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Author Topic: Transphobia in feminist spaces
Redskies
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Trigger Warning for transphobia.

A group that is active around issues of rape culture and assault wrote this: "We have no knowledge of any person defined as transgender being raped anywhere." I don't believe that there is any context that can Possibly make this an ok thing to say. I detest it when feminists talk about "real" women. How can anyone possibly have thinking so skewed that they put "men" and "transgenders" (sic., and urghh) together into an oppressor-and-taking-all-the-attention box. There is little enough support in this world around issues of assault, why the hell are people cutting up oppressed people into even smaller groups?

They tried to silence me and make me go away. I went away, all right: to somewhere else public where I talked openly about their transphobia, quoting them repeatedly. Under my real name, because that's how it started. I almost never do that, because I hate the attention and the trouble, but I could not be quiet about this.

I am so terribly angry and upset. I wish that people who fight for the rights of Some people would not be so awful to Some Other people, and I do not understand how they can be like that.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Oh redskies that sucks!

What was the group?

Who the funk would bother saying of any group that they don't think that group of people gets raped?

Personally I've never really been involved in a feminist group to say such actively transphobic stuff... sure we can all be a little ignorant at times but saying something like that just sounds crazy.

Part of me sort of thinks that we should expect but not accept that we are never "free" from becoming discriminatory just because we're fighting something ourselves. I think perhaps believing so might be part of the reason it can happen... "we're fighting this issue so we can't possibly be 'bad people' or need to question our behaviour or assumptions".

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Redskies
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Thank you, Jacob.

I wish I could name the group, but having written about this under my own name in a public space, and having said above that I'd done so, it'd be fairly easy to find that and connect it with my pseud here. To try to put it in context for you, it's an internet-based group that's active about rape culture in a particular area of the internet.

I certainly don't need that group, there are other unbigoted groups around. I'm just angry at the transphobia and the silencing of discussion of that transphobia and of trans* people's experiences. I wanted to speak out because the group tries to publicise itself among potential allies, and I thought people should know the full extent of what they are supporting. I will not support action around assault that does not at least recognise that assault can hurt anyone (though I'm ok with saying, well, X group is for women, so Mr Y, we are terribly sorry this happened to you, we suggest you go to Z space which also serves men; or Ms A, we are terribly sorry this was said to you, but it's outside our scope, we suggest you try B group).

Unfortunately some corners of some feminist ideology appear to be disgustingly, rampantly anti-trans. Sickening. "Who" would be people who only want to talk about assault on women, and "real" (sic, and sick) women, too. Some of the darkest things I've ever read in my life have been bile spewed about trans* women and genderqueer people.

I'm not even a very Good trans* ally, for goodness sake; but I'll speak up when someone has to and no-one else is.

I'm considering how I can take the issue to people who might want to take it on as an awareness-raising thing, people who are more suited to it than me. I have no taste for fighting with people who won't listen, only for spreading information to people who might be willing to hear.

I think I agree with you. I understand well from my own experiences how we don't have a clue about things until it is demonstrated or explained explicitly to us (thank you internet reading), and we tend not to know that we're lacking, and get upset if someone says we are. I do think that this (still harmful) bigotry-by-ignorance is rather different from active hatred. I'm comfortable spending time working with people's bigotry-by-ignorance, but I struggle so much with the hatred. I don't understand how someone can care about one set of things and be so actively hateful about others.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Sorry redskies, I should have put 2 and 2 together regarding the pseudonym issue...

I've been so severely shocked at transphobia in LGBT groups, racism in anti-governmet-cuts groups, the list goes on, that now I'm not supprised. I just redirect my efforts towards groups I feel more comfortable with. I'm just pissed when much more well thought out groups sometimes don't get the recognition or have the support or resources they deserve. Maybe then it's just a point to try and help however possible where it's more welcomed and for criticism to be appropriately aired.

