The following post was tagged with radical feminism, which is one of the tags that I agreed to follow in order to get a group that I am often accused of being to be quiet.
It is a example of how some folks, thinking that they have a decent grasp on complex subjects from having read a few things, combined with teh normative understanding that already exists in the world (and is not radical), act when given misinformation and then decide to use their beliefs and the ignorance and misinformation they have been given to spout an uninformed opinion that they likely think is meant positively, without realizing just how destructive it is.
The individual who is posting it isn’t of import in what I’m about to do — it is the ideas that they are sharing that I’m going after. So here is the post:
No Gender = No Transsexuality
I already know I’m going to probably start a shit storm and get called transphobic by posting this so let me explain. I’m going to make this as quick and simple as possible.
Sex is what you were biologically born as. I was born with breast and a vagina so my biological sex is a woman.
Gender is what you identify as and I identify as a woman.
Gender is a socially constructed idea designed to make a clear distinction between men and woman. It feeds into patriarchy so men can clearly tell who is dominant vs. non-dominant in our culture. So because I identify as a woman I am automatically put in the non-dominant group.
Now, if we were to get rid of gender and just go by our sex and live whichever identity we feel we truly are, the term Transsexuality wouldn’t exist. This is because everyone would be living in their purest form. Of course I am thinking of an ideal society. But basically what it boils down to is that, if we got rid of gender, we could live how we want in whatever sex identity we wanted.
Note that the following things are the problem with this post.
First, it presumes that transsexuality is a socially constructed issue based on Gender, which only exists in a social system and social sphere. This is the first point of ignorance on transsexuality, which is better referred to as Transness. Transness has no basis in Gender — gender is one of the results of it, not the source. The source of it is in Self awareness, which is discounted and ignored because of the ignorance and prejudice of the author — which were passed to them by normative, conservative, anti-radical forces in the social groups they are active in.
Secondly, it presumes that transness is a disease, a wrongness, a fault. This is also incorrect, and an error that is derived from ignorance and the combined efforts of persons with a deep seated degree of animus, anxiety, and/or aversion to trans people (all of which, incidentally, are displayed above in the post). Transness, as we understand it today, has been present in every culture throughout all of time and is a naturally occurring variation of human diversity.
Next, it starts off with an ethnocentric (and racist) assertion of a patriarchal system that has a long and well documented history of being used to further the goals of patriarchy and white supremacy, and is still very much structured in such a way that it embraces, supports, and patterns effective understanding in a way that reifies the Patriarchal notions that there are substantive differences between men and women and that there are only two forms. This is patently false, not radical, and decidedly prejudiced. As sex is a socially constructed system that posits a binary (even though the science being cited here recognizes that such a binary does not actually exist), and this fact is not acknowledged or incorporated into the statements made, it fails to recognize that the determination of what it means when subject A has these parts, subject B has these parts, and other subjects have a blending or variation or absence of those parts was made and continues to establish the role of subject A as a dominant and culturally neutral figure, while all related forms are Othered.
The argument is specious, as well, as it relies on an essentialism that posits flesh before person, or essence before existence, when speaking within and about an existential framework, which fundamentally holds that existence precedes essence.It is, therefore, contradictory at a level that the author is almost certainly unaware of.
To justify this, they use an example of their own flesh,not realizing that the flesh is not the problem, since gender is a social system that is, in all ways, the manifestation of sex in the social sphere. This is important, as it demonstrates that the author does not understand what Gender is, and more importantly, continues to use the same standards that have been used by patriarchy for decades to reinforce the idea that women are inferior. Exactly the same two. Which happen to be the most prominent, visible traits associated with the role which patriarchy assigns and that are supported by the patriarchal system that they are relying on to prove their point — that is, they are literally using the tools of persecution of women to establish that they are defined by patriarchy and shaped by it and they do so without disagreement or noted radical statements, which means that they are accepting it and therefore are arguing on behalf of patriarchal standards.
