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

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner is the most prominent trans woman anywhere, a big target to hostiles, not particularly a good role model, but a way to get us noticed. If people know about us, we are less threatening. Should we defend her? A comment here:

Bruce was born male and raised male—and he was a jock…The males in my family were jocks—and while their life experience was that of being treated like young princes—my experience as a female was that of being treated like a servant. While they were at some sports field tossing a ball while people eagerly watched and cheered, I was doing their laundry…

Bruce’s life has been one of extreme MALE privilege. He has been fawned over and catered to as are all male jocks.

So fast forward, and Bruce announces at age 65 he’s “always felt [he] was a woman”… his having this dream life of extreme male privilege not afforded to ANY woman, especially back when in was in his 20s and women were bared from holding certain jobs, like being a cop.

Not entirely a dream life- she lived with gender dysphoria.

Bruce doesn’t have a clue what it is to be a woman, because all his experiences have been as a fawned over male.

Some women resent successful men, because patriarchy kept women from such success. I sympathise. But also, some women reject transgender when they don’t feel the “gender” “feminine” applies to them. Female sexuality, but not “femininity”. Females’ experiences, not a set of feelings peculiar to females.

then-

This is why some women take issue with male to female transgenders.

She applies it to us. All of us. To me, she says, I totally support you doing whatever you need to in order to feel comfortable in your own skin yet she “understands” the women who “take issue”. We are a class. As Stewart Lee says, mocking Islamophobes, “I hate all Muslims- except the few I have met who are all all right”. She says about Caitlyn what others say of all of us.

Just to be clear, I have no objection to anyone wanting to change their name, their gender, their body, whatever. It’s their business. I don’t care if Bruce wants to present as a woman, that’s his personal choice, BUT I do have a problem with him claiming he’s been a woman all along. It’s total B. fucking S.

It doesn’t matter what he “felt” inside. The reality is, he wasn’t ostracized or marginalized. … For him to now claim he’s “always been” a woman—after he has reaped the rewards as a male—is an insult.

Unfortunately, “claiming to be a woman” is what we do. We pretend to be Manly to cover up how we feel inside, then we transition. Caitlyn made her money as an athlete, some of us barely muddle through. Caitlyn appears on a magazine cover, glammed up by the best make-up artists and photographers, and that is what celebrities do, not just her. Notice- she has to do that, to get what she wants. She has to behave as a woman of her class, now.

Women have been kept from particular roles and shoe-horned into others. I have been unable to be myself for thirty years, and only when I transition can I find and value myself. “I have been a woman all the time I presented male” means this is not a whim, but liberation of my real self: feminine, but arguably not female.

Caitlyn’s struggle is my struggle. Her privilege is that of the rich. Attack the privilege of rich celebrities by all means, but if you pick on the trans woman as trans, you pick on me too. So we have to defend her. Our arguments fail completely if they fail in her case. And if others divide us into “suffering trans” who get sympathy and “privileged trans” who do not, who can be attacked, all of us will be called “privileged” eventually.

I wrote that, then she commented again: Transgender women want to go into female dressing rooms and bathrooms. Some women don’t feel comfortable with that. And that’s okay. It’s their right to not have someone they view as male enter their private area. All that sympathy for my victims, and I get erased.

Mmm. What alternative do you propose? And how important is it, considering the number of trans women?

Artemisia Gentileschi, sleeping Venus

Channelling anger

Here’s Julie Bindel, the trans eraser, on being no-platformed. She is the victim, she claims. She divides us into the good trans, who co-operate with her, and the bad trans who disagree. When we are liberated, she calls that “oppressive”. She says “This isn’t about the transgender issue” but it is- when you keep talking and writing about trans, that’s about trans. She minimises her offence: she claims her 2004 article used “inappropriate humour”, but does not mention her transphobic rant on Radio 4 in 2013.

Then the comments. “Hecuba” harangues her for being too moderate: This is why we real Radical Feminists refuse to refer to biological males who pretend they are females as ‘she.’ It isn’t ‘basic manners’ Bindel it is a refusal to accept male lies they are really females in a male body. But you know this already Bindel yet you continue to try and ‘have it both ways’ by pandering to the men and pretending you are a real Radical Feminist.

Maria speaks up for us: for those who need to have the world in binary black and white, truth and lie, good and bad, such liberal acceptance of complexity is both threatening and incomprehensible. And then the pile-on begins: twenty responses, including one describing Caitlyn Jenner as “a Republican who just killed someone”. It was a car crash. All charges were dropped. Victims in the third car sued the estate of the dead woman. “Jo” misrepresents the case to make the trans woman a monster.

Then there was the Independent article. In the comments, I read we are deluded perverts, and if we object that is called “narcissistic rage”. We need to be protected from our sick desire to be mutilated. The most threatening thing said is that children who we might inveigle into following us into desiring mutilation need to be protected from us.

My facebook friend has just had her operation. She is an adult, and she and her female partner together can make their own choices. Her psychiatrists and surgeon are clear that this is the appropriate treatment.

I speak up for the liberal acceptance of complexity. I wanted transition more than anything else in the world. I cannot imagine reverting. I want to live my life quietly.

There is a great deal of anger and fear. People fear for our jobs, and our standard of living. Our anger is diverted against acceptable targets: for the right wing, immigrants and benefit claimants; but for these radical feminists, the might of the patriarchy is too large a target, so a huge amount of the anger is diverted against trans women.

I wonder if Hecuba has ever met a trans woman. What did that trans woman do to her, to justify that outpouring of rage against Julie Bindel for not being transphobic enough? She may suffer all sorts of issues personally, sex discrimination, sexist remarks, yet I am her target.

