A trans queer woman living in Canada.
Who also has an image based Queer Art Blog too.
Unguarded and Poorly Observed: A Response to Julie BurchillJANUARY 13, 2013 BY LEAVE A COMMENT
It is altogether fitting that on a day when my own father yelled at me for being a feminist, and got angry at me for introducing my brother to novels by women, about women, that I should come across Julie Burchill raging against “shemales” in the Guardian. It was very much in the spirit of an evening where I was told to my face that I’d do more good for feminism if I’d “been a man” and not a woman; it was a day where I had to listen to a man witheringly declaim literature about “women’s stuff,” and a day where I was attacked for my anger and verve in defending our right to write and speak as women.
So in that spirit, I shall continue to write, and to speak.
I shall continue to write in spite of having been threatened with rape, in spite of having been told that I’m a “shemale feminazi with too much sand in her fake vagina,” in spite of having been called every misogynist, transmisogynist, and transphobic slur in the book many times over, and in spite of having been accused of “man-hating, race-baiting, white-hating,” and the utterly unreal crime of “misandry.” In spite of being called too loud, too shrill, too whiny, too sexist (against men, of course), and “heterophobic.” In spite of being told I should avoid graduate school unless I had a “rich boyfriend.” In spite of all that, I speak.
The path I’ve walked is littered with those fell arrows, spread behind me like a sinister field of bent and blackened straw. So when I see something like this:
“Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days – don’t threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you. We may not have as many lovely big swinging Phds as you, but we’ve experienced a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment and many of us are now staring HRT and the menopause straight in the face – and still not flinching. Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You really won’t like us when we’re angry.”
I can only shake my head. Not so much at the transmisogyny that runs through Burchill’s article like streaks of blood, but at the failure of empathy and sisterhood such a paragraph entails. After everything I’ve put up with hearing in my life, after all the sexual harassment and moments where I’ve feared for my life and safety—moments any woman, trans or cis, would know all too well—after everything I’ve listed above, Burchill still sees trans women as so inscrutably and ineluctably ‘other’ that we are incapable of even being on the same side of the great political divide. It seems impossible, in Burchill’s world, that I exist—as a woman and a radical feminist—because I can only ever be a “shim” in a “bad wig” and a dress. More than anything else, I think, what saddens me are the profound and abiding consequences of failing to see trans women as women, and as sisters in struggle.
Our Old Friend “Authenticity”
Throughout the piece, she excoriates trans activists (most of whom are likely feminists, and many of whom may also be cisgender) for essentially being overeducated toffs who do not know the meaning of suffering, depravation, and struggle. “To be fair, after having one’s nuts taken off (see what I did there?) by endless decades in academia, it’s all most of them are fit to do. Educated beyond all common sense and honesty, it was a hoot to see the screaming mimis accuse Suze of white feminist privilege.”
I’m not British. But I am a Puerto Rican American who both grew up in and still lives in “the ghetto” and my struggle with class in this country is as much a part of my life, my experience, and my activism as gender and its manifold vicissitudes. Further, it is still a matter of routine for feminists in general to be slapped by accusations of overeducation and ivory tower moralising: jeremiads against “the sanctimonious women’s studies set” are a staple of populist editorialising these days and have been for a generation now. I have not the slightest quarrel with Burchill’s working class background– to hate her for that would be to hate myself. I’m merely baffled at the fact that she antagonises women like me for speaking by suggesting that our attempts to get an education are a bad thing.
It never fails to surprise me to see women like Burchill and Bindel resort to the tics of patriarchs when defending their own bigotries, just as it surprises me to hear her extol her working class roots while mocking “wretched inner city kids” in another breath, rolling a horrifically complex social problem and the people who live it into a neatly poor analogy that insults with stunning economy but does nothing useful.
Indeed, going beyond the misogyny, classism, and transmisogyny that is this article’s raison d’etre I would say that what is most disturbing about it is how stunningly and embarrassingly petty it is. It is more or less in the same category as a bullish op-ed by a cis male misogynist that was 50% “bitch, cunt, whore, slapper, slag, cow” and 50% bad clam jokes. Genitals and transphobic insults are the vast bulk of this article. The rest is comprised of invidious distinctions, such as the disgusting attempt to assert that trans feminists are opposed to Julie Bindel’s properly feminist work, and not just her transphobia, or to claim that trans women think their issues are the most important at all times.
The final dollop of a column centimetre that remains is, perhaps, her sole argument: that her friend, Suzanne Moore, should not have been called out for transphobia because she was doing something much more important with her article—the noble work of criticising the Coalition government’s oppressive and often misogynist social policies. But this is a weak argument, no more acceptable than a male socialist seeking forbearance for a rape joke used in an editorial about saving the NHS. Important work does not justify prejudice, even as a “joking” aside. Least of all prejudicial articles where women are objectified and find their appearances to be the subject of uncouth navel-gazing (see: all the remarks about wigs, dresses, cocks, etc.).
