When I addressed GeoPunk's "definition cloud", for lack of a better term, in this entry, I was primarily writing it from the perspective of the otherkin/goblinkin/otherspecies definitions found there. I addressed further--and believe me, I could have taken it so much farther than I did--on the main page that hosts all the terms.
Was I attacking anyone's personal definition of gender? No, I still don't think so, and yes, I think people are being a tad bit oversensitive on the issue. (On the other hand, I feel the same thing happens in the feminist, lesbian and real vampire communities--there's a certain academic humorlessness that sets in, that seems to remove a large amount of perspective, in all three places).
You want to hate me, hate me. Fine; I'm used to that. But be sure you're hating me for the right reasons. I do not fear transsexual people, intersexed people, crossdressers, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, furs. I do not feel I have internalized prejudices where the gender-flexible community lies.
Now, regarding otherkin? Sure. There's definitely room to talk there, though I doubt I will be improving, because to date, I have not (and this is me, personally, I have not) spoken with one single sane person who identifies as "otherkin", on the net or off. EVER. And yes, I resent the implication that those who identify as vampires are subsumed into the larger "otherkin" group, first, because of the sanity issue, and second because I, personally, believe it's ludicrous to lump people who drink blood--for any of the varying reasons that people drink blood--with people who self-identify as dragons, aliens, angels or fictional characters (and yes, I've talked with people who strongly, personally, believe they have been these things).
I think that's offensive. And I say that having known two people who identified as being dragons--and I believed them--and one who identified as being fae--and I believed him, too.
Want to hate me for that? Feel free. That's a prejudice I'm not ditching any time soon.
But for everything else...well, let's look at some facts.
Costa News article:
"A transsexual man convicted of raping a woman has won a petition to be transferred to the women's unit at the Alhaurín de la Torre prison, despite the strong objection of the prosecutor's office.That's the individual Miss Jameson was mentioning--a purported MtF transsexual, who has continually victimized women, including a parent; who has had prior convictions for assault; who has been denied sexual reassignment surgery in the past because of impulsive personality disorder.
"The 40-year-old La Línea de la Concepción man was convicted of rape in 1998, and until now has been held in his own cell in the prison's arrivals section as the facility has no specific area for holding transsexuals. Last year he managed to get himself listed as a woman in the Civil Register in San Fernando, Cádiz, after which he petitioned for transfer to the prison's female unit.
"[...] The prosecutor argued that despite the formality of the prisoner having been listed in the civil register as a woman, he in fact has undergone no sex-change surgery and still has male genitalia, making his transfer to the female unit "contrary to all logic." He noted that the man's criminal history shows his victims have always been women; in addition to the rape, he has prior convictions for an assault and for physically abusing his mother. Further, he has been repeatedly denied sex-change surgery because doctors found he had an impulsive personality disorder in which "the sexual identity disorder is merely one of the symptoms, not true transsexuality," said the prosecutor."
This person--whether or not they genuinely believe they are female, not male--is a danger to everyone around them, and has a proven track record of repeated and specific violence against women. This person--again, female, male, or little pink-spotted shrew--should be kept far away from a cloistered female population, because the risks of re-offending in such an environment? Assault, at least, if not rape? I would think would be very high.
Now. Another issue that was raised.
This is Caster Semenya. I don't think it's rude, prejudicial, or hate-filled to say that there is masculinization going on in face and body, in her case.
This is Julia Stamps (obviously, on the right in this image), a runner from New York City. Note the same stern jaw, the lack of breast tissue, the upper-body muscle bulking.
This is Aurora Scott, from Michigan. Note the same jaw line, though not nearly as pronounced; the upper body and leg muscle bulking; the lack of breast tissue.
What do these female runners have in common--what do all female runners have in common? Because of their choice of sport, they have also chosen to sacrifice certain things. Breast mass goes with lots of running; the upper thighs become bulked, along with the upper arms. Many women stop menstruating, and, on occasion, there is masculinization of the features, if the woman has been a runner for long enough. It's not pronounced, in general, but it's there. This is not "transphobia", this is fact.