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Heather
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Just FYI, Redskies, I know it might be a little weird posting a positive in this context, but when I read people, like yourself, calling things out like this, saying the things that you are, I feel so incredibly happy and inspired.

I know it sucks having to deal with things like this, but at the same time, I hope you realize that taking the kind of stands you are is truly world-changing in the best ways possible, and world-changing in ways that generations before yours have really utterly failed at.

In other words: rock on with your bad self. I seriously salute you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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Jacob, no worries, it's a natural thing to ask.

I'm unsurprised by general cluelessness and low-level bigotry in groups, but I still seem to mind much more when it's a group that gets some things right..You're absolutely right with the redirection, and I'm trying to remember that there will be spaces in the world for people who try to care about a range of perspectives, and to save myself for where I'm valued. And yes, it is annoying when sometimes the louder and better-known groups are not, as you say, the best thought out.

Heather, it's actually great to get a positive comment like that, it doesn't seem weird at all. I know I've been inspired when I've read other people speaking out. I'm humbled and honoured to think I could have that effect too. And it makes it all worth it, because even if it doesn't change a practical thing right now, if someone else is reading and gains heart, belief or strength, knows that I am here thinking and saying these things too, then it is absolutely worth it. Thank you.

And I'm so happy to have this community where people "get it" and where we know we don't have to fight bigotry first. It's rejuvenating.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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You know, speaking for myself, I didn't always get it. Certainly not to the degree of cluelessness and privilege you're talking about with this example, but I know that for me, too, it's been a process, one I'm sure will always look less evolved in hindsight than it does at a given time.

But you know, to keep moving along with it the thing that helped me the absolute most was....well, reading people taking stands just like this. Just like you did. I think we can absolutely say that the more people there are who really hold these kinds of lines, the easier and easier it will get for people to get a clue and a grip and get on board. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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moonlight bouncing off water
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:

I know I've been inspired when I've read other people speaking out. I'm humbled and honoured to think I could have that effect too. And it makes it all worth it, because even if it doesn't change a practical thing right now, if someone else is reading and gains heart, belief or strength, knows that I am here thinking and saying these things too, then it is absolutely worth it.

quote:
Originally posted by Heather:

But you know, to keep moving along with it the thing that helped me the absolute most was....well, reading people taking stands just like this. Just like you did. I think we can absolutely say that the more people there are who really hold these kinds of lines, the easier and easier it will get for people to get a clue and a grip and get on board. [Smile]

The idea that you both expressed there is absolutely why speaking out works . As you both said, hearing people speak out makes me want to speak out. Knowing that others feel the same way I do, even just knowing that there are people out there passionate enough to stand up for what they believe in, for what is right, is phenomenal. Redskies, awesome job speaking up on that site, that makes a world of difference! And even though you can't name the site on here, even coming on here and saying 'hey, this issue exists and it just isn't right', is awesome. Kudos, and kudos to you too Heather for all that you do.

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~moonlight

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Heather
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Maybe in 2012 we should all talk about some kind of campaign we could use Scarleteen to start and promote that really focuses on calling people out, standing up for others, etc. like this?

It's clear a lot of people have a very hard time with it, but at the same time, it's clear plenty of people also work it out and still do it anyway, and very well. I think some of our community here could have a lot to offer others around this that could help make taking a stand about very basic human rights and fairness like this feel more doable for those who currently feel they can't do it, or that it doesn't matter if they do.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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Moonlight, thank you, and that's wonderful. This started off as "Redskies venting, somewhere safe and supportive", and has turned into something so affirming, constructive, and positive. I'm so happy! And this community just rocks.

Heather, I'd certainly be interested in that discussion. It seems to me that people who have some kind of supportive community who "get it" and where speaking out is valued do much better with it, practically and in their own health. Just as an example, without support I think I'd've burned out in this specific instance, but with the support here, I feel lifted above the unpleasantness, and feel like I have the strength and wisdom to do something potentially constructive rather than getting bogged down in it.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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I agree... and I think that's why being able to vent is itself constructive... in a consciousness raising sort of way. Knowing that someone somewhere supports you in voicing and addressing grievances makes it so much easier to stand your ground when you might otherwise feeling alone. (Thanks to you for your part in helping me feel that in places like this, by the way)!

