Where Are Our Allies? (On Trans* Feminists and their Ever-Elusive Support for Women’s Liberation)

I’m constantly online, favouring feminist blogs and sites (as is my wont, that and Facebook) and it seems I’m forever hearing the crow of injured trans*activists and their kin crying out for their “cis allies” to back them up and chase the naughty TERFs and RadFems out of whatever argument they’re currently having because: trans*phobia.

I keep wondering to myself where our allies are…

I mean, you never, ever see trans*folk coming out in support of pretty much anything another feminist says, unless it is directly in line with current trans* politics, or, rather, the enforced ideology of the loudest/most popular/most visible members of the community.

It seems that trans* women who call themselves feminists are only able to buy into as much feminism as already sits well with their trans*ideology. Anything else, as far as I can tell, is considered either outdated, bigoted, or just plain nonsense.

As a hetero woman in a relationship myself, it has been eye-opening to say the least to read essay after essay, blog post after blog post, about compulsory heterosexuality and the harm that PIV sex exposes women to. Nevertheless, although I have spent a lifetime taking onboard the messages society sends me about my role in the world (as being sexually available to men in every way), I find myself seriously considering ridding my life of PIV sex altogether, thanks to some extremely sound feminist analyses. Even though I might not resonate strongly with the idea due to my conditioning, the ideology is rational and in line with my feminist beliefs. It might make me uncomfortable to consider, but it makes logical sense.

Why, then, are trans* women feminists only able to accept 95% of feminist analysis, and why is the trend now to reduce feminism (even among WBW) to “trans* approved” ideology and denounce anything else as bigoted and trans*phobic? 

Is it really because they are the most oppressededest?

There is a very real possibility (us “Radscum” would suggest it’s a probability, even an inevitability) that the non-acceptance of specific fundamental feminist theory (that of gender as social construct rather than innate trait) by not only the trans* and feminist communities, but the wider community as well,  will result in a group even more marginalized and oppressed than trans*folk consider themselves to be.

Current trans* lobbyists, parents of gender non-conforming children, and law makers are well on their way to instilling an even more conservative society where sex is deemed irrelevant, while sex-based stereotypes (gender) become the defining characteristics of us all. This is in direct opposition to the ideology of the Women’s Liberation Movement which set out to erode those stereotypes so that women (and men) could display natural human behaviours without being discriminated against in a society that has narrowed those behaviours into two categories (masculine and feminine) and enforced them according to each individual’s sex.

Now, those groups i mentioned are insisting on letting children make life-altering (and often irreversible) decisions about their bodies and their futures before they’ve even hit puberty! At this early stage of their lives, they can’t legally drive a car, or vote, or drop out of school, or smoke, or drink alcohol. Their brains aren’t even fully developed until they’re in their mid-twenties, and the last part of the brain to finish developing is the part that is capable of making long-term decisions and determining probable consequences for them. And they’re pushing to give children who are mentally and physiologically incapable of consequence analysis the right to permanently alter their body and commit to a lifetime of medical treatment?!

What happens when those children grow up and their brains finish developing and they are able to question the fact that they were allowed, even encouraged, to make these decisions in pre-pubescence? Some may be grateful, sure, but others… You can guarantee there are kids out there real grateful their parents didn’t let them do plenty of the things their 12 year old selves wanted to do. I’d suggest these would be the majority, and when that’s the case, you’ve got an entire crowd of people who have been permanently damaged by society’s blind acceptance of “gender identity”. Think eugenics, people. Think female genital mutilation. Think natural left-handers who were caned for not using their right. Those kids are gonna be pissed adults.

Which leads me to the most oppressedest. In the above scenario, who’s more oppressed? Considering the probability that those pissed adults (who were transitioned in childhood based on their exposure to an extremely gender-conscious society) are going to come to the same conclusion as radical feminists (that gender is a social construct, the elimination of which would require exactly no one to undergo surgery and hormone therapy in order to “be themselves”), where the hell are the trans* feminists who are willing to put their own experience down to an upbringing in an extremely gender-conscious society and protect others from going through the same traumatizing gender dysphoria that they’ve been through?! The dysphoria only exists because of the gender-soaked culture which has nurtured it, to the detriment of women and men alike, trans or not.