An Ironically Missed Opportunity
What is especially irritating about all of this is that feminists have the tools to understand why all of this is problematic: why “it’s just a joke” is not an excuse, why slurs are hate speech, why and how language constructs prejudicial realities (just as “mankind” biases us to thinking of men as more human than women, calling trans women “men” biases us to discriminating against them), and so on. Feminists, more than most people, have the tools to understand all of this.
But what troubles me even more is the attempt to put feminists on one side and trans women on the other. As if trans women cannot be feminists, or as if cis feminists could not be deeply troubled by the implications of Burchill’s piece. This is what is most potentially destructive here: the neat, artificial distinction that keeps trans women away from that great sisterhood of feminism, and from the healing and empowerment it can engender. And for what? For the sake of a cheap thrill in the Guardian?
Oddly enough, the innocuous subtitle of her article is “It’s never a good idea for those who feel oppressed to start bullying others in turn,” a point I fully agree with. We do have a problem with “call-out culture” in our feminist and queer communities, we do have a problem with unchecked egos and with activist-cum-academic aesthetics becoming more important than material results. There is a real, meaningful discussion to be had about whether the Tumblr-isation of activism has been a wholly good thing, or whether it breeds reflexive semantic policing at the expense of necessary work.
But Burchill forewent that entirely, instead launching into an article where she failed to take her own advice and did so with an ineloquent flamboyance that betrayed little besides prejudice and lack of self-awareness. Instead of possibly seeing trans women as sisters and allies in both forming a more perfect activist culture and in fighting patriarchy, she—who by her own admission knows nothing of the trans community save through Julie Bindel and this recent episode with Ms. Moore—simply writes an article groaning under the weight of its slurs and insults.
That saddens me more than anything else. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The other sad thing is, I completely get why she’s doing this. From her perspective, trans women are not women. We’re overeducated fops who are whinging about getting our feelings hurt and throwing male privilege around, so far as she is concerned. She could not be more violently wrong, but that fundamental belief animates everything else she says. I would like to think that if she actually, sincerely knew us—that if she were the godmother of some of our daughters as well—she might think very differently, and that she might be confronted with the mountains of empirical evidence that we’re really not so different from her.
She might see that, in the spirited words of Eowyn, I am no man. That her words have profoundly deleterious effects for very real (not imagined) women.
But what also troubles me is that she suggests that women should prove that they can be hurt by patriarchy by showing how they have. Why? Why must I strip off and reveal my scars to prove myself? Why must I revisit traumas to satisfy her and earn my place? Why must I always return to those places and times where I felt death gather around me in order to prove that I “know the meaning of suffering”?
My feminism is defined by what I do—by what I write, by what I orate, by what organisations I work for, by the research I do, by how I confront a patriarchal world and try to change it. It is not defined by my many wounds. Neither, for that matter, is my womanhood.
To be honest, I do not want Burchill to apologise. I do not dream of apologies. Rather, I wish Burchill could see what I see. That she could see the indefatigable sisterhood of women, trans and cis, working side by side to shatter each other’s chains, that she could see my friends and loved ones who I keep in mind every working day. I wish she could see, through their eyes, why words like hers can feel so profoundly dehumanising.
I wish that she could see the evil that trans women have had to face—the same violent deaths that befall too many women in our world—the same objectification, rape culture, risk, and quotidian hatreds, and see how it can shatter us in our fragile moments of being all too human, while also seeing how we manage to rise above it at our very best. I wish she could see us as the very human women that feminism has always striven to empower and render visible in a sightlessly woman-hating world.
I wish she could see me.
In that moment, I’d like to think, we could be sisters.
 It should go without saying that in an article which Burchill seemed to assemble from a transphobia Bingo sheet, she—in a particularly bizarre aside—treated the word ‘cis’ as an insult of some kind, and in a cunning rhetorical move decided to call us trannies as a result—because after all, that would be the mature and erudite thing to do. Perhaps she thinks the word “heterosexual” is an insult, too, that merits a rejoinder of “faggot”?
 Wait, I’m a poor Puerto Rican trans girl, maybe I shouldn’t use hoity toity phrases so I can prove I’m totally authentic? Oh crap, I use international English spelling too!
This was taken from page 119 of the book “Cognitive thinking” that I borrowed from my therapist’s office.
1. All-or-nothing thinking (also called black-and-white, polarized, or dichotomous thinking): You view a situation in only two categories instead of on a continuum.
Example: “If I’m not a total success, I’m a failure.”
2. Catastrophizing (also called fortune telling): You predict the future negatively without actively considering other, more likely outcomes.
Example: ”I’ll be so upset, I won’t be able to function at all.”
3. Disqualifying or discounting the positive: You unreasonably tell yourself that positive experiences, deeds, or qualities do not count.
Example: “I did that project well, but that doesn’t mean I’m competent; I just got lucky.”
4. Emotional reasoning: You think something must be true because you “feel” (actually believe) it so strongly, ignoring or discounting evidence to the contrary.
