A Word On Sexism, and How Cultural Differences Divide the Transsexual/Transgender Community.
It's a small world after all!
(A word to the reader part of this deals with sociology, psychology, and the use of language. Words and meanings of words to different people. Do not be offended. Read this in its entirety and the true meaning of my words will be revealed.)
For my views expressed on this website I have been called...."Bailey supporter", a "Baileyite", a "HSTS ladyboy ", a "45 year old investment banker posing on line as a young transsexual", and last but not least "your like one of the Internet fakers on my website". Because a real, young, transsexual woman could never exist who would openly say I am not so offended by what Bailey wrote. That it has important grains of truth. That he is not Hitler is all I have ever said. I have my own ideas about transsexualism. But this is not about Dr. Bailey though his specter was present last night. In spite of all this I was able to attend a talk given by Julia Serano at Northwestern University in Evanston. Then afterward took Dierdre McCloskey's dog for a walk with a friend who is trans and is watching Dierdre's house. Let me tell you about my impressions of these people, having met one and seen the home of another. Writing as an avowed free thinker on gender issues and as a young transsexual of color and little financial means.
I was able to attend a talk by the very cunty Julia Serano (Ph.D. Biology, Author, Activist, etc. ). In which she spoke about the various kinds of sexism that transpeople deal with. It was very illuminating and I found it interesting as I had experienced similar sexism. A peculiar kind of sexism that genetic women do not face. A sexism which says feminine acting males are less competent than or inferior to those who are not feminine acting. One based on misogyny and femiphobia , the fear and stereotyping of feminine male bodied individuals. (Though Dr. Serano would never use a word made known to most transpeople by Michael Bailey. Contrary to popular myth he did not "coin" the phrase.) She pulled absolutely no punches in going after all the ways this sexism manifest itself. From book covers, including her own, which are designed by publishing houses, to movies like "Transamerica" in which no one individual ever really has full creative control. I enjoy academic things and I lived for her talk it was fierce.
This is a sexism which is hard to explain to non transpeople. In my own life it has effected me in so many ways. The most fundamental to my life history would be the notion that being a feminine male and having a deep interest in science are contradictory. Though I'll admit it's unusual. This is something which I have seen in so many context. From young ages where I played with chemistry sets as much as with dolls. To now a days having male colleagues discount my answers to a question just to later realize my answer was correct. I see this in the LGBT community where being feminine and male bodied is still treated as a negative. This is called femiphobia.
Femiphobia, the basis of much sexism. In the sense I am using it here, and as Bailey is known to have used it, is summed up as a LGBT persons aversion to, or hostility towards feminine acting persons in particular if they are biological males. Something that I think Dr. Serano , and other transactivist, ironically can at least appear to be a little guilty of themselves at various times. Two examples are what was "There's Something About Deception" . What Dr. McCloskey did was try to discredit Dr. Bailey by mentioning a certain version of the "facts" over and over again. She writes:
The entire sample, representing the world's hundreds of thousands of gender crossers, just happens to live in Chicago. Six-sevenths of the sample are first-generation Hispanic Americans, most working as prostitutes and professional drag queens (Bailey dropped from his sample women who were not in sex trades). That's not a very good sample. If most of Bailey's data come from young Hispanic sex workers in Chicago, then he has not put his theory (namely, that gender crossing is about sex, sex, sex, because gender crossers are men, men, men) in much jeopardy.
There is so much wrong with this statement that I cannot do it justice and hope to stay on topic. This statement and the myth that all of the homosexual transsexuals he talked to were 6 or 12 "Hispanic American" drag artist and adult entertainers which is repeated by McCloskey seven times and in seven ways. Dr. McCloskey's goal in writing that composition was to "expose" and "discredit" Dr. Bailey. Her repeated invocation of who those people were and what those people did for a living indicates that those "facts" are supposed to do the discrediting. Which implies that who they are and/or what they do or have done, is automatically such a horrible negative thing. To the point that even being associated with it discredits a person. So what must that imply that Dr. McCloskey thinks about the "Hispanic American prostitutes and drag queens" themselves? :-\ (Don't believe me on the sex negativity of our society. Consider the following... Remember hearing/seeing stories about this bill board advertising that it's not a sin for believing, heterosexual, married ,Christians to have sex with their spouse? I don't even think such an exhortation to heterosexuality is necessary in Saudi Arabia. Where ½ the population is less than 20 years old! That dosen't happen by adoption.)
Dr Serano on the other hand has what I have to admit is on the whole a far more balanced perspective. There is really only one thing she has written that I have taken issue with:
Programs like "There's Something About Miriam" not only reinforce the stereotype that trans people's birth sex is "real" and our identified/lived sex is "fake," but they perpetuate the myth of deception and thus enable violence against us.
