I Hate When I’m Right *updated*

12Jan10

Addendum: I’ve heard tell that that there were some assertions Chally was white on twitter, apparently in a convo with me (wtf?). I didn’t catch this (nor can I seem to find the damn tweets regarding it) so I really gotta wonder what the fuck people are smoking to think I was involved in that. It was hella wrong, definitely and had I seen it, I would have dropped a call out bomb on the bullshit claim. Ironically, it’s a little ableist to expect me to see every goddamn thing that happens on Twitter, Quixotess, especially when I don’t follow the person in question. I hope you’re at least a little aware of that.

There was also a conversation on twitter where some disability policing was going on. I responded with the fact that time needs to be given to correct this mistake for the sake of spoons and that I hope that this isn’t just excusing shit. Clearly I was not heavy enough that disability policing is not okay. So I apologize for that. Also, I’ve been referring to the situation as cisfail because of the original post, however, because some trans folks were involved in the apologism in the subsequent comments, people have understandably thought I was degendering them. I apologize for my bad wording.

Especially about this kind of shit:

On January 6th, right after the Shakesfail debacle, I voiced the following tweet:

Me:

Goddamn, who the fuck is next? Will I get to see a giant transphobic meltdown at FWD in two months? I’m running out of sites worth reading.

Guess what happened the next fucking day? (Read down to the bolded note at the bottom of the post before the comments, I have screen shots if they take it down)

FWD’s note (bold and italics theirs, not mine):

There are lots of blogarounds and drop it like it’s hots and self promotion threads about the femiblogosphere. Up till now, we haven’t had a “drop your link here” thread. I’m going to experiment with making this a space for linkdropping. So, for the rec reading, for now, here’s the rule on using the comments to drop links:

There must be substantive disability rights content, with a feminist lens; AND: the only links that can be dropped are those written by writers who self-identify as PWD and who aren’t cis men.

As always, you’re also more than welcome to talk about the topics raised in the post, instead of (or as well as) dropping links.

The comments involve folk pointing out that hey, erasure of trans guys isn’t fucking cool. First from sqrrl, then Drakyn (who also fucked up on thinking gq describes all nonbinary folk.), then sqrrl again, and again and finally Julian as some examples.

(Note: Several of these comments are in response to the FWD contributors making indirect assertions regarding gender nonconformity and trans men and regarding whether transphobia is a feminism issue under an umbrella term of “gender oppression”. So they may seem slightly out of out of order, that’s because FWD responses are interlaced with them timewise)

Sqrrl’s 2nd comment

[...]
You have the idea that cisgender transsexual men are less likely to engage in male based privilege and oppression than cisgender cissexual men. It sounds as if it’s coming about here due to a conflation of two types of gender oppression under a uniform ‘gender’ marker: the oppression of trans people by cis people and the oppression of not male people by male people (as well as possibly touching on the oppression of non binary people by binary people). These are two (three) separate things. The problematic part comes with the fact that to get from this conflation to the earlier assertion, it is necessary to go through the idea that genders of cisgender trans men are somehow different from the genders of cisgender cissexual men. Whether you realize that this is entailed in the assumptions you’ve made or not, it’s still busted.

Julian’s Comment

i honestly can’t see this move as anything but transphobic and based in the assumption that trans men aren’t real men (or are men-lite, as someone else mentioned).

i’m not sure how trans men are automatically “gender non-conforming” any more than cis men are.

i understand the concept of woman-centered (and support it — as has been said, women’s voices are often drowned out in a sea of dudes), but i didn’t realize this was an exclusively-woman space. it’s difficult to come to a feminist perspective when one is not a woman, but it is possible.

the whole thing just makes me really squicky. :-/

The responses from FWD’s folks? Not so encouraging (links are above the quotes and names, if that causes accessibility problems I can easily edit it.).

Assumptions that trans men automatically see from a feminist lens and lack male privilege

Lauredhel:

sqrrel: What I’ve written has nothing to do with who I think are “real” men and who aren’t, and everything to do with what I personally fear being (and don’t wish to be) deluged with on these threads. If I start drowning in links from disabled trans men bloggers throwing their unexamined male privilege around while writing about disability rights and claiming a feminist lens, and I’m not happy with it, I’ll revisit the wording. [...]

Apparently as long as Lauredhel hasn’t seen trans guys throwing around male privilege, it hasn’t happened. Fuck, I guess that means I have no grasp on reality, considering I’ve been dealing with a lot of male privilege mongering trans guys lately. And of course, the wording is only problematic if a bunch of trans guys act like assholes, not for the fact that it erases trans guys. Huh.

A failtastic slip that doesn’t seem much like a slip anymore or at least a fitting slip and the erasing combination of sexism and transphobia as being umbrella gender oppression (guess which one gets erased when feminists combine sexism and transphobia into one umbrella word?)

(As a note: I don’t oppose cutting the voices of cis guys out of link set ups like that. They do have the entire internet to play in. The way it is said and put needs to change though to stop erasing trans guys and transphobia in general. I go into this in more depth below)

meloukhia:

The concern which Lauredhel was trying to address here was that cis men have an entire Internet to play in. This is a space which centres the voices of disabled women [This was a misstatement, and I am editing this to correct it, since it has considerably clouded the discussion—what I meant, and should have said was that this site centers the voices of people who live at the intersection of disability and gender oppression. This is not and never has been a women-only space and includes people of all genders.], and thus, we are primarily interested in links to content written by people who live in bodies at the intersection of disability and gender oppression, with voices which are often shouted down and ignored in other spaces. [...]

