Transphobia

Published on November 1st, 2013 | by Rayne

13

Unpacking TERF arguments – nothing more than conspiracy theorist bunkum

I’ve blogged about this numerous times but I need to unpack the sheer ludicrousness of TERF arguments, just so I can understand them a little better. Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism, rape, assault, violence, harassment.

By the admittance of people such as Cathy Brennan, Janice Raymond and Sheila Jefferys, radfem and TERF’s believe the following:

  • - All trans women are men who want to become women to get into women’s only spaces and rape them (featured in Cathy Brennan’s Letter to the UN).
  • - That allowing gender identity to be recognised as a legitimate concept, it will allow any man to step into women’s only spaces and rape them (featured in Cathy Brennan’s Letter to the UN).
  • - That all women (straight and bisexual ones) should stop having sex with men and either become lesbians or celibate (featured in Cathy Brennan’s article “When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Lesbian” – original article found here).
  • - Further to that, all women should stop having sex when men and become political lesbians because “because women shouldn’t sleep with their oppressors.” (featured in Sheila Jefferys book “Unpacking Queer Politics“).
  • - Apparently “that female-to-male trans*people are only trying to buy into male privilege” (featured in Sheila Jefferys article ““FTM Transsexualism and Grief“).
  • - Also I’m not certain how but “FTM transsexualism destroys the lesbianism not just of the woman who ‘transitions’ but that of her female partner too.” (also featured in Sheila Jefferys article ““FTM Transsexualism and Grief“).
  • - According to a TERF on Twitter I tangled with, the only people who can commit violence, particularly sexual violence are “males” (her words not mine, screenshots here).
  • - According to the above TERF, she’s sick of women telling lesbians how violent we are (do TERF’s really want to sweep sexual abuse and violence by women under the rug? We all know how that turns out).
  • - It seems Cathy Brennan believes that sexuality can be changed, she recently aligned herself with the Pacific Justice Institute to aid them in their efforts to out a transgender student. The PJI also believes in Ex-Gay conversion therapy.

That’s a lot of stuff to have to unpack. Let’s get started.

All trans women are men who want to become women to get into women’s only spaces and rape them.
Let me get this straight. All trans women are men. Further to that fallacy, they are men who think about raping women. By extension to that, all cisgendered men as well think about raping women. So in the mind of TERF’s all men are rapists. Men that want to rape women so badly, that they will spend thousands of dollars on visiting gender specialists, hormones, surgery to turn their penises inside out (among other costs like hospital accommodation, loss of income due to recovery time) potentially lose their jobs and houses due to discrimination, not to mention family and friends, simply so they can go into women’s only spaces to rape them.

Really?

And where is your evidence for this?  That’s right, there is none.

We live in a world that has a pretty large rape culture. People get raped all the time, by other people. In a world where rape culture is so prominent, raping people doesn’t really need a stealth mode.

I think this conversation sums up my feelings on the matter:

From what I understand of TERF thinking, is that they equate all sexual contact from trans women (and trans men I’m guessing) as rape (because consensual sexual activities is classified as rape now?). There is a concept called the “Cotton Ceiling” within trans advocacy that states:

        …”The cotton ceiling is a theory proposed by trans porn star and activist Drew DeVeaux to explain the experiences queer trans women have with simultaneous social inclusion and sexual exclusion within the broader queer women’s communities. Basically, it means that cis queer women will be friends with us and talk day and night about trans rights and ending transmisogyny, but will still not consider us viable sexual partners.

         The term cotton ceiling is a reference to the “glass ceiling” that second wave feminist identified in the workforce, wherein women could only advance so high in the workforce but could not break through into positions of power and authority. The cotton represents underwear, signifying sex.“…
(Email exchange found here – warning transphobia)

I don’t want to equate this to all cisgendered lesbians. It seems a little generalising, Attraction is a complex thing. You can find someone attractive, yet not be attracted to them – this is fine. Attraction isn’t something a person can really control. What’s not fine is when you generalise an entire community of people as being unworthy being attractive based on one attribute (Example: Saying you’re not attracted to black people because they are black or trans people because they are trans). I’ve written a blog about it here. The Cotton Ceiling theory deals with issues that trans people face within the wider queer community in regards to issues of sex, social interaction and relationships. This is great because it starts a dialogue between trans and cispeople to help air out any issues and discover ways to break down any barriers or misconceptions.

The TERF brigade have somehow managed to spin the theory of the Cotton Ceiling into this:

          ….”Transgender cotton ceiling rapists hold male-only (Planned Parenthood sponsored) seminars, write books, host lecture tours, and endlessly spam lesbian websites and blogs with rape and murder threats over lack of male “inclusion” in lesbian social gatherings, lesbian organizing, lesbian events, lesbian music festivals, and – most importantly- lesbian bedrooms. – found here.

         Planned Parenthood Toronto is helping to sponsor a March 31 conference in Toronto that includes a workshop inviting participants to discuss and strategize ways they might be able to “overcome” women’s objections to these participants’ sexual advances. We believe that no means no, that a woman’s right to say “no” to sex at any time is sacrosanct and that no explanations should ever be requested because none is ever necessary. The name of the workshop proposed is “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women.”…

- Petition against the cotton ceiling

Wait, what? What is this? The TERF brigade have somehow managed to spin the theory of the Cotton Ceiling into “lets teach trans people how to force/trick cispeople into having sex with them“. Let’s look at the workshop – information found here.

