The worth of labels and why straight/cis people dislike them
Why do straight, cis people detest labels so much?
Why are they so keen to say things like ‘Why do you even need labels?’ and ‘There are too many terms for things!’ (direct quotes from the last couple of days, stemming from discussions concerning different types of lesbians i.e ‘boi’/polyamory/transphobia/FAAB+MAAB )
I think that perhaps the aversion stems from this-
Straight, cis people haven’t ever had to conceive of their gender or sexuality in terms of being anything outside of the norm. They don’t see the need for labels because everyone is accepting of their straight/cis-ness, it doesn’t need to be explicitly spelled out because it’s everywhere.
They cannot see the worth in labels because they cannot understand the joy in knowing that what you feel is shared by other people, because they’ve known since birth that their sexual identity and gender identity is legitimate and approved of. They cannot see the comfort of feeling a sense of belonging constructed around identifying with a label that others share with you, because they have never felt like they do not belong.
On a more basic level, what the fuck is wrong with classifying things? We do it with all other areas of life. No one is like ‘Ohmygod scientists, can you stop identifying and grouping things? An element is an element, who cares what different properties they have?… I don’t even SEE differences’
haha, NO ¬¬ because that would be silly, and so is hating on labels.
(so many trigger warnings.) “Swedish man acquitted of rape because victim was Transgender”, Seattle Gay News; link courtesy solarbird.
Sweden, you are off the friends list. I thought you were okay, but I was wrong. Just. wow. no. I don’t. have words. nothing about this is okay.
How to Easily Promote the Reddit Petition on Facebook
If anybody is willing to send messages to their friends through a private message, I wrote a short and sweet text you could use!
Okay, yes, this is a generic, mass message, but for good reason!
I’m working on promoting a petition at Change.org, and would be really grateful if you took two seconds to check it out and sign. That’s it!
We’re trying to get the Reddit administration to take down some really sickening subbreddits, that are devoted to promoting things like sexually brutalizing and raping women.
Here’s the link to the petition: http://goo.gl/HjPsp
I hope you’ll sign!
All you have to do is pass it along, and believe it or not, that could do a lot! :-)
CeCe McDonald, the young black transgender woman who accepted a plea deal and pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter last month will be incarcerated by the state of Minnesota as a male. McDonald was arrested after she stabbed a white male who was part of a group of that physically and verbally attacked her with transgender and racial slurs.
The plea agreement calls for a sentence of three years and five months in prison, according to the Star Tribune.
Upon sentencing, McDonald, 24, will be taken into custody by the state Department of Corrections and housed as a male “because he is being housed as a male with Hennepin County,” corrections spokeswoman Sarah Russell told the Star Tribune on Monday. “We will intake him as a male at St. Cloud prison.”
Russell went on to add the state will make its own determination of McDonald’s gender.
“We will assess him as any other offender would be assessed,” Russell said. “The assessments include, but are not limited to, screening for potential vulnerability to sexual assaults, tendencies to act out with sexually aggressive behavior and any disabilities” as defined by federal law.
The Transgender Law Center gathered testimonies from former prisoners, sheriffs, and others, about the risks that many prisoners face and found that sexual violence is an “ever present fact of life for far too many transgender prisoners.” Colorlines’ Jorge Rivas reports on the added injury the state Minnesota inflicts on CeCe McDonald. (via racialicious)
So I’m sure you’re wondering what this blog’s all about.
Yeah, yeah, there are a lot of trans* blogs on tumblr already. A few of them might even overlap with this one in scope. But lucypaw and I got to bein’ utterly bewildered by some of the things we’ve experienced cis people do and say, which got us thinking about making a blog dedicated to these “WTF” moments.
Lucy and I were making a quick run to the gas station by the hotel she was staying at during her recent visit. My trans male self was dressed in a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off to form a muscle shirt, with my binder on under it. Totally flat chest, very stereotypically male attire, and I just wasn’t giving off a terribly feminine vibe, period. She and I go up to the register to pay for our purchase, and you know what the cashier calls us?
Somehow, in my muscle shirt and khaki cargo shorts, with my flat chest and impressively hairy legs and armpits, I was a lady.
WTF, cis people?
And thus, this blog was born. I just hope you’ll find it a useful, therapeutic, and entertaining resource!
Cis women who pull this “bathroom panic” bullshit need to start being held accountable by other cis women.
