Miranda Yardley

How could a trans woman be transphobic? First, you have to define “trans”. My definition: a trans person is one who copes with their gender non-conformity by transgender behaviour up to and including transition. It is not something innate, but a choice we make in our particular circumstances. I feel it is a legitimate choice. We make our own lives easier. We do not harm others. This definition gives me freedom.

A transphobe, then, is one who delegitimises the choice, as Miranda Yardley does, even though she has transitioned and not reverted. For example, her insistence on the discredited autogynephilia theory, here. First, she selected the writings of four gynephile trans women, who write of being aroused by cross-gender fantasy. I don’t know whether these people have also written about being feminine, and if Yardley bothered finding out, she does not mention it, as it would refute her argument. Then she explains autogynephilia theory, that the desire to transition comes from an “erotic target location error”- you get aroused by the wrong thing, in this case fantasies of yourself as a woman. There is no explanation of what causes this error, because innate femininity (gender non-conformity) causes the error, and that refutes the theory. Yardley however wants to deal with the problem that sexual arousal is not a basis for living female continually, which she handwaves away by claiming that the erotic attachment becomes a romantic attachment.

The articles Yardley cites refute her. Why did Natalie Egan transition? Because when she was outwardly successful as a man there was always something gnawing away at me that I never understood and couldn’t explain. Only now do I understand it as a deep dissatisfaction with myself. This inner misalignment and horrific fear of expressing the person I really was inside. That’s clear enough for me, not enough for Yardley. Natalie was emotionally intuitive, yet hard to get to know. Her wife thought she was trans, at a time she herself was in deep denial.

In the New Statesman, Yardley denied being transphobic. She is a trans woman. She addresses crowds about her heavy metal magazine as “an openly trans woman”. I parse that phrase, and find it can only be a claim to be a “woman”, rather than a man. However she is “gender critical”, which means she claims to be male, and that being a woman is a matter of reproductive biology. Gender is sex-based socialisation which oppresses women. She calls a trans woman’s claim that she has always been female, “gender essentialism”, which contradicts her gender critical approach. However, I have always been feminine, and argue that women should be free not to be feminine.

Then she reaches the nub of the issue. Do the rights of a trans woman who has lived as a man for 60 years to not feel intimidated by having to use male facilities trump the rights of women to have a safe space where they do not need to be concerned about voyeurism or sexual violence? She does not give her answer here. Mine is that no woman need be concerned about voyeurism or sexual violence, if I am in a woman’s loo. I go in there to use the place in the normal way.

Here’s the transphobia. Yardley asserts that women feel threatened, and we are part of that threat, simply because of being born male. However, we are as broken by gender norms as anyone. It is a literal fear, seeing me as a threat, simply because of who I am. That negates me, and denies my right to exist.

8 thoughts on “Miranda Yardley

  1. It says in ‘A Course in Miracles’ that one does not escape the darkness by seeing it, and then climbing over it. One escapes the darkness by bringing to it one’s own innate light. So why bother to identify other people’s prejudice against one? Your words, ‘I feel it is a legitimate choice’ might be compared to, ‘I know this is right for me.’ I hope you do not doubt your choices….In any event, we all reassess our choices, all the time, while remaining true to the constant that is US.

    Bless you, forever. 😀 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You see, my own position is very close to Miranda Yardley’s, and I wonder if hers is the one I should take. I express myself as a woman, but I am not a woman. I heard on Tuesday evening that my friend has started possibly a fling, possibly a relationship, with a French artist. Frederic is flamboyantly effeminate, so that H thought he was gay, but he is in fact heterosexual, and as she likes men like that she is very interested. With my incessant self-questioning, hearing of an example of a man who has managed to express himself in that way makes me feel even less legitimate.

      “I feel it is a legitimate choice” means that men caught in my impossible position may choose it as a way to attempt to escape, not that I feel it is right for me. I resent the damage done to my body by surgery and hormones, the damage done to my soul by attempting to fit in to something acceptable, yet reverting would be worse for me. Transition was the best I could do at the time.

      I agree with a lot of Miranda’s radical feminist positions, but not this one. She takes it too far, and says, We need also to question the motivations, indeed be suspicious, of male transsexuals who are advocating for and supporting the transition of young children. These individuals clearly do not share a common narrative with the young boys they advocate transitioning to girls, and I would go as far as to suggest that word of these campaigners should have absolutely no credibility when considering the transition of young girls into boys.

      That is the old perverts seeking to convert the young theory. She says we are not concerned for the good of the children, but to preserve the falsehood of our “womanhood”.

      And yet. She says she is a man. I say I am a man. She remains expressing herself female, as I do. I seek to learn from her, while rejecting her positions when they are phobic.

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  2. this sounds exactly like Anne Lawrence who argues her own transition is based on misplaced sexual fantasy and not a feminine essence. The problem with all this is that we are on shaky ground because gender identity cannot be cusped in your hands and held. Hence you can think what you want about yourself or others and must claim a stalemate. It is why it’s best to claim what you want about yourself and aim for societal respect above all because you cannot control what others say about you.

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    • One of the friends I lost when I transitioned was a cross-dresser who had various friends around the country he would visit, and cross-dress. He hosted me on his boat on the Norfolk Broads several times, and we toured the slow rivers en femme. Once he spent a whole week cross-dressed, and was utterly sick of it by the end, because it was merely a sexual fantasy for him: the reality was boring and unpleasant. However extreme ones sublimation into sexual fantasy, waking up would come very quickly. Only femininity can make us transition.

      But I divorce that femininity from womanhood. It is my femininity. Femininity does not make men women. So I am half way to Miranda’s position: it’s just that this allegation that we are all merely perverts is ridiculous, self-hating and wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

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