Wednesday 30 December 2009

Not that we get a choice...

I don't identify as "Transgendered" - but don't get too upset by it.
Many Transsexual people do though.

And I know few Intersexed people who identify as Transgendered, and some get quite angry about being called that. They have a point, it can be galling when someone is born with a physical anomaly, and ignorant opinionated bigots criticise them for their "immoral lifestyle choice".

The thing is, we don't get a choice what others call us. We don't have that privilege.

And being under that umbrella does nothing to protect us from the rain of persecution. It just marks us out, and makes us likely to be hit by the lightning of violence.

To the great unwashed, Transvestite = Intersexed = Transsexual = Gay. They're not sure whether we're evil, insane, or both. But are sure we're God's Enemies, out to corrupt their children with foul perversions, and quite possibly possessed by devils.

It's not very far from this:

To this:

The pastor who conducted the blessing of Sarah Palin is Thomas Muthee:
After founding the Prayer Cave in 1989 in Kiambu, Kenya, Muthee reportedly says that he spoke with God and was called to the United States where he would be embraced by Palin and her church. While in Kenya, he says that he discovered that the community was inundated by witchcraft: “We prayed, we fasted, the Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place.”

He even identified one witch known as Mama Jane, who ran a competing “divination” center called the Emmanuel Clinic. He declared that she was responsible for a rash of car accidents and led a crusade against her — a movement that would trigger calls for her to be stoned to death.
More on that from the UK Telegraph.

Such Cultists have more in common with Osama Bin Laden than Martin Luther King.

No, Sarah Palin is not some loony witch-hunter. She doesn't even hang around with Loony witch-hunters nearly as much as many other Republicans, and not a few Democrats.

The man President Obama chose to give the prayer at his inauguration is Rick Warren - who has been busy backpeddling on his heavy involvement with witchfinders and gayhunters in Uganda, first refusing to speak on the subject, and finally saying they're going a bit too far.

I think part of the problem is that in the US, hyperbole and hysteria often dominate political discourse. Many people say "X ought to be shot" - but few actually go out and shoot. Almost none. Such a nuanced view is not always taken in the rest of the world.

When the US Dominionists, Gayhunters and Witchsniffers say that people like me should be exterminated, then I believe that they'd do it, if given the chance. I don't think they'll be given that chance though, no matter if they do force Superstition to be taught in schools instead of Science. Spectral Evidence hasn't been accepted in American courts since the 17th century. I think the odds of that making a comeback are as likely as the buggy-whip being mass-produced.

The same people in many African countries though don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk :
The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him – Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of "witch children" reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
"Renegade"? No. Just "Radical". Many of the founding US churches are now being visited by Nigerian, Kenyan, and Rwandan missionaries from their radical offspring, and those pastors are finding a sympathetic audience.


House of Prayer of All Nations
594 Pleasant Chapel Church Rd
Silas, AL 36919
+1 251-843-5331

Not to be confused with The House of Prayer for All Nations, Inc. or the House of Prayer to All Nations, Inc..

You see... Christians who are horrified at these events don't get a choice either. They get associated with these Cultists, and don't get a say in it.


bonze said...

That "Transgender Umbrella" chart just annoys the hell out of me! The errors abound:

Sex != Gender. (Genitalia vs. Brain-Mind)

Performance != Identity. "Performers" as such are not (necessarily) transgendered; therefore the whole category does not belong.

Feminine != Effeminate.

Androgyne != "Gender Bender". (Most folks who are androgynous suppress their tendencies towards behaviors perceived as gender-deviant... since in a lot of places this can get you killed.)

-- bonze

Bunny said...

I used to buy into that whole speil about drag queens "performers" not being t-girls, but I no longer do.

I see way too many of them these days going on hormones and having breast implants. I think many of them are transsexuals, but don't admit it to themself or others, because of the negative connotation that holds in the gay male community.

I think many of them when they were first looking for a place to fit in found the gay world, and that became their place. Once you find a place, it can be hard to change.

Likewise, I have always doubted how "heterosexual" crossdressers are. Many claim they don't like men, but will quickly jump into bed with another crossdresser or t-girl.

I'm not sure there's an umbrella at all. Maybe just the same people at different levels of personal honesty about themselves.

Zoe Brain said...

I'm convinced by the evidence that cross-gender is a consequence of cross-gendered anatomy.

