What Intersectionality means for trans women. A post for Munroe Bergdorf

This is the paper that coined the term ‘intersectionality’.  It is a working concept used widely for decades in systems that deal with violence and abuse, principally male violence and abuse and the subordination of women. It is about the erasure of the physical existence of women and distillation of it to legal fictions of discrimination that do not protect women, the emergence of systems around this intersection that deal with abuse and violence. Social work, domestic abuse, care economy, child abuse. It is about the routine subordination of women, of discussion of the violence that results, of activism ignoring these systems and of the way that women have organised and developed these systems regardless. It is directly relevant to austerity and the way these systems were targeted by austerity in the UK.

Trans women need to understand intersectionality and here is what it means for trans women:

Gender is not a binary it is a system which subordinates women, and means women have to live with and manage the risk of violence. Gender is a system which does not recognise the reality of womens lives, but which subordinates that reality. It is not innate. Trans women need to recognise that they are male, and their physicality and male privilege is not experienced by women. They need to recognise the fear women have of male violence and its justification. That women will recognise their maleness because of this. It means accepting that gender recognition procedures and access to female spaces will compromise women and children’s safety if there is no risk assessment contained within, and no recognition of that risk of violence and abuse that defines womanhood. It means trans women accepting they are male and women have to discuss the risk they pose.

It means accepting that gender recognition certificates which can be awarded to peadophiles and rapists, mean women cannot recognise holders of these certificates as women who pose no risk. It means understanding that women’s biology and reproductive systems are at the core of the inequality they experience. It means recognising they do not have the right to subordinate females any more. It means recognising male socialisation, privilege and tendency to violence and sexual violence. It means discussing violence against women in terms of the victim, not the identity of the perpetrator, even if that perpetrator identifies as a woman. It means recognising that women have created these systems and organised and respecting that achievement and also respecting that women’s voices and understanding of these systems is not contained in elite institutions. It means recognising women got feminism right. It was men and elite institutions who got it wrong.

It means recognising that when trans women threaten violence and abuse to get validation from women they are demonstrating masculinity. It means recognising that abuse, violence, and offending statistics are what divides men and women, not make up, clothes and hair. It means recognising that women are routinely subordinated through law, policy and activism and not doing that.

 

There is no interpretation of intersectionality that requires women admit males to their spaces without consideration of violence. Or that women’s sexual orientation must change to accommodate new male identities. Or that violence against women is now valid feminism. It means that males don’t subordinate women or ask them to erase themselves, just because they decided they identify as women. It means recognition of the way sex and race and class are not experienced separately, and these things compound to put women at risk. The physicality at the heart of this. That means recognising when you do not share it it is because you are male.

It means recognising that womens erasure, their subordination, is the tendency of males and leaving this at the door. Trans women need to grapple with intersectionality and what it means. It does not mean they are marginalised women.

What it does not mean is that women exist to validate males, should be forced to associate with males, should be forced to have males in their spaces without consideration of risk. It does not mean women have been getting feminism wrong, quite the opposite. Its that women have been successfully organising to create systems and aspects of the economy which deal with male violence for decades and the reality of these systems is not recognised at an elite level. It is a working concept that women do not need to read papers to understand but which males do.

Munroe Bergdorf’s demand that women subordinate their identity to hers, that they do not discuss their biology, these systems, and defer to her, is the demand of a male. At the core of intersectionality for professionals is reflection. Reflection on the power they hold. The same applies to trans women. It means women’s consent matters, violence against women matter and woman is not an identity that can be appropriated by anyone. It means women dont exist to validate men, their words are not violence to be suppressed with violence and their identities cannot be erased without harming them and children.

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Me vs Labour

There is no me vs Labour. There is a changed media landscape where political communication has a social dimension, and I am part of that landscape. I am not in conflict with a political party and if I was I would be stupid. Labour have communicated with me, I have asked them to address the way I have been treated in the past seven years and to make it cease. I will not be exploring the outcomes or the details in this blog. I have learned all I can from this culture. I have no wish to be a public figure or object of curiosity, if I did I would have taken one of the many many opportunities offered to me to be that. I hope this sorts. I don’t know what happens if it doesnt.

Things I will not argue:

I will not argue that women are allowed to associate freely and without male supervision.

I will not argue that women define their own boundaries, their own sexual orientation.

I will not argue that children’s bodies can be wrong and should be altered to fit gender roles which are bollocks.

I will not argue that gender is innate. It is not.

I will not argue that female biology is shameful, unspeakable, and should be hidden.

I will not argue that violence against women, sexual violence, threats of sexual violence and violence are acceptable.

I will not argue that women do not exist to validate males.

I will not argue that the systems shaped by abuse and violence and male violence, most of which were targeted by austerity, are not shaped by gendered power relations rooted in female reproductive capacities.

I will not argue that women have equality or privilege over males.

