Polemic and Eirenic

I got compared to a rapist. Umm, no…

Start at the beginning. Here is a feminist explaining how trans anti-discrimination laws should be drafted, if they are to be fair to persons of the female sex, which she defines. She supports females, that is, persons with female reproductive organs, against repression by patriarchal culture which restricts the expression and roles of those persons based on their reproductive organs. Hooray! So do I! Indeed, when I express myself female I am ripping that repression apart, getting rid of all the conventions which impose such restrictions. Let us join together in common cause.

Read her post to find why this does not appeal to her.

She asked if I liked violating boundaries, and I said yes, knowing that I was walking into a trap. I was not sure what the trap was. She replied,

Violating a boundary Females set is what Rapists do. It is oppressive. Learn respect.

Er, um. Rape is a unique violation, of a vagina by a penis. You would not like it if men compared themselves to rape victims. Yes, you feel violated by patriarchy, but a rape victim has been traumatised, uniquely, on top of that. And while I may have benefitted from patriarchy at various times, even oppressed women, I have not oppressed women in that way.

Here is a little rhyme I learned at MCC:

He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!

She may think she is making a rational argument, I think her argument is affected by her anger. The argument is whether trans women should be included in women’s space. She says not, because “females”, those with female reproductive organs, say not. So, her definition should trump mine, because she is a real woman. I call that oppressive, and, yes, bigoted. Even her “compromise”, that if I can show evidence that I have had some medical intervention towards transition such as taking hormones, requires me to prove I am allowed in women’s space, restricts some trans women, and treats me as less than the Normal people.

Of course expression and roles should not be defined by reproductive organs. She does not like the word “kyriarchy”, it is a prick word- no, it recognises that people are oppressed as well as oppressors, like black men who say “Don’t compare your sin to my skin” as an argument against gay rights. It also takes the word “patriarchy” and twists it, so that it no longer only refers to the oppression of women by men. It says other forms of oppression are important too.

Actually, I love the following from that second site, its defiance, its “If you think I am unreasonable that is not my problem”-

Please leave a comment, but be aware that if it contains the words “cis”, “intersecting”, “sex-positive”, “dialogue” or “constructive” it will be deleted automatically.

No, she does not have to listen to me: she is quite entitled only to engage with people who agree with her, if she wishes.

9 thoughts on “Polemic and Eirenic

  1. Lady, clearly I engage with lots of people who disagree with me. The boundary wasn’t commenting on my blog. The boundary was that Females have a right to establish one.

    Drama. Booring.


  2. Welcome. Thank you for commenting.

    I do not think I have implied that the boundary you thought broken would have been my commenting on your blog, but to make it completely clear, I understood that what you called violation would have been my insistence on coming in to women’s space, as a woman. And if you do not like drama, you only need welcome me there, and any other trans women.

    The word “Kyriarchy” is used by those who recognise that there is more oppression than just of women by men. I think by transitioning, I subvert patriarchy, I do not want any woman bound by patriarchal ideas of femininity, but if I choose to express myself in ways similar to those patriarchal ideas, I do not care if you object.


  3. Wow. Really, the only coherent way I can express all of my anger and frustration and hurt at this woman’s original post and her comments to you is by replying to the title…”You think I don’t understand, but I don’t believe you” Then we agree to disagree. Because I really, truly, think you (Cathy Brennan) just don’t fucking get it.

    Clare, I think you’re great.


  4. It’s interesting to me that any lesbian would essentially kick out a trans woman out of women-only space, especially because, at least in America (I apologize for not knowing world feminist politics) lesbians were not welcome during most of the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 70s.

    I know, at least in America, trans folks are some of the last (and least) accepted people, but to me it doesn’t do anyone any good to get so angry about it. I understand the need for women-only spaces but as long as a person says she’s a woman, presents (more or less) as female, although I have a loose definition of what that even looks like, and doesn’t bother me, then I say come join.

    I was at a bar once where a trans woman stepped over my comfort line. And then the next night I was at the same bar and a non-trans woman did it. Point is, crossing boundaries can happen by anyone, it has less to do with someone being trans or not and more to do with them just either A) not knowing my boundaries or B) them just being a jerk. Personally I think bugbrennan’s argument is moot on that point. Although I’m sure she’d disagree with me.


    • What Bugbrennan says is that I can come in to women’s space, but I cannot argue that all trans women should be able to- that is the violation of boundaries set by women, and if you argued the same it would not be a violation of boundaries in the same way. It is a compromise, I am there on sufferance. Oh well, it is better than excluding all trans women.

      “All women are lesbians except those that don’t know it yet”- Jill Johnston’s line, heard half asleep, I found liberating. The same insomniac night I heard on the World Service, “Shakespeare is German”- Yes, just as Goethe is British, genius above nationality, above mine and thine, bringing us all together, breaking down the categories which divide us. Though not the diversities which make us beautiful.

      And I always hope not to be a jerk.


      • But is it better than excluding all trans women?

        That to me is like saying that under the US military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ban of gays and lesbians in the service it was fine for me as a lesbian to serve because I “looked enough like the straight people to pass” but not okay for the flamboyantly gay man to serve because he disrupted their ideas of “men” and “women.”

        I find the “you as a trans woman looks enough like a woman to come in, but your friend who is just beginning to transition does not pass and therefore will be excluded” problematic.


        • It is better because it is a step forward. So DADT is better than not allowing people to serve at all, and positively investigating them to throw them out. Civil partnerships in Britain, a formal recognition of a relationship which is not a marriage, is better than no formal recognition, and now we are going to have civil marriage- not in church, but more equal than before, and soon after churches will be allowed to celebrate equal marriage if they wish- all steps forward. Once I am in women’s space, people who feared me may see there is nothing to fear. Once I have a face, rather than being just an idea, having me as a whipping girl becomes less acceptable. It is better, because it is a step forward.


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