And anatomy is not binary. This means there has to be a spectrum, or rather, multiple spectra. The cis-sexual woman who is exclusively attracted to other women, The neutrois with a body that's apparently normally male, who is straight. The intersexed man whose gender is stereotypically male, yet is gay.

Trying to fit real people into a binary model is like trying to divide people into "big" and "small". A tall, fat person is obviously big. A short, skinny one is obviously small. But what about someone who's tall and thin, or short and fat? And what about the people of average height, neither tall nor short?

Self-actualisation probably modifies this too - but the basis is completely biological in some areas, partly so in others.

The thing is, that "transgender" the word the way most people interpret it is quite a different thing from the actual situation. And people who have been pigeonholed into that concept have every right to be upset by that.

I'm not. It doesn't fit, but inaccurate statements about myself don't anger me, I just try to correct them.

Only accurate statements can hurt: the rest can only cause inconvenience. Libellous falsehoods can injure my pride, and my dignity, but never my honour. Only I can do that.

Anonymous said...

The "transgender" umbrella is hate speech when applied to the non transvestite (those with male bodies who wish to keep same but dress in opposite sex clothing, full or part time)

Pure and simple.....and if those of us who are intersexed or post corrected start responding to it's continued use as hate speech we will finally overcome ten years of penis people promoting it.

You asked elsewhere for my input, you just got it. The only thing wrong with the binary is those who aren't part of it insisting everyone else isn't either.....

Zoe Brain said...

Thanks for the pithy viewpoint, CK. Just what I wanted.

That diagram really, really gives me the irrits - but not for personal reasons.

Hate Speech? Not in my opinion, merely wrong.

The original Virginia Prince meaning was quite different, and highly transsexual-phobic. Intersex wasn't on the radar screen.

It's mutated since then though, and is beyond our control.

To be boringly repetitious, the binary model is a good approximation. Even very good. Many people fit it in every respect. But a lot more don't fit it in some minor ways, quite a few in major ways, and a small proportion hardly at all.

Anonymous said...

Zoe's Trangender Umbrella is so hateful that it just feeds into your consistent pathological lies. Zoe, your so called umbrella to Included intersex people is so wrong and so hateful. Intersex people do not belong under your so called umbrella and for you to include them in your so called umbrella, is totally wrong and so bigoted.

Anonymous said...

You weren't around for Prince, I was. Frankly I've grown sick and tired of men (and they are men) using the natural politeness instincts of women against them. We are supposed to use female pronouns for men out of "respect" when absolutely no respect is shown in return.

We didn't want this fight, they did.

Zimbel said...

"The thing is, we don't get a choice what others call us. We don't have that privilege."

-You do have the privileged to tell people when an appellation annoys you. I tend to use "Trans" or "Transgender" as umbrella terms, largely due to The Taskforce's style guide; see Opening
the Door on page 6
for an example of their definition of the term. However, since you obviously prefer more specific appellations, I'll attempt to remember to do so in the future.

My apologies if my use of the term has offended you or anyone else.

"I think part of the problem is that in the US, hyperbole and hysteria often dominate political discourse. Many people say "X ought to be shot" - but few actually go out and shoot. Almost none. Such a nuanced view is not always taken in the rest of the world."

-This demonstrates one of the problems with the First Amendment. It makes prosecution of hate speech much more difficult, even when it's clearly used to incite violence.

Anonymous said...

I like the term transsgender, and I like that umbrella.
Gives a visualization to assist in the education of the unknowlageable one.
We can fine tune the particulars on a case by case basis.

Cynthia Lee

Hazumu Osaragi said...

Zoe, you're right. We don't have the privilege to define our descriptive terminology. On an inclusive support board I used to frequent, one of the zombie topics that would start flame wars was the transgender-as-inclusive-term vs. the HBS/WBT contingent who tried to paint 'transgender' as derogatory.

Funny thing, to the anti-gay crowd, all trans women are male homosexuals -- only extremely so. I once asked a counterprotester at a H8 rally following the passage of Prop 8 who I should marry. After she said g_d said I had to marry a man and Jesus could cure me, I said I was born with a penis and now who should I marry (she never answered THAT question...)

On the internet, when I need to support a point, I write, "I'm transgender. Transsexual, actually, and I've had 'the surgery'", so the haters and the uninitiated and the potential allies who don't know the details about the "T" community and that it's not necessarily "G" or "L" (though it could be, but they don't know that,) can get a handle on which of their mental boxes I should be categorized in.