I commented on her blog when it was up. What I had to say to her last night was to basically ask her to explain further what she meant with that blog. She said that basically the way the show was staged was what was deceptive. I don't know about that. Twice last week guys approached me and we exchanged phone numbers. Nothing was staged. I have also heard this sentiment expressed towards me at a support group "passing implies deception". I don't see how I am deceiving anyone. I don't see how Miriam deceived anyone. All a girl who passes and meets the standard of beauty in our culture has to do to get approached by men is walk out the door looking presentable. This to my eyes looks like and feels like a form of femiphobia. Fear that a transsexual MTF who is attracted to and attractive to men will be able to "fool" them. A fear of those male bodied persons who are feminine. To me it feels like sexism to say that anyone must tell their business to people who find them attractive.
This has no relationship to how feminine or masculine the person displaying the femiphobia or sexism is at all. Dr. Serano is a really cunty bitch. She is at I would say the low end of the female norm in terms of height. Her shape is also very much that of an average woman. I would swear that she has had silicone either implanted or injected. If it was it would have to have been really really good silicone. The way she acts is very natural and very fishy. Her mannerisms and such are all totally real. I would be surprised if she needed or had so called deportment lessons. Her voice I would even say was better than mine. Her voice is as good a voice as I have ever heard. She deserves a trophy for fem queen washed face realness. That she is so cunty is quite remarkable because she is also a lesbian.
Dr. McCloskey on the other hand. I have an impression of her based on seeing her home and hearing people around UIC talk about her and compare her to me (when they thought I couldn't hear them). According to Beth her RA who is watching her house Dr. McCloskey was in south Africa. There are those at UIC who call her Dierdre McKrazy and say she is pushy and mannish. Having seen her house that surprises me a bit. A persons home says allot about them. Dr McCloskey's Condo in downtown Chicago is quite nice, quite large and very comfortable looking. On the inside the furnishings are of good classic taste which would be expected of a lady of her age and means. Walking in I felt like Gill Chesterton seeing Frasier's condo for the first time, very impressed. It is actually two condo's joined by stairs. A large part of one is devoted to her personal library which is quite extensive. My friend Beth, a PhD. Student in philosophy's job for the summer is to put that large library in order. A notable and surprising thing to me was that Dr. McCloskey has a copy of "The man Who Would Be Queen". (No jacket cover though. Heck I didn't like the jacket cover either and went so far as to make my own.) She has only one regular (non HD) TV in the house.
I have to admit given the context of the night, TMWWBQ and Autogynephilia were the 800 lb gorillas in the room. Me and beth ended up discussing them. She was most interested in why I did not hate autogynephilia. My feelings on it are complex. On the one hand I really don't think that people like McCloskey can speak to any part of my transsexual experience. I have always been a sissy baby. With me a military recruiter does not have to ask and I don't have to tell. My scientific opinion of it is that like anything in psychology it is not rigorous enough. I am a physicist and I like to put scientific statements in mathematical form. (In an article I wrote
here at scientific blogging called "Science through rose colored glasses" I attached a PDF of a preliminary paper in which I apply quantum theory to the transsexual mind. Then demonstrated mathematically that there is a quantum entanglement between sexuality and gender identity IF and only IF you assume that two independent centers of the brain control those personality aspects. Interestingly in answer to a question after her talk Dr. Serano commented that sexuality and gender expression are not totally separate. I agree my math agrees. In that case the audience did not kill the messenger.)
After this me and my friend Beth who in case you were wondering is also a transsexual took Dr. McCloskey's dog for a walk. We talked about some problems facing beth. She looks to me for certain kinds of advice. Then we ate at subway. While at subway a crazy homeless guy who begs for money in a wheel chair came in and started snapping at people. (This will be on youtube by the end of this day. I need to edit out the faces of people who said they did not want to be on camera.) All in All it was a very strange night.
Oh and if you are offended by my calling Dr. Serano "cunty", "fishy", "bitch", and "fierce". Then you have demonstrated for me a cultural divide in the transsexual community which is central to so much strife. In the circles I run in those are all very high complements. A "bitch" is a feminine but strong transsexual presence. A TS who is "cunty" is very feminine looking. A TS who is "fishy" is very feminine acting. My saying she "Deserves a trophy for fem queen washed face realness" is an allusion to the particular subculture that took these words, and took femininity in the biological male and made them positive and empowering. If you are trans and did not know this, or look down on that culture, then it says something. I know not what.
SEE ATTACHED PDF FOR RICH TEXT, LINKS, CITATIONS, PICTURES AND A OVERALL BETTER LOOK.
(Edited for "autocomplete" induced spelling errors.)