Misgendering

When people want to complain about “Political Correctness gone mad” they name Misgendering. It frightens me when they say Democrats or other relatively Left parties should drop PC, and pick on trans folk, as if we had lost the Left the elections, and throwing us under the bus was the route back to being in contention. Constantly complaining about dopey things, from pronouns that “misgender” to whether Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at Berkeley … has become a hallmark of Team Blue over the last decade. It’s no small part of the reason Red America threw up their hands, looking for any alternative to push back against the inanity wrote Matt Labash in the NYT. Labash is a Republican, but Democrats say this sort of thing too.

This gets wearing. The archetypal PC idiocy is treating trans folk with courtesy. Possibly the complainers felt even gay marriage was off limits; too many people support it, no-one is particularly attacking it. They may in the future, but not now. But some people take pride in misgendering- calling me “he” and feeling self-righteous about it. I slip up myself, so don’t object to people making mistakes, only to people who do it intentionally, or do not see why it is offensive, like Labash here- I think he finds the complaints dopey, not the “mistakes”.

It matters to us. We transition whether or not the circumstances are propitious. We fail to thrive, or get murdered, where they are not. The callous answer is something like “Well, truth matters to me, you’re really [or not] a man”- but it is an excuse to be callous, a preference for being nasty to us, a way of finding someone to look down on. Some prefer the liberating chance to be cruel over the chafing requirement to be courteous.

They have such an elegant way of expressing it! We named the microaggression “misgendering”, one simple word for when someone uses pronouns as if I were a man. That means when the Right wants to allude to trans folk, they merely need quote “misgendering”, in scare quotes because they deny it is a real word, though it usefully names a phenomenon and has wide currency: it is in the Oxford dictionaries. And some Left-wing writers say the Left should abandon the more extreme political correctness, and the example they choose is Misgendering.

They might choose abortion in the US, and write of “reaching out to pro-life Democrats”. This article in NYT points out abortion is an economic issue. Poorer women have more unwanted pregnancies, where they cannot afford a child, then where they could not continue in work or education fall further into poverty. On that basis, misgendering is economic too: we will transition even though in an atmosphere of hostility will lose our jobs.

Inequality matters. The inequality of badly paid workers with insecure jobs matters, and I want them to vote Left; and the Right makes them angry, then diverts the anger against out-groups, such as immigrants or LGBT folk. The Right-wing siren song is that nothing can be done about the inequality, but at least you can feel better if you can express anger against an out-group. They want to blame immigrants, then call third generation British Asians “immigrants”, then foment hatred for us. First they come for the immigrants, then the queers. Who’s next? Might it be you?

Trans against trans

Anatomy and physiology matter. Wombs, their functions and malfunctions, menstuation pregnancy and childbirth, all matter. Sexual attraction always has something to do with anatomy, however demisexual romantic you are, and a penis is not a vagina. Sexual autonomy matters- you have a right to choose a partner, and a right to reject whole classes of partner, such as anyone with a penis.

None of this means that my understanding of myself, my expression or my choices are illegitimate, and it certainly does not mean I should never enter a women’s loo.

I have a twitter account, but have only tweeted once in the past year. I prefer to google someone and look at their tweets than to follow, and I rarely even look at my feed. I am not familiar with twitter. 140 characters is not enough to construct an argument. You can make a bald generalisation, but twitter is better for encouraging your own side than arguing constructively or persuading. It only really works when people make allowances and try to see the good in each other- otherwise, it promotes misunderstanding.

I don’t know why someone would erase a date or the number of replies, retweets and likes from a screen capture. A date would make these tweets easier to find. I got these images from a transphobic blog, and the Tweeters may have laid themselves open to transphobic use.

Transphobia and transmisogyny. Well, no, I don’t think so. I want to be seen as a whole person, but sex involves genitals and some people don’t want sex with a penis. That a lesbian would not have sex with her does not invalidate the trans woman’s life experiences, choices, or self-understanding, but the lesbian is entitled to the choice, and to state it is not necessarily an expression of hatred or fear of the trans woman.

If a lesbian tries to use her dislike of penises to make a point about trans women, invalidating us, that is different. There is no need to harp on about groups you don’t find attractive. Most people would not have sex with me- they feel a need to be faithful, they find me too young or too old, any number of reasons which we have no need to enumerate in civilised society. “I would never have sex with you” could be an insult, an attack on my general attractiveness. It is unpleasant, and Rachel’s riposte invalidates such attacks. I feel Rachel goes too far, though.