Miss Semenya was just like any other female runner on the planet--having a body she has made suitable for running long distances, having the body that most other female runners have. But, if the tests are accurate, she might have something else as well, which doesn't mean she entered the race on false pretenses, doesn't mean I'm calling her male, doesn't mean I don't think she didn't deserve the win. I do think the lines of her face, and the speed of her success, caused a great deal of jealousy on the track, and there were protests filed for that reason, before anything else. (There were also wide accusations at the time that she'd used endurance-enhancing drugs to win; this has since been disproven, and was a baseless accusation, I feel, in the first place.) I also think everything would have blown over as a nine-day wonder if her coach hadn't lied to her about the type of test she'd be taking after the run--he told her it was a standard test for steroid use, when in actuality, they were genotyping her.
Whatever it is about peoples' innate wiring, that primitive we/other divide, that makes up for most labeling complications--transsexuals and the intersexed stand in that uneasy divide, much of the time. Not by their will, or choice, and it's not just them--but enough that many people will stare (rudely or not) at those who do not "fit" in some fashion. Prejudice, internal or otherwise, on the part of the viewer? Sure, along with careful parental indoctrination; along with peer pressure from their surrounding humans; along with societal pressure on what looks "right", what looks "normal", what doesn't "stand out". Do I think it's "right" or "normal" to act this way? No. Do I think it happens? Yes.
Anyone who stands beyond the accepted "norm", as narrow and prejudicial as that is at times, runs the risk of being separated into other. Bear a different skin color from the viewer--potentially other. Bear a different fashion style--other. Wear something that signifies a different religion from the viewer--other.
Be something certain minds cannot quantitatively slot into a set label--other. This is not right, this is not good--but it does happen. I know that no less than anyone else; it's happened to me, as well as my friends. How'ver, this, also, I do not believe makes me "transphobic".
What else was there...Oh, right, Luminus said:
"Apparently the irony with which GeoPunk chose to use piles of labels flew over your head. So you had to mock them personally. Believe it or not, apparently you and GeoPunk shared some common impulse to goggle at the myriad ways people choose to selfidentify. But while GeoPunk poked playful fun at the specificity by throwing down a lot of labels to express the fluidity of the self, you prefer a personal attack on someone you don't know. And then continue to mock terms you've never encountered, like pseudohermaphrodite, in ways that just add to the pile of folks calling people like me, born different in the bits, freaks."
Did I ever say "freak" in anything I wrote? And let's go back to the point of the post--it was never about gender in the first place, it was about otherkin definitions, for which I freely admit, I have a strong, unquenchable, bias against.
Now, if GeoPunk meant this playfully, if it was intended to be taken with a large dollop of droll irony--then yes, I missed that. Due to former abusive roommates, having to pretty much rebuild the defenses of myself and my partner afterwards, and the stress of moving out itself into our current home, my reserves of tolerance and grace are beyond exhausted. What drew me to GeoPunk's blog in the first place was the term "cisgender" and "cissexual", which still make me twitch, so I was set and ready for ire on the contradictory set of terms in the definitions cloud.
Ironic? Maybe. Playful? Maybe. Have I met people, who in all goddamn seriousness, introduced themselves to me as "wolfspirit therianthropes", as "alien otherkin", as multiple personality sufferers--where all the "multiple personalities" were anime characters? Yes. So I do apologize to GeoPunk if I didn't get the "playful irony" of the message--right, missed that entirely. But am I ever going to have a rational attitude towards anyone that self-identifies as "otherkin"/"goblinkin" or any variant? No. I admit, that is my "WARE THOU THE MUTANT" call.
So maybe it's me. I'm a tad cranky at the moment. I am phrasing things badly. Hate me for that if you want to, but I'm still missing the irony inherent when there are folks out there, on the grid, on the net, and in real life, who truly, honestly believe that they are these things. How was I to know GeoPunk didn't?
Hells, as far as it goes, I still don't know whether GeoPunk believes or not in all those terms at once.
(Also, unless you're talking the purely medical use of the term? I still don't get pseudohermaphrodite used as a gender term of choice. To me, that's an is/not is statement, and see again--the gender term of CHOICE. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is just one of many ways the syndrome can show up, and it is recognized, real and valid in all its forms; but it is not, and never will be, as easily tossed into the identifying-labels category as "heteroqueer" or "yestergay", to pull terms from the Genderform again.)
Again from Luminus' comment:
"And Rhianon, your comment in particular nauseates me. The simpler world you posit is a reactionary fantasy, and recognizing that intersex people exist [...] is called accepting reality. That you jump immediately into some transphobic rant about MTF rapists trampling the rights of "Real Women" is appalling."