I used to escort a TV reporter who was also a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. As TV reporters go, escorting him was much more pleasant than the other reporters who had no military experience and who you had to patiently explain basic military concepts to. But then the colonel/reporter would do a 'stand-up', and sound exactly as stupid as the other reporters. I asked him about this. He said, "Sergeant, I have 90 seconds to get one fact across to an audience that has no military experience. To do it I have to tie it to three general misconceptions they believe are true, or they won't understand the one fact I need them to understand that is the story. I wish it weren't so, but that's the way it is."

Sorry, we're lumped in with the worst drag clowns, AND the weekend warriors, And the diesel dykes, AND the twinks. The cis/hetero majority lacks the calculus to understand us, we have to start the explanation at their level of beginning fractions and long division...

Zoe's right, we don't have naming privilege, they do.

Anonymous said...

The logic behind appropriating identities like this under the transgender umbrella, as far as I can tell it, has been based on shared cis oppression. On face value, it seems noble, but it's so problematic in function. It's like saying "women face gender-based oppression, so we'll put everyone who's been victimized by the patriarchy under the 'woman' umbrella for their protection!" This does not unite people or strengthen them, it only angers and erases. "Transgender" is an umbrella (and beneath it are men, women, and nonbinaries of all sort) but it is not (or should not be) an umbrella of appropriation.

>"You see... Christians who are horrified at these events don't get a choice either. They get associated with these Cultists, and don't get a say in it."

I disagree. Christians do have a say. They can disassociate from these people by disowning their words, rejecting their churches, speaking out against them and the hate they project, telling their fellow Christians to do the same. Nothing, including their identification with Christianity, forces them to be complicit with the atrocities being committed by churches overseas. If anything, it puts them in a place of potential influence, as Christians, over their Christian brethren who support this.


Anonymous said...

(I'm sorry, this post was meant to go before the last one and continued, but the comment system doesn't like me)

Seeing trans advocates promoting an interpretation of "transgender" like the one in that image makes me disappointed and angry. Gender identity (of which deviation from the physical sex one has been born with/assigned is what transgender is, or aught to be) is not the same thing as gender performance, which can be "nonstandard" for a whole range of unrelated reasons, which is again different from physiological sexual characteristics.

Appropriating intersex conditions under the "transgender" umbrella is just wrong. Those who do this generally are not intersexed and are doing it without the input of intersexed people. It disrespects intersex persons' gender identities (intersex people can be transgendered or not, just as can those of any physical anatomy can be) and ignores or misrepresents the fact that the oppression faced by intersex people is serious, targeted, and not simply the "same thing" as that faced by transgendered people.

And as a trans person, whether I dress to emulate another sex or present "masculine" or "feminine" has nothing to do with what gender I am (and therefore, nothing to do with the -fact that I am transgendered-).


Anonymous said...

Zoe, you have bought the transgender lies hook line and sinker.

I have written many times about how the umbrella was deliberately imposed. I have pointed out that the "education" about transsexuality had been done to the point where republicans supported transsexual civil rights, the religious right did not oppose them but accepted them for the most part.

The situation today is a direct result of the deliberate dragging down of those born with transsexuality to the drag queen level by the deliberate erasure of the differences. It is now about to happen to the intersexed as well for the same reasons and by the exact same techniques.

I had the unique position of first transitioning when it began and contact with those who did it and those who now oppose our rights who didn't then. I have a unique history of personal experience combined with a background in sociology, psychology, anthropology and history to see with clear eyes what was being done, how and why.

By the late ninties we actually were on the cusp of full civil rights recognition by the Federal government. It was conservatives who supported this rather than democrats who blew us off. Our then leadership was bought and paid for by HRC and sold us down the river. We had a choice then and we have one now. Oppose the "definitions" pushed by gay organizations and the AP stylebook crap. Speak out against those who push this umbrella and expose it for what it is, hate speech, deliberate erasure of a condition the mundane world actually understands quite quickly with little effort.

This article of yours is a call to surrender to those who painted a right wing target on us to drag us down because we were winning hearts and minds and then have the gall to tell us it was for our own good like some organized crime protection racket.

Zoe Brain said...

The history of the Americans with Disabilities Act is inconsistent with your timeline.