Obviously the police officer who questioned and ticketed Paula Witherspoon represents a real structural problem. The idea that an agent of the state got to decide a woman’s gender for her and call her “disorderly” for abiding by her actual gender is not only ludicrous, but also structural violence.
But the cis lady who looked at another woman and decided she “looked like a man” on the basis of whatever transphobic bullshit criteria is the one who called that officer and started the police interaction. That is FAR from a neutral act in a world where trans* interactions with police so often turn discriminatory and even violent. And it is an overtly discriminatory act that she decided she got to be the Arbitrator of Womanhood and literally police who was and was not considered female. This, too, is cissupremacy. And it, too, is systemic and far from isolated.
Transphobia and cissupremacy are far from the sole domain of men. Cis women, we, too, are a part of it. We have an incredible ability to do harm to our trans sisters. It is our responsibility to keep each other from doing so.
I think most people don’t understand the gravity and breadth of the situation. They don’t see the day-to-day violations of prostitute’s most basic human rights. They don’t see our vulnerability and can’t grasp how much the criminalization of prostitution affects our work and our lives; how much it impacts us emotionally, socially; how much it costs in human lives.
But my request is for transgender activists to stop their sinister appropriation of the abuse and violence that transsexual and transvestite prostitutes endure on every continent. When you look at the majority of transsexual, transvestite, and transgendered people who are attacked, raped or murdered, being a prostitue and being part of that specific social and cultural context seems to be a common denominator. So realizing that almost all trans victims of violence are prostitutes, you have to start asking serious questions about societal attitudes towards prostitution. You have to investigate how such attitudes might contribute to–or perhaps even constitute the main determinant in–making trans prostitutes targets for hatred and attacks. And you also have to consider, in addition to transphobia, other facts such as racism and misogyny.
So when you ask why transgender activists do not take prostitution into consideration, I am forced to say that if they were to do so, they have to give up the majority of their martyrs […] Their campaigns have everything to do with supporting their own political agendas, agends that are all about securing and maintaining their middle-and upper-class privileges through and after transition but have absolutely nothing to do with improving the working conditions of lives of transsexual and transvestite prostitutes.
(Sex Change, Social Change, “Interview with Mirha Soleil-Ross,” Women’s Press 2005, p91)
This is an extremely interesting quote. I’m wondering what others might think.
Edit: I just realized I was the one who originally blogged this post. I must be really out of it today! Sorry folks.
I part ways with Mirha in supposing the motive behind trans* activists as individuals or some monolithic entity.
I do however see great value in holding this topic up front & center in all conversations where sex work comes up. This should not exclude trans* conversations or any other conversation about a sex worker, including voluntary or involuntary sex workers. The attack on sex work serves to dehumanize sex workers and it does so in order to support privilege (economic, racial, religious, military, sexist) at the direct expense of sex workers’ rights and lives. Ultimately, this behavior is interwoven with rape culture, sexism, misogyny, racism and the whole kyriarchy web of oppression and suffering. A great many more people suffer from sex & gender based attacks than profit from it. In fact, like military-prison-disaster capitalism, these oppressions specifically impoverish billions in the creation of wealth for hundreds.
CALL NYPD NOW TO PROTEST THEIR ABUSE OF TRANS DETAINEE
Justin Adkins, a trans man, was arrested at the protest on the Brooklyn bridge on Saturday. He was repeatedly mispronounced after identifying himself as transgender, asked about his genitals, had his genital region patted down anyway, was moved from the cell with the guys he had been arrested with (where he asked to remain) into a cell with around eight men he didn’t know who were detained for crimes unrelated to the protest, where he was handcuffed to a bar for eight hours next to the only functioning toilet which all detainees were brought in to use. During that time he was refused food and water, openly mocked, and made to feel so unsafe that he could not use the restroom for the entire duration of his detention.
His statement here: http://justinadkins.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/Police-mistreatment-of-transgender-man.pdf
Please call to voice your outrage and demand trans-specific protocols:
· 90th precinct (where he was detained): (718) 963-5311 (x3 for community affairs)
· NYPD Switchboard: 1-646-610-5000
· Police Commissioner Kelly: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html
Justin Adkins, a transgender man who was arrested at the Occupy Wall Street Protest October 1st on the Brooklyn Bridge, was mistreated while in custody at Precinct 90 because he is transgender. He was handcuffed to a railing next to a restroom for at least 8 hours, made fun of, and not given food. The NYPD needs to have a written protocol and train its officers on how to treat transgender people.