Um. Some people were brought up to be ashamed of periods, never told what to expect so shocked when they started to bleed, and this is not OK. I did not experience that, I was surprised, unhappy and ashamed about wet dreams. Periods are not a trump card, excluding me from women’s loos, or women with Turner’s Syndrome would be not real women. A little consideration for other people, which can’t be shown by one tweet taken out of context, would accept that women are entitled to talk about anything to do with periods from menarche to menopause. Yes it is wearying if they judge me by my inability to menstruate, or say that means I am not a woman.

The way we encourage each other on Twitter can be taken out of context. I am female. My experiences and choices are valid. Periods are not a trump card. Yet these tweets have been taken and quoted to prove to the blogger’s satisfaction that trans women are monstrous and possibly threatening. It does no-one any good.

I don’t know if the only @ThurMonster I found by searching is a different person. Some of those tweets are witty. I found none trans-related, but did not scroll far. The profile picture on the screenshot appears on this TasteKid page, where the facial hair is more visible. I am happy to call myself lesbian. Some people would object. The tweet seems to be an ally defending us against the idea that only “women born women” or whatever can be lesbian. I don’t feel that the tweet by itself is particularly objectionable.

It’s wordpress for nuance, twitter for twitterspats. Let us encourage each other. People will take our reassurances of each other out of context to use to portray us as monstrous, and that’s unavoidable. Possibly sometimes the reassurance goes a bit too far, and lays you open to transphobic people. Try not to put off potential allies, or give ammunition to those who would.

Thanks to Violet for introducing me to that post.

Femmephobia

Femmephobia is devaluing the feminine and only valuing the masculine, seen in those strands of feminism which work only for the interests of masculine women, in conservatism cutting the welfare state for dog eat dog survival of the richest, and my own internalised transphobia, my shame at being Unmanly. Where feminine is seen as wrong in men or restricting in women, that is femmephobia.

The feminine is the precision-engineered ball-bearings making the engine of complex modern society run smoothly, without which it will seize up. The feminine is the nurturing which gives people solid ground to walk on, faith in a secure, loving home from which they can venture out to strive, achieve and do good. Management styles seeking to develop a worker, increase their confidence and job satisfaction, and thereby get the best from them, involve feminine care to see the good and correct by praise not blame. Macho dominance does not work.

We are a social species, living together in vast cities, crammed up against each other in underground commuter trains, our faces inches apart. We need restraint and care for each other to manage this. Feminine delight in colour and beauty brings joy.

Why fear it?

Feminism recognises the devaluing of women, though often it conflates projecting femininity onto women, demanding femininity from them even where it does not fit, judging them as unfeminine, with that devaluation. If a feminist imagines patriarchy oppresses women in general, not just her, by imposing “femininity”, she misunderstands other women and comes to loathe femininity. Then feminism becomes a minority pursuit for unfeminine women.

Where men lack security, in our modern violent world, they conflate femininity with weakness. If he once rests or lets down his guard, like Samson sleeping on the lap of Delilah he loses his strength and is enslaved. In acceptance, femininity finds strength and resilience, the ability to bend where the unyielding will break.

When trans women are brought up to be Real Men, rejecting femininity as weakness, as Wrong for them so that they will always be inadequate, we fear it in ourselves and fear any sign of it letting others find out- for they will mock and deride and humiliate us. Even after transition I find it hard to relax into my femininity.

Only once be unmanly, and you have lost your honour forever? That myth prevents people from accessing their gifts, the anima in man, the animus in woman, from being the self that best answers each situation. It is like throwing out half the tools in your box, and using a hammer where a screwdriver is needed.

I find it hard to relax into my femininity, even though I wear a wig, make-up, and skirts. I am not manly, nor seen as such, yet still experience my femininity as a lack not a gift. Yet there are people secure in themselves who can use all their tools, men unafraid to be gentle, forthright women. Perhaps only those of us who least fit the stereotypes cling so desperately to them.

Mohammed is said to have written, Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt and harm others. That is why they seem weak to people, but in reality they are not. Angels are the strongest of created beings, and women are closer to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men. If he had said “feminine people” and “masculine people” he might have been closer to the truth.

