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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spokane PRIDE 2014

This year’s PRIDE was a nice event. It was not as big as I anticipated but if I had taken a moment to think on it I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Now that we have Marriage equality in Washington State and the right to serve for LGB people the need to stand and fight for many is no longer an imperative. These PRIDE events bring more than the old guard and the revelers in all things queer; they bring out the social justice warriors and advocates. But if there is nothing to fight for, the advocates and warriors don’t show up. Their friends who would have joined them do not show up as a result.
I also noticed that the event itself had fewer booths, (This is untrue, it was merely my perception of the event) but an improved kid zone over prior years. And to whoever was in charge of that kid space…It was really cool. I watched the children play on the numerous things brought in for them and was a tad jealous and longed to be 5 again, just to go into the bouncy castle for a few minutes and act the fool with the rest of the kids.
There was a Colors Guard at the parade. Apparently this is only the third time the military has allowed an honor guard. When I saw the boys getting into formation at the head of our parade and it dawned on me that these men were not costumed Color Guards or High School ROTC kids but the real deal, I almost cried. It means allot to those of us who are LGBT and prior service to see the colors at the head of a parade formation. I had a feeling only a fellow soldier or veteran could feel when I saw them in the parade.

Then there were 3 horses in the parade that looked pretty neat with rainbow socks.

There was a contingent of Angels blocking out the haters. Again I almost cried when I saw them.

The addition of these seemingly small elements to the parade really touched it off and was icing on the cake so to speak.

At the event after the parade only a couple of people in the local queer culture snubbed me. A few gay men made it a point to give me some props on my stand and being vocal on the state of current LGBT politics. One gay man even made a statement on stage taking issue with the disrespect TS women were getting via the Tranny debate.

Over all, the event was a good one. In spite of being rained on during set up and an overcast day most the day we managed to have a good time, listen to good music and watch the antics of the local burlesque show and drag performers.

I want to thank the people of OutSpokane who put it all together and the various social justice organizations who came to represent, and even the vendors who came to sell us stuff.

See you at Spokane PRIDE 2015!!!



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Feelings of Pride ~Sevan

This may be a little wandering...but I do hope you'll stick with me. I really want to get this down.

As a young queer, around the age of 20 I went to see a production of Laramie Project. If you haven't seen this show, it's about Matthew Shepard's life and death. At the end of the show is his funeral, and the angles and their huge wings are present at the funeral to make it so that the family of Matthew don't have to see the protesters who have shown up. This is the first time we see the angels, and the people who did that made a huge impact.

On the day that I went to see the show, life was....well, it wasn't good. So the show is forever etched into my memory intertwined with my personal horrible horrible day.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I saw protesters at PRIDE. Eh. No big deal. They didn't bother me. I rolled my eyes. Annoyed, frustrated by their presence...but eh.

Last year was my first year attending Pride within the role of youth worker. I work at a youth center for LGBTQ youth, and of course we attend Pride and march! There were more protesters than I'd ever seen before and the feeling changed entirely. Suddenly, I cared. Many of the youth I worked with were attending Pride for the first time. They were there to have a good time and be themselves. They handled themselves very well but I was scarred. You see, these haters planted themselves very strategically. They were the end of the parade route. You turn a corner and head forward for a few blocks and the whole time...there they are. Screaming, waving HUGE signs, on megaphones....and just HATEFUL. The community responded and chanted so loudly that you couldn't hear the hate. Drag queens led the chants and the hair on my arms stood up. While I wished the hate would never have happened...I was proud of my community and how we handled ourselves.

Fast forward to this year. I heard that there would be an angel brigade between the parade and the haters. The haters got their earlier than we would have liked and started their hate spewing LOUDLY and ferociously. They screamed at the youth I work with, saying horrible things like calling them fa***t, telling them that they make God cry, etc etc. My heart....oh my heart. This is an event I INVITE the youth I work with to many of them are having their first experience with Pride. As always, they handled themselves well, didn't engage with the haters and let the hate just roll off. In order to get from our booth to the spot we were to line up for the parade we had to walk by two groups of protesters. I started to think that maybe the angels weren't going to come after all.

 photo 10406663_10202288181153762_8624728822145664118_n_zpsa43f28d8.jpg
photo taken by Shar
We found our spot in the line up and waited for the parade to start. Then they came. The angles arrived.
I really wish I could fully express what it meant to me to see them. I don't know that I can, honestly. I teared up. I felt such relief. I felt a deep connection to something so personal and unique to the queer community. Our answer to protesters. Our way of doing things. From as far back as early 90's, this is what we've done.

While I was discouraged to still be able to see their signs as we marched, we couldn't see *them* nor could we hear them. The youth planned chants and were so loud they reverberated down the streets and BOOMED.