More erasure as transphobia continues to be squished into “gender oppression” and then some lovely dodge and derail of the call out as well as conflating trans men with being gender nonconforming by definition (hint: as you’ve seen above, not all trans guys are gender nonconforming)

meloukhia:

[...]She wanted to stress the fact that women and gender nonconforming people with disabilities are often excluded, marginalised, and silenced.
[...]
This is being turned into a discussion about whether or not there was embedded gender essentialism in Lauredhel’s wording which is also ignoring an important aspect of Lauredhel’s request: That links also be written by people with disabilities. In effect, people with disabilities are being erased in a discussion about gender identification on a disability-centred website.[...]

Cuz yanno, a call out about erasing trans people on a feminist disability website is totally off topic, amirite? We can’t have that! It might distract from the real issues, which are certainly never trans erasure! Bitterness, I have you.

It gets worse. A long ass comment laden with excuses, apologism for the mistake above, conflating transphobia and sexism, and then basically trying to claim that trans men face the gender oppression that women face.

amandaw (part 1: Emphasis the original author’s, not mine.):

[...]
We want to raise the profile of the people who are directly affected by both of these two oppressions (the axes of ability and sex/gender).
[...]
Disabled trans men are often granted male privilege (privilege, remember, is a thing granted by the outside, not a thing intrinsic to the inside). Disabled trans men, however, can still face a great amount of gender-based oppression. They can face it during their lives before transition. They can face it during the transition itself, and they can face it even after the transition, in those assumptions of a cisgender default, and if they have the misfortune of encountering a person who perceives them as not “passing” and attempts to enforce their binary-cissexist understanding of gender on them. And they can face it if they don’t transition at all. Throughout their lives, trans men with disabilities can experience gender-based oppression because they live in bodies that are hotly contested by the society they live in, and by the medical and psychiatric systems with which they are forced to deal.[...]

More erasing combination of transphobia and sexism as being under one category and look at that shit. Apparently trans guys face women oppression (notice how cissexism is held up as sexism by implying it is opposite to having male privilege? That’s either the shittiest wording I have ever seen in my entire life or someone is playing a game of “I didn’t say you aren’t really the gender you are, but I sure think you aren’t, at least socially”). Does this sound familiar at all? Like say feminists asserting that trans women have male privilege? Why yes, yes it does sound familiar.

The best part is at the end, where what appears to be an apology (it’s hard to tell with all the excusing and justifying going on above) is appended as a “all that being said” footnote (my favorite kind of minimizing footnote!):

amandaw (part 2, emphasis, once again, not mine)

[...]All of that said: the initial wording of the proposed feature clearly conveyed to many people the idea that trans men are not men, that trans men are either “really women” and/or some sort of third gender. We are working to correct this: the wording clearly needs to be changed to more accurately reflect the focus on marginalized voices that we wanted to encourage and not risk perpetuating harmful conceptions of gender.

We do hope that this experiment will turn out well in the end: that people will reflect on the attention they pay to different voices and notice the way certain voices always seem to gain a higher profile than others.

So, okay, apparently it was totally okay to say what what was said and that it’s completely justified based on a bunch of trans erasing bullshit (transphobia and sexism combine to make Voltron er um I mean gender oppression, trans guys apparently face sexism in the way women do cuz cissexism is actually Voltron er um I mean gender oppression and therefore is totally all feminist lens, apparently and um hey guise stop talking about this cuz disability is on topic)… except that it’s sorta not okay and they’re all really sorry everyone was fucked over by it? Oh and it was a grand experiment that hopefully we all learned from!

…wtf?

And then of course the thread was closed.

This thread is being closed at the request of 5 FWD contributors. Due to the availability issues discussed in our comments policy, it wasn’t possible to wait for everyone’s consensus before responding.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this vigorous and thoughtful discussion. It is very clear to us that while our intent was to center the voices of feminism and of people with disabilities, the way it was expressed hurt and angered people. We regret and apologize for that. These discussions have made it clear to us that it is impossible to have these discussions with language created by the kyriarchy. We are also aware that there are an equal number of issues to explore around defining “voices of people with disabilities,” as we wish to include voices of people with or without engagement with or belief in the medical system or any of the myriad of models of disability, and we look forward to continuing to explore those issues in the future. Thanks again to everyone for their enthusiasm and commitment to helping us ensure it is a safe space.

Now, the apology itself in there isn’t terrible. But the original post remains intact, no edits, no adjustments and the apology still conflates the issues of trans folk as being explicitly a feminist issue, continuing the trend done with the Voltron powers of gender oppression, which apparently includes both transphobia and sexism (do these people think that the word transmisogyny is redundant or some shit?)

Other folk commented, but the comments didn’t go through.

The text of my comment, which also didn’t go through, (unfortunately, I neglected to take a screenshot because I’m fucking naive and thought that FWD couldn’t possibly go this route LESS THAN A WEEK after Shakesfail) goes into why this kind of shit is not okay. I was more gentle than normal. I regret this as no one ever listens to you when you’re gentle anyways and lo and behold, it happened here. Again. In the same fucking week. Awesome.

Me:

Some words on how to properly achieve what you wanted in the above post without trans erasure:

Cis folk claiming or even accidentally implying that transphobia and/or cissexism is sexism isn’t gonna work. Transphobia is transphobia. Cissexism is cissexism. Neither are sexism. Anything less than that explicit statement is erasure of trans folk. Ultimately what has been conflated as “the axis of gender” is actually two axes, the axis of transphobia and the axis of sexism. Transgender/transsexual are not genders in and of themselves, but descriptive words for genders. Words that describe an aspect related to the gender of the person.