I think the rot set in far earlier, with the Gay UK Judge Ormuzd's decision in the Corbett case - which stated in effect that trans women were actually mutilated gay men - and several other decisions in the USA in the 70s that effectively repealed rights that had been granted before then.

By 1976, there was already caselaw in the USA that while a state may have issued a corrected birth certificate, it had no legal meaning when it came to marriage rights. Not just in other states, but in the state that issued it itself.

I think it fair to say that just at a time when Gays were distancing themselves from Trans people (considering them to be mutilated and deluded), the Religious Reich in the USA were conflating the two. See McHugh's Psychiatric Misadventures for proof.

A challenge to standards can affect at least the discourse in a psychiatric clinic, if not the practice. These challenges are expressed in such slogans as "Do your own thing," "Whose life is it anyway?" "Be sure to get your own," or Joseph Campbell's "Follow your bliss." All of these slogans are familiar to psychiatrists trying to redirect confused, depressed, and often self-belittling patients. Such is their pervasiveness in the culture that they may even divert psychiatrists into misplaced emphases in their understanding of patients.
This interrelationship of cultural antinomianism and a psychiatric misplaced emphasis is seen at its grimmest in the practice known as sex-reassignment surgery. I happen to know about this because Johns Hopkins was one of the places in the United States where this practice was given its start. It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it.

The seeds of the rollback were sewn long before the 90's.

As for the rest of your thesis, I think only two things are indisputable: First, that the Gay movement will hitch its wagon to Trans women and conflate itself with them if it's to their advantage, and drop them like a hot potato as "mutilated and deluded" when it isn't. And second, that the Religious Reich will do the exact opposite - conflating the "insane freaks who just want to rape children in toilets" with Gays if it will help their own anti-Gay cause, and saying "oh, they're completely different" when it won't. They just have longer lead times.

How else to explain the recent decision by the NH senate to OK Gay Marriage, and on the same day unanimously prevent Trans people (of any description) from being granted the same employment protections Gays have enjoyed for 10 years?

Meanwhile - keep up the Good Fight.

Anonymous said...

My "thesis" as you put it, was based on first hand experiences while you were down under not yet having dealt with your own issues. Sorry to be so blunt about it.

The post corrected bodies of women of transsexual history have been a battleground in the wars within Feminism (the ADA was from this period) gay and lesbian politics, gender "theories" that their mere existence gave lie to.

HRC had done studies in the 90's confirming that in conservative states the support for transsexual civil rights ran to about 75% while gay rights around 35%. That is a fact. They began buying off trans-activists then and openly subverting all efforts to effectively lobby Congress..that's also a fact. The HRC effectively blocked all meaningful access to left wing politicans beginning then. That is also established and provable fact.

I had debated for years writing a book on this subject that spanned feminism and how it changed with the rad fem revolution, gay liberation and how it traded in transsexed bodies and then the adoptation by transvestite activists of the very foundational gender deconstructionist theories that had originally been used by the rad fems to attack transsexuality.

I didn't want to write this because I am a woman and do not wish my identity and life defined otherwise but now feel I must because of the out and out lies that pass as history these days.

I will not discuss this openly here with you any more but you can email me privately if you wish to continue learning.

Anonymous said...

People who deal in absolutes and venom can do little to nothing to improve our colective position. It doesn't matter to a basher if you are gay, tranny, intersexed, drag queen or anyother form of gender variant individual.
You will be beaten and possibly killed for being diferant.
We need to find more ways to bring our 'diferant' brothers and sisters into the fold, and if that means I have to swallow my share of shit to get a fair shake for the future generations so be it.
Infighting just to prove your right and the other girl is wrong only serves to divide us.
Lets get our rights and freedoms first. Then we can debate and argue all we want.

with love for my sisters and brothers

Cynthia Lee

Hazumu Osaragi said... moths to a candle flame--

Nikola Kovacs said...

Radical, where can I read more of your thoughts about this subject in particular?

I'm not necessarily agreeing with you, but I am finding this an interesting discussion and if it's about to go behind closed doors then I'd like to know where I can read more of your thoughts. I know I can read Zoe's here.

Just on something you've mentioned a couple of times though:

... studies in the 90's confirming that in conservative states the support for transsexual civil rights ran to about 75% while gay rights around 35% ...

Do you consider that this finding might be in keeping with the notion that they don't have any homosexuals in Iran, but they seem to have plenty of transsexuals?