Why are WBW feminists the ones who have to mould their own politics to fit in with the popular trans* ideology of the moment? Where are the trans* feminists who are moulding their politics out of ours?  Why are our politics the ones that need changing? Why is it always women’s theories and ideologies that have to fit in with everyone else’s?

Where the hell are our trans* allies?!


5 thoughts on “Where Are Our Allies? (On Trans* Feminists and their Ever-Elusive Support for Women’s Liberation)

  1. “I mean, you never, ever see trans*folk coming out in support of pretty much anything another feminist says, unless it is directly in line with current trans* politics, or, rather, the enforced ideology of the loudest/most popular/most visible members of the community.”

    Rather than just dismissing the radfem community and its opinions (as I know most of my friends do on a regular basis), I’ve tried to instead understand why so many who self-identify as radical feminists seem so set against the trans* community. For the past few months, I’ve been reading through recent radfem blog posts and you know.. I find that I actually agree with a good number of the arguments I’ve found there. In speaking to others about what I’ve read, its become apparent that I am not alone in these feelings… but so long as the reasoning continues to be that all transmen are just women rejecting their femininity, that all transwomen are just pervert men, and other such hasty generalizations, why would anyone in the trans* community willingly stand by you, knowing full well that at some point in the future, they’re just going to be tossed under the bus with everyone else?

    • I think you’ve definitely identified one of the problems, and I would go on to say that the trans* community’s *lack* of acknowledgement of autogynephilia and such greatly contributes to the tension, since there are *many* examples of such in public blogs and news stories.

      I guess my point was that feminism has always challenged the biological determinism of gender and stereotypical sex roles, and came to the conclusion a *long* time ago that gender is a social construct that enforces the sex hierarchy at the expense of women (and some men) and should therefore be abolished.

      Then you have the trans* community who heighten gender above biological sex, and expect feminists to support them (because feminists reject gender oppression), and many do.

      But this requires those particular feminists to reject gender as a social construct, thereby rejecting one of the most basic foundations of feminist theory.

      Which leads me to wonder, where are the trans* people who are being required to reject gender as innate identity in order to support feminists? They simply don’t exist. Women are being required to alter their beliefs and ideologies to fit in with the noisiest minority group and their theories and Politics in order to be allowed to have any feminist ideas at all. As soon as someone identifies as radical feminist, both the trans*community and liberal feminists shut down any discussion about gender as social construct, leaving us with the same old ideology that patriarchy provides: that people’s behaviours are innate and immutable and based on their inner gender (whether or not that gender is the one assigned to them in regards to their sex). That is, masculine for boys, feminine for girls, and if you’re out of sync, you must be in the wrong body.

      • I would also strongly suggest that trans*people would not be thrown under any bus should the radical feminist desire for the abolition of gender become a reality.
        They would be free to behave in whichever way they like, displaying human traits (rather than masculine or feminine) without the societal pressure to match those traits with their biology.

      • Also, if you look at radical feminism and agree with quite a lot of it, but are still struggling with the trans* issue, think of it this way:

        We know from feminist theory (and our herstory) that one way in which women are oppressed has to do with our biological capacity (our ability to bear children). This is where rape comes from, as a way to keep females subjugated.

        If we negate sex and only refer to gender oppression, in the way that the trans* community does, then a massive part of women’s oppression is erased. Women (with penises) are able to rape men (with vaginas) and it therefore becomes like any other non-gendered crime.

        And yet we know that our ability to be impregnated and subdued as a sex (and the fact that women have historically been seen as sub-human, property, chattel) is the reason why those with penises (men) rape us, both in war and as acts of violence in everyday life.

        Erasure of genetic biological fact erases the *reason* for this method of oppression, and therefore erases females as a class who are oppressed by men as a class in this way.

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