The rest of the day was lovely, filled with friends, acquaintances, smiles and fantastic performances. Thank you Spokane for being well behaved (except the haters...) friendly and putting on such a wonderful Pride.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PRIDE Spokane 2014 in 2 days

In two days we will have PRIDE in Spokane. Our annual event dedicated to all things queer has been both work and fun for me for the last 5 years.
But this year is a bit different. This year I will walk in with fear of my peers.

The recent online wars over unacceptable trans* slurs between gay men and transsexual women has already spilled over at PRIDE in Los Angeles. In private spaces and here on this blog women have shared stories with me that describe negative behavior.
Trans* women have always reported being treated as less than at various PRIDE events.
These stories float through the community and as a result a large number of TS folks refuse to participate.
Which hastens the eventual split of LGB and T I see on the horizon.
Now I am not particularly thrilled that it is coming to it. Not at all. Just I feel I have read the tea leaves so to speak and they say the LGBT is going to go the way of OutServe-SLDN.

Back to PRIDE.
I know trans* people locally who will not go to this years PRIDE due to years of reported abuse and the recent on-line abuse of trans* women. I know a much larger number of trans* people across the nation who will not participate in their local PRIDE due to these issues.
Now there will be trans* people at the various PRIDE events this year and well into the future.
Trans* have been associated in the common with gay. It is a very wrong association but it is what it is.

Just because you see trans* people at your local PRIDE event does not mean that the T is on board with the LGB. It is not a signal that all is well.
When you go to PRIDE this year, look for the old guard T people and see how few of us are there. The newbie with the bright eyes and full of passion for the greater cause is nothing of an indication of how the T feel about the LGB at this time. That is called shiny bright newbie syndrome and it wears off fast.
Look to the social war weary eyes of the few old guard trans* people for the real answer. The guarded conversations with formerly gung ho human rights warriors may be a hint of wear our hearts are at.

Now I am a firm believer in community and working together, but I also understand human nature. Sometimes you have to tear down and re-build. As it stands we have a completely shaky structure. I understand those who are madly trying to shore up the structure. If you get the right braces in place you might just make things solid enough to withstand the test of time. I get that. But I do not think the building can ever be saved at this point.
A complete tear down and re-build is in order. Then we can get back to work as a community. Until then we just have a clusterfuck and no one likes a clusterfuck.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A woman speaks about her recent PRIDE experiance in LA.

Terrible treatment at LA Pride brought me to tears

By: VivaciousVL aka veronicali

Originally posted at:


Thankfully, most people in WeHo just having fun in the spirit of equality and support. You guys were great.

This is specifically directed towards the many intolerant and trans-bigoted people that went out of their way to be extremely rude to me and my transgender brothers and sisters. Your behavior and obvious hatred towards trans people was nothing to be proud of. Rather, it shamed the city of West Hollywood and the entire GLBT community, and disrespected every single person that was really there to show their pride in expressing mutual acceptance.

I expected that my first time attending LA Pride would be absolutely amazing. I am a proud and authentic full-time trans woman, and the event was supposed to be putting the transgender community first this year. I was going to show my support and love for everyone in the spectrum. My actual experience was overwhelmingly different, and the way you treated us was despicable.

I could go into detail of how unwelcome and hated so many of you made us feel. I easily encountered more disrespect and harassment in two days at Pride than I normally do in six months.

You purposely misgendered us, making sure to put stress the sirs and bros to highlight the fact that you weren't willing to honor my expressed gender. You didn't know that I am a woman every minute of every day, or that I am a proud and visible trans activist who demands respect and equal rights, and unquestionably expects to be treated fairly by our community.

The message was quite obvious, that trans people were not wanted. Maybe you even hate us. It makes me very disappointed to know that so many of you went so far out of your way to mock us, laugh at us, ignore us, and express your intolerance of trans people. You were rude beyond belief, and put an enormous amount of effort into trying to make trans men and women feel they are inferior to you.

Your efforts did not succeed, as far as I am personally concerned, but I am stronger than many of my brothers and sisters. I pray that you didn't cause permanent harm but I fear the worst for them, knowing our trans community has an alarmingly high suicide rate. Know and never forget that any blood they may have let is all over your hands.

I hope that those of you that aren't transbigots will police the haters by sharing this. I still have love for the ones that hurt us.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Fight for the T

Gay and lesbian voters got what they wanted. They have the right to marry and the right to serve in the military. Now that these vital human rights have been fulfilled, LGB folks are taking their free time and donation dollars and going away.
Yet the battles are not finished. Transgender people still have a number of issues they want to be addressed. Transgender people have long been told we would have to wait for the main issues to be resolved then transgender issues would be the next forefront issue.
How are we going to fight for the T when the LGB average Joe and Jane has moved on to their normal lives?
Now I understand there is a cadre of old guard who will stick it out and be very hurt by these recriminations, and I understand that hurt. You folks do put in the work. But where are your friends and allies that worked so hard for the right to love and serve?
The fight for the T is just now starting. If we do not have solid backing from our allies we will fail.

