Sheila Jeffreys’ recent complaints against Transgender inspired opposition to her exclusionary Radical Feminist paradigm irked me today. Does something about the following quote read hollow with you?
For several years there has been a concerted campaign via the internet and on the ground, to ensure that I, and any other persons who have criticised transgenderism, from any academic discipline, are not given opportunities to speak in public.
For those out of the loop, Radical Feminism is in opposition to sex-reassignment surgeries and deems transsexuals to be co-opted supporters of the patriarchal status quo. As an “idiot’s guide” primer to the whole Radical Feminism vs. Transgender Theory debate check out the rather entertaining:
The Rad Fem Vs. the Trans Activist
But back to the specifics of the topic at hand. If you are wondering why I appear to be lacking sympathy for Ms. Jeffreys’ plight it’s because Transgendered individuals have been actively dissuaded—banned from certain Radical Feminist sponsored events. Perhaps, nowhere more infamously than at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
To cite an About.com article that poses the very direct question, “Is the Festival Transphobic?” a representative of Lesbian Life responds:
We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.
Now where have we heard that line before?
[Donald] Trump has since reversed his “naturally-born” female position — and has promised to allow [Canadian transgendered Miss Universe contestant] Jenna [Talackova] to compete.
Oh right, Donald Trump had his very own women-born-women policy! I wonder if Ms. Jeffreys takes comfort in the fact that she and “The Donald” see eye-to-eye on the naturally born woman issue? Certainly opponents of transgenderism make strange bedfellows!
It also brings to mind the “men-only” clubs that some feminists sought to desegregate based on suppositions of male privilege and rights of access. Yet, didn’t those men cite the same kind of argument? To paraphrase the quote above:
“We strongly assert there is nothing misogynistic with choosing to spend time with men who were born as, and have lived their lives as, men in our men’s clubs. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as women.”
In other words, “sure have your freedom. Live where you will. But um, not on my block“.
I’ve made this point before. Anti-transgender rhetoric and practice works only insomuch as our critics are able to identify us. The picture heralding this piece features yours truly, and the lovely, Miriam Rivera. We are both transgendered, but ironically, she is preoperative and I am post-operative. In other words, I’m the one with a vagina. Yet, because Miriam passes so well it is likely she that would gain access to a “woman-born-woman” event and not myself. I’m squarely in their gun-sights, not Miriam. Perception is everything folks.
Yes, because I “pass” less effectively, I am subject to greater scrutiny and derision. I applaud beautiful women such as Janet Mock who has chosen to celebrate her uniqueness as a transgendered woman when her ability to move about us undetected could have been a very real option.
I yearn for a world of inclusion—not exclusion!
I think of the ignorance, and stupidity inherent in racist ideologies. I love, welcome and embrace the fact that new genetic research, notably the Genographic Project highlights our shared humanity and common ancestral beginnings. I’ve been researching my family tree as part of the needed research for a memoir I am putting together. I’ve been excitedly pouring over old documents citing relatives in the UK. However, the greater truth is that we are all African—all of us!
One people, and a shared hope of fulfillment, and lives rich in meaning and purpose. Come one. Come all; independent of religion, race, color or creed.
As for Sheila Jeffreys and Radical Feminism all I can say is:
Live by the sword of exclusion, elitism, and privilege, and you die by the same.