If you spent all your waking hours reading radical feminists on the net saying how awful trans are, you would barely scratch the surface of it. There are blogs and forums almost entirely dedicated to such outpourings. Kiwifarms, which laughs at the most extreme inhabitants of the hugboxes, now has a forum on such things, where I read “if a man feels so entitled to having society validate his fetishes and misogyny that he’d kill himself if he isn’t catered to, then his suicide would be a relief to others.” That’s us told: that we kill ourselves is no ground for easing up on the hatred, and so no suffering of ours is enough to make them relent. The following page of that forum becomes a debate on what a trans woman should undergo to allow us to use women’s loos, and whether anything is enough. When someone starts listing cross-dressing sex offenders and their offences, Kiwifarms becomes what it had been satirising. Fortunately, someone points that up by saying “I don’t understand why we don’t call them transvestites anymore”.
“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race”. That is a quote from Sally Miller Gearhart, first open lesbian to gain a tenure-track faculty position in the US, now often used to show how feminists are anti-men but useful for a lesbian in the 1970s to fight back against her erasure.
I agree that feminism has a right to anger– another article written by a man- especially this bit: Should feminists turn their anger into rage? Never. Rage is aimless, painful, pointless and ill-conceived. Should they turn it into a blazing passion and a welcome desire to make the world a better place? The answer is a resounding yes, and I’d argue that’s what most feminists do. I tend to feel undirected rage can often develop into righteous anger, but that is a quibble.
I get why personal remarks can be objectionable. Yesterday two women told me how pretty my dress was, and in one case I felt overpowered- and liked it. She expressed surprise that I did not know the flowers on my dress were hellebore. That pleasure I feel is at the heart of some women’s objections.
The answer has to come in empathy and the human encounter. There is the desire, say, to have a leg removed and perhaps never walk properly again, in a living human being. See the distress of the person with this unwanted leg. Because our desires make no sense- all humans, not just trans folk- reducing discourse to common-sense rational argument cannot fit human beings. Or at least, the desires that do make sense- a good career, a family, a house and pension fund- are less overwhelming than the ridiculous ones.
I accept women’s anger, though think it would be better directed against FGM, or restriction of reproductive rights, than against trans women. That might make a real difference to women’s lives, and in the case of trans women, the anger is often directed against the cis women who welcome and accept us.
But men who argue against accepting trans women have no such excuse. They are bullies who delight in bullying a weak marginalised group, for no purpose, and feel entitled by their male privilege. Someone angry because she feels forced into conventional femininity, disliking mine, has a reason. A man from male privilege disrespecting femininity is disrespecting a large proportion of the human race.