Another pet hate, by the way, is when I've been accused of causing in-fighting or being sectarian, by criticising the workings of activist groups.

I honestly think that if you're not questioning what you do and how, it means you can't be effective in the long term. It's a shame not everyone sees it that way... but thank you for not being one of them!

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eryn_smiles
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Redskies, I've read through your thread and thank you for posting about this. I have also experienced and been troubled by this issue lately. A few weeks ago, a feminist friend added me to a few online "Radical feminist" groups. While I agree with many of these groups' feminist, anti-patriachal viewpoints, I feel hurt by their exlusion of transwomen (by only being open to people assigned "female" at birth or "womyn born womyn"). I do not think it is ok to call transwomen "female impersonators" or "men in frocks" who are only fetishizing women. They also dispute the terms 'transphobia' and 'cisgender', calling themselves 'trans-critical' instead. They discuss reclaiming feminism and women-only spaces from the 'trans-activists and sex-possies'. I personally do not feel that encouraging oppression and bigotry towards another group is in any way helpful to the feminist cause.

I really commend you for your strength in speaking out. I was not able to do that, and instead am leaving those groups. I have very mixed feelings about the ability of closed online groups to air their highly discriminatory views. I am aware that I can choose to associate with more inclusive groups in future and certainly intend to do that.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Redskies
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Jacob, I really agree. And thank you too!

Eryn, I'm sorry to hear you've had those experiences. I find the kind of environments you describe extremely upsetting, and really, avoid them for my own well-being. I also would not speak out within them, because I consider it a waste of my time and incredibly destructive to me. I choose to speak out to people who stand a chance of hearing. I think that your involvement with non-bigoted groups, including Scarleteen right here, is incredibly valuable; in my opinion, being active in non-bigoted places Is a form of speaking out, because we are actively spreading our belief and ideas in equality.

I do find it sad and disappointing, though, because some of the basic thoughts coming out of "radical feminism" have got a lot to them, and it's so frustrating to feel like I have to be so anti- most of that area because of the other ideas they usually have. (I also chuckle at the "radical", because hey, staying wedded to traditional genderings, what's radical about that?) What I've found to be quite healing is to discover some quite radical trans* or queer thoughts around feminism, things that want to smash "traditional" gender assumptions, roles and identities, while still strongly recognising gendered hierarchies and patterns in our societies.

I'm really not versed at all well enough in this stuff to give you strong suggestions as I'm still reading around and discovering things myself (maybe someone could help us both out there?), but one that comes to mind is, have you read any Julia Serano? I haven't read her book yet, but really want to, as I've come across other writings of hers and thought it was great.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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eryn_smiles
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Redskies, I agree with your thoughts on being active in non-bigoted places. I'm lucky to also belong to an in-person (sexuality + gender diverse) Asian feminist group and was discussing these issues with another member. That group is where I met my first 'out' trans friend [Smile] . A few of our members identify as radical anarcha-feminists who are also queer. I wish I knew more about queer postmodern theory and radical feminism to see how they can overlap and intersect. I hadn't heard of Julia Serano before, just looked her up. Her writing looks interesting, thanks.

[ 12-29-2011, 04:56 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Burdened with glorious booty
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Anyone who identifies as a woman IS a "real woman", even if they're not biologically female. I see no reason why feminists should be transphobic too - perhaps some feminists see transwomen as just men instead of the beautiful women they are? Either way, despite calling myself a feminist, I find the idea of saying things like that to be repulsive.

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Ta-da!

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Starfire&Shadows
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Just putting another "Postive" comment: This makes me feel happy strong. Keep being awesome.