Feminists mentioning trans

Here’s Gloria Steinem, on why some films are called “chick flicks”, because they have more dialogue and less violence, and appeal to women, and some films are just films, which appeal to men. Her suggestion for an adjective for “men’s films” is a pure delight.

I realized the problem began with the fact that adjectives are mostly required of the less powerful. Thus, there are “novelists” and “female novelists,” “African-American doctors” but not “European- American doctors,” “gay soldiers” but not “heterosexual soldiers,” “transgender activists” but not “cisgender activists.”

Ooh! A feminist mentioning trans in a way which does not seem completely hostile. The article is not about trans, but about oppression, and it has a list of oppressed groups at one point, and one of those oppressed groups are trans folk. Thank you, Gloria Steinem. Wow, Gloria Steinem, in the pantheon of Feminist Pioneer Intellectuals, being nice about trans people. It almost makes up for a certain Australian intellectual being horrible. The article is not about trans. It mentions homophobia too, and I think it is wrong about that, quoting a playwright: if we look at all real homophobia, it’s anti-feminism. It’s really misogyny dressed up, or pointed at men. No, it is anti-feminine. Not all women are feminine, and many men are, and this is a good thing, oppressively policed by femmephobia. Feminism has to be for the harridan as well as the feminine.

I first noticed this in an article by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues. I can’t remember what it was about, now, but it mentioned trans in a positive way as an aside. Something like they’re women too and they have a hard time. I had read a radical feminist critique of this, and it poisoned my understanding. The rad-fem said that she only says that because she is terrified of the all-consuming power of the

Trans Activists!!!!!

who will ruin her career unless she is a cringing, fawning lick-spittle to them. I had definitely been reading too much TERF stuff. Gloria Steinem, with a huge list of awards and honours including several “most important or influential woman” appreciations and a Doctorate of Human Justice, is above that. It is merely true that women, people of colour, gay people and trans people have less power than men, white people, straight and cis people.

In 1977, Dr Steinem expressed concern about sex reassignment surgery, concern which I share. In my own case, I thought I wanted my body altered, where I now believe I really felt that having my body altered made me part of an acceptable category of feminine men, and I wanted to be acceptable. Explaining her stance in 2013, she said We need to change society to fit individuals, which is my current position. It would then be clear why people wanted genital alteration, and those who still wanted it could have it.

I believe that transgender people, including those who have transitioned, are living out real, authentic lives. Those lives should be celebrated, not questioned. Their health care decisions should be theirs and theirs alone to make.

Trans folk disagree about surgery. It is deeply emotive. It should be our discussion, first- not the doctors’, and not wider society’s, but ours, our theory, understanding, choices and ideological struggle. And Gloria Steinem is an ally against the femme-phobia.

Gloria Steinem, What about men?

berthe-morisot-hiver

Transphobia II

Transphobia is like anti-semitism: people deny it exists. Just as there is clear anti-semitism, like the blood libel, and justified opinions which are not, such as opposing house demolitions in the Occupied Territories, there is clear transphobia and questionable opinions which are disputed. Some would say even the opinion that trans women should not use women’s public toilets is not transphobic, and work hard to produce the appearance of rationality and concern for the vulnerable, arguing that. Perhaps trans folk would extend the definition too far.

Some people have a Yuck reaction to us. As with anti-semitism, many of them get self-righteous about it, like the woman who objects to the feminine presentation of trans women, claiming any feminist would find that presentation disempowers women, as if we had the power to be fashion leaders. How calm is that person, really? How far do they want to exclude us from ordinary life? What proportion of their writing concerns trans women, rather than other feminist concerns?

It seems to me that some people cannot imagine that yuck reaction, and I wonder how I can convince them. A man in the shopping mall who had never seen me before hissed “f–king nonce” as he passed me, and I wondered what I had done that he so hated me. A group of drunk young men on the train, and one shouts, “Oh look, it’s a tranny”, and they continue shouting until they get off. Fortunately my friend was in First Class, safely apart from them. Just possibly, that might be societal transphobia rather than individual, deliberate hatred; not all of them are repelled, but none stops the others from shouting and perhaps they would say, “But, it’s a tranny! Wouldn’t everyone shout at a tranny?” if asked why they were shouting. Just boisterous young men with normal animal spirits?

A shopper takes a second look at you, and exclaims, “It’s a man!” But she was just shocked and surprised, and vocalises a passing thought, as anyone might stare at someone a little out of the ordinary.