Next, it makes a faulty leap that colludes personal identification with social identification, despite these being two separate things, and ignores the methodology that they are pretending to follow (which is critical theory).
How one identifies has nothing to do with Gender. Gender is how one expresses how one identifies, how one operates in connection with others while expressing it, and what roles one operates under within the given culture one is occupying — most of which base one’s gender on what one does, not what one carries around within them.
So there we can see that the understanding of gender, in general, is not only flawed, but is also deeply ethnocentric and uninformed.
It then presumes that gender is the mechanism of oppression, which is incorrect, It is a mechanism, but it is not the only one. Since Gender is the social system that represents sex, it can only be undone by ridding the world of any distinctions relating to sex, including the patriarchy inspired ones that the author uses to create a distinction.
This, then, indicates a juvenile understanding of the world at large, and an overly simplistic grasp of social system and in particular the Structures and how they operate interdependently.
THey then make the assertion that by getting rid of gender and just operating by sex, that an entire class of persons who are literally outside either of these social constructions will cease to exist — as if one can change an element that exists in all cultures and in all populations simply by changing one cultural normative that can only exist so long as the other does.
Gender is sex in the social sphere. Flat out. So getting rid of it means changing the social systems in which everyone operates to erase all distinctions of social sex and sex itself, since gender is social sex.
That’s ignorance for you, though. It is like peering through a tiny hole and think if you could just move a little further only to find out it is your own anus and you’ve stuck your head through it.
They then get to an argument about purest forms, which becomes even more hilarious and laughable once one realizes that the process that trans people — in this case, the subset thereof defined by transsexuality — go through is to live an authentic life, and the actions of this person in this specific case are intentionally focused on the act of denying them an authentic life, thus creating existential Angst and feeling as if that is a good outcome.
This is how the aspects of Violence against Trans people function and work without the persons engaging in that violence being aware that they are doing so intentionally, because of the source material (which is outside the trans world is based in the oppressive systems created to render trans people invisible already that they have been fighting for close to 175 years now) — the ciscentric source material that is hostile and prejudiced and filled with misinformation — that they have relied on.
This is akin to the sort of thing being written by people who wanted to find a solution to the Civil war that relied on the arguments of the slave owners, since those seemed reasonable and they could always make the same appeal to authority that this person has made.
They then get to the point where they note that they are referencing an idealized system, but it isn’t an idealized system because they are creating this thought from a position of ignorance. They presume that gender exists in a vacuum, separate from other systems of oppression, and that it can be tackled in some way without having to tackle these other systems at the same time, and when one is being as ethnocentric in their focus as this person, one can see just how far they have to go in learning about these topics.
this is why the stuff that is spoken by TERFs and other anti-trans type is so often poisonous and damaging to trans people, even when it seems reasonable and something that shouldn’t be argued with. It isn’t radical to oppose the lives and existence of trans people — that is part of the normative systems and an aspect of patriarchy, in and of itself.
This is also why I say that those who hate trans people cannot properaly be radical feminists and have any claim to the concept of being radical — hate isn’t radical, it is conservative and normative, and all one needs to do to realize that is look at the world around you.
The individual who wrote this piece is merely an example of something that is prevalent, a symptom of a larger problem, and the level of ignorance they are dealing with is not their fault — it is part and parcel of the system which they unwittingly were actively engaged in supporting.
They have seen a great deal of horribly false testimony from people with a vested interest in preserving the status quo (men are men and women are women) in order to preserve the minimal amount of self image and ego they need to enable them to function to some degree in a social system that they are trapped in, just as the rest of us are.
Rather than condemn this person for writing this, I think we should condemn the ideas that lead into this sort of thing and recognize the deception, deceit, and complexity of Structure, rather than attacking this persons Agency in trying to make sense of something they don’t understand, however misguided an attempt that was.
Unless they are a hard core Terf who thinks CB, AnnTagonist, BevJo, Gallus, etc are all cool people, in which case, hey, have at them.