The only time you ought to say a trans person is facing sexism (or gender oppression) is when they’ve just told you they’re facing sexism (or gender oppression). I can not even express how enraging it is to have some feminists tell me to my face that the transmisogyny and transphobia I face as a trans woman is just sexism. What you’re doing here is not equivalent to that but it certainly enables such attitudes. You’re all abundantly aware that the post was misgendering and erasing in its wording but are you all don’t seem aware that the basis used behind that wording is also misgendering and erasing.

I talked with Shiyiya about this on twitter. Combining transphobia with sexism into a conglomerate umbrella category called “gender oppression” (even if you recognize that transphobia is not, under any circumstances, sexism) is dangerous. Trans folk face erasure even with our own developing language to describe our situations, from feminism just as much as from mainstream society. A feminist blog using such an umbrella term (even without intent to erase or misgender) is asking for it to happen. Tempting fate and enabling erasure of trans lives and exp’s of transphobia.

If you want to exclude a certain zone on the basis of avoiding those who are privileged on both the cissexism and sexism axes at the same time (which is what I assume was the aim), then you really gotta say so. Explicitly. It’s the only way to avoid the pitfall that was fallen into with that post and the subsequent comments (most of which came off as apologism, just letting you know). At least, it’s the only way that I’m aware of. Luckily it’s a pretty simple way to avoid it.

Guess not fucking simple enough, huh?

Seriously, fuck feminism for transforming me into an oracle that can predict fuckery that well. That’s the worst damn oracle to be. Couldn’t give me two damn weeks huh? That was too much before y’all had to fuck up and add to the brewing shitstorm, huh?

And of course, because I needed a break from the shitstorm and I know what it’s like to be short on spoons, I let myself get played by these people and didn’t come down on them as hard and as fast as I should have. That always feels really good, getting taken advantage of like that.

Yeah, I hate it when I’m right. FWD’s on the shitlist now.



64 Responses to “I Hate When I’m Right *updated*”

  1. Your last paragraph in the comment you posted is a really clear explanation.

    I gotta admit, I read that FWD post before the comments appeared, and just interpreted it as an acknowledgement of intersectionalism and a request for those privileged on all the relevant axes to avoid attempting to contribute.

    *trundles off to re-read*

  2. Really great explanation of the failure.

    Let me preface this comment by saying that there is no snark in it whatsoever:

    I’m interested by your apparent policy (this isn’t the best word but it’s what I got) of dropping blogs you previously liked and saw value in over one major fuckup, because it’s way different from how I operate. Can I ask how you came to this policy and why you stick with it/like it?

  3. 3 alexmac

    Sigh, I know how you feel about the list of sites that are worth reading. I have cut out a lot of places I used to read, so that I don’t really read any sites that are run by cisgender people on queer/LGBT topics or feminism. Instead I mostly read urban planning/transport blogs because they are related to my studies.

  4. It’s only been recently. See, this sort of thing is a pattern. I’ve watched it happen in a bunch of places, one major fuck up, a fauxpology and no attempts to fix the fuck up and if I stick around or go gentle, the fuck ups continue.

    There’s also the fact that virtually all of these places have had more fuckups than just this one that I’ve experienced, they just happen to not be trans related (and a history that I haven’t seen that can be both trans or not trans related). Failerico had Polanski rape apologism (and a history of trans fuck ups), PHB had a history of trans fuck ups, Shakesfail had a history of trans, race and sex worker fuck ups, and so on and so forth.

    FWD would have been fine had they handled this fuck up right. I don’t shit list a group for a fuck up. I shit list a group because they start meeting the pattern. I.e. the pattern of 1: fuck up, 2: engage in apologism for the fuck up, 3: Tone argument derail and silence dissent, 4: Lock the thread and/or attack the dissenters, 5: Issue a fauxpology and don’t fix the issue.

    This pattern is a virtual guarantee that this will happen again because it clearly shows that the group or blogger in question does not care about anything more than dodging accountability, keeping reputation intact and sparing themselves from the call outs. Which means that nothing will be learned and even if it was, future fuck ups will go the exact same way.

    People fuck up. The measure of whether they’re worth my time is how they handle it afterwards. You’ll notice I don’t hiss and bristle when I see Autumn anymore right? Cuz she owned her fuck up, apologized for it and is working to rebuild trust. I may not trust her yet, but she’s not shitlisted anymore even after so long of a wait for her to get her head on straight.

  5. This isn’t the only erasure/feminist centering issue that FWD has. Even before this, the FWD comment policy collated all of the bigotry they could muster into the faux umbrella of “antifeminist”, as if feminism truly owns the plight of every identity on nature’s bluegreen earth. This pisses me off, and I’ve blogged about it, but I assumed it was not intentional as such, simply terminological inertia – it disappoints me if they really, fully subscribe to this idea.

    I’m also hoping that I am reading amandaw’s response wrongly re: terming reversing the erasure of trans men as an “experiment”. This, to me, implies that it is neither something that would, normally, have been considered, nor is it something that is expected to succeed, nor is it viewed as important.

    (ps: I’m glad to see that you pointed out the gq = all non-binaries conflation, and also that it was addressed in the thread)

  6. 6 E

    Acknowledging that some trans men experience sexism isn’t erasure. Not every situation that acknowledges some trans men’s experience differ from cis men’s in that regard is ungendering.

  7. 7 bell

    I read about this on Voz’s livejournal, and it was pretty upsetting. And closing the thread? It’s becoming disgustingly predictable at this point. I’m really sorry that your suspicions were confirmed, though. It’s terrible how much bullshit people can hide behind the gold veneer of “activism.”