“F–king nonce,” though. Calling me a sex offender. No idea who I am beyond reading me as male, dressed female. That’s not a normal reaction to people like me, surely? Might you believe that it was phobic?

If someone I think of as a friend could imagine herself exclaiming “It’s a man,” the first time she had seen a trans woman in the street, could imagine herself feeling “Bless my soul” levels of shock, because, well, trans women really are out of the ordinary- even though perfectly acceptable-

could someone be my friend, chat happily with me, then say, “Well, you are a bit weird, really. You aren’t normal. I don’t hold it against you, I like you, really…”

but me being trans is if not the elephant then the sweaty runner’s shirt in the room, which we don’t see but which insinuates itself into everyone’s nostrils…

How widespread is the “I am perfectly accepting, but face it you are a bit weird” sort of attitude? Would they say, “Surely everyone’s like that, I would not shout abuse but I would notice, surely you can’t object to that?”

Am I too sensitive?

Transphobia exists. “F–king nonce” is an example of that. Yet friends don’t seem to realise.

A man. I hear he is now in prison: he did not attend the first sentencing hearing, threatening suicide, but did attend the second a day or two after I had the misfortune to meet him. He came to the Quaker meeting once and left after ten minutes, not liking the silence. Then he came a few weeks later just before we were about to finish, and we gave him a cup of coffee. He sat in the corner. We did not start a conversation with him, nor he with us, but I took him over the cup of coffee and offered him a biscuit which he declined.

People were leaving, and he made no sign of wanting to, so I told him we needed him to leave. He objected. I explained and he said, “I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman” and continued objecting, standing close to me, and waving his hand near my face. At this point people notice and come over to see what is going on. They see me in a confrontation with a man.

So after he has actually left, I explain what happened, and someone says, “Well, that’s your account of it.”

Honestly, what? It’s transphobia. Have you no memory, no gay friends, you never saw someone abused simply because he was gay? That man could only object to me if I had done something objectionable? The EEUghH reaction, the hatred, for Jews, black people, gays, Manchester United supporters- some people are prejudiced and react violently- you are aware it exists, right?

Can you not imagine that someone might be prejudiced against people like me, without any other reason? Do you sympathise with their shock or revulsion? So, you look at me, disbelievingly, without sympathy when I explain how horrible the situation had been, and how can I possibly get through to you?

giulio-aristide-sartorio-malaria

Tom MacMaster

Five years after the biggest thing to happen in her life, she still can’t get over it. A lot of trans women could relate to that. She knows exactly how to get under the skin of a trans woman- it takes one to know one. And if you touch a nerve she reacts in rage and misery. She creeps about, hiding away, trying to achieve her goals by stealth and stratagem. And- she repeatedly expresses herself as a woman. There is no doubt: Tom MacMaster is trans.

Tom MacMaster is the hoaxer behind A Gay Girl in Damascus, a blog which achieved notoriety five years ago when he pretended to be a Syrian lesbian in Damascus, arrested by the Assad regime. Because he claimed “Amina” was an American citizen, the State Department was briefly involved. It soon emerged she was a hoax.

The blog is dreadfully written, but if you believe in the character it is very moving. MacMaster took it down, but it has been cached here (a zip file). On 12 April 2011, he posted about a demonstration at the University: I started getting nervous; I could see that the pro-government demonstration was almost all male and had a lot of ‘tough’ looking guys whom I’d guess had military training in it… I watched a young man, a good-looking guy who, one could imagine, had a promising future ahead of him as a doctor or an engineer and who, when he won a place at the university, had been the pride of his family. He fell to the ground. He twitched slightly and I knew he was dead, shot as a martyr to freedom. This reads as an account of real bravery and a description of seeing a man murdered. Who could not be moved? Yet, as it was written in safety in Edinburgh, it is very poor. MacMaster attempts to imagine a real life for the victim, perhaps because he is incapable of describing the scene, but can only produce tediously obvious details.

On 19 April, he posted his dreadful poetry.

Battles lost and battles won
yet nothing changes but the names
of martyred sons and widows newly made.

But what is this? A dream? Try to ignore the Mcgonagall scansion and excess of commas-

I learn her name, her age, her place
And, so knowing, become ever more bewitched
And, now, cannot let go of any chance
That dreams and life might yet be switched

He wants to be her!!

He has hung round here before, googling his own name. Why is he so fascinated by a trans woman’s blog? It can’t just be that I commented on him:  he kept coming back.