Example: “I know I do a lot of things okay at work, but I still feel like I’m a failure.”
5. Labeling: You put a fixed, global label on yourself or others without considering that the evidence might more reasonably lead to a less disastrous conclusion.
Example: “I’m a loser. He’s no good.”
6. Magnification/minimization: When you evaluate yourself, another person, or a situation, you unreasonably magnify the negative and/or minimize the positive.
Example: “Getting a mediocre evaluation proves how inadequate I am. Getting high marks doesn’t mean I’m smart.”
7. Mental filter (also called selective abstraction): You pay undue attention to one negative detail instead of seeing the whole picture.
Example: “Because I got one low rating on my evaluation [which also contained several high ratings] it means I’m doing a lousy job.”
8. Mind reading: You believe you know what others are thinking, failing to consider other, more likely possibilities.
Example: “He’s thinking I don’t know the first thing about this project.”
9. Overgeneralization: You make a sweeping negative conclusion that goes far beyond the current situation.
Example: “[Because I felt uncomfortable at the meeting] I don’t have what it takes to make friends.”
10. Personalization: You believe others are behaving negatively towards you, without considering more plausible explanations for their behavior.
Example: “The repairman was curt to me because I did something wrong.”
11. “Should” and “must” statements (also called imperatives): You have a precise, fixed idea of how you or others should behave and you overestimate how bad it is that these expectations are not met.
Example: “It’s terrible that I made a mistake. I should always do my best.”
12. Tunnel vision: You only see the negative aspects of a situation.
Example: “My son’s teacher can’t do anything right. He’s critical and insensitive and lousy at teaching.”
I do most, if not all, of these things. Some of them I do very frequently, such as mind reading, should/must statements, magnification/minimization, etc. :/ I’ve seen this list once before, from my therapist. It was kind of sobering to see how many of these things I do.
When you’re freaking out and know your thoughts are irrational but don’t know how to pick it apart, try looking for a few key words that encourage anxiety spirals: always, never, everything, nothing, can’t, impossible. It can be really easy to fall into a loop of “everything’s wrong” or “it will never get better”. When “everything” is wrong or what you want will “never” happen, that stops you from analyzing the situation. Is literally everything wrong? Or just a few things that are very stressful?
I’ve had to do this exercise myself a lot lately. My flashbacks have amped up, and at the same time the dry winter air is giving me migraines and sinus problems. I often find myself thinking, “Everything hurts!”
But no, not everything hurts. My head hurts from migraines, maybe my body’s a little sore from being inactive and housebound. That’s not everything. I’m stressed over flashbacks, but that’s not everything either. It just feels like “everything” because the emotions are so intense. So a small number of things just hurt really badly. And that’s a lot more manageable than “everything”.
After I stop to realize what does hurt, specifically, I can think of how to change it. Body hurts from inactivity? Try doing stretches or light indoor exercise. The dry air is hurting my sinuses? Boil some water and give them steam therapy.
For me, my flashbacks amp up when I don’t have any immediate crises in my life. When life gets stable and calm, my body decides, “Things are safe now, so this is a good opportunity for you to remember all the pain we’ve been repressing.” My body decides it’s safe to remember and safe enough for us to get through it ok. So not only is it wrong that “everything hurts”, the reason I’m hurting like this right now is because the rest of my life is so good.
When I put aside the thought that “everything hurts”, I can figure out what hurts and what doesn’t, so I have a clearer picture of what’s actually going on. With a clearer picture, it’s easier to take action and improve how I feel. The cognitive biases listed above keep anxiety out of focus, so that you no longer know what the anxiety is really about, you just know it’s there.
I can’t help but notice bout after bout of chaotic uproar on Tumblr, the most intense of which was my own experience last summer. I can really only take so much more of this before I vomit all over my computer.
For starters, I disagree with Tyler Oakley’s “Why Diversity Sucks” video posted 5 years ago.
No. No. And no. I very much think that diversity is extremely important — and I’ve expressed this on numerous occasions in my videos.
What I don’t give a fuck about is witch hunts and hate campaigns against fellow Tumblr users. (Well…I do actually give a fuck, I just wish I didn’t have to.) Unprecedented amounts of vitriol, bullying, and harassment are not okay, yet it is very much a reality for YouTubers like myself who grew up on camera, for people who blog about substantive, high-stake topics on Tumblr, and people who speak up about social problems.
I’ve found that Tumblr can be more cruel and hateful than any other part of the internet I live on, and that is saying something. The internet isn’t always kind to women. Being immersed in a hateful environment causes psychological turbulence, depression, and self-hate in peoples’ every day lives. For anyone affected. It’s a real problem that many people on Tumblr don’t seem to understand goes two ways. It’s a reality that much of my time on Tumblr is spent feeling like I’m walking on eggshells in an abusive relationship, which is NOT OKAY. Last summer, my partner and I had to move into a new apartment because of stalking, threats of rape, and violence from Tumblr users. Please take a moment to think about what that seriously fucking means. Again: this sort of behavior NOT OKAY. I cannot stress enough how NOT OKAY this is.