  8. A lot of feminists do this, not realizing that appropriation is fucking shite and that it shouldn’t be done.

    Yeah my partner is a nonbinary but definitely not a genderqueer so it pisses me off to no end when fuckers conflate the two. The ignorance and binarism is astounding.

  9. It would’ve been awesome if all they did was acknowledge that some trans men experience sexism. But they didn’t do that.

    They instead asserted that all trans men can be included under the envelope of sexism (and in fact that all transphobia can be merged with sexism into gender oppression). That is erasure. Try actually reading the post next time.

  10. I think the use of the term “experiment” refers to the original post. She refers to the setting up of a link dropping post and seeing how it pans out as an experiment there, and I presume she’s echoing that rather than referring to any of the issues presented in the thread as an experiment.

  11. I’m sorry they were confirmed too. I’m also sorry how lax I was about my followup. I let my wishing that another betrayal wasn’t happening so soon get in the way of seeing reality.

  12. I did note that in at least one of Lauredhel’s early comments, she clarified that she meant to include “trans people who identify as having experienced gendered oppression” rather than stating that all trans men have experienced sexism. A shame this wasn’t emphasised more.

  13. Also: (and apologies for mass commenting) I’m a little conflicted about this one. I do consider that racism, homophobia, ableism, whorephobia, and a whole bunch of other bigotries (including transphobia) are anti-feminist, and that’s partly to do with the fact that I think intersectionalism is a vital component of any worthwhile feminist analysis or approach and a feminism that embraces bigotry as long as it doesn’t affect straight, white, currently abled, cis women is… well, fucking rubbish.

    That’s not the same as concluding that feminism (as an organised movement rather than an ideal) somehow “owns” every kind of anti oppressive action.

    That’s me, though, and it’s not really all that relevant to the rest of the post. Just wanted to address your comment. *shrug*

  14. A shame indeed. A shame especially that Lauredhel’s peers and colleagues felt the need to attempt to explain their colleague’s post by merging sexism and transphobia into the umbrella term gender oppression and act as though gender oppression is opposite to male privilege (completely erasing transphobia). Especially when it’s quite possible that Lauredhel simply fucked up a phrasing about how some trans guys do experience sexism (like how a very rare number of trans women have experienced male privilege in the past, myself among those). It’s also a shame since there has been no subsequent correction, redaction, edit or addendum to the post so that we are forced to speculate if anyone actually intends to fix the mistake in the post at all or if any mistake was actually made.

    At a certain point I get tired of speculating and am content to merely state the facts. A fuck up was made, apologism was said, nothing was done to fix it. I honestly could care less about their intent when they’ve done nothing to fix this. Intent doesn’t change the harm done.

  15. We have differing viewpoints on when posts should be edited or redacted, but I do agree that an addendum would have been appropriated. There are too many people who don’t read comment threads to leave it as is. And yes, I agree with you that it turned into a trainwreck.

    I’m still holding out hope that there may an adjustment or followup made later, but I’m always inclined to offer a little more time allowance for adjustments when I know a blog is A: collectively run or B: run by PWD… and this is both. No one else is obligated to make that time allowance.

  16. Well, there may be positive ways to “appropriate” (still mulling this one over), but they’re very different from this sort of thing. (http://theangryblackwoman.com/2009/11/04/the-appropriateness-of-appropriation/ was a good defense of this idea, depending on how one uses “appropriation”)

    But this “all oppression = antifeminism” and “cissexism = sexism” shit? It’s all about claiming others’ experiences are their own and that other’s oppression is their own (even when they don’t even -claim- to fight that fight). Not cool by any stretch.

  17. Ah. Yeah, that makes more sense.

  18. Well… that’s just it though. Feminism is rubbish. The movement, the ideology, it’s all built around these exclusionary tactics of protecting and aiding straight (usually “appropriative of lesbian culture” straight), white, currently abled, cis women who are in the middle class to affluent zone and possess infrastructure privilege. Also who have sex a certain way, use their bodies a certain way and live a certain lifestyle.

    You have to make sure that you aren’t confusing the goal for what you want feminism to be with what it actually is. Now, I may not believe you can succeed in fixing feminism, but I will say this, if you forget what feminism is now and confuse it with what you want it to be, you’ll definitely never change it. It’s tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot. With a rocket launcher.

  19. While I definitely agree that feminism -should- recognize intersection, it doesn’t, and even if it did, it aught to recognize that feminists can’t -speak- for those identities, it can only advocate for them. In this case, it’s like if one considered oneself a trans ally and started calling all transphobia “antiallyism”.

    I don’t know if I should have brought this up, really, I don’t want to derail anything – I just thought it was relevant to the context of FWD using appropriative techniques.

  20. I think feminism is a valuable ideology. I think the movement is… made far more complex by its history and by what many contemporary sub-movements claim it to be.

    They’re two very different things to me. And I’ve never claimed that my relationship with the word isn’t complex… just that it remains a valuable one to me.

  21. Well no, time allowance makes sense since only allowing the same time you would for other blogs is ableist. I’ve given them time and waited longer than I normally would have for a blog where they were responding to comments and critique right up the locking of the thread. At a certain point though… well… I’m just not likely to trust anymore, is what I’m saying. This fiasco needed some serious benefit of the doubt to begin with to think this was anything but a privilege dodge considering the comment apologism and excuses for the thread and the fauxpology in the locking comment. And I simply do not have it in me to give that benefit of the doubt anymore.