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We are all made of Star Stuff...
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...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.
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naplement
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I'm glad you have raised your voice. I am a feminist who considers their approach unacceptable. I don't even see men as this Homogenous Opressing Class, either, and I know that feminist activism isn't a zero-sum game, and men would be happier in a more feminist world, too (patriarchy limits them, too, even if thy do have certain advantages and power). So their paranoia about who is in which "side" would be meaningless even if it wasn't based on the hateful negating of other people's identity.

again, bravo for speaking up, and good luck!

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WesLuck
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Thanks Redskies!
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Saffron Raymie
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Just to bring back an older thread; I'm someone who identifies as genderqueer-agender-FTM. I recently joined a feminist group. I was extremely disappointed at some things I found there.

They told me I was 'subscribing' to a set of beliefs that they didn't, because they believed gender was a cultural construct that caused gender inequality. They also believe that trans people are silencing discussions about gender roles, and that trans people endose gender stereotypes. They also said that trans people caused 'Gender Idenitity Disorder'; to become medicalized; like say if a child who has a penis wears a dress, that child will be diagnosed with this 'disorder'. Is this Gender Identity Disorder stuff true? If it is, I'm certain trans* people didn't make it so.

I'm speechless.

[ 03-27-2012, 05:35 AM: Message edited by: Saffron Reimi ]

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bump on a log
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quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
They told me I was 'subscribing' to a set of beliefs that they didn't, because they believed gender was a cultural construct that caused gender inequality.

Well, they are allowed to tell you that, and the expression 'to subscribe to a belief' is perfectly normal and inoffensive in my view. (I am also FtM.)

quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
They also believe that trans people are silencing discussions about gender roles, and that trans people endose gender stereotypes.

Some are and some do. Some aren't and some don't. If it was really said that way, such a broad generalisation is definitely not on.

quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
They also said that trans people caused 'Gender Idenitity Disorder'; to become medicalized;

They didn't. That was a bunch of non-trans shrinks. Nothing to do with trans people. It is however true that in the present state of affairs, many trans people need Gender Identity Disorder to go on existing as a medical diagnosis, because if they are diagnosed with a medical condition then they can get their hormones and surgery covered for them. This is a bit of a sorry way for things to be, but trans people didn't cause it, even though some may be guilty of helping to perpetuate it for self-interested reasons.

quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
like say if a child who has a penis wears a dress, that child will be diagnosed with this 'disorder'.

Rubbish. A small child with a penis who occasionally wears dresses is not going to be diagnosed with a thing. A small child with a penis who regularly wears dresses, prefers to play with children with vaginas and says ze wants to grow up to be a mummy is likely to be diagnosed with GID, yes. What data we have indicate that a child like this is more likely to become a gay man than to become a trans woman, so a lot of people see GID as a way of pathologising 'prehomosexual' kids.

[ 03-27-2012, 07:02 AM: Message edited by: bump on a log ]

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Saffron Raymie
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Thanks for the support and info, Bump on a Log. This stuff really did make my head swim.

So, how would the child with a penis who wears dresses often and wants to be a mummy be diagnosed with this? Would the parents have to say they thought something was 'wrong'?

[ 03-27-2012, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: Saffron Reimi ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Saffron Raymie
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quote:
Originally posted by bump on a log:
quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
They told me I was 'subscribing' to a set of beliefs that they didn't, because they believed gender was a cultural construct that caused gender inequality.

Well, they are allowed to tell you that, and the expression 'to subscribe to a belief' is perfectly normal and inoffensive in my view. (I am also FtM.)
Just to clarify; I know gender is a cultural construct, and that dangerous ideas about gender can and do cause violence and inequality. I was just a shocked that they seemed to be claiming I was participating in those gender stereotypes because of my own gender identity (even though they also have their own gender identities, as they ID as women). Sorry, I wasn't very clear there. Thanks again. [Smile]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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bump on a log
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quote:
Originally posted by Saffron Reimi:
Just to clarify; I know gender is a cultural construct, and that dangerous ideas about gender can and do cause violence and inequality. I was just a shocked that they seemed to be claiming I was participating in those gender stereotypes because of my own gender identity (even though they also have their own gender identities, as they ID as women).

