Tuesday, June 11, 2013

a note to Roz Kaveney about trans identity: new identity is not erasure

(Note: This post is effectively Part Two of The question that comes from the clash between feminists and transgender activists.)

Roz tweeted something with my twitter address, so I saw it:

But of course is on Twitter. How could I have thought he was not?

So I went looking and found this:

In a perfect storm of not knowing when to STFU, Will Shetterley tries to resolve teh Trans You knew it had to happen

And this discussion:

  1. *facepalm* Right, because he's always FELT black. Well-intentioned, I think. Maybe. But tone deaf.
  2. Saying he does not intend to dis trans people is not enough. You don't get to police people's reaction to what yu say about them
  3. Because each context is equally interchangeable; each way-of-being as fungible as another...
  4. The race argument really bothers me. I can't work out why beyond the obvious racism wd I be annoying if I asked for pointers?
  5. Because it is a smart-ass analogy which breaks down when you think about what it is to have any identity.
  6. The argument is patently nonsense but I need to do better than that. I see an evening of ironing and deconstruction ahead.
  7. Marginally better than saying "I don't mean to dis trans people, but..."
  8. I think it depends at some deep level on not thinking trans a real identity. Also on erasing trans men.
  9. I think he assumes the same will apply to trans men. But I'm assuming he's assuming because he doesn't say.
  10. Eagerly awaiting J. Michael Bailey’s take on the whole matter.
  11. It's the comparison with German Native American hobbyists that gives the game away.
  12. It's the essentialism thing. He's saying only two possible experiences of race Black or White and nowt else. Same with gender.

I tweeted back:
No, I never felt black. Rejecting whiteness only translates to "feeling black" in a binary world.
Rather than continue in the twitterverse, I'll expand on that here:
Of course a trans identity is valid. Communities get to create identities. Trying to list all the gender possibilities for modern humans would be impossible, but my list would include male, female, transmale, transfemale, bi, lesbian, gay, straight, etc. in any combination anyone chooses.
That said, to put the question in identitarian terms: do transfolk get to appropriate the identities of cisfolk, or are they their own identity? I would say we're all human, and we all have gender preferences of varying fluidity: the world is not binary. Rather than fight to create more rigid social constructs of male and female, why not abandon them entirely?