My situation is an unfortunately extreme example of an ongoing problem we have here on the Tumblrsphere. It’s unfortunate that it happened and it’s unfortunate that the same stuff continues to happen. I’m going to attempt to characterize this problem because I feel it needs to be discussed. It’s really hard for me to discuss publicly, and I haven’t done it much, because it’s scary for me and past attempts have opened me up to more harassment. But a level-headed conversation about this problem really needs to happen. We need to talk about what’s going on here, and to find better ways to handle these situations.
I’m going to call this behavior a “witch hunt”. A witch hunt is a shared moral outrage over a community member’s fuckup that is followed by hunting and figuratively burning them at the stake.
The context I’m referring to in this article is very particular: when a well-intentioned figure says or does something that is really not okay, often, it seems, in their past. Racism, sexism, transphobia; using the t-word, saying diversity isn’t important, slut shaming women. Bad not okay things.
And then it begins.
Here’s a thing I felt like writing - hope it is useful to someone out there. :) I may add to it later.
I WANNA DRAW COMICS, BUT [INSERT OFT-REPEATED EXCUSE HERE]
Hey. Stop that. Stop making excuses. You wanna draw comics? Then draw comics.
“But Elaine,” you say, “that’s so harsh! Drawing comics is HARD! And getting started is REALLY hard!”
Well, yes. I freely admit that. But if you really, really, REALLY want to draw comics – if the urge is truly that strong - you won’t be able to stop yourself. If I may paraphrase Bryan Lee O’Malley: “If you have the slightest inkling of an idea and the slightest amount of drawing talent, you can draw a comic.”
With this in mind, here’s a few tips that might help you get past the initial hurdle of Getting Started:
1. CHARACTER DESIGN
This is what kills a lot of would-be comics. I’m not talking about bad character design. On the contrary. I’m talking about people who spend SO MUCH TIME on the character designs (and environment designs), they never actually get around to drawing the comic. DO NOT BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. Do not get so hung up on your designs. I’m not saying don’t spend any time on them at all, but there comes a time when you must say “Hey, you know what? This isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. I’ll go ahead and use it anyway.”
For each major character, one turn-around and one expression sheet should suffice. For minor characters, stick to one expression sheet.
And for background characters? Well, I’m pretty sure you can make those up on the fly, can’t you? :)
A thumbnail is a tiny sketched version of your final page. Like a film storyboard, basically. They help you figure out how each shot is configured and how everything is going to be laid out on your page. It’s much easier to see if a page “flows” well from a distance, in miniature. I will sometimes try several different versions of a thumbnail to see which one works best. Also keep in mind that things will change between the thumbnail and the final – and this is fine.
So what makes a good page design? What makes good shot constructions? Well, it’s pretty subjective, but there are some rules of thumb you can follow. Storyboarding the Simpsons Way is an excellent crash course, and describes ways to avoid many errors that people often make when constructing shots (such as cutting off heads in the frame).
Watch lots of movies, because nothing else will teach you more about visual storytelling. A good exercise to try is to pick a sequence from your favourite movie and literally draw it as a storyboard, by pausing on each shot and copying it. Movies will also give you story ideas. Of course, you probably watch a lot of movies already, am I right? ;)
If you’re still having trouble, think outside the box. Literally. Not all your panels have to be boxes with ruler-straight borders. They can be shaped like anything you want. There are also instances where you can eschew panel borders altogether. Try everything!
If there’s one particular shot on a page that’s very clear in your mind, sketch that first and then build the rest of the page around it.
Thumbnails are important in that they allow you to jump right in and sketch out ideas without having to commit to anything on your “good” paper. Which brings me to…
3. “GOOD” PAPER
Also known as Blueline paper. Also known as comic book board. You might be hesitant to draw on this paper, because it’s really damn expensive. “What if I screw up?” you say. It’s true it can be difficult to correct penciling mistakes on comic board, especially if you have a bad habit of drawing too dark, as I do.
This is where a lightbox comes in.
I do not draw any of my finished pages directly on my “good” paper (and for what it’s worth, I also don’t use comic boards – I use the much cheaper and much higher quality Borden & Riley Bleedproof Paper For Pens. This doesn’t have the blue guidelines on it, but you can easily rule them off yourself) I draw roughs on cheap, mulchy 11 x 17 printer paper. And I MEAN roughs. The page is well nigh unintelligible by the time I’m finished. But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because I can easily trace the good lines on to a clean sheet of paper using my lightbox.
So go on – use printer paper. Allow yourself to screw up. No one’s going to see it in the end.
4. DRAWING IN ORDER
Guess what? This was the very first page I finished, exactly three years ago.
If you have a lot of script to work from and your page divisions in said script are clearly defined (as they should be), you don’t have to draw anything in order. If you’re really excited about a particular scene and you want to draw it RIGHT NOW – then you probably SHOULD, while it’s fresh in your mind and you’re inspired! Then, once you’re done, you’ll be much more inspired to go back and draw the pages you’re putting off for whatever reason. (Or, if you don’t want to draw the actual page you’re really excited about, you can at least draw the thumbnail.)
