Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sheila Jeffreys Strikes Again: or, How a Cisgender person decided Trans* lives are her property to evaluate.

Ms. Jeffreys' a long time denouncer of trans* women has struck again with her newest book, "Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism".

My first feelings on this matter are: How the hell does she feel entitled to critically analyze the politics of “transgenderism”, why does she keep railing against transsexual women, why does she feel she has any currency in the topic? {Transgenderism?!! WTF is that?}

She has forced her way into the discussion of trans* lives and bodies for a long time. Trans* women have been dealing with her telling the world we are vile for a long time. It is getting to the point with her that she is making her money on the backs of transgender lives and this is unjust. She rails against us and says vile things, then writes a book and makes money from our suffering?! NO!! If she was any sort of decent human she would donate every cent of the proceeds from that book to charity. Preferably a trans* one, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.
When she isn’t writing about “transgenderism” and instead is focusing in on real women’s/womyn’s issues she is smart and articulate. She proposes things to contemplate on that take some tough work. You will check your privilege at the door and think deep when you read her works. She is a true feminist and she is respected in many circles.
However that respect is then transferred to a topic she is not qualified to speak on and many feminists take her every word as gospel. This really harms TS women when such a prominent figure in the feminist world takes such a hard and vile stance on them. Transgender people of all stripes are a marginalized community and we really do not need prominent public figures making our lives more difficult.  

To get a little idea of the Ms. Jeffreys’ opinion on the matter let us turn to a wiki section on her views on trans* people:

{Jeffreys has received attention for her views on transgenderism, transsexualism and gender reassignment. In an interview, Bindel explains that Jeffreys believes transsexual surgery "is an extension of the beauty industry offering cosmetic solutions to deeper rooted problems" and that in a society without gender this would be unnecessary.[5] Jeffreys has presented these views in various forums. In a 1997 article in the Journal of Lesbian Studies, for example, Jeffreys contended that "transsexualism should be seen as a violation of human rights." Jeffreys also argued that "the vast majority of transsexuals still subscribe to the traditional stereotype of women" and that by transitioning medically and socially, trans women are "constructing a conservative fantasy of what women should be. They are inventing an essence of womanhood which is deeply insulting and restrictive."[

Jeffreys' opinions on these topics have been challenged by transgender activists. Roz Kaveney, a trans woman and critic of Jeffreys, wrote in The Guardian that Sheila Jeffreys and radical feminists who share her views are "acting like a cult." Kaveney compared Jeffreys' desire to ban transsexual surgery to the Catholic Church's desire to ban abortion, arguing that both proposals bear negative "implications for all women." Finally, Kaveney criticized Jeffreys' and her supporters for alleged "anti-intellectualism, emphasis on innate knowledge, fetishisation of tiny ideological differences, heresy hunting, conspiracy theories, rhetorical use of images of disgust, talk of stabs in the back and romantic apocalypticism."} 

Ms. Jeffreys has stood against the entire idea that gender in some ways may be innate. She clings to this notion like a religious fanatic clings to their outdated beliefs.
We need only look to the case of
David Reimer to see that there is indeed something innate to gender.
 Admitting that there may be something to the entire idea of gender being innate does not take away from humanity.

I think that the fear that some of the clingers on of outdated ideals is that, in admitting that there are innate gendered differences, this will in some way invalidate a century of hard work by feminists. That is not a realistic fear. The ideal that all people are entitled to equal treatment will not go away. The fact that patriarchy oppresses women will not become untrue if gender may be innate.  The need for legislation to protect women and give them a fair shake will not go away with such a truth.
All it is saying is that there is something special and unique to being male or female that we have not yet pinned down.
Ms. Jefferys’,
I know that you must know that there is something about women that men do not have. There is a special something that other women recognize in other women. When we see each other there is the knowing smile and beaming of eyes, recognition of one woman to another that says, ‘I recognize my sister’.  

There is nothing wrong with saying that the sexes are different in some ways. No difference justifies patriarchy or oppression.

Back to her book:
From the book description on Amazon
{It is only recently that transgenderism has been accepted as a disorder for which treatment is available. In the 1990s, a political movement of transgender activism coalesced to campaign for transgender rights. Considerable social, political and legal changes are occurring in response and there is increasing acceptance by governments and many other organisations and actors of the legitimacy of these rights.
This provocative and controversial book explores the consequences of these changes and offers a feminist perspective on the ideology and practice of transgenderism, which the author sees as harmful. It explores the effects of transgenderism on the lesbian and gay community, the partners of people who transgender, children who are identified as transgender and the people who transgender
themselves, and argues that these are negative. In doing so the book contends that the phenomenon is based upon sex stereotyping, referred to as 'gender' – a conservative ideology that forms the foundation for women's subordination. Gender Hurts argues for the abolition of ‘gender’, which would remove the rationale for transgenderism.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of political science, feminism and feminist theory and gender studies.}

Ms. Jeffreys seeks to some way abolish gender and “transgenderism” which she calls a human rights violation.
Well that is very presumptuous of her. I am a transgender person and my human rights were not violated. I put the hormones in my body, not someone else. I begged the doctors to help me with my medical needs.
They agreed because they KNOW that transsexuals who do not transition kill themselves in high numbers. It has been reported that upwards of 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide. That is just the percentage of us who are still alive to report. The suicide rates of trans* people is sky high. No amount of criticism of policy will change the fact that trans* people who do not get treatment have a high mortality rate.
It has been shown that transition is the only cure for gender dysphoria. Until Ms. Jeffreys finds a cure for ‘transgender ideation’ that equals or exceeds the survival/success rate of current best practices, she should not be calling for the abolition of the treatment. If we did things her way then trans* people would never have the option to transition and we would wallow in misery.

Also, transgender people who live true to self report overwhelmingly that they are more content with life post transition. They go from depressed and unable to be productive in society, to productive members of society. That alone should be reason enough to just let us live in peace without feminist leaders labeling us as a sickness symptom of society.

So I have yet to read this book and the price tag associated with it is a little steep for my pocketbook. I will eventually get my hands on a second hand copy. I suspect that there will be nothing of new substance offered from her previous writings.

Have a great day,

Cynthia Lee