I accepted long long ago, without question that someone living as a woman had the right to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else and the same legal rights and protections. I will not pretend that me refusing to argue the things listed above is in any way a threat to this. ANYONE making me argue the things listed up there is suspect and telling me they are disordered and I should treat them with suspicion. Noone argued that trans women should not have the rights other people had.

What has become apparent is that identifying as a woman is the last lawful way to enact feelings of violence against women and to attempt to subordinate them. The performance of regressive femininity the last remaining way to perform abusive masculinity. I am under no obligation to treat this as womanhood. It is male disorder. I am under no obligation to validate males, especially not at the cost of my rights, my safety, that of my child, and the progress that women made in blood in the twentieth century. Women fought and died for the right to say fuck off to males, and we do so every week. We will only retain that right if we exercise it.

If a gender recognition certificate can be issued to a rapist, a child sex offender, I am under no obligation to treat the holder of that certificate as a woman. I will not pretend trans women are women, when the cost is this.

My views have not changed. Trans women I know living as women, want comparitatively little. I never had a problem with the narrative of being born in the wrong body as a way for individuals to ease distress. I will not out of kindness or need to make these women comfortable, sacrifice women and children. I cannot prioritise males over women and children and the moment abuse, coercion, threats and reproductioin of disorder through systems became the question that trans women are women changed.

When the threats, violence, coercion, abuse of children, abuse of lesbians, and attempt to erase sex based protections ceases, I will go back to respect for pronouns and identity. Until that is the case I will not be repeating the false mantra that trans women are women. Trans indicates male bodied. Gender recognition certificates are issued to rapists and peadophiles. I am under no obligation to treat a gender recognition certificate as evidence of womanhood. Woman means something. And it doesn’t mean male disorder.

The female body and why trans women cannot be lesbians.

A male can obtain hormones and cosmetic surgery and can approximate aspects of the female body. A vagina which will accomodate a penis, softer features, electrolysis, and this can ease distress. Hopefully. A lesbian is never ever going to be confused by this and there is nothing that can be done to the male body that will make it do what the female body does. Nothing. Nothing that a lesbian will be looking for that she will find in that male body. Lesbians always know, and if they use your correct pronouns it is a politeness.

I am straight and here is how I know this. I have a clitoris. That clitoris is the only bodily feature which is entirely about pleasure, it starts on the outside and goes right the way in, encasing everything. I know what that clitoris does. There is no way a male body can do that. My body made a person. Having sex, led to an actual child growing inside me. Which I then had to get out. That vagina that a surgeon can create to accomodate a penis couldn’t accomodate a baby and then be back to normal size, it can’t self clean, it can’t self lubricate and it isn’t encased by the nerve endings of the clitoris. This body can then feed a child. It not only is able to do this, it is able to work out a working pattern where that child is not present and no milk is required, while still producing exactly what that child needs when it is there. This body is so connected to the infant it created and fed that it woke me up before that child woke every single time for years. Even when she was in a different room or building. The female orgasm is so power and so complex that it bears no relation to the male orgasm. You can start with one teeny orgasm, and it repeat, repeat and repeqt and get bigger till they join together and the only after effect is that you are hungry. These functions are part of the wonder of female biology. The source of life for every human being on the planet. What a surgeon can approximate in a trans women will never ever ever confuse a lesbian.

If you push a lesbian to the point where she has to misgender you to assert this you are abusing her. If she has to repeatedly state this while you explain she is wrong you are demonstrating you are  male sexual predator and a risk to all women. As a straight woman I know for a fact that a trans woman stating she is a lesbian is announcing herself as a dangerous predator and risk to all women and there is no way on this earth that any lesbian could possibly be attracted to a male body. Because lesbians dont do dick, they don’t do hard male bodies that dont create life and don’t have an orgasm that could break an arm. As a woman I know what its like when someone wont take no for an swer, and you tell a lesbian you cannot grasp this you are telling me and everyone else you are a predator and you are dangerous. Its not about gender its about consent. Its about knowing your identity cannot change someone elses identity or sexual boundaries, its about mental disorder. A male suggesting he is a lesbian is announcing this and nothing else.

Reflection: Big picture

Neo liberalism has always relied on one thing. The reflex to protect identity. Usually while stripping back at whatever policy makers couldn’t conceptualise. Jane Lewis and Mary Daly identified the stripping back of capacities to care a long while ago, and the system failure in systems concerned with the baseline of the rule of law and citizenship went unremarked. It took seven years to realise that was because we had elite institutions who didn’t know or care what these systems did, and the crisis we are in is growing and ‘I identify as’ is the last gasp of this. It’s snowing again. Life is back to feeling like the tension has to break, as we wait for the next wave of crisis and Labour and the Conservatives argue in ever decreasing circles while telling the world tht post Brexit Britain is a pimple that will probably pop itself. It’s hard to grasp. It would be easier if there was malice. If it was mean old Tories and mean old Labour but it really isn’t. I sat with someone last month and realised that the people at the heart of htis really do not know what is happening or how big this crisis is. They think if they maintain denial and protection of identity we wil be in Kansas again soon.

