Sunday, April 22, 2012

is this a case of history repeating?

It may surprise some, but i don;'t like the idea that i'm arguing from a bad place. When i make a stand, it is generally because i've thought things through and i have an understanding that seems logical to me.

Since i've had such a lot of abuse recently, (apparently i'm a racist, transphobic, bigoted, c**t) i thought i'd step back and look at things again.

The first thing i noticed was a parallel, between post op TS women's demands to be recognised as women, and non-op TG people's rights to be recognised as women. Am i unwittingly passing on the struggle between post-opTS and the radfem to the next lot of people down the line? Is my right to be legally identified as female based on the same logic and reasoning as a non-op penis wielding TG person's rights?

Lets look at it.

The first thing that happens when we are born is someone takes a look, and says what sex we are. Its a visual thing, based on physical form.

They say "she's girl!" or "he's a boy!" or "oh, better get the doctor!" (in the case of our intersex babies). I've always thought it would be cool to be born hermaphrodite, but the few personal accounts i've read of the 1 in 80,000 of us who are born intersex indicates it isn't actually so great. Oh well.

It turns out that genetics - our chromosomes, are not decisive in predicting what it is the midwife is going to say. That is, you don't need to be XX to be physically female at birth. Neither do you need to be XY to be physically male. This is pretty important, i think. It means that the fundamental thing that sex determination (and i'm not going to use the word gender as it is far too abused) is based on is a visual examination of genitalia. What we look like. At birth. This isn't a western thing, a modern thing, a sexist thing. Its a human thing. It is how the human race determines the sex of its children. Since forever.

I'm not going to get into an intellectual discussion of the rights and wrongs of that. As an aside, the Olympic Committee (as of 1991) no longer tests for chromosome compliments but does rely on visual examination to determine whether a person is male or female …

how does this relate to the post-op TS's demand for recognition as female, and the non-op TG's?

by medical definition, a 'true' TS seeks to have their genitalia changed to match their internal physical gender identify - not simply getting their "balls cut off", or undergoing "amputation" but rather the replacement of the incorrect genitalia with the correct genitalia. If we could get ovaries and a womb in the process we'd do that too, since this isn't about sexuality, its about having the right body. it seems from recent news that we are close to getting our testes converted into estrogen producing ovaries, but the womb is still a way off, unless our mothers want to donate.

once we have done that, we want to be fully recognised as female. Why? well, we always thought we were. once we've changed the physical form - the bit that is used for the primary and 'at birth' visual determination of sex - we are women. we look like females, and looking like a female is THE basis of being called female at birth.

Many pre-ops want legal recognition as female prior to surgery. I know i did. I wanted my documents to match my (clothed) appearance. With assessment by professionals (who are there to make sure we aren't mad, deluded, liars or in some other way not actually what we say we are) we are allowed to get that documentation. That's ok. That makes life easier. That doesn't make us fully female, though, that just grants us protection under the law. It makes being in the halfway house a lot easier and safer for us. It is a good thing that this is available to us.

Why does it not make us fully female? Well, if you stripped us, we'd not get through the primary 'at birth' test for sex without getting a "he's a boy" or "better get the doctor". This is not a demeaning or discriminatory statement. I'm not in the habit of discriminating against anyone, and i'd happily have this conversation with my past, pre-op, self about it. We'd agree, because i thought the same thing then. I was not a full woman until i had surgery. That was a reality accepting statement. One that takes into consideration the fundamental, undeniable facts; boils them down to basics; falls back on the simplest and earliest measures and accepts them as valid. It does not require intellectual twists and sophistication, It requires honesty with one's self and an acceptance of how things are, on the physical plane. If you have a penis, no midwife is going to call you "she". we will keep coming back to this "midwife test".

So. the radfems deny the post op TS woman her woman hood. They describe SRS as mutilation, and say that once born a boy, always a boy. They are a minority, if unpleasant voice, in the feminist world. Mostly, we are accepted, unless we behave badly. That's acceptable by me. I've never come face to face with a TS hating radfem and i imagine it would be hurtful. I feel so secure in my female identity that even though i'd have to concede that yes, i was born male, yes, i probably have XY chromosomes, no i cannot bleed, cannot carry children; i'd still be unshaken in my own womanhood, even if the radfem would not let me play in their corner of the playpen. Are the radfems right? i hope not. If so, i am severely deluded, and i'm pretty sure i'm not, so that would be a scary level of mad.