OK sure, I get you. Yeah, I think that sort of claim -- that your gender identity makes you a participant in an oppressive system -- is sadly common. I mean, people are entitled to think what they like, but it does make things difficult.

Anyway, the tenth and current edition of th International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (how's that for a mouthful) says this:

"Gender identity disorder of childhood

"Definition

"A disorder, usually first manifest during early childhood (and always well before puberty), characterized by a persistent and intense distress about assigned sex, together with a desire to be (or insistence that one is) of the other sex. There is a persistent preoccupation with the dress and activities of the opposite sex and repudiation of the individual's own sex. The diagnosis requires a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity; mere tomboyishness in girls or girlish behaviour in boys is not sufficient."

The most recent American diagnostic manual -- which is undergoing revision, so things could change quite a bit -- says that for a diagnosis, the following criteria must be met:

"Four (or more) of the following:

"1. repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex
2. in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing
3. strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex
4. intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex
5. strong preferences for playmates of the other sex

"Any of the following:

" * in boys, assertion that his penis or testes are disgusting or will disappear or assertion that it would be better not to have a penis, or aversion toward rough-and-tumble play and rejection of male stereotypical toys, games and activities;

* in girls, rejection of urinating in a sitting position, assertion that she has or will grow a penis, or assertion that she does not want to grow breasts or menstruate, or marked aversion toward normative feminine clothing.

"The disturbance is not concurrent with a physical intersex condition.

"The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

If you're a child, whether you've got "clinically significant distress or impairment" tends to be decided for you. You don't have much say.

I would imagine that most kids who are diagnosed with GID are brought to a clinic or whatever because their parents are worried, but it could certainly be at the instigation of a teacher or family friend or school psychologist or whoever.

The book to read on this is Kenneth Zucker's magnum opus, Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents. It's a long book though, and it can be upsetting if you're trans. Zucker is what they call a controversial figure: he is a proponent of trying to 'cure' GID in kids.

[ 03-27-2012, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: bump on a log ]

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WesLuck
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This is shocking. Why does everything that is not "default" have to be a disease or condition? If no treatment works, perhaps it was not a disease or condition in the first place? Unfortunately a lot of innocent and unlucky children and teens would be hurt in the first place.
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bump on a log
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Wes: You're right about the kids getting hurt. Do you know about Kirk Murphy and Daphne, now Dylan, Scholinski? There is a lot of information about them on the internet. I don't think the methods used on them would be considered best practice any more, but I know I would have been horribly upset as a little kid had my mother taken me to see someone like Zucker because I dressed up as Captain Planet and refused skirts. In my case, I think I'd have been upset not because of Zucker so much as because my mother thought there was something wrong with me.
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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by bump on a log:
" * in boys, assertion that his penis or testes are disgusting or will disappear or assertion that it would be better not to have a penis, or aversion toward rough-and-tumble play and rejection of male stereotypical toys, games and activities;

* in girls, rejection of urinating in a sitting position, assertion that she has or will grow a penis, or assertion that she does not want to grow breasts or menstruate, or marked aversion toward normative feminine clothing.

Adding to the bitterness of the pill is the fact that it serves as a reminder of the way that girls are encouraged to be unaware of their clitorises. The model is partially based on the sexist and inaccurate societal assumption that girls are defined genitally by their lack of something that boys have, which is depressingly frequently considered to be indicative that they are missing a piece of their humanity. Does he even talk about the possibility that some girls may take this attitude because they believe that they do not have the capacity for intense sexual pleasure inside them, because they don't even know what's between their legs, that knowledge having been kept from them and shamed out of their heads? Or because they are aware that people with penises and testes are treated better than people with vulvas and vaginas, in ways which this doctor seems to think are a-ok? Plus, it may be that some of the boys are expressing these thoughts because they have been punished/shamed for masturbating, given the impression that they are "dirty". Of course with some of these kids they are trans, which he is also trying to "cure", and he is wrong to pathologise trans people. I think it far from impossible that I could have been diagnosed with GID, as I tick many of these boxes. I now identify as agender, but my identity is a complex mishmash of my feelings, self perception and experiences, some of which are of feeling "girly" or "masculine".