If you cut me I bleed. Rants about trans folk are about me, and they frighten me. If you need to vent anger fear or frustration on the internet, vent it at the actual problem, the immediate cause of your anger. When people share incitement against trans women on the internet, and vent their anger pointlessly there, they only become more powerless.

Monet, Red boats at Argenteuil

Understanding trans

When considering transition, you may come across rubbish like this: Self identified trans individuals are interested in perpetuating understandings of gender identity disorder only in so far as they affirm their transgenderism in the terms which are most comfortable to them. So claimed a transphobic commenter. He claims to be a fetishist, and to believe that we are fetishists too.

In my blog you will find the case for transition. It is not for everyone- my transvestite friend once spent a whole week in drag, and at the end was heartily sick of it- but if it is right for you, it is really, really, right. There is evidence of that everywhere: teachers, doctors, academics, writers, members of parliament– with Caitlyn Jenner it may be too early to tell, but generally transition is a good thing.

I am interested in understanding. I have no need for the autogynephilia hypothesis to be false- if I were convinced that that was what was really happening, I would not change from expressing myself female, and would not consider that a reason for anyone not to transition, if they wanted to. But I believe autogynephilia is not true, because where there is desire to express female, and arousal by that, it is more likely that the desire causes the arousal than the other way around. Blanchard’s theory fails to explain what else could cause the arousal.

No, femininity causes our desire to express ourselves female.

That transphobe commenter claims to imagine that we are fetishists, turned on by the thought of being emasculated rather than of expressing ourselves as the feminine beings we are. This is merely silly. My femininity has a positive value. It is expressed according to the terms of my culture; its attributes, such as kindness, can be a man’s as well as a woman’s; yet taken as a whole I am feminine. I do not have to justify that to anyone, and certainly not to the transphobe wxhluyp, whose response to the strongest evidence is blank denial.

He alleges we are only interested in affirming our understanding of transgenderism. Clearly not: I have wrestled with the concept of autogynephilia, at one point believing it.

Human beings lie to ourselves. We create stories to justify ourselves. When I say I am female, and feminine, nothing will stop wxhluyp the transphobe from grinding out “You would say that, wouldn’t you?” We seek out arguments to justify our gender expression. But that does not apply to the trans woman considering whether to transition. Certainly in my generation, we are terrified of it, and run as hard as we can away from it. We take up macho professions such as the armed forces.

Thirteen years after I “went full time”, the picture is more mixed. There are children who against great resistance have convinced their parents they are trans; and yet if a lesbian aged 25 can be ashamed of her sexuality, there are certainly adults who have not yet transitioned, and are terrified of doing so, or in denial.

Denying and self-loathing, we seek out arguments like autogynephilia to buttress our desperation to remain male. We are so desperate that we might even consider “masochistic emasculation fetishism” as an explanation. Even recently, I gave far more weight to arguments against transition than I need to, and considered reverting.

Against this self-loathing, I give you- common sense. You know you want to transition. You know how feminine you are: you will come to value that, in time. It is a long journey, but it is worthwhile. It will make your life better. Those trans children are not interested in the arguments about whether it is right– they know who they are, and work to realise it. That is all the understanding you need.

If you have come from Reddit, please tell me what you think, and what your interest is. There is a comment box below.

Hieronymus Bosch, The Temptation of St Anthony, detail 5

No platform III

So what of Julie Bindel’s claim that gay men and lesbians may be pressured into transition and “sex changes”, to mimic straight people? Yes, it happens in Iran, but does it happen here? Apparently it does. She made the claim on this Radio 4 programme in 2013.

In Standpoint, she quoted one. “I was a messed-up young gay man,” says Claudia McClean, a male-to-female transsexual who opted for surgery 20 years ago. “If I had been offered an alternative to a sex change, I would have jumped at the chance.” Bindel does not suggest what alternative was available, but the obvious ones are reverting, not transitioning, or expressing female while retaining her penis. Claudia would have spent a year or two presenting female before surgery, longer if on the NHS. Those who regret, who blame the doctors, make transition more difficult for the rest of us. In 1990 there was a great deal of normalised homophobia- on the TV, in the papers, on the streets- but presenting female was hardly easier for a gay male than being out gay.

I believe a certain androphile trans woman told my friend Andy that she was “a gay man trapped in a woman’s body”, though she did not revert, and though Andy should not have named her to me. Again, where did the suggestion that she should transition come from?

A gay man born in Italy in the 1970s told me that in his teenage years he had considered transition. Italy has a macho culture; yet he did not.

I could have been straight. A lot of trans women are gynephile. We clearly are not transitioning to conform to a straight female stereotype enforced by patriarchy. The blog self-called “Silly” still carries on, claiming that the evidence for genetic and brain differences in trans women from cis men are all in the androphiles, and the gynephiles are all autogynephiliac perverts. Don’t go there, it is hate speech: in one page she advises the wives of trans women that “in a very real sense” their husband has died. But if there is all that evidence of difference in the androphile trans women, it is not merely that gay men are pressured into transition.

Clearly, not all trans women are gay men pressured into transition, and not all androphile trans women revert, or regret the operation, even if some do. Then, who is the person needing protection? Not the gay man who falsely imagines he has gender dysphoria, and foolishly transitions, then has his penis and testicles removed, willingly- for he only has to say “No, thanks” and the operation will not happen. And most people in Britain can find gay-accepting sub-cultures, especially now, but increasingly since 1967. Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics hate trans people, as well as gay people: you will not find Christians who would reject you as gay but welcome you as trans, though that is a myth other TERFs have peddled.

To protect that notional gay man at the expense of real trans women, who must jump through hoops, and wait, and wait, for hormones and the operation, is transphobic.

Hieronymus Bosch, The Temptation of St Anthony, detail 7