I should add that this may not be possible if you’re drawing a webcomic that you update several times a week – but it is if you keep a large buffer of pages past the one you’ve just posted.
5. “BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY STORY IDEAS”
Tut tut, my friend. You do. Read some Lynda Barry and be amazed!
“But someone else has already had that idea,” you say. Well, yes. Probably. Nothing is truly original any more. The truth is, no one else has ever told that story the way YOU have. Figure out how to put a fresh take on it and make it your own, and go from there.
Dissect your favourite stories, and figure out WHY they’re your favourites. Is it the characters? The setting? I like character-driven stories that reveal something about the human condition. I also like stories that emphasize the importance of one’s family (or surrogate family, as the case may be). For you, it’s probably something completely different. If nothing else, you’ll have fun re-reading your favourite books or watching your favourite movies again.
Ideas can literally come from anywhere. Go for a long walk. Ride the bus around town. Sketch in the park. You might be surprised what emerges.
6. “I CAN’T DRAW [BLANK]”
Then there’s only one way to learn, isn’t there? Comics will improve your work much faster than anything else, just because there’s so much drawing involved. There are many resources available online to help you as well - Google Image Search all on its own is an absolute godsend.
I’ll close this post by listing off some of the reference books in my library:
Making Comics by Scott McCloud
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (read this one first)
Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner
Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative by Will Eisner
Expressive Anatomy For Comics & Narrative by Will Eisner
Bridgman’s Complete Guide To Drawing From Life by George Bridgman
Perspective! For Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea
Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis
Drawing the Head & Hands by Andrew Loomis
Fun With a Pencil by Andrew Loomis
The Art of Animal Drawing by Ken Hultgren
Writing For Comics & Graphic Novels by Peter David
Please feel free to reblog and add to this list as you see fit! :)
Now go forth and draw some comics!
abusers will tend to:
- tell lies and half-truths to avoid explaining their actions
- accuse and blame to divert attention away from themselves
- refuse to accept the perspective of others while irrationally defending their own positions
- withhold information in areas affecting the lives of those they are abusing because it gives them control to manipulate future events
- avoid acknowledging the feelings of others yet will often bring up how their emotions are being affected
- slight or take digs in a non-aggressive or joking manner which allows the abuser to say they were just kidding while still being abusive
- change the subject to divert attention from themselves
- make others feel worthless in an attempt to lower their self-esteem and bring them down to their level or the abuser
- threaten or hint of physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse
- deny anything is wrong
- show inappropriate or emotional outbursts
- try and control others to domineer and limit freedom or expression
- forget commitments and promises
- deny success by placing unreasonable demands, unjustly singling out or constantly placing someone in the category of a loser
- take advantage of vulnerabilities using shame, guilt, or fear
- the actions and promises are out of alignment. they say one thing and do another
- only be nice when all other options have been removed
- cut someone off so they are not allowed to speak to suppress self-expression
- look to eliminate choices for others while gathering control for themselves
- ask inappropriate questions to evoke emotional responses
- humiliate others in public to show their superiority
- keep pushing buttons and activating places of sensitivity
- pretend to understand concerns and then disregarding them
- slander to the name, reputation, associations, or activities or those they can’t control
I imagine it would sound something like this:
HEEEY STRAIGHT PEOPLE ARE YOU AWARE THAT YOU’RE STRAIGHT?
HOW IS BEING STRAIGHT WORKING OUT FOR YOU?
HAS ANYONE TRIED TO MURDER YOU AS OF LATE FOR BEING STRAIGHT?
STOP THE DEATHS OF STRAIGHT PEOPLE. THEY’RE BEING DISCRIMINATED FOR BEING STRAIGHT.
WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT THAT YOU WERE “STRAIGHT”?
IS THE WORLD AWARE OF THE FACT THAT YOU’RE STRAIGHT?
WHEN DID YOU COME OUT TO EVERYONE AS BEING STRAIGHT?
DID YOUR FAMILY KICK YOU OUT FOR BEING STRAIGHT?
DO YOU REALIZE HOW GROSS IT IS TO BE STRAIGHT?
Ha ha ha. I think Jasminethey gives heteros more credit for their self awareness.
unfortunately a straight awareness month aparently looks like this
which… is a pretty pathetic display. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying that if you can’t pass the basic credentials for being a stable human being, you shouldn’t be allowed to own a Kill People Machine. Hell, I say if you want to own a gun, you should have to submit five reference letters:
- One from a psychiatrist saying you’re mentally competent.
- One from a former teacher/professor saying you’re intelligent and never wrote essays about wanting to kill people.
- One from a family member saying you’re not violent and you’ve never used a racial/homophobic slur.
- One from an employer/coworker saying you’re well adjusted in your current profession.
- One from a random member of your neighborhood saying you keep normal hours, do normal things, and your garage never smells of rotting flesh.