Now. Moving on. To the non-op TG vs the post op TS.

I'm not sure i actually understand what the non-op TG are saying. They say stuff like:

"Not everywhere fits within those two binaries and to assume that a transwoman who enjoys using her penis yet presents as a woman everyday in life is any less "trans" or a woman would be the same kind of prejudice when people say that a woman born a man isn't a real woman"

and
"To be perfectly honest, to keep the view that anyone with a penis or would like to keep their penis is not a woman (and vice versa with men) is pretty much as bigotted as you're not a woman if you have a Y chromosome."

and
"why should that be any different if the person has, in their mind, fully transitioned as they have gotten to the stage through hormones etc where they feel comfortable and happy as a female (or vise versa) . Should we not be treated the same as someone who has had bottom surgery and feel that they have fully transitioned?
Is the idea of transitioning not defined be each individual to go as far/as little as they themselves feel they want/need to in order to live their life happily in there chosen gender? "

There was a long rant recently, but i've been blocked by the ranter on facebook and i can't access it anymore.

So lets look at these statements: "Not everywhere fits within those two binaries and to assume that a transwoman who enjoys using her penis yet presents as a woman everyday in life is any less "trans" or a woman would be the same kind of prejudice when people say that a woman born a man isn't a real woman"

Paraphrasing: "to assume a TG who fucks like a guy but presents as female is not a woman is the same as saying a post-op TS isn't a woman"
Reduced again: "to assume a guy who looks like a girl but has a penis that works is not a woman..."

What would the midwife say if we held them up? She say "he's a boy".
(I'm going to recall my rape at the penis of a crossdresser again... to remind people of what it is that boys do to girls and why we care about the difference.)

So, Sorry. I don't get it. Would someone care to comment and tell me what i'm missing? I know that, according to the TG, to judge someone's sex by their sexual organs is NOT OK. Presumably because then lots of TGs would have to admit that they are not actually the sex they say they are. In some cases (the pre-op TS, fulltime TG on hormones, etc) that might be ok. These people would have the ID they need to stay covert, but really, they'd not be fully female. They'd pass the visual at-birth sex test as "he's a boy" or "call the doctor".

So i think the tg-ts and ts-radfem thing breaks down here, because i'm using the visual test (since the chromosome test doesn't actually work, see here and here and here)

What about: "To be perfectly honest, to keep the view that anyone with a penis or would like to keep their penis is not a woman (and vice versa with men) is pretty much as bigotted as you're not a woman if you have a Y chromosome."?

I've already discounted the Y chromosome thing. This is probably the closest we can get to the TS-radfem situation, though. It is undeniable that most post op TS women have a Y chromosome. It is pretty hard to know, though, and its not very obvious. I think the women who were born women and also have Y chromosomes might be a little angry at the concept that they are not women simply because they have a Y, so i'm not sure it is a generally accepted concept. Indeed, the olympic committee thinks the visual examination is a better test than a chromosomal one, as does the midwife.

So the statement boils down to: "saying that because it has a penis its a boy is bigoted". Poor midwives worldwide, you are a bunch of bigots, apparently. That, or the statement is utter fucking nonsense. I prefer the latter idea. please correct me if you know better, with an actual explanation.

Now to the good one: "why should that be any different if the person has, in their mind, fully transitioned as they have gotten to the stage through hormones etc where they feel comfortable and happy as a female (or vise versa) . Should we not be treated the same as someone who has had bottom surgery and feel that they have fully transitioned? 
Is the idea of transitioning not defined be each individual to go as far/as little as they themselves feel they want/need to in order to live their life happily in there chosen gender? "

This is tougher. It calls on us to consider how the transitioning person feels. It asks us to be kind, to be compassionate and to temporarily not apply logic. I think it conflates gender expression with physical sex (one of the problems of using a word with three distinct meanings).

Let's reword it.