    It’s been burned out of me by a bunch of other so called good feminist blogs. Ones I trusted like I trusted FWD. I even said in that one tweet, “what’s next? FWD?” The trend has burned my trust out of me that thoroughly and FWD’s contributors are only displaying the same old same old pattern. I learn patterns well and I’ve seen this many times before.

  22. Entirely reasonable. I’m certainly not ignoring the fact that that “holding out hope” thing is a lot easier since this particular blow up doesn’t directly impact me.

  23. You and I are on differing sides of a river for that one. *shrug* It’s a personal choice to walk away or try to reform it from the inside, so I won’t criticize your choice to stick with it. (With the obvious expectation that you respect my choice to walk)

  24. While I definitely agree that feminism -should- recognize intersection, it doesn’t, and even if it did, it aught to recognize that feminists can’t -speak- for those identities, it can only advocate for them.

    Except where feminists ARE those identities. Which is kinda the point of intersectional feminism: it’s not just five white chicks sitting in a room :)

    I don’t know if I should have brought this up, really, I don’t want to derail anything – I just thought it was relevant to the context of FWD using appropriative techniques.

    If you’re derailing, I’m helping. Happy to drop it if you (or gb of course) think we’re getting too far off topic.

  25. I’m usually not that hardcore about staying on topic unless people are derailing to dodge being called out. Neither of you are being called out so as long as you don’t exclusively fill my comments with spam about cute kittens or whatever, I’m good. XD

  26. Well, yes, feminists who fall under those identities can claim them, obviously. But that doesn’t mean that 1.) the composition (i.e. lots of privileged cis white middle class women) of feminism can be readily ignored, or 2.) feminism can claim those identities on the basis of people of those identities being present. Just like, say, the LG(…b) community can hardly be trusted to speak for trans people although trans people identify within it, and can’t speak on behalf of PoC despite having PoC identify within it, all the world’s issues cannot be united under feminism, even when it counts those identities among its ranks.

  27. Yeah, I’ve kinda picked up on that one from what I’ve been reading the last week or two. *waves from other side of river*

    I completely support anyone’s right to self-determine whether or not a rights movement represents them, and that includes any woman’s right to declare that feminism is a poor fit. I’ll admit that there are some circumstances in which women declaring that they “aren’t feminists” bother me… but that’s a longer conversation, it doesn’t apply to you, and it’s an extremely secondary concern to the one stated at the start of this paragraph.

  28. … what if they’re kittens with captions about the relevance of intersectional feminism?

    :P

  29. Then totally on topic. XD

  30. Referring to “feminism” as an entity that cannot deal with intersecting oppressions whilst also referring to the women who ARE feminists and ARE affected by intersecting oppressions as distinct individuals is kind of erasing. We’re here, we’re inside this movement, we’re committed to that ideology. While the sense of that is obviously open to debate, I don’t think contributing to the erasure of women who are oppressed on multiple axes within feminism is particularly helpful. And I say that while also agreeing with your (1), that the privilege composition of the (global) feminist movement should not be ignored.

    Your point (2) confuses me a little. You’re still talking about feminism like it’s an entity with a brain of its own. People should not claim identities that aren’t theirs, or the right/obligation to speak on behalf of identities that aren’t theirs. I certainly feel that cis feminists shouldn’t speak on behalf of trans people (feminist or otherwise)… but is objecting to transphobia and its defence really doing that?

  31. That is fucking awesome. XD I take the blame wholeheartedly.

  32. Interseckshunall kitteh adds much to discussions ;)

  33. 34 E

    I did read your post, but thanks so much for the condescension! I also read the original post at FWD and the comments there. Many of the comments FWD contributors made in response to criticism were problematic. Also problematic were the comments that insisted the only solution was to exclude trans men if cis men were excluded and anything else was transphobic in all contexts, and you echoed this in your post without critiquing it at all. I’ve seen that perspective a lot recently, and I’m incredibly sick of it. Acknowledging that some trans men experience sexism isn’t claiming that trans men are somehow men-lite or not really men, it’s recognizing that trans men’s experiences sometimes differ from cis men’s because of their transness. I’m very familiar with the fact that those differences are often overgeneralized and abused in misgendering ways for both trans men and trans women, but the solution isn’t to ignore the realities of some trans men’s lives. There’s a lot of nuance here that’s getting lost; trans men’s experiences with sexism need to be recognized the same way trans men’s experiences with male privilege do, even if the combination is sometimes inconvenient rhetorically.

    Bottom line: If the aim is to center the voices of groups whose lived experiences with the intersections of gender and disability are usually marginalized and ignored, trans men should have the option of being included–FWD made the right call. The original phrasing at FWD didn’t say all trans men experience sexism. They just didn’t exclude trans men while excluding cis men. Excluding links by trans men as a class would have been the erasure, not the other way around, because excluding all men when the criteria are personal experiences of marginalization on gender and disability axes pretends that no men are directly oppressed by misogyny, even before we get into conversations about the roles of transphobia and ciscentrism.

    meloukhia’s talking about “gender oppression” without defining it was clumsy and problematic, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with grouping sexism and transphobia together to make a point about their similarities and interconnectedness. I agree that it’s often dangerous when done in a cis-dominated space (though it’s important to note meloukhia, who first used the term, is genderqueer), and I wish it hadn’t happened in this conversation. On the other hand it can also be a useful tool for talking about relationships between those issues in a feminist context, particularly when talking about whose experiences and voices need to be centered when. Lists of identities will never include everyone; experiences of marginalization (including those created by having certain identities) often need to be the determining factor to really accomplish the goals of shifting who is centered. Identity is not the only arbiter of oppression.