Professor MacMaster, now 45, has a moderate list of publications, and some good anonymous feedback from students- Great professor. Great lectures. TAKE HIM– though that could be him, playing his internet games again; but he behaves like a spoiled child. He tried to delete passages from the Wikipedia article he did not like, using the handle LothianLiz (another lesbian) in 2011, and again in 2016 he is at the same game. I reverted his edits both times. He damaged the cause of LGBT folk and Syrian rebels by his narcissistic, controlling actions.

So he misgendered me, using the pronoun “his” and projecting onto me his “vindictive tantrum”. When I objected, he set up another wikipedia account and wrote, Fuck Macmaster and his transphobic bullshit. Wikipedia is NOT a safe space for cishet whiteboys and their hatespeech. Fuck these nasty boys and stop the hate! Let’s show him for the transphobe he is! He also edited the article to accuse himself of transphobia. That edit was quickly reverted too, as Wikipedians watch out for that sort of vandalism. He knows exactly how to hurt most trans women- it would have hurt me very badly, two years ago- and immediately reacted, without thinking, to do that. He is so emotionally involved.

Posing as a lesbian, he flirted with a woman, a cruel, manipulative game now the subject of a documentary, and also with another man posing as a lesbian.

He is obsessed! He can’t let this go! He spends hours on line in his feminine persona, flirting, writing love poetry, talking about clothes-

He’s a trans woman! Hey Tom, when will you have the courage to transition? When will you have the balls to have an orchiectomy?

On 15 December, he posted to the Wikipedia Help desk, This is a plea for assistance made by a newly created anonymous account. My real identity appears in a wikipedia article that contains numerous factual errors and semi-slanderous things. A few years ago, I complained to the wiki foundation abt this and was told to create an account and correct it. Done. Anyway, one of the wikipedia editors has some sort of vendetta against me and is, I believe, mentally unstable. Having forced me to connect my wiki account to my real world identity, they have continued to attack me. Within the past 48 hours, that editor (who has been cyberstalking me) has posted on their non-wiki blog attacks on my person along with graphic Notsafeonwikipedia (talk) 15:16, 15 December 2016 (UTC)and explicit calls for violence against my person. I would like to know how to go about having this person banned from wikipedia but I would also like to learn that without revealing myself as I am concerned for my safety. Oh gosh! I think he means me, who else would bother blogging about him? Calls for violence? Er, where? Someone answered that he could go to the Arbitration committee, but I don’t think he has yet.

The transgender movement

There is no “transgender movement”, only transgender people. This is obvious quoad gay people: no-one except homophobes suggests that there is any sort of gay movement. People are accepted as gay whatever their political views- they do not have to explain themselves. They couldn’t.

-Why are you gay?
-I don’t know, I just am. I’m left handed too!

Epigenetics produces an algorithm which can predict homosexuality with 70% accuracy, so there is evidence of a biological basis, but even before October 2015 people of good will accepted that “Some people are gay.”

In the same way some people are trans. I did not join a movement, I started cross-dressing, and then decided to transition. Before there was any sort of theory why, AMAB people did, or there would be no need for Deuteronomy to forbid it.

“Doctor I think I’m a woman. Am I insane?” As seen in the film The Danish Girl, some doctors diagnosed schizophrenia, some prescribed exposure to radioactive sources- without any basis beyond the need to appear to have a solution- and some said “If you want to live as a woman, why ever not?”

The theory comes after the fact. Trans women are frightened of expressing ourselves female, others are hostile, so we create words. I am trans because Stuff. I have a “woman’s brain” or a “woman’s spirit” or “I was a woman in a former incarnation”. Then attempts are made with fMRI scanners and dissection, and the evidence is attacked as ambiguous. So people mock the idea of a “woman’s brain”; but even if the concept were meaningless, trans women would not disappear in a puff of logic. No-one told Elagabalus she was a woman trapped in a man’s body, she just went ahead and proclaimed herself Empress, rather than Emperor, of Rome.

If only our persecutors understood this! Here’s a totally ridiculous, missing the point article by Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Why a teacher of journalism would imagine he had any understanding of this, I have no idea. He thinks he’s so clever, demanding, “What would it mean to be born male but actually be female?” Er, dunno. Don’t care, either. My name is Clare, this is how I dress. I don’t need to justify myself to you.