"Why should that be any different if the person is comfortable and happy playing a  female gender role . Should we not be treated the same as someone who has had bottom surgery and feel that they have fully transitioned?
Is the idea of transitioning not defined by each individual to go as far/as little as they themselves feel they want/need to in order to live their life happily in their chosen gender role? "

That reads better to me. It is actually asking us to treat gender role the same as physical gender (sex).

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. The feminists the radfems and i (and, i hope, you) all agree. Gender roles are a societal construction. On the most part a misogynist, patriarchal, social construction. Putting on a dress, believing you are a woman (rightly or wrongly) and behaving in a fem manner changes nothing about your physical form. Lots of women find it a bit offensive, even, that some men think wearing bad frocks and nail varnish, batting their eyelids and calling themselves Dana Fuxgood (for example) in any way qualifies them to be women.

Being a woman and being a TS woman has absolutely nothing to do with social gender roles, appearance, behaviour, etc. It has everything to do with your body. A woman, born that way or post-operative, can be whatever she likes. She can wear suits, be butch, dominant, masculine, loud, obnoxious, misogynist, fart, interrupt, decry women and use the bloke's loos. It does not stop her being female. * The midwife doesn't care.

But, should we consider gender role as the most important thing? Perhaps. Perhaps it is all that matters, in the end. Perhaps having a penis is no barrier to being female, inside (even though all the post-op TS women who have been living stealth, happily accepted as women without any problems, would disagree). If it was a committed thing, maybe? What would the midwife say? "she's a girl?", well, no. The basic, at-birth, visual assessment of physical gender (sex) would still say "he's a boy", or "call the doctor".

What of those 'women with peni' who actually have working ones, who father children, penetrate women (or men) with it and at any stage could drop the gender role and continue as males? Do we grant them temporary womanhood? Is this not akin to mockery, where a guy can imitate their idea of what a woman is, and demand acceptance as such, and then, the next day, turn around and be wearing full male privilege again? Is there not a concept of 'paying dues', of 'making a commitment'? of needing to discard male sex (physical gender) in order to embrace female sex (physical gender)?

Can we not have, rather than a demand for a female birth certificate (and the confusion of midwives) an adoption of a "trans" gender? (obviosuly, allowing post op TS who comply with physical gender norms to ID as female) Then those who wish to keep their penis can simply stop being called male and start being called transgender? It would be so much more - fitting - , obvious, in-sync, logical.  The TS passing through could even be transgender for a while, then.

*There is obviously a caveat here for F2M TS males. Bottom surgery for TS males sucks. It is super expensive, super invasive, not necessarily that great and hard to get. A woman born who is transitioning to male is very unlikely to pass the midwife test as male. Until such a time as they can, i think the whole concept of female to male TS is really fraught. It is a good job that we have protective systems in place so these people can get access to documentation that they need. It is my personal belief that until such a time as they can get a constructed penis, they are not truly male. The midwife is not going to say "he's a boy". But really, that is their fight. i've not really thought about it, and i don;t believe gender is symmetric, so i've not spent much time talking with or trying to understand. Perhaps i should shut up?

And that's it. With that statement i understand.

Until post-op TS women can get ovaries and wombs, we are not fully female. We are close, but not fully there. The radfems have a valid point. It is not a choice on the part of the TS women, though, but an unsatisfactory state of modern medicine. (Caveat again. the CAIS XY women would lynch me about here, as would all women born without an uterus or without ovi, so that is a pretty flawed statement)

Until we get good bottom surgery for TS men, they are not fully male (according to the midwife). Yet - we still accept that they should be called so. Why? without Hysterectomies, are they not still female? Or are the few cases of pregnant 'men' simply genderqueer mindfucks? Is the swedish demand for sterilization prior to sex change recognition applicable?

If we are willing to extend physical maleness to people without peni, can we not extend physical femaleness to people with them?

so close! the answer, for me,  is NO. The FtM guys are not choosing their state. It is forced upon them by circumstance. We make exceptions for women who can't get surgery, and we make exceptions for men who can't. Let us not extend the exceptions beyond their limited application and make them general rules.







quotes from wikipedia:
In the English literature, the trichotomy between biological sex, psychological gender, and social sex role first appeared in a feminist paper on transsexualism in 1978.[2][6] Some cultures have specific gender-related social roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra of India and Pakistan.