  34. Actually I pointed out the binarism some of them showed. I also pointed out the correct way (which didn’t involve the issues you pointed out in your first paragraph) to handle the situation in my own comment (that didn’t make it through). Once again, read the fucking post.

    No nuance has been lost. Once again, in the comment wherein I discuss the way things should have been done, I point out that trans folk have only experienced sexism if they tell you they have and that making a blanket statement is the wrong damn call. For someone who read my post, you sure don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The original phrasing at FWD was what the problem was. Not including trans men, just the phrasing. The phrasing operated the same way as the “unfortunate” occurrence you mentioned in the top paragraph of people using the experiences of some trans men to claim that all trans men are men lite. When called out on the poor phrasing, they all explained it as “gender oppression”, making the problem even worse. I repeat, in no way am I suggesting to exclude trans men. I am suggesting to write it in a way that doesn’t create erasing blanket statements regarding trans men that degenders them and subsumes transphobia into an umbrella category with sexism (which will invariably lead to its erasure).

    And now, in your third paragraph: Apologism. I see it. No, there is something inherently wrong with grouping sexism and transphobia together to make a point on their similarities and interconnectedness. Because you can make that point without grouping them together into a category that people will use instead of either of them and in turn will cause the erasure of transphobia. Cis people do not need much in the way of excuses to engage in erasure. You’re giving them all the damn tools they need with your apologism for this bullshit. Also, it isn’t important to note that meloukhia is not cis because the space is still cis dominated and the combination of sexism and transphobia into one group is still enabling to cis erasure. Just because one of our own gives the keys of the city to the invading army doesn’t mean the army doesn’t murder everyone and burn it down. Quite the fucking opposite in fact.

    So really, you’ve got no damn clue. And that applies whether you’re trans or not (although godfuckingdamn will I be pissed if you’re cis, cuz I hate people cisplaining shit to me). Combining the two is dangerous no matter where it’s done, how it’s done, who it’s done by, or why. No amount of apologism and excuses on your part will change this. I am not cool with enabling erasure as you are doing. Nor am I cool with apologism. Get your shit in order.

  35. It’s taken me awhile to parse through this since you linked me to it yesterday, so thank you for posting your expanded thoughts; longer threads on Twitter are sometimes difficult for me to follow.

    I’ve been vulnerable to the trans == gender non-conforming trap before, so I appreciate the reminder that the two may intersect but are not intrinsically linked.

    I think it has something to do with how feminism tends to overload the term “gender”—even with intersectional intentions, as I think was the case here, this is problematic. I tried to break down “gender” into components and I think I came up with at least nine things that contribute to the concept of gender or that gender is used to describe, and I’m sure I’m missing some.

    So “gender oppression” is made to do the work of transphobia, cissexism, transmisogyny, binarism, sexism and other specific experiences. Although some or all of these experiences may overlap or interlink for individuals, and they have some commonality in different ways, you can’t just swap in an umbrella term and maintain you’re saying the same thing.

    I understand the impulse to avoid iterations of identities because you don’t want to leave someone out, but this goes too far the other way. You can’t build coalition through homogenization.

    And seriously? If your intention isn’t clear from your words, as judged by the fact that multiple people are telling you how problematic it sounds to them and requesting clarification, apologize and change your words. It doesn’t mean you’re giving in or backing down or surrendering or losing or bowing to pressure or whatever other ego thing it is that makes people not want to do this. It means you’re making an effort to maximize communication and not be an asshole.

  36. This…is win. :D

  37. 38 quixotess

    After further research into what happened, including looking on Twitter, tumblr, etc, and finally contacting one of the contributors at FWD/Forward, I have gained a more complete view of the picture. In particular, I have learned that in a conversation with genderbitch on twitter, voz described Chally as a white woman (when she is not), and suggested that Lauredhel was faking her disability. (Putting disability in scarequotes, etc.) She has deleted some of those tweets, but there are screencaps floating around. A good point has also been made that referring to this as a cisfail erases the fact that FWD has multiple trans* contributors.

    These tactics are clearly abusive. Genderbitch, you did not call any of this out on twitter, and there is no note of it or apology for it here on this blog. This makes you complicit. You are exhorting the crew at FWD/Forward to do something, but you also need to “do something.” You need to apologize for engaging in abuse and erasure of trans women, women of color, and women with disabilities.

    As for me, while I still agree that it is wrong and ciscentric to collapse transphobia and cissexism into one axis of oppression, I now very much regret having left a positive comment at this blog. (And I feel much better about remaining silent on the thread about the Shakesville Mary Daly post; obviously, the situations are practically congruent.) I retract that comment and apologize to everyone who was hurt by this comment thread and all of the people who accepted this story at face value, including myself. In particular I would like to apologize to the FWD/Forward contributors, who have put together a remarkable blog and community.

    I will be posting this here and, if it is deleted, at my blog.

  38. …erm, what?

    Cisfail applies to the original post. Is Lauredhel trans? If not, it applies. I apologize if I was not clear that it does not extend to the actions of the trans contributors who fucked up here (they would come under the heading of “sellout” fail).

    I do recall Voz suggesting that spoons and not wanting to correct an error were being conflated but I also held out that time should be given anyways due to there not being a way to tell that. I do not recall in any way Voz claiming that Chally is white. I apologize for both occurrences, I should have been more vigilant.

    As for your attempting to equate the situations with Shakesfail and here (as well as attempting to use this to downplay the mistakes made at FWD), well, I guess I can see what actual purposes you had coming here. Apologism. That’s a bit exploitative of you. Good show. My apologies still stand (and will go up at the top of the post) but seriously, fuck you and your apologism. Voz’s and my mistakes are not a reason to let this shit go.