Why is it transphobic to want to protect the rights of any captive population who might be endangered by an individual proven violent to that selfsame captive population? The proscecutor did not want this application turned down sheerly due to reasons of gender; the prosecutor wanted this application turned down due to reasons of extreme, repeated, continual violence against women.
Jails aren't perfect; in large part they are oppressive, frightening, brutalizing places. Many people in jails are innocent. These are facts of the situation. But in this case? The facts also say, gender dysphoria or not, this person has assaulted women, will likely assault women again, and it's not beyond the pale to posit a change of scenery will not stop this person in the least.
How is that transphobic?
"Emily's post had nothing to do with violence, or even directly wih transgender. She poked fun at multiplying gender identities. You made the illogical leap that implicitly reads, 'If we allow sex/gender diversity, violently perverted men will be able to put on dresses and rape women. I heard a rumor that it's happening.' "
Actually, as I've explained, I was supremely baffled with multiplying bizarre identities, not all of them having anything to do with gender in the least. Miss Jameson made the leap (apparently illogical, to you) of mentioning a specific incident. She didn't cite sources (I've done that); you are the one who is extending it to the oh-no-teh-horror level.
Now. Are there people who genuinely believe that men born men will seek to enter female worlds for the purpose of harming women, alone? I'm sure. I think they're wrong, you think they're wrong, but that's also not what Miss Jameson said.
"Rhianon, it was impossible to tell it was a joke because plenty of people say exactly the same thing and mean it. Sometimes right to our faces. Usually they don't bother to try and justify it by the flimsy cover of saying 'oh but it's about a bad person so it's ok to say it'. So excuse me if I don't give you the benefit of the doubt."
I don't think she meant it as a joke. I think it's of real concern. And it's still concerning if you look at it the other way--I know more than a few transsexuals who--generally, for the crime of stealing hormones, which is just tragedy compounded on tragedy--get sent to jail and are housed with their assumed biological sex. And thus denied access to hormones, medical treatment for their condition, on top of having to deal day to day with people of the opposite sex using them as a personal punching bag.
Many have died.
For that matter, the incidence of transsexual/transgendered youth committing suicide is now epidemic in this country, and yet the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force did everything they could, in the 1990s, to get gender dysphoria stricken from the DSM-IV as a diagnosis. Take that away, take away all protections that transfolk have now--which includes, in some states, access to medical care, access to hormones, access to spironolactone, access to psychological counseling, and in at least one state (unless Michigan stopped providing this), state-aided gender reassignment surgery.
They didn't win, in large part because many of us chose to put our lives on hold, essentially, and called, wrote, emailed, sometimes daily, sometimes hourly depending on where that bill was at any given time, to anyone who would hear us, on how potentially damaging and life-threatening the removal of that diagnosis would be, to those in transition, and those beginning transition.
But on both sides this is a damaging idea. First, that anyone with any mental defect, who gets the right representation, can shift populations by claiming to be trans; that's something that really needs to stop. Pushed further, I really think there's a heavy bias in the trans community, if not the intersexed, that any talk against those who choose to commit crimes, who happen to be transsexual or intersexed, are then somehow exempt from the repercussions of their bad acts by virtue of being transgendered or intersexed. Crime is still crime. Punishment is still punishment. Assault someone, kill someone, it doesn't matter what sex one is, one has still committed a crime.
"It's never ok to be hateful. If you want to aspire to the moral high ground then how you talk about the worst of people still counts."
I don't aspire to any moral high ground, I never have. And while you may see the initial post as "hateful" and "meanspirited"--and I'm not discounting that, if that's your view--I do take exception to being made the current poster child for What's Wrong With People Who Can't Accept Transgendered/Intersexed People. I am not that person. I will never be that person.
You want to talk about the conflicts raised, in or out of a virtual world, in being intersexed, transgendered, or hells, some mornings even lesbian, gay, or bisexual--and Miss Magdalena Kamenev has certainly faced prejudice for choosing to be non-white in Second Life, so there are even those prejudices yet to be overcome on the grid--I'm open to the discussion.
But leave the accusations of transphobia at home, unless you can rationally, reasonably, and accurately prove them out. Because they're not there. I have too many trans friends, I have fought too much prejudice on my own, to ever be phobic where trans and intersexed folk are concerned.
Otherkin-phobic, well, that's a different story. Because everyone I've ever met who identifies as that first, and everything else second? Just isn't playing with a full deck.
You are welcome to convince me otherwise. In the meantime, I'm going on with my blog.