7 comments:

  1. Wow, my head is spinning! I agree with your conclusion and assume you were, for a large part playing devil's advocate. There I take leave from your views.

    For me this conflict of identities has absolutely nothing to do with what is fair or equitable but is more about social precedents and the gender trinary,ie., masculine, feminine and neuter.The accent though is on masculine and feminine or male and female and the more commonly quoted binary.You used the midwife as a tool to express visual identification. personally, I would delete midwife and insert humanity,society or , if you like , mankind, for whom, since time immemorial , it has been man , woman and child and sometimes he,she and it. I expect it will remain so far into the future. To simplify, I will continue by referring to the gender binary.

    This all leads me to two points
    . One is that society has been quite content with the gender binary and its qualifications in the form of genitalia. In general, transsexual women (M2F)also uphold the gender binary, so there is a substantial precedent for maintaining it. Therefore it is my contention that society and women in particular are more accepting of post op. TS women and their commitment. Transgenderism, as coined by Charles Prince, challenges all that and may even pose a threat to the acceptance of TS or women of transsexual history. I expect that society and women in particular will be hostile to the concept of women with penises and men with vaginas bearing documents which would give them legal access to single sex spaces.

    My other point is that, although I was born physically male I have the mind, heart and soul of a woman.I have taken steps to minimise my affliction and undergone transition. I think and feel like a woman and as far as I am concerned , I am a woman and as such, in common with thousands , perhaps millons of others I am opposed to trans sex registration docs without genital congruence.

    I hope that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gender is something that nobody can be absolutely certain about all the time. The midwife makes a best guess of the gender, and if they can't they call doctors, who make a better 'educated guess' of the gender. Sometimes they turn out to be wrong. As adults, the midwife test is irrelevant, as we don't need to guess the gender.

    And if you like to argue on anatomy, then all ts women are essentially men. The neo-vagina is not a real vagina, and as you said correctly, no ts woman can reproduce as a woman right now. Therefore, as Harry Benjamin himself said, sex cannot be changed.

    Going from the idea that sex cannot be changed, you are either born a woman, or you are not a woman. If you don't accept that some people with male genitalia can be women, then no ts woman is born a woman, and logically it follows that no ts woman is a woman at all.

    Also re the comment above me:
    "I expect that society and women in particular will be hostile to the concept of women with penises and men with vaginas bearing documents which would give them legal access to single sex spaces."
    -Society currently as it is is generally hostile to trans anything. If you accept society's rules, you should live as a male. If you don't think that's fair, then you should join the fight against injustice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hmm. missed the point a little there. no matter. the TG agenda must be brought forward, and what better way than to deny the TS woman her woman hood?

    that's pretty transparent, kelly. (whoever you may be). I'd rather let the men fight their fight, and not get co-opted into the "i have a penis but call me female" nonsense because someone is trying to convince me that my vagina wouldn't pass the midwife test. it passes some pretty close up examinations from experts, thanks very much.

    i find society is not hostile to me very much at all. but then, i offer it no violence. Unlike the violence you have offered to logic with your rather twisted if..so.. ideas.

    i'll stay with fighting the injsutice of TS women losing access to T blockers and SRS dues to TG madness, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No TS women will lose access to T blockers and SRS due to "TG madness". But TG women and even pre-op TS women will lose access to legal protection if the TS separatists get their way.

      I'm sorry that you missed the point. My point was that talk of anatomy is futile, and anatomically based definitions of male and female are disadvantageous for all transpeople.

      Delete
    2. rubbish dear Kelly.

      on your own blog, you link to a site that ADVOCATES the ending of SRS, simply because TG don't need it, and therefore SRS threatens TG.

      so your statement is a self-serving lie.

      no pre-op TS women will lose legal protection. They are DIAGNOSED with GID, that is what provides them with protection.

      i did not miss your point. i saw it clearly for what it was, which was a cheap and invalid attempt to attack the validity of TS surgery (completely ignoring my blog) and then to attempt to co-opt gender-binary acknowledging TS women into the non-sensical demands of men (without diagnosis) to be legally recognised as women, simply because they like to play dress ups.

      talk of anatomy is not "futile", it is "fundamental". it is the physical REALITY that grounds the claims of us with GID.

      which was, indeed, the pint of the blog.

      you will not change my mind, dear Kelly-whoever-you-are. Your arguments are facile and your agenda is so thinly veiled it is clear to see. please go away.