Zoe Brain said...

rb - blunt is good, rudeness not. You were blunt, not rude, and I appreciate that. What you said was exactly true.

Nicole and I are both in Australia, so are viewing things from a distance.

A more on-the-spot view like yours would be appreciated, and at length.

You're the third independent source that has given essentially the same account of the HRC's actions. One I could dismiss, two I could ignore as improbable, while keeping an eye out for more data. Three... :(

Anywhere where we could discuss this in a 3-way? You talking, us listening and asking critical questions?

fromOIIOz said...

RadicalBitch, you wrote:

"I had debated for years writing a book on this subject..."

Please do. We need it so very badly.

Anonymous said...

Zoe has effectively brought into all the lies and cons the transgender activist and the transgender taliaban have been feeding to Zoe. As a result, Zoe is pushing the same Lies and cons the transgender activist and the Transgender taliaban have been pushing as well.

I think it's already happening to the intersex people and the intersex community. The same techniques they are using on their own, they are now trying to do the same thing to the intersex people as well. Think of as total annihilation of the intersex people and intersex community by erasing their differences, life history, experience and upbringing. Feminism and women are not too far behind as well because after they get done erasing the intersex people, I wouldn't be too surprised if their next target is feminism and womanhood.

The article as a whole, is nothing but pure bigotry and Zoe brought into their whole nonsense and crap. It just goes to show that Zoe is not only selling out the intersex people, Zoe is selling out his own transsexual kind as well.

Zoe's post is nothing more than full of hate and this post actually tops it as being so hateful and very demeaning towards Intersex people. It's so wrong to class intersex people under their so called crappy transgender umbrella. Intersex people don't belong their and for Zoe to class intersex people under this crappy transgender umbrella, is in effect erasing the intersex people and erasing an intersex person as well.

Unknown said...

Nicky, this is your last warning: sign your posts with a consistent monicker, or they'll be deleted unread.

My terms of service aren't particularly onerous. I'll repeat them:

Anonymous commenters - please add a signature (doesn't have to be your real name) on each post of yours. Anne O'Namus, Norm D. Ploom, Angry from Kent, Demosthenes, or even your real initials, it doesn't matter.

Commenters are expected to be polite to each other, but the same standard doesn't apply to comments regarding me.

You consistently ignore this, despite repeated warnings. This is the last one you'll get.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zoe Brain said...

The previous post began:

"Anonymous said...

Why bother, signing with a name, because Your blog Stinks and Frankly, You don't OWN your Blog and frankly, Blogger is a poor blogging service for beginners who can't blog very seriously."

So the rest of Nicky's post has been deleted.

Anonymous said...

with love for everyone of your "sisters and brothers" except those who disagree with you?

There is no collective "us"...I had a decade of that being beaten into me not by those haters bigots but by those who claimed to me my "community". Selling your position with fear is a isn't the outside world I've ever had to fear any more than prior to tranistion but my "sisters". And I tell people if I'm murdered for who I am it is 50 times more likely to be some tranny who does it since they had directed so much hatred at me, so many attempts to destroy my life and out and out death threats. All while I was an active activist.

My civil rights as a woman and a Pagan have been far greater problems than because of my history and that's the truth behind the big lie that the umbrella is needed for our own's politics of fear.

@nichole. click my name and the blog comes up. I alos have essays I wrote spanning over a decade at

Anonymous Woman said...

Activism fits some people like a cheap suit.

Sarcasm is just body odor beneath it.

Anonymous said...

Zoe, quit being an intersex because your not an intersex, your a MAN wishing to be an intersex. Your in an Intersex wannabe.

Zimbel said...


I wasn't significantly involved in the HRC in the late 90s, but I was involved in NOW. Their published timeline (note 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) roughly jibes with my recollection of national's policies at the time.

Anonymous said...

Zimbel, do you have some sort of point here? I was a member of NOW then and now...I worked closely with the head of Ohio NOW back in 98 and 99 and 20 who was very supportive to the extent she lobbyied herself with us in the Ohio legislature and we had presentations at the Ohio NOW annual conventions.......I also spread the word in 97 about NOW's position only to see it totally ignored by the transgender community.

At the last national NOW convention I attended in 2007 there were exactly five transpeople and three of them came with me. Two of them deliberately provoked a bathroom incident!

Zimbel said...


I guess I'm mis-understanding some of your points, then. I'll read a bit more of your blog before commenting further.