I am very short on time, as noted in my previous update, but there has been an important conversation circulating in prominent trans activist circles to which I’d like to contribute my opinion. Here, I am referring specifically to the topic of CAMAB and male privilege. Although my position is contrary to the dominant mode of thinking in trans activism, I hope they receive my points for how they’re intended: to elaborate upon, rather than shut down, discussion.
“Qui vive la pietà quand’ è ben morta”
“Here pity only lives when it is dead.”
Virgil, Inferno, La Divina Commedia di Dante (XX:28)
Rayon: a contrived synthetic fabric with a pretense to being natural. Rayon: a versatile fabric engineered through chemical manipulation. Rayon: Man-made, redeveloped from natural polymers into artificial silk, loses shape when wet.
Quod vide … Rayon: the name of a transsexual woman played to international acclaim by Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (2013).
“And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane
To scatter us away
In a flood of wind and rain
And a sea of tidal waves
To wash us all away
And if we don’t behave
They’ll cut us down again.”
“The Origin of Love”, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Despite what you might have been told recently, intersectionality does not appraise itself as a bag of holding in which all solutions can be stuffed infinitely and indefinitely. Intersectionality, instead, views any totalizing narrative with critical scepticism, as they’re stories that pull together some elements while excluding others. We’ve witnessed such fictions, and their long-term lore of function according to the rubric of Someone Else’s authority. So, no doubt, our refusal to play along with communal plotlines pisses people off. And so a splurge of invectives and jeers—most of it very unpleasant–against intersectional feminists has come into vogue. We’re getting slagged off as reactionary sycophantry [Dx: Toxic Twitter Feminism] or indefensible phenomenology [Dx: Special Snowflake Syndrome]. –You’ll note my use of the passive voice in the previous sentence: I’m pretty sure you can guess who were the primary agents on this mission of diss.
The newsfeeds on twitter buzzed this morning with a seemingly innocuous announcement: FaceBook had renovated its gender options to include identifiers beyond the standard static binary of ‘male’ and ‘female’. AP broke the news with a degree of caps-lock enthusiasm one might have reserved for a major political coup. For many, the impactful relevance will pass by unnoticed; but for others — this policy change introduces a whole new philosophy of actualization. Had FB finally changed its entire schema of gender? My trans friends on FB hesitated their praise: we’ve had false alerts of this sort before. And, really, why the fanfare? Does this incorporation, which enables real gender diversity on the world’s most visited social media platform, deserve to induce such a heraldry of excitement?
Hell yes. And rightly so. It’s noteworthy that a cissexist orthodoxy got publicly shattered on one of the biggest cultural altars out there.
It’s barely 6am here in Vansterdam, on the west coast of Canada, and myself — and many other trans women bloggers — are sitting down to type out the ruminating aftermath of Janet Mock’s appearance on the Piers Morgan Show.
I had initially resisted saying something since, once again, my blog topic will be a response to media pastiche of trans invalidation. And I know that, as I hesitantly click, more prominent bloggers, ones who always seem to have command of the trans feminist circulation of text, will be preparing their own counterstatements. However, given that I think some of my points below will be somewhat contrarian, I hope they might add something unique to the emergent trans rebuttal.
Aoifeschatological followup to my earlier critique of the Whedon “peeny” remark. Some of what I say below refers and connects to that first post. But this entry is meant to expand the discussion by investigating what are the real, underlying issues. Honestly — there’re just too many presumptions about gender and women that self-appointed “geek culture” reiterates casually. And the prefatory nature of these remarks are gesturing to that overall situation.
Yeah, I get that #peenygate is #done. But it’s not just about Joss Whedon (no — really! It’s not All About Joss!) There’s far more at stake here than a one-off quip from a very famous screenwriter. I wrote this followup because I’m concerned for a feminism that must speak to a sexist culture that is perpetuated by loads of things besides one mere afternoon tweet. I’ve focused on this instance, however, in that the ‘response’ provided further demonstration of what had originally been described. I believe that examining these details — or at least the ones pertinent to my experience of writing on this subject — reveals some interesting patterns.
Twitter fandom approached Joss Whedon today with this enquiry:
“Any advice on writing strong female leads in a comic?”
A laudable question. But why ask Joss Whedon? Why not, say Gail Simone, Vera Brogsol, Alison Bechdel, or Ôshima Yumiko — to name only a few women authors in the chronically female underpopulated medium of this genre?
Why ask Joss Whedon — however you perceive his literary merits: he’s male — for a prescription for what constitutes strong womanhood? I’ll leave that question hanging in the air for a moment.
That aside — he had this by way of response, a pithy rejoinder:
If you are a trans person contemplating suicide, please visit here for information on how to find help. I’m not going to tell you it gets better; but I will assure you that your survival is important and meaningful. Please consider alternatives. ♥
James Joyce once exclaimed that trying to cross Dublin without passing a pub would be an excellent puzzle.
Here’s a much easier one: see how long it takes to get through Bill Simmons’s reflections on Dr V before you pass by the word ‘sorry’.
I can’t say that poetry ever saved my life.
In my case … gravity — and cheap Vancouver apartment fixtures — saved my life.