      Delete
    3. The first thing that needs to be abandoned is the term "gender." The proper term is "sex." It is a recent usage, outside of its original meaning, which was as a grammatical term.

      BEGIN QUOTE:
      gender

      /ˈdʒɛndə/

      noun

      1. a set of two or more grammatical categories into which the nouns of certain languages are divided, sometimes but not necessarily corresponding to the sex of the referent when animate See also natural gender

      2. any of the categories, such as masculine, feminine, neuter, or common, within such a set

      3. (informal) the state of being male, female, or neuter


      4. (informal) all the members of one sex: the female gender
      Derived Forms

      genderless, adjective

      C14: from Old French gendre, from Latin genus kind
      Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
      © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
      Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
      END QUOTE

      At birth the sex of the child is declared based on the sex organs present on the baby. The sex of the child is male or female. The birth certificate does not say "Gender" it says "Sex."

      If a transsexual, post GRS, individual were to be burnt to ashes, the recoverable DNA would show that that person was a male, or female, regardless of their former physical attributes. Saying you are what you are not does not make it so.

      Yes, you can go under the knife and have GRS; but your physical attributes do not change your DNA which is "assigned" in the womb. Those who state that the sex of the child are "assigned" by the person playing catcher at birth are deluded. That assignation happens naturally without outside human interaction. At some point, sex assignment may be able to be accomplished through gene or chromosome manipulation; but that day is some way off.

      The problem with gene or chromosomal reassignment carries with it other issues which will not please most of those who come here. If there is a provable "Gay gene" or "Gay chromosome" that gene or chromosome can also be manipulated. Some years back, Gay activists claimed "We are born this way"; but with the ability to isolate genes, especially with the Genome Project, they backed off of this position based on the possibility of gene manipulation to eliminate the gay gene. The silence since then has been palpable.

      This post will not be a people pleaser and I realize that so let the flaming begin.

      Delete
    4. The first thing that needs to be abandoned is the term "gender." The proper term is "sex." It is a recent usage, outside of its original meaning, which was as a grammatical term.

      gender

      /ˈdʒɛndə/

      noun

      1. a set of two or more grammatical categories into which the nouns of certain languages are divided, sometimes but not necessarily corresponding to the sex of the referent when animate See also natural gender

      2. any of the categories, such as masculine, feminine, neuter, or common, within such a set

      3. (informal) the state of being male, female, or neuter


      4. (informal) all the members of one sex: the female gender
      Derived Forms

      genderless, adjective

      C14: from Old French gendre, from Latin genus kind
      Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
      © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
      Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

      At birth the sex of the child is declared, not assigned, based on the sex organs present on the baby. The sex of the child is male or female. The birth certificate does not say "Gender" it says "Sex."

      If a transsexual, post GRS, individual were to be burnt to ashes, the recoverable DNA would show that that person was a male, or female, regardless of their former physical attributes. Saying you are what you are not does not make it so.

      Yes, you can go under the knife and have GRS; but your physical attributes do not change your DNA which is "assigned" in the womb. Those who state that the sex of the child are "assigned" by the person playing catcher at birth are deluded. That assignation happens naturally without outside human interaction. At some point, sex assignment may be able to be accomplished through gene or chromosome manipulation; but that day is some way off.

      The problem with gene or chromosomal reassignment carries with it other issues which will not please most of those who come here. If there is a provable "Gay gene" or "Gay chromosome" that gene or chromosome can also be manipulated. Some years back, Gay activists claimed "We are born this way"; but with the ability to isolate genes, especially with the Genome Project, they backed off of this position based on the possibility of gene manipulation to eliminate the gay gene. The silence since then has been palpable.

      This post will not be a people pleaser and I realize that so let the flaming begin.

      Delete

please be nice.