) cease being crossdressers.

There are definately substantial variations amongst crossdressers too, with some being much closer to the experiences of TSs than others (and of course theres always a few TS amongst the CD communities briefly hoping they are 'just crossdressers' till they can't keep denying their need to transition anymore).

Do you think this fits in with your proposed bi-gender or will other mechanisms or combinations of mechanisms more likely explain crossdressing?

Nat said...

Involuntary sex change? It's like what I'm doing! Or rather, what I'm not. I'm... just waiting, right now. I don't want to choose it, but I wouldn't commit suicide over it. If I have to be a woman, I will.

Zoe Brain said...

BBB- yes, exactly. Replacing the binary approximation of "male"and "female" with the trinary approximation of "male","female" and "bigendered" is a useful improvement, but still a gross over-simplification.

The brain has so many different internal structures that it can really be looked on as a cluster of organs, rather than one homogenous lump. Each of these structures can have certain characteristics, one cluster typically male, one typically female, but with blurring and overlap. They will tend to have a high degree of commonality - that is, if one structure has characteristics "typically male", then the vast majority of other structures will too.

But yes, the data is consistent with the hypothesis that some parts can have characteristics typically male, other parts with characteristics typically female.

What we don't know, given the brain's plasticity in some structures, and not others, is what is causal. We can observe that some people are Transsexual, and others Transgendered in various ways. How much is in the hard-wired area, and how much in the partly programmable area, we don't know.

I suspect that a combination of genetic tendency and hormonal environment in the womb sets the hard-wired sections. The programmable sections develop later, and are influenced by the hard-wired primitive parts. Later, they also get changed by environmental factors post-natally.

What this means is that some TG behaviour may be pre-set, and just as hard-wired pre-natally as the primitive stuff in some cases, and in others, exactly the same externally observed behaviour can be somewhat changeable, or if not, caused by post-natal factors.

That's a conjecture that would be in accordance with the observations of cross-dressing and transvesitism, both of which come in many different flavours and degrees. Those labels are approximations too.

Zoe Brain said...

Nat, you're fortunate in that you can choose to be an extremely attractive woman on the outside, or a rather yummy man on the outside.

You're unfortunate in that neither really fits. Worse, to stop osteoporosis, you need to take HRT of some sort. You're forced into a choice.

What I would hope is that a really expert endo could come up with a cocktail that will cause your body to reflect your neutrius identity, yet protect you from the various nasties caused by being under-hormoned. If that isn't possible, then yes, you have to choose.

My gender identity is strongly female, so I can't really imagine anyone choosing to look other than female, given the choice. I can understand it intellectually, and know it's exactly 100% right for the transmen I know, but I can't understand it emotionally.

All I can do is offer unconditional support to you, in whatever capacity I'm capable of.

Male or female isn't as important as "decent human being", and that bit you have down pat. It's a blow when you can't look the way you feel though.

Zoe Brain said...

Nat - It's a bit like being forced to choose Mac or Windows because that's all Tech Support can handle, when you're Ubuntu.

Anonymous said...

YOU want equal rights for Gay and maybe Lesbian because you feel you deserve them.Why do YOU deserve them more than anyone else? Don't we all(as human beings)deserve the same rights?


Zoe Brain said...

Sasha, I'm neither Gay nor Lesbian.

I want the same rights they have. I want everyone to have those rights.

The plain fact is, they don't, not at the moment.

In the USA for example, no-one can be fired for merely being Christian. They can be fired merely for being Gay in 30 states, or merely being TS in 37.

In the USA again, TS people are 17 times more likely to be murdered than Christians who are not TS.

Again, in the USA, it is not a defence against a charge of murder to say "when I found out they were Christian, I was unbearably provoked". It *is* a defence in some places to say "when I found out they were Gay, I was unbearably provoked".

Christians are not compared with murderers in state legislatures. Gays are. There are no calls for Christians to be put to death on religious grounds in state legislatures, but there are for Gays.

The only reason to give one segment of the community "special rights" is when society as a whole does them special wrongs. When they are not treated equally.

It would be better to get rid of the special rights altogether, but while the special wrongs are still there, there is no equality.

Battybattybats said...

Sasha, indeed, everyone deserves the same rights and as long as anyone is treated as unequal then no-one deserves any rights. Cause our rights come from the idea that we are equal.

When one wheel on a car needs a new tyre, you fix that one. It's not getting special treatment, just fixing the problem wherever it arises. When one part of town needs more infrastructure you spend more money there, its not special treatment. When one group of people is being misstreated and not getting their proper rights you fix that one, it's not special treatment.

Its just allocating resources where they are needed.

If people didn't single out Gays and Lesbians and Transgender and Women and some Races and Religions for unfair treatment then they wouldn't need extra effort to ensure they get fair treatment. So its the fault of those treating them unfairly that we have to put extra effort in to ensure the same equal rights.

But ever since we decided everyone should be equal there have been people who said 'yes, but... but not quite everyone'. And so we have been protecting group after group with stupid lazy slowness. It has been centuries after all.

So we've been adding extra protections to ensure rights for everyone because the were needed, usually after decades of mindless thumb twiddling and moronic excuses from folk who want to cintinue picking on some group or other. Maybe we could do so better but certainly we should not stop.

There need be no justification why anyone should be treated as having equal rights and there can be none for why anyone should not be.

Fair enough?

radicalbitch said...

"When I found out they were Christian, I was provoked" should in fact be a defense.....

As it stands in this country today someone telling you they believe in the literal word of god bible they are in fact telling you they feel it's justified to kill you. Under the Bush Doctrine of the right to pre-emptive self defense, you should then be free to shoot a matter of self defense.

Ok, extreme, but using the logic applied, justified.

No, much as I'd like to see an open season on these folks, no bag limit, I'm not advocating it.

Proud East Coast Liberal said...

What wasn't posted here was all of the support for the trans community and debate with that poster on queerty from gay men, myself included.

Anonymous said...

Just an info
Its Arschloch asshole, not ass-schlock ;)
So for your next very legitimate rant you might use that.

A very angry(bout this privilege dripping egoistic trog on queerty) bigender german