Ovarit and transphobia

“Ovarit” is a forum set up to hate on trans people. It has very strong rules: the “gendercritical” circle is the place for hating trans people, the “women’s liberation” circle is for feminist topics, and the “Activism” circle for calls to action. There is a stern warning about the things which belong in other “circles”. There are also rules about abuse:

We also do not allow slurs used against trans-identified people such as “tranny” and “troon.” Additionally, we do not permit the use of dehumanizing language used against any group of people, such as “pigs in wigs,” “frankenwomen,” or calling groups of people subhuman. Truly degrading descriptions of people’s bodies or body parts, such as “axe wound,” are not allowed.

They do not allow racism or ableism, but have to specify particular types of transphobia they oppose. For them, insisting that trans women are men, or trans women should not be in women’s spaces, is not transphobic. They object to slurs. I had to look up “troon”- it mixes the words “tranny” and “goon”, used to mean violent man. If haters are tempted to use it, soon every trans woman who ever expressed mild irritation will be labelled a troon. They object to dehumanising language, and that’s a mercy, because it leads to violence.

Descriptions of bodies- this is “It’s not you, it’s me”. Someone may be disgusted by the long curving scars after chest surgery, but the disgust is in them, not caused by the trans man.

However they are happy with “trans-identified males” as a term for trans women, unlike Mumsnet which banned it as a slur.

“Trans identified males”, or “TIMs”, is as much a slur as “tranny”, because it denies our very selves. The Ovarit rulemakers have a deficient ontology, or understanding of what is. They think their being as females, because they have ovaries, is more real than my being as a trans woman. But I am as much a woman as they are. Their womanhood comes from their genes, gonads and genitals (3G)- or if they have variation of sexual development, from their desire and societal acceptance. My womanhood comes from my being a trans woman.

If I were not trans, I would not exist. It would be a different human being in my place. Transness is no more excisable from me than womanhood from them. I could no more be a “normal man” than I could be Miles Davis. The proof of this is our desperation to appear to be normal men, and our long interactions with doctors. Until very recently, the name the psychiatrists used was “gender identity disorder”, seeing our gender as a medical problem. They would cure us of it, if they could, and would have found out how, by now, after decades of interactions with us. I remember a sense of intense weariness in my psychiatrist when he told me I was “not psychotic”- for if I were deluded in a psychotic way, I could be cured or managed by anti-psychotics. My weight might balloon, and I might lose all energy and motivation, but at least I would not think I was a woman.

Because my womanhood is as much a part of me as any trans-excluder’s is of her, it is transphobic to make a distinction in order to treat me differently.

Trans women are in women’s spaces already, but trans excluders pretend that we are not, that there is some change foreboded when we might gain access to women’s spaces. It’s just a lie, which they insist on out of transphobia. It may be a blind-spot, they are not conscious of lying, they look blank and disbelieving when you point out the truth- and that again shows their irrational fear.

They want it to be normal that women are upset and offended when there is a trans woman in women’s space, or even the theoretical possibility that one might be. That is, they want to normalise transphobia.

So it is good that they don’t want to dehumanise us, but the language rules they have made are not enough.

What about their claimed “right to organise as a sex class”? A group of 3G women are happy to include intersex women, but not trans women. Why ever would they organise without trans women? Because they want to exclude trans women permanently. As well claim a right of whites to organise as a race-class. They might conceivably hire a hall and admit only 3G women, but should not make a law of it for others.


Ovarit started a thread about this post. T-Central linked to it too. If you come from either, Welcome. Please comment. My comment policy is “don’t bore me”- don’t go on too long or be too repetitive. Don’t abuse other commenters. If you want to be abusive at me, try to be witty with it.

“As soon as I read the first line I thought liar, idiot, or both.” Is Ovarit set up to hate on trans people? I read about it on The Atlantic. It started when a “Gender Critical” (anti-trans) Reddit was banned. The three latest posts as I type are about objecting to “cis”, JK Rowling, and GC folks passing their beliefs to their children, and several others on that first page are about trans, from their headlines. Yes, Ovarit deals with feminist topics as well, but there are lots of spaces where you can discuss feminism. Ask yourself why feminists disapprove of your trans exclusion. It can’t just be they are all idiots.

“This blogger-I’ve-never-heard-of’s opinion doesn’t matter to me.” Absolutely fine. You can read these arguments in all sorts of places, and need not spend too much time with them. Reading too much just gets depressing. “zzzzzz oh sorry” says someone, and I said “zzzz” on facebook yesterday when a trans woman linked to yet another hate screed.

“3G women- is that the people who identify with old cellphones?” I got the term from Cordelia Fine, Testosterone Rex. It means people who are by genes, gonads and genitals women.

“No poop in my soup.” It’s an analogy for no trans women in women’s spaces. That’s about as dehumanising as you can get. Avoiding particular dehumanising words is a good start, but not enough, because the start of dehumanising is contempt. There’s contempt in “this guy” or calling me “bro”.

“You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity… but you are not female.” That’s a bare denial that my argument above has any weight. She needs women’s spaces, and I need women’s spaces too, so arguments from “need” can’t be used to exclude me.

“TIM prostitutes [are] the only part of the demographic in any danger.” We suffer hate crimes.

One quoted this post and said “This blog is unhinged”. I would not have thought it difficult for this audience to find something they objected to.

One asks, how they can tell me apart from someone who claims to feel like a woman in order to enter women’s spaces, but doesn’t really. I don’t think that’s the main threat from violent men. If a woman dodges into a women’s loo, a violent man can just push the door open, he does not need to go to the trouble of getting a gender recognition certificate.

8 thoughts on “Ovarit and transphobia

  1. I hope you are okay after wading into that world. While slur words may be (mostly) off the table, the bigotry seems alive and flourishing, only with the charming faux smile of respectability. It makes me think of the homophobic nonsense and racism I’d hear from more senior relatives. That was wrong then and this isn’t right either.

    As pointed out, trans folk – including part timers (waves hello) – have been using various facilities for some time and without incident.

    At least we know the sort of thing they are likely to say.


    • Welcome, Emanuele. Thank you for commenting, even without reading.

      Perhaps that is putting it a bit strongly. However, Ovarit was set up when the “Gender Critical” reddit was banned, for- how would you put it? At its best, promoting women’s rights by arguing that trans women are men. And a lot of what Ovarit does is arguing just that. The gender critical circle is a major circle there. A lot of the radfemmery jokes are about trans. The thread there about my blog post was on the “hot” list of threads, for a few days.

      To me, when trans women are in women’s spaces, and number about 0.1% of the population, behaving as if “single-sex” spaces (excluding trans women) are the most important feminist issue is pretty close to hating trans people.


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