I have kind of stopped watching domestic news, it seems pointless. There isnt the will to do anything about this in Westminster and even f there was the will there arent the intellectual resources. It’s weird when your country is throwing itself into the shitter while waving a union jack.

Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a buzzword but it actually has a meaning. It didnt come from academia. It came from legal practice and systems around abuse and violence. The case law used described how legal fictoins which saw discrimination as one facet of an identity failed and denied protection when someone whose body could not experience identity facets separately was fucked over for say, being a black women. It described how the erasure of this physical reality from systems and campaigns resulted in blindspots that which facilitated violence against women.

The appropriation of intersectionality by trans extremists has actually demonstrated what Crenshaw was saying quite marvellously. In the very short time since a bunch of elite male academics grappling with their identity disorder, tried to intersect their penis with feminism, we have a version of feminism where violence against women, abuse of women, sexual coercion, and sterilisation of children IS feminism. While it doesn’t feel funny right now, the five or six year demonstration of what happens when the female sex is erased and we place the penis at the centre of everything should be quite an amusing anecdote.

Elite white males the most oppressed women on the planet and entitled to threaten, coerce and abuse any woman not existing to validate them. Genius. Comedy genius.

Do you know any men who behave this way?

Abuse lesbians for not fucking them? Insist on their right to be fucked by lesbians? Insist kids need to be educated that being them being naked around them is fine, and their penises are not a threat? Who demand that you do not discuss your biology because it causes such deep distress they may try suicide or act violently? Do you know any men who use the threat of violence and suicide to control their environment? If you do you know a very dangerous man and you need to get assistance.

On what fucking planet does behaviour which marks out a man as deeply disordered and dangerous become womanhood and feminism if the perpetrator is wearing a wig and stilettos and has a twitter account? We are down the rabbit hole. We are actually down the rabbit hole.

‘Trans Kids’

So about a month ago I had a sickening realisation. Someone’s inner identity cannot impact the sexual orientation of a woman so she will be attracted to male bodies if she is a lesbian. Lesbians don’t do dick and trans ideology has resulted in the widescale sexual coercion of women for doing nothing more than asserting sexual boundaries. Peaktrans comes in waves.

The issue of trans kids had bothered me. The sight of young gender non conforming people having mastectomies, commiting to hormone treatments that in adults cause lifelong problems and the realisation hit me.

How would halting sexual maturation change a child’s sex? It wouldn’t. It would stop the development of their bodies so their bodies didn’t develop visible characteristics, remove their ability to mature. Why would we do this?

Gender roles changed in the twentieth century. Beyond all recognition. Before most children were born women ceased to be property, ceased to exist only in the domestic sphere. Children cannot have internalised gender roles that disappeared before they were born. It’s not possible. Even if they could, gender is an external construct, social norms, rules, regulations. Its in flux, its external, it cannot be a fixed point that exists internally.

What we are doing is deliberate inducement of dysphoria in children. Making them doubt material reality, telling them their sexed bodies can be wrong, and then encouraging them to place normal feelings of dysphoria on the diagnosis some adults have received and to enter into treatment which is permanent and has lifelong consequences. We are encouraging children to sterilise themselves, to halt sexual maturation, to validate adults with a mental disorder. Pathologising childhood and adolescence to depathologise a disorder that should not be depathologised.

How can a child sterilising themselves impact gender constructs that died before they were born that they cannot possibly be bound by? What evidence base have we been using for this? How has this been justified? What the fuck?

Paris Lees: breastfeeding

I can’t tell you how the transgender breastfeeding story would be reported here because we probably wouldn’t report removal of the infant from its parents to protect the infant. Forcing an infant to ingest a cocktail of drugs purchased over the net, some contra indicated during breastfeeding, all administered without prescription, from a body already full of artificial hormones, while depriving it of nutrition in the first days of life, so a vain male ‘carer’ can feel validated is serious child abuse. The mother would likely be blamed, they are expected to recognise males who see their children as a source of personal gratification and to work with professionals bound by responsibilities to children. It would bring prosecution, removal of that infant, and a  possible  prison sentence. Any doctor involved in such a thing would be guilty of serious misconduct. Newborns are extraordinarily fragile and vulnerable infants entirely dependent on the very reliable care of parents, usually mother’s who put them first. Breastfeeding is a complex, emotionally connected symbiosis between a woman and baby, the body prepares for it by gestating an infant, an extension of pregnancy. The mother’s entire being is geared to the infant, not the other way round. Newborns are not dolls to be starved and poisoned so a vain male can perform a facsimile of motherhood. The article you shared was about child abuse not breastfeeding. Trans people may crowd source medical research and purchase drugs, we use actual research and qualified medical supervision for care of infants and we spend a great deal of time deciding what is safe. Babies need adults who can suppress their own needs for a while, they are not props to egos so dangerous a new born being starved and poisoned with purchased drugs is a good way to feel validated. As it is I doubt very much this story is true. It says something very serious about those using it as wish fulfilment which has nothing to do with womanhood or the desire to care for a child.