He goes on. “Why aren’t you all feminists?” he demands. Well, because some of us can’t be bothered. I am sort of feminist- there are such variations in that movement, I could not define what “feminist” is; but some people are not politically active.

Is hormones and surgery consistent with an ecological worldview that takes seriously the consequences of dramatic human interventions into organisms and ecosystems? Er, dunno. I did want it, though. The Kama Sutra may mention Hijra, who are castrated: I don’t know how long that has been going on.

Why can’t he just accept this is who I am? This is not to say that sophisticated explanation of trans is impossible, just that some dullard journalist who does not understand it has not come up with the definitive Argument which will make us go away, and that we don’t have to justify ourselves to be trans.

He finds me revolting, and he wants to deny that arises from prejudice. The comments make the prejudice clear: they accuse us of threatening suicide to shut down debate. No; we point out that in a miasma of hostility we may develop depression leading to suicide. Just like gays, we just are.

Bouguereau, a young girl defending herself against Eros

“The ideology of the transgender movement”.

Ways of being

We saw two possibilities: transition, or distorting ourselves behind some manly mask; but then I met one like us who was attempting to be themself and authentic, showing emotional responses, without dressing female. Tina, a counsellor who specialises in our kind, said this was very difficult. Such a person would confuse others which usually means angering or distressing them. We don’t have the words concepts ideas for it. “Pansy” or “effeminate” men are expected to be gay. “Genderqueer” begins to approach it. For some of us, it might even be liberating to call ourselves men, and see another way of being: presenting as feminine men.

The problem is that some espousing this view argue we are not women, we are wrong to dress as women, and deluded and oppressed into losing our gonads as the price of grudging acceptance as trans women.

And I have been too close to that view. I am affected by my friend H who sees me as a man, and likes soft men as I like strong women, but “sees me as a woman” as far as possible relationship goes. If only I had kept my testicles! I am seeking love and acceptance again. I seek to fit in. Beware those who offer acceptance on their own terms!

Now, I reject that view. I am a woman, and chose gender surgery: I was happier than I had ever been. I could not have been a man in that way. I have been liberated.

And I have been too close to the view that we are not “really” women. Women are not like that. Well, the concept “woman” is broad enough to include me. Thank God.

I hear that stuff, and it sets off echoes of self-doubt from the time of transition, because the acceptance of trans women was grudging then. Am I right to do this, I wondered. I picked over every possible doubt- if I had found any reasonable doubt I would not have done it. I remain ashamed of myself- it is the echo of the shame I felt then.

Or-

I am persuaded. Apart from cultural expectation there is no difference between men and women apart from reproductive organs. It is all a huge con. We are men, and should express ourselves as soft, gentle men. Beta males, perhaps. I distort myself into a female form and am mutilated, because of Patriarchal oppression. Those who think they are trans should be saved from themselves, and prevented from any bodily alteration.

Or-

The reason I can’t admit that trans is a huge con is because I would have to admit I was wrong to choose to be mutilated.

But really-

I don’t know. I can’t decide. Differing loyalties, among other things, pull me different ways: I am with these people, who say this; or those, who think the opposite. It would be easier if I knew-

possibly

I am depressed, failing to value my current way of being and my decisions. I am where I am.

 ♥♥♥

This is the thing. When she says “I see you as a man” because of radical feminist theory, I could bear it; but when she “sees me as a man” except in the way of a possible partner, where she “sees me as a woman” and herself as simply heterosexual, I find myself regretting my op. Because I love her.

So I phoned the Samaritans, second time in two days, and was explaining the dynamic. The woman had not heard the word “harridan” which is entirely negative. “It’s not like ‘bitch’,” I explained. “‘Bitch’ can be positive. ‘Find your inner bitch’.”

And I thought, yeah. Find your inner bitch. Bitch can be positive.

I hated my body. I had it adjusted. And then I loved it.

-Lots of women have a great deal of fun with penises, I told a friend when I was considering the Op.
-Yes, but I would not want one of my own, she said.

Various people say, but penises and testicles are wonderful, part of your humanity, part of your beautiful body. Do not mutilate your body. They can’t understand it, and nor can I, for “I am a woman” is a rationalisation not an explanation, and their opinions affect mine, because I want to fit in- but we want this, and we have the right to make our own decisions.

I want to find my inner bitch, find my power. I am weightless, blown by the winds.