CC-workshopI don’t know about you, dear readers, but I can’t see anything that equates to “lets teach trans people how to force/trick cisgendered people into having sex with us!“. I know I need new glasses but even if I stare really close to the screen, I can’t see anything..

Basically the workshop is designed to have  a discussion around:

1. What barriers do trans people have in regards to sexual matters?
2. What barriers to trans people have in regards to sexual matters with the wider community?
3. How can those barriers be overcome?

I don’t have any trans experience but I am not trans however in speaking with trans people – most issues revolve around knowing and being able to articulate what they like and don’t like, how they view themselves and their bodies and being able to communicate that to prospective partners and being able to clearly disspell any misconceptions that cisgendered people may have. It’s not about “forcing or tricking” anyone into having sex – it’s about positive communication between two (or three or four, whatever you’re into) people in regards to sexual intimacy so that intimacy is safe and fun.

But the TERF brigade don’t see it this way. I have yet to see any empirical evidence for any of their claims yet they insist that all sexual contact from transpeople is rape. Because consent doesn’t matter. Apparently a “Yes” really means “No”.

That allowing gender identity to be recognised as a legitimate concept, it will allow any man to step into women’s only spaces and rape them.
This assertion is what we call “biased”. There is no empirical evidence for this assertion whats-so-ever. In most countries, to see a gender therapist, you need a referral from your doctor. Then you have an appointment with the therapist who assesses you and offers a diagnosis. Again this claim comes back to “men think about rape so much that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars to become women in order to rape women”.

That all women (straight and bisexual ones) should stop having sex with men and either become lesbians or celibate.
I’ve spoken about this here, I have little more to say on the matter except that my sexuality is not a commodity. Lesbianism is not a political statement. Lesbianism is not the thing you turn to the further your political cause. It is not a consolidation prize because you think all men everywhere are rapists and scum. It is not a means to further an agenda based on lies and hatred, an agenda that is fueled by wildly spun theories instead of empirical evidence.

Further to that, all women should stop having sex when men and become political lesbians because “because women shouldn’t sleep with their oppressors.“.
See above.

Apparently “that female-to-male transpeople are only trying to buy into male privilege”.
Again a wild assertion with no empirical evidence apart from “this is what I think based on my own biased thinking”. What I understand of that statement (and Sheila Jefferys thinking in general) is that women in an effort to get male privilege in society, will use thousands of dollars worth of money to have surgery and get hormones to become men, potentially lose their jobs and houses due to discrimination, not too mention family and friends – all to get a few advantages in society.

Also I’m not certain how but “FTM transsexualism destroys the lesbianism not just of the woman who ‘transitions’ but that of her female partner too”.
When will pseudo-academics learn that they need evidence to back up their theories?

According to a TERF on Twitter I tangled with, the only people who can commit violence, particularly sexual violence is “males”.
This is a very dangerous idea to promote. As I mentioned in my rebuttal of her claims – reframing “violence against women” to “male violence” renders abuse and rape committed by women completely invisible. I’ve outlined my concerns in this article here. By rending violence perpetrated by women as invisible – you are directly responsible for its continuation, making you directly responsible for the continuation of rape culture. Boo hoo if you’re uncomfortable with admitting that the same community that are survivors of abuse, can also be perpetrators of it. It happens and needs to be addressed.

According to the above TERF, she’s sick of women telling lesbians how violent we are (do TERF’s really want to sweet sexual abuse and violence by women under the rug? We all know how that turns out).
See above.

Cathy Brennan believes that sexuality can be changed, she recently aligned herself with the Pacific Justice Institute to aid them in their efforts to out a transgender student. The PJI also believes in Ex-Gay conversion therapy.
This is particularly dangerous for gay, lesbian and bisexual people because the idea that sexuality can be changed, means more victims for the Ex-Gay therapies to prey on. Ex-Gay therapies prey on vulnerable people who have interalised homophobia and who come from places that hammer into them that they are sinners and disgusting people. Ex-Gay therapies teach people to hate themselves rather than to accept themselves for who they are.

You know, for a movement that states they wants to help all women – TERFs sure do throw lesbians under the bus. TERF’s don’t want to help women – they want to hate on trans people under the guise of helping women. They will throw lesbians in the hands of Ex-Gay therapists if it means getting to their goal. They’ll promote the idea that women can’t be abusers – leaving survivors of women perpetrated domestic violence and abuse, in the dust. Even the child survivors of female pedophiles are rendered invisible. They’ll promote the idea that sexuality can be changed.

For what?

Baseless assertions without evidence. The TERF brigade are nothing more than conspiracy theorist’s, trolling the web, quote mining for snippets of information that backs up their bias and hatred.  The movement isn’t empirical based – it’s emotional based. It’s fueled on anger, lies and hatred. It declares that everyone who critiques their thinking are lesbianphobes because they can’t admit that they are wrong.

It’s laughable at best and dangerous at worst.

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