I would think that in many children who express this attitude and then grow up to be cis rather than trans/a/gender/queer, it is a matter of sexual and bodily shame and disconnect, where as with trans people, though their feelings about their body without surgery will often not be positive, they have a positive identity that they want to develop and affirm, rather than simply a feeling that there is a wrong way to have a body and that is the way they are doing it. Of course it is far more complex and multifaceted than this, both for cis and trans people and for genderqueer, agender, and otherwise non-binary identified people. But the constant willful denial amongst many of the world's adults and parents that the sexual shaming of children and the denial to them of acknowledged and supported ownership of their bodies and sexualities is doing them real harm is another horrible thing that goes alongside the cissexism to eschew helping and protecting children so they can be happy in favour of controlling and punishing them so they'll be obedient and will have a voice in their head, tormenting them, telling them who they are is wrong and that pleasure is shameful, for the rest of their life.

I will try and post something more coherent later on, but I have to go to Homebase (and maybe pop into Toys R Us afterwards).

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Sans
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Just wanted to say that after reading your post, bump on a log, I googled Kirk Murphy. What was done to him is truly horrid! The procedures involved beatings from his father if he did not choose "masculine" colours to associate with, and neglect on the part of his mother if he chose dolls over toy guns. From my understanding out of the readings I did, his mother was the one who sent him for the gay/trans conversion therapy, the effects of which ultimately drove him to committ suicide. And, apparently, the guy who treated him had his career as an anti-gay activist launched due to the writings he did about Kirk.

I completely agree with you in that I wouldn't be so much upset because of the therapist but because of my mother believing that there's something wrong with me. For me, having my own mother doubt me would be eons more painful than the bigoted opinions of some ignorant stranger.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Jill2000Plus
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Just as a point of clarification, I grouped cis and trans gendered people together in my last post in the context of being the groups that I had talked about in my post, I hope it's clear that I do understand what "cis" and "trans" mean, at least in general terms, though obviously I don't understand what someone's individual interpretation of those terms as part of their identity means, as those who identify their gender in binary terms are hugely diverse in how they express their gender and who they are as individuals, just like non-binary id'ed folks.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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bump on a log
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Would anyone like to read Rekers and Lovaas's original paper on Kirk Murphy? Here it is. Kirk is pseudonymed Kraig.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1311956/pdf/jaba00060-0003.pdf

And if you need cheering up after that, I really recommend a visit to the archives of the excellent Accepting Dad blog:

http://www.acceptingdad.com/

[ 03-30-2012, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: bump on a log ]

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Sans
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Thanks for the reading, bump a log! I was going to look for that paper, actually.

I have no doubt that it's going to be depressing, however, being subjected to Reker's ignorant and twisted psychology.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Redskies
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So, an update on the original issue.

It turns out that a few people had started to ask questions about other aspects of the group concerned, mostly written on a few small personal blogs. I didn't draw much attention to what I'd written, but it seems word started to filter through a few people who were interested, and within a few weeks, a few people who'd had different bad experiences with the group concerned were connecting in comments under what I'd written, and expanding those connections elsewhere. A few people with the most striking experiences, and some background in real feminist and Survivor support, started some activism around it and did some seriously awesome investigation. Upshot is, the group concerned is now completely discredited among those in the know, and there's proof of it to link to to try to prevent unknowing people being sucked in. I wasn't able to be part of the activism-y bit, but I'm very happy to have contributed to the whole; I'm also the only person that I'm aware of who highlighted the trans*-fail angle.