And if you’re able to submit all that and still get a gun, if you commit a gun crime, all those people will be thrown in jail too. This includes cops. No, this is not too extreme. Unless you can come up with five people who are willing to bet their freedom on the fact that you won’t kill someone, you shouldn’t be fucking allowed to own a gun.
Considering trans people need two recommendation letters from doctors in order to get a harmless surgical procedure that only affects the person receiving it, this isn’t extreme at all.
If I said that you have a beautiful website, would you put your dick in my mouth? I’m sorry, as a practicing Christian, I’m not usually so forward, but this Tgirl hasn’t gotten any action in a son of a bitch long time!
You see, I’m almost done transgendering, but I haven’t had my “plumbing fixed.” As you know, that makes me one hell of a bisexual magnet. But I need a REAL man, not some emasculated pervert that wants to have sex with my body. YUCK! No, I need someone that loves me for who I “am” and isn’t attracted to any part of my anatomy whatsoever.
Transgendering, as you can image, is a lonely (read: horny) process. Especially when your role models are today’s “independent” women (read: bulldaggers.) I used to be overly-assertive, abrasive, and prone to characterizing simple male advances as “harassment.” Slap a penis on that and let’s just say I wasn’t one of Maxim’s Billion Most Bangable Babes. I even tried being a lesbian; practically a man all over again.
But then tsgirlfriend.com came into my life and everything changed. The first time I read your essay “How to Have Sex With the Transsexual Woman: Making Love with the Transsexual Female” I cried my big, fat shemale face off. When you said that having sex with the transsexual woman was a “literal minefield in a lot of ways,” my brain literally exploded with understandings!
What really got my juices flowing (and by ‘juices’, I mean blood to my penis) was your wisdom and experience. If I may, you said:
“If you’ve never sucked a dick before,you might want to ask her to give you feedback on how you’re doing. And if you’re suddenly feeling nauseated,” you expanded, “for engaging in what your family and all your friends would label a very homosexual act, for God’s sake find the bathroom in a big hurry and kneel before the porcelain throne.”
How romantic! I can’t tell you how many men have rudely thrown up all over my junk when faced with this very homosexual act! It gave me shivers (again, in my penis) to hear such tenderness. It’s like you weren’t just talking about sucking my dick; you were talking about blowing my soul. You even knew about my “orifice inventory” and I’ve only ever told my mechanic about that! You read me like a book, sir. A book entitled “Red Durkin Takes it in the Back Door!” *Wink**Wink*
So there you have it: I want to spend the rest of my life banging you. I want to choke down vomit at the sight of each other’s bodies as we grow old together.
I’ll be wearing an undersized negligee and applying too much lipstick with one hand while rubbing my genitals with the other as I wait for you reply. Don’t make me rub myself raw, sugar tits.
Mrs. [Insert Your Name Here]
Now that Monica’s finished this series I can finally link the whole thing. This Tumblr post is a link to the last part but the whole series is a must-read. Here are the links to every part with a quotation from each, not meant to be representative of the part but to pique your interest so you read it at the source.
Please put aside some time and energy to read this series. Trans* readers, please be aware that these contain all the usual things that can trigger us.
Trans women are given two options: we are either the mute eunuch, “approximating the appearance of a woman” (as Benjamin said), or we are the supposed pervert or rapist who must be denied access to either medical treatment or social accommodation. Given such little leeway, and the deep stigma ascribed to each of these two options, trans women so often end up very reluctantly going along with the “less frightening” of the two. We become the compulsory eunuch in spite of however uncomfortable it might make us. Both options are non-choices for which the table is stripped by cis people of any other possibilities of what a trans woman could be — or is allowed to be.
I wasn’t chased away from the community — not directly. I wasn’t directly told I should be disgusted with myself, or that I’d never find a partner who could love me. I was never told directly that a ‘freak’ like me didn’t deserve love. Instead, all the messages added up to an established story — a canon. Once I realized that it wasn’t that we were “threatening” gender or sex as systems; once I realized that it wasn’t that I was transsexual; and once I realized that it was the fact that I was a trans woman, that was when I knew that I wasn’t welcome anywhere.
Without the capability to interact with queer women’s culture (and without the capability to learn how queer women’s culture differs from straight women’s culture), I had little in common with those who inhabit this culture. This, of course, compounded into a feedback loop: the less I had in common, then the less I could interact, and the less I could interact, then the less I’d have in common moving forward. The truth is, cultural isolation can be painful, especially as it leads to having others interpret you as something or someone you are not — regardless of who you are. In this case, it led to me being read exclusively as a straight woman for years.
In this context trans women are presented with another impossible scenario in which we are given another reinforcement to the benefits of not only blending as cis, but the double standards and social enforcement against those who do not (by disclosure, ‘visible’ gender variance, or other means). Upon disclosure, either voluntarily or involuntarily through visible variance or other means, a trans woman is paradoxically held to the social rules and standards of both the binary sexes. She is instructed, implicitly, to navigate as a man would, as other women might view her as a potential threat. While at the same time, if she makes these behavioral adjustments, they are judged as signs of her clear ‘maleness’ and her own agreement with these guidelines and the assumptions used to make them.