  39. I believe it was me Voz was talking about when she put “disabled” in scare quotes in the spoons tweet, as I had just told her on MSN that I didn’t have enough spoons to argue.

  40. When I referred to feminism as an entity, what I was trying to get across is that having and even honoring intersections within feminism is not grounds to claim that bigotry against any identity *is the same thing as speaking against feminism*. It is self-evidently not. I think a silly hypothetical is needed here.

    We live in bizarro world, where “gamers” are trying to be sensitive progressive types (although still doing poorly, on the whole). Is racism now “antigamerism”? Transphobia? Or is “antigamerism” merely speech *against gamers*?

    Furthermore, one does not need to start stealing every identity for the collective to object to bigotry. Once again, that is equivalent to claiming that we need a new word “antiallyism” so that allies can address transphobia, etc.

  41. I know I can’t find a tweet response from Voz regarding disabled in scare quotes to me. Qixotess, do you have any fucking idea what you’re talking about here? You do realize that if you think I see everything Voz says, you’re full of shit. I’ve shaved off a huge ton of people off my feed because I can’t keep up with it. She’s in a list but she’s not followed.

  42. As far as “feminism” (both the term and the movement) goes, i’m standing in roughly the same place as hexy, so i don’t think i’ve got anything to add there that hexy hasn’t already said. But… i too have certain issues with the FWD blog, even if i wouldn’t go as far as to totally write them off. My biggest issue with them is their comment policy, which as far as i’m concerned is pretty much completely made up of tone-argument bullshit, potentially combined with – dare i say it – disablism* against those, like me, whose communication-related impairments mean they don’t have a hope in hell of *not* unintentially falling foul of one or more of their rules on “unacceptable content” (some of which deal in concepts that i simply can’t understand… and the “further note” basically translates to “we allow ourselves the prerogative to delete anything whatsoever, without saying why, and no one gets to argue about that” – which, while i guess it is a right, is something i’m deeply uncomfortable with on a level of effectively setting up an orthodoxy outside of which nothing is acceptable, yet not even defining what it is).

    (I think i’ve only even *attempted* to leave one comment on an FWD post, and it wasn’t accepted. When it first started, i wanted to comment on practically every single post there, but happened to be going through a phase of not feeling up to commenting on anything at the time. Now, after having my first attempted comment rejected and then reading the comment policy, i feel like it’s not even worth me bothering trying to comment on anything there.)

    I only read part of that thread, and am not quite sure where i stand on who should/shouldn’t be excluded in such cases, but i agree that the original phrasing was, if not obviously and explicitly transphobic, then at least problematic in that it could well be interpreted as such, and there’s no “justification” for allowing that possible interpretation to stand after that’s been pointed out that *isn’t* actively transphobic.

    Are you still OK with me listing both you and FWD on my blogroll? If not, i will remove whichever you prefer me to.

    *This may be because i’m British, but i still can’t bring myself to use the word “ableism”. It just sounds… wrong.

  43. She definitely did make that tweet, I saw it myself, which is how I know the tweet was made directly after I had been speaking with her. It was something along the lines of, “If you are “disabled” and whine about lack of spoons when you’ve wasted them, don’t come crying to me” or something along those lines. She was clearly speaking about me, and “disabled” was clearly in scare quotes purposefully.

  44. No you’re right, it definitely would be considered ableist/disableist for them to set things up in a way that excludes comments from communication disabled folk, accidentally or otherwise. One of life’s little ironies I suppose.

    I don’t make requests of people’s blogrolls. That would be way out of line for me to do. You can keep them both if you want, just as long as you’re aware that FWD has a serious problem with accountability and trans erasure.

  45. That’s definitely not okay of her. Unfortunately, since she’s one of the people I shaved off my feed a while back, I have no way of knowing when she pulls shit. I don’t know how Quixotess expects me to magically spot things outside of direct convos with me, short of watching her like a hawk (which I don’t have the damn spoons to do)

  46. I can understand you not being able to watch your feed all day long, it’s just taken me a good ten minutes to find the relevant tweet, which is here, just for posterity. Not to mention someone else’s ableism is not your monkey, so to speak, it’s hers and hers alone.

  47. Yep.

    But this isn’t even watching my feed. She’s not in my feed. Seriously, I’ve cut around 137 people off my feed over a period of a few months. Heavy posters and tweeters went first and then people who didn’t follow me. She wasn’t following me (apparently stopped at the exact moment I did a mass call out of her and several other folk who were using the ableist slur “crazy” as an insult) so I dropped her among a bunch of other folk. I have not refollowed her since because my feed is still too big and I’m still prepping to drop more people.

  48. You know I’ve been bothered by that (the use of ‘crazy’ and ‘nuts’ etc) for a long time but I haven’t had the courage to call people out on it aside from some very generic ‘aimed at everyone’ tweets. Bravo to you for doing so.

  49. I did the genetic aimed at everyone tweets at first. Finally starting calling people out directly for it only recently. So far people have responded positively to the direct ones. I’m not sure if they overall work better than the scattershot call outs though.

  50. On second thought, rereading the final paragraph of my above comment, what I said might have been ableist. Stating in absolute terms that such correction is easy and obvious and that resistance to correction must be motivated by fear is an effect of unexamined privilege on my part. This wouldn’t be the case for everyone. I made a generalization in the interest of flashy rhetoric and I shouldn’t have.

  51. Yep.

    The way to establish whether or not there’s real intention to solve this is by looking at the apologism. The comments, the claims that we can merge sexism and transphobia, etc etc, all of those show that the people involved are either erasing or enabling erasure and are willing to defend it.