Signac, Femme a l ombrelle

Shame of the lesbians

Are gay people pressured into transition, because others are more homophobic than they are transphobic? It seemed ridiculous to me. My lesbian friend insisted that it happens- in Britain, not just in Iran.

I don’t think that would be a Christian point of view. Those Christians who hate gay people also hate trans people, from the same misunderstanding of the Bible and Christianity. Those Christians- more and more of us- who accept trans people accept gay people. It is my impression that there is more transphobia about than homophobia: there is no serious debate in The Morning Star whether lesbians should be excluded from feminist groups, but it is asserted there that transgender politics “erases feminism”.

Some people who are gay considered transition when children. I have met some. Justine McNally felt more comfortable with a male online avatar, and dressed in an apparently male way to visit her girlfriend, but had not taken any steps toward transition- had she done so, the case might not have been brought. She may be trans, but not feel able to state that, or take steps to transition.

Her actions show that she felt she must appear male to have a female partner. The judgment was not clear whether she had had female partners off-line before. If she is lesbian rather than trans, that shows internalised homophobia. Would that be enough to make her bind her breasts, take T, or seek surgery? She did not assert during the criminal process that she is trans.

We can’t know. We don’t even know what proportion of transitioners revert.

To me, we have to trust the person themself making their own decisions, and the physicians prescribing treatment. I hope that people do not want surgery or hormones merely to conform, and that psychiatrists would be able to spot that. It is transphobic to suppose that everyone who reverts should never have had treatment, or that social pressure will be sufficient to make cis people seek medical transition without clear evidence. It makes the speaker’s revulsion against the treatment the measure of its rightness, and ignores trans people’s desire for it. Unreasonable restrictions on trans surgery are transphobic. Trans people live under a miasma of transphobia, internal and external, and make decisions we would not make, if we were free. I hope lesbians suffering under homophobia don’t get as far as breast reduction surgery and testosterone before they realise they are not trans.

Titian, Sisyphus

Two together

Consider the body language. They are close, but not touching. One has her right elbow on the back of the couch, pointing towards the other, her hand supporting her head. Her left leg is crossed over her right knee, the foot extending forward. Her body is an arc. At the centre of the arc sits the other, sitting forward on the couch, ankles crossed demurely and pulled back on the floor beneath her, hands folded in her lap. Enveloped- symbolically, at least, though she is taller and heavier. Quite sexy, actually.

Nothing makes sense. You can rationalise, of course. I had a pointless debate this morning about “assisted dying”- the new neutral/in favour word for euthanasia. Having been suicidal, I will cling to life until I can no longer keep conscious, no longer draw a breath. I know this. S counters with a man with kidney cancer metastasised into the bones, in agony, in a hospice. He is given a particular arranged time with all his faculties to express love and say goodbye, and then he is given enough analgesic to take his pain away, even though it nearly sedates him. He is “out of it” until he “passes away”. Thank God I don’t have to choose for real, for a friend, or for the Law of the Land. You are allowed to think people should have the choice to die! The Oregon rules sound rational and compassionate. Please let me remain revolted.

Transition certainly does not make sense. You can make the case about brain differences or “woman trapped in a man’s body”- or against about autogynephilia being perverted- and for anyone for whom “I wanted to so I did” or “It’s disgusting and they shouldn’t” is not enough, there is reams of rationalisation, arguments from the authority of thousands of trans women’s responses and peer-reviewed journal papers, but no argument will change any mind affected with desire or revulsion. Thank God most people don’t care much, and “they seem harmless enough” is good enough for them. “She wanted this, so why not?” “Takes all sorts to make a world.” I cared- so- Much! How can anyone not? Yet they don’t.

Being attracted to people who are controlling and manipulative, I can hardly complain when someone is controlling and manipulative. Given that nothing that I want makes sense, why should this? If someone plays my heart-strings, and makes me feel soft, I enjoy and resent it, for Love has almost always been a source of shame and misery for me. Stop thinking! Stop knowing there is nothing promised, and just enjoy the moment, that word, the single “x” in that text. I was a lawyer for a time. It is a game, or a battle- judges might need to consider justice, representatives can’t (except as a rationalisation for fighting harder) and if having a lawyer means the opposition caves in, knowing winning a case is more hassle than giving in to you, Hooray!

Let it happen
Just enjoy it

If only I could!

Gerda Wegener Les Delassements d'Eros