All of her actions — often due to the observers prior sexual interest pre-disclosure — are suspect, regardless of the reason for them, as evidence of the assertion she’s put in the position of being automatically placed in the position of ‘threat’, or as the perceived perverted rapist rather than the docile and non-threatening eunuch we expect trans women to be. And as such, queer trans women especially are treated as if we have a disease.
My skin was and is treated as toxic, as if the original sin of male assignment is contagious. One of the strangest feelings of all is how all of my sexuality, beauty, character, and uniqueness is stripped away from me all within a few moments. All my mannerisms, communications, and social interactions are judged by a catch-22 of either being a façade or “socialization” without regard to the reality of my personal experience. All of my sexuality is stripped away from me as if I’m no longer a queer woman.
… I’d argue, that instead we focus on the 4 specific issues that make up the issue brought to light by the conversation:
The Eunuch/Rapist false choice as it applies internally and as an external force applied coercively
Transmisogynistic Sexual Disgust which when externalized by those who experience it results in an enforcement of that disgust on others, society, and standards of beauty. When enforced onto trans women in particular, it becomes an insistence that trans women should feel shame for creating this disgust in others or for being an object of disgust by society. This shame then has a reinforcing impact on trans women and our sexuality
“Aesthetic Brutality” as an aggressive enforcement of ethnocentric, cisnormative and heteronormative/homonormative beauty standards. This results in the us being told to be ashamed or dislike our bodies, not because of others disgust, but because of our bodies non-conformity to their expectations. This applies to genitals, gender presentation, and non-cisnormative features, among other things. While similar to Transmisogynistic Sexual Disgust this is often a result of social pressure and context, while the former is a far more visceral or “gut” reaction.
And cissexism, just plain old cissexism and ignorance which has the interpretation of presuming that trans women are not truly women. That, often due to the eunuch/rapist problem, presumes trans women are, in fact, neutered/lesser men. Ignoring the fact that this plays into sexism with the idea of women just being lesser men as well, this creates a stigma that enforces social discomfort with our sexuality in a much greater way than others.
Thank you, Monica, for writing this.
Matthew Shepherd was attacked on the night of October 7th and left for dead, simply because of his sexuality. He would day days later on October 12th from injuries he sustained from the attack.
His attackers tried to claim that they were driven to insanity because Shepherd was hitting on them, aka “the gay panic” defense.
In 2009 Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law expands federal hate crime laws to apply to people targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was the first piece of federal legislation to protect and include transgender people.
Hate crimes are not a thing of the past. Gay and lesbian Americans are victimized at about 6 times the rate of any other minority group. The FBI does not collect statistics on hate crimes committed against transgender people, but antidotal evidence suggests that these numbers are even worse for them.
The latest study conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reports that:
- 78% of trans* youth experience verbal harassment
- 35% of trans* youth experience physical assault
- 2% of trans* youth experience sexual assault
- 53% of trans* adults experience being harassed/disrespected in public
- 22% of trans* adults are denied equal treatment by a government employee or agency
- 29% of trans* adults experience harassment at the hands of law enforcement
Hate crimes still make up our present and must not be overlooked or forgotten.
Hello followers! The month of September has drawn to a close, and while this means that womenwhokickass is back to our usual posts, we’re already busy working on the next theme! (If you ask us nicely, we may tell you!)
In any case, it was wonderful writing for you all this month, and I hope you all will stick around to see the kickass women I have lined up for you over the next few months! As always, our ask is open for suggestions, questions and feedback!
Until then, here’s a master-list of everyone we posted for September. Enjoy!