    Which means there’s a problem. If they had all just said, “okay yeah, that was a fuck up, how can we put this better?” then the amount of time it’s taking to make corrections would have been immaterial.

  52. 53 Sas

    That’s incredible. I especially like the expression on the kitteh’s face.

  53. Let me see if I understand you: are you asserting that because RP is not addressing every to every issue extensively in every outlet that she is enabling disrcimination?

    How fucking arrogant must you be to expect someone to be all other everything everywhere at once? Did I miss something? Did RP suddenly become ominiscient? Is it now a requirement for her to know everything 24/7?

    Are trying to say that she does not have ADD and can be on twitter all of the time to address every fucking thing that is tweeted by all 600+ of her followers? Are you saying by missing a few unkind comments that she is enabling transmysoginy, trans erasure, racism and ableism to occur? Since when has it been her fucking duty to cleanse the internet of discrimination? Are you actually paying attention to what you are posting?

    I apologize if I sounds rude, but there is nothing that pisses me off more than someone making false accusations about other people, especially when they are completely moronic(I am sorry RP, but this shit is mindblowing). I also cannot stand the “guilty by association” attitude. RP is not Voz’s master, keeper, parent, owner or deity-she has nothing to do with what that lady said(if it transpired the way I am understanding it to have).

    Please don’t make anymore off the wall assertions.

    Love,
    Lain.

  54. Please don’t use the word moronic, it’s ableist. Use the word mindblowing because that describes it better, doesn’t it?

  55. For a second, I almost thought you were being sarcastic(in the second sentence).

  56. Nah, my sarcasm is usually more absurd than that. XD

  57. But always potent.

  58. Hrmm. I think this is one of those situations where I’m pointing at what to me is a really clear line. and to others is a sorta blurry smudge.

    I need to emphasise that movement vs ideology thing again.

    I’m not saying that a racist act is an act against feminism (the movement). I’m saying that committing a racist act is antifeminist (against the ideology) in nature. I realise that may sound ridiculously vague, so I’ll clarify: I don’t see how a person can legitimately claim to stand for the liberation and equality of women (which is what feminism-the-ideology IS) when they express views or engage in behaviours that make clear that they consider some sub sections of class “woman” to be beneath them and are contributing to those women remaining lower status than their own sub section of class “woman”.

    Racist (ableist, homophobic, transphobic, etc etc) words and actions are antifeminist because they contribute to the oppression of women. I personally feel that comparisons between this and hypothetical similarities in other intersections don’t really work, because feminism is (as far as I can think of) the only push for social justice that unites (or tries to) over half the human population under a single banner. Intersectionalism HAS to be a major part of that.

  59. Yeah. I was officially banned (without explanation or comment) on November 18th, after they went around saying my banning was a “rumor”…

    I knew if they freaked out over MY criticism (no old women in blogroll), that more serious/systemic criticisms would put them in a major tizzy, and looks like I was right. Sorry again, GB.

    (I will NOT say “I told you so”–but I will nonetheless *think* it.)

  60. *shrug*

    It may take me a while, but I learn eventually.

  61. Hexy,

    There are a few things that you’ve said that I would like to comment on. Teh arthritis is bothering me because of the weather, so please don’t think I’m trying to fisk you. It’s just easier to copy and paste than to write whole paragraphs all tied in together neatly.

    “committing a racist act is antifeminist (against the ideology) in nature.”

    I wish this were true, but I don’t think it is. An examination of the “founding mothers” of feminism reveals that racism was definitely not considered unacceptable. There’s a reason why the people who are most associated with feminism are all white. Their arguments for women’s suffrage are a prime example of how the first wave feminists saw racism as an essential tool to be used to further their goals.

    “I don’t see how a person can legitimately claim to stand for the liberation and equality of women (which is what feminism-the-ideology IS) when they express views or engage in behaviours that make clear that they consider some sub sections of class “woman” to be beneath them and are contributing to those women remaining lower status than their own sub section of class “woman”.”

    When you belong to the class that gets to decide what is and isn’t legitimate, it’s quite easy to claim to be for the liberation and equality of women while espousing an ideology that oppresses many people that you or I would consider a part of class “woman”. As long as white, cis, non-disabled, Western women dominate feminism, they can retain the label no matter how much they oppress those who do not meet this description.

    “I personally feel that comparisons between this and hypothetical similarities in other intersections don’t really work, because feminism is (as far as I can think of) the only push for social justice that unites (or tries to) over half the human population under a single banner.”

    Well, the thing is, feminism doesn’t even try to unite over half of the human population. It makes almost no effort to address the needs of most of the people on this planet, as women all around the planet have pointed out repeatedly and consistently. Feminism seeks to impose a particular ideology that it insists is in the best interests of women no matter what those women tell them they really need/want. There’s also the fact that there are several social justice movements that include well over 50% of the human population under a single banner (e.g. human rights movement [100%], racial equality movement [80%]).

  62. E,

    “If the aim is to center the voices of groups whose lived experiences with the intersections of gender and disability are usually marginalized and ignored, trans men should have the option of being included–FWD made the right call.”

    If that was their aim, then shouldn’t they also include cis MOC with disabilities and cis men with disabilities from economically-disadvantaged nations, too? After all, plenty of groups like those with voices that are usually marginalized and ignored. Get it? There’s just no way to make their comment accomplish what you’re saying their aim might have been. Their stance is problematic no matter how much apologists like you want to make excuses for it.

  63. yes.

    amandaw defended the policy because cis men run the gov’t not trans men or somthing like that. which is really blatantly racist and classist and a lot of other fucked up things.


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