Saffron Reimi, I'm really sorry to hear about that experience you had. It made me feel quite ill. I feel a little cautious talking about this as a cis person, but the things they said just sound ridiculous to me. What I've read in a number of trans* writings is trans* people expressing upset and anger that their situation is medicalised, that they have to be diagnosed with GID in order to get things that they need, and that the medical community has such control over what happens to them. To suggest that trans* people medicalise their situation seems gross in that context.

Trans people endorsing gender stereotypes? Hm, let me present all of the millions of cis people in the world who identify as a woman or a man, and/or who operate without thinking about it by the rest of the world putting them in one of those categories. I'm sure that Some trans people endorse gender stereotypes, but what's different there about trans people than cis people? Particularly considering the huge amount of extra baggage put on trans people, specifically levelling this accusation at trans people seems, again, gross in the context.

Trans people silencing discussion about gender roles? Nearly all of the most enlightening and interesting discussions I've had or read on the topic have involved trans* people, trans* experiences and trans* perspectives. Gender as a cultural construct that causes gender inequality? You know what, I think that gender inequality is caused by an imbalance of power, away from anyone who Isn't a Perfect Conceptual Man (het, cis, ablebodied, white - and the perfect embodiment of those things). Gender itself is not the problem: society's reaction to it is the problem. If society was all fine with gender, then it wouldn't matter whether gender existed or not. I also think they had one hell of a nerve saying all those things to you, considering the non-binary gender identity you stated in your post above.

Frankly, that does not sound like a trans*-friendly feminist group, and one that I'd avoid like the plague. I hope you find somewhere that you feel better, because I know it really, really sucks when people who are good at one of the issues that matter to us are just completely broken on another.

bump on a log, thanks for all the info.

Also, everyone, please do tell me to be quiet if I'm being the cis person inappropriately talking. They do say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and I don't want to misuse it. [Smile]

[ 04-11-2012, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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toomanywords
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So, this is definitely not the online handle where I do my trans activism, but, a few things:

- cis women speaking out against transphobia in feminist spaces is awesome and wonderful and important, thank you for doing it (you're more likely to be listened to, because BOO power structures)
- yay for all the discourse happening above! Redskies, I agree with you lots.
- the whole DSM / GID thing is Big and Complex and I have Feelings about it. I think it's a messed-up way of framing things that perpetuates a lot of the stuff that then gets seen as problems with trans people themselves, because of needing to conform to the standards set by the DSM to be able to actually access surgery/hormone therapy/etc. However, re: the pathologising of 'pre-homosexual' kids, I do think it's very interesting that the DSM (older version than current, IIRC) is much quicker to pathologise seemingly 'feminine' behaviour in male-assigned children than 'masculine' behaviour in female-assigned children. I guess because there's not an easy analogous opposite to 'tomboy' that doesn't have connotations of homosexuality or transgenderism, and, y'know, masculinity needs to be BIG and MONOLITHIC and DEFINITELY NOT QUEER *eyeroll*. There is a very interesting article (from some years ago now) by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick called 'How to bring your kids up gay' and it talks a lot about the way the definition of GID was brought in shortly after homosexuality was dropped, but it basically repathologises the same group of feminine-presenting male-assigned children as those previously targeted by homosexuality. Clearly it's then a massive leap to say that because of this, all trans people are creations of a medical conspiracy to edit gay people out of existence (something which, yes, I have heard from supposed feminists) - but I do think there's a lot of nasty gender-policing inherent in the way GID is used and diagnosed.
- those of you based in the UK, are you all aware of the furore going on with RadFem2012's trans-exclusionary door policy? Basically, feminist conference denying access to trans women - some cool people are organising responses to it.

(Edit: So, I post that I do not do activism on this handle, and then my title below turns from 'Neophyte' to 'Activist'... a sign? [Wink] )

[ 06-09-2012, 08:42 PM: Message edited by: toomanywords ]

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