If we are going to keep the alliance it needs to be:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why am I calling for a split locally?

When Spokane Trans* People started it was a program of the LGBT center. There was no doubt about that. Unfortunately that information was not communicated properly by Matt it was claimed by those who said we were not. So basically I was called a liar and Matt’s promises to the group were not honored in his death.
When Matt passed away and a clarification was needed as to whether Spokane Trans* People was a LGBT center program or not, the center chose to distance itself from the group. In spite of the fact that we were and still are listed on their website as a program of the center. It wasn’t even going to cost the center a dime to say yes. It was just a matter of saving themselves of an uncomfortable situation that they disavowed the trans* group.

The center is ineffectual in the pursuit of it’s’ mission. The city of Spokane does not have an LGBT center. The city of Spokane Valley does, but this center is small, does not serve Spokane well at all and does not have proper phone, or computer services or a proper staff. Staff that are there are often unprofessional in demeanor and attire. When I would go to the center and it was obvious a man was living in the center counter to the city’s zoning regulations, it was very off putting. The center smelled of this man in every corner.
Now the center is not even accessible to the average Spokanite; out in Valley is not serving us. Maybe it serves Valley, but it isn’t doing much for Spokane. And it does nothing for Spokane Trans* People.

The leadership in the local center is stagnant. It would serve the community far better to dissolve the center and the people of the center to join other healthy queer organizations in the town.
Since Matt passed away the center as a leader in the community has been in a slow death rattle. The ball has been dropped a number of times. If it hadn’t then we wouldn’t have to go to Valley to have a center.
Focusing more on politics and relationships than getting business done isn’t helping us. Making constant excuses on how the followers have failed the leaders is ringing hollow.
If you folks are going to lead, then lead. This half assing I see isn’t sufficient.

I know this is going to anger some folks and I know that the center will not be closed but I do think it is time that the Transgender/Transsexual community stand on its’ own and request that the LGBT center change its name to the LGB center. They are not serving the transgender community. Spokane Trans* People does that and rather well. We do not need the LGB center doing our work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We want to divorce the LGB.

A great document was once written that was the manifesto of freedom. If I had such a document in my pen to share with you I surely would do so. For the call to freedom and self determination is a noble calling and one all should strive to achieve.
Currently there is a toxic atmosphere in the halls of the LGBT. Gay men who have long held the reigns of power have recently en mass let transsexual women know just exactly what they think of us. We have been ridiculed and attacked numerous times over simple issues of respect. Where we have asked for the dignity to designate for ourselves what we find to denigrate us, we have been ridiculed, shamed and told to grow thicker skin. The problem is that most TS women I have known do not have thick skin enough to take betrayal. We can handle the slurs and bigotry of the outside world. We have been fighting it since the beginning of patriarchy. But to have ones supposed allies turn on you in the midst of battle is an untenable situation.
Now to be clear, I understand that there are many wonderful gay men who have our backs and have gone to bat for us. It is these far too few men who have been able to keep the alliance united up to this point.

But it isn’t enough. When we were recently attacked en mass by gay males over the RuPaul/Carmen affair there were very few gay male voices attempting to call their brothers to task over this horrendous treatment. If you do not have enough voices calling for respect for TS women and the voices of disunity are not drowned out, then your group is transphobic and there is no way that TS women are going to remain in the LGBT.

The rally for dissolution of association of the T from LGB needs to sound loud as a clarion call across the lands.
At PRIDE this year let it be known we are not a part of the LGBT anymore. Form local TS groups.  Form regional groups. Form national and international groups and fight for our rights as a group and not let us rely on the good will of others. This is not to say we should not accept the good will of others, just that we should not rely on them. It is long past time that we stand on our own two feet anyways.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why 'born this way' should be thrown away.

When we perpetuate the 'born this way' concept it buys into the idea we should have to justify or account for being queer. That makes it OK only because it is innate. Born this way steals agency from queers in this debate. Screw that noise!
What if the sole reason people had gay sex was to piss off the pope and make baby Jesus cry? What if every act of gay sex was specifically to give a spiritual black eye to the religious types? Even then the anti queer ...types would have no right to try and take rights away.
What if being gay was a choice? Would that give any amount of credence to those who say it is abomination? No. But the argument 'born this way' buys into the idea that the only reason queer is ok is nature. This buys into the idea that if we could chose to be straight we should do so due to society as a whole having hang ups.
Nope, not buying into that crap.
If and when I have sex of any type it is because I CHOOSE TO HAVE SEX THAT WAY! I am not at the mercy of my genetics or destiny, I am the master of my mind and body and if I decide to have sex in non heteronormative ways... the religious right can kiss my ass.