- Janet Mock
- Yollada “Nok” Suanyot
- Harmony Santana
- Vladimir Luxuria
- Mariah Morena (Amanda “The Blood Thirsty Vixen”)
- Jin Xing
- Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy (Coccinelle)
- Dorce Gamalama
- Bamby Salcedo
- Angelica Ross
- Dana International
- Joan Roughgarden
- Karina Samala
- Michelle Dumaresq
- Megie Megawatie
- Justina Williams
- Lynn Conway
- Marsha P Johnson
- Sophie Wilson
- Julia Ehrt
- Kim Petras
- Dr. Marisa Richmond
- Laura Jane Grace
- Isis King
- Amanda Simpson
- Shuniyya Ruhama Habiiballah
- Andy Marra
- Dr Julia Serano
- Candis Cayne
- Tona Brown
- Nina Poon
- Jamie Clayton
- Marci L. Bowers
- Parinya Charoenphol
- Christine Beatty
- Ceyenne Doroshow
- Aya Kamikawa
- Kalki Subramaniam
- Raewyn Connell
- Kim Coco Iwamoto
- Audrey Tang
- Kate Craig-Wood
- Miss Major
- Ruby Jade Corado
- Ibu Mariyani
- Danielle Bunten Berry
- Chiya Fujino
- Rebecca Heineman
- Tamsyn Waterhouse
- Michelle Duff
- Maryam Molkara
- Micha Cárdenas
- Manabi Banerjee
- Christina Hayworth
- Jennell Jaquays
- Carmen Rupe
- Amaranta Gomez Regalado
- (Letitia Winter)Fey Presto
- Maddie Blaustein
- Valerie Spencer
- Sir Lady Java
- Audrey Mbugua
- Tanwarin Sukkhapisit
- Dionne Stallworth
- Cheryl-Courtney Evans
- Shigeyuki Kihara
- Tracie Jada O’Brien
- Trudie Jackson
- Sokari Ekine
- Dr. Vena Sele
- Crystal Johnson Kerinaiua “Crystal Love”
- Zoe Belle
- Alexandra Billings
- Baby Dee
- Harisu/Lee Kyung-eun
- Charlie Anders
- Nuntita Khampiranon/Bell Nunita
- Martine Rothblatt
- Khartini Slamah
- Tonette Lopez
- Kalina Isato
- Angie Xtravaganza
- Roz Kaveney
- Yuli Retoblaut “Mami Yulie”
- Andrea James
- Calpernia Addams
- Rachel Pollack
- Marcela Romero
- Belissa Andia
- Lydia Foy
- Silvia Martinez
- Christina Mavuma
- Natasha Jiménez
- Johana Ramirez
- Nisha Ayub
- Cecilia Chung
- Lorena Borjas
- Catiria Reyes “Lady Catiria”
- Anna Anthropy
- Caitlín Kiernan
- Monica Roberts
- Greer Lankton
- Carla Delgado Gómez “Carla Antonelli”
- Romy Haag
- Maki Yamazaki
- Jordana LeSesne “1.8.7”
- Lorrainne Sade Baskerville
- Earline Budd
- Mirha-Soliel Ross
- Morgan M. Page
- Ryka Aoki
- Roberta Angela Dee
- Christina Kahrl
- Mara Keisling
- Elizabeth Marie Rivera-Valentine
- Mesma S. Belsare
- Ja’briel Walthour
EDIT: Some people wrote some things. I’ve added them into the list (most links are tumblr, some reddit, please link me to any other responses which need incorporating).
- Answer any and all questions about my body and my medical treatment no matter how invasive
- Answer questions about my partner’s sexuality
- Listen to their stories about other trans* people they know
- Listen to them talk and give them my opinions on trans* celebrities
- Celebrate with them all fictional depictions of trans* folk, no matter how misrepresentative or outright transphobic
- Congratulate them on their correct use of names and pronouns
- Obey when they refer to me incorrectly and tell me that I “must forgive them”
- Smile sadly and thank them when they tell me how brave I am
- Use the accessible toilet and be grateful
- Stay silent if they misidentify me as gay and cis
- Be too embarrassed, by having had a binary society bounded into your brain, to correct people when they misgender you entirely (regardless of what stage of transition you may be in, or what gender you identify as) (credit theeisforevelyn)
- Sympathise with their excuses for their and others’ transphobia
- Approve their use of the word ‘tranny’
- Act ‘gendered’ enough but not too ‘gendered’
- note: these prohibitions overlap with no middle ground
- Never, ever, express or articulate any kind of sexuality
- this one may be trans*-woman-specific?
- I guess not (credit mattachinereview)
- Stay quiet when cis-specific issues are being discussed
- Never raise trans*-specific issues
- Never get angry or upset about cissexism and transphobia
- Never call out cis people on cissexism and transphobia
- Not mention specific legal protections for transsexual people to my employers
- Only be transsexual without having any other identities
- Silently excuse myself from activities and events which structurally exclude me
- Do so without raising any attention or being noticed by anybody
- Not hang out with too many other trans* people or seek trans*-only space
- Never repost Asher’s “Die Cis Scum”
- Never myself say or otherwise express “Die Cis Scum” (credit lucypaw)
- Be flattered by the fetish that turns me into a sex object (credit greyjing)
- be grateful when someone chooses to accompany me into a public bathroom. Even if it’s the wrong bathroom (credit singingitfortumblr)
- Must like opposite gender (credit solitarelee)
- [Not] interject “and genderqueers” whenever someone says “men and women” (credit sparklebutch)
- not believe in a religion or openly practice my religion (credit chatongris)
- be happy when provisions are made for me under the gender classification of ‘Other’ (credit PhazonZim)
- Apologize for being an attractive woman; it’s wrong for me to be pretty because my chromosomes are XY (credit PhazonZim)
- Wear a scarlet letter, because I would hate to trick innocent, straight, cis men into believing I was born with a vagina (credit PhazonZim)
- Never ever encourage children to think of us as human (credit JayeWithAnE)
- If I die, die quietly, and never blame them.
Also, andythenerd also wrote a companion ‘List of things I secretly wish I could get away with doing.’