Monday, September 14, 2009

and she says "I've come to set a twisted thing straight"

This so deserved a longer entry.

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.

"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."
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.

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.

Caster Semenya

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.


Julia Stamps

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.

Aurora Scott

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?

Luminis again:

"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.

"Anonymous" again:

"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.

"Anonymous" again:

"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.


Anonymous said...

I'm only going to address a couple of things. One, read the comments back, not everything was directed at you.

For example Rhianon said "If you had trouble identifying what you call a "reactionary fantasy" as a joke, you are in sore need of a humor transplant." So, it was intended as a joke. It's a transphobic one. My comments about it were directed at the author, not you. If it wasn't a joke it was even worse - not for the point of there being a potential danger for other prisoners, but for the way the person was talked about and misgendered, the way that allowing the person some basic rights as a trans individual was cast as idiotic.

No one rational would deny the need to segregate dangerous prisoners from the general population. However that is not a reason to deny them basic human rights and dignity. Not for nothing is it a truism that a society can be judged by how it treats it's prisoners, whoever they are. Nor did I say it was transphobic to say so. What was transphobic was the way it was discussed.

Lastly, if you have issues with cisgender or cissexual then basically, as far as I am concerned you have some privilege issues to deal with despite any thing else you may do to support trans people. Sorry, I've been in too many discusions with people who want to prevent trans people being able to destabilise the language of the default "normal" category through empowering language to see it any other way. Saying people are over sensitive and humourless for calling someone on it? That's just about as old a dismissing tactic as you can get. The thing about privilege, and yes of course I have some of my own, is that one doesn't get to define it and requiring others to prove you enacted it is simply using it again. It's easily done by accident and I know I have fallen foul of the same mistake myself in the past, and probably will again. So no, not going to prove it on demand for you, not going to engage in a debate about it, because there is simply no way I would convince you if you require a debate in the first place. It would waste both our time.

Lastly, you mention you are having issues in your life, including having to move because of them, and for that you have my symapthy. I hope the situation is resolved for you as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad you took the time to address issues that arose over the one post simply because I like the way you write and the kind of thinking that the writing reflects. I've often tried to figure out what exactly delights me about your writing and the closest I've come is the idea that your thinking is similar enough to mine to allow me to relate to it very strongly and different enough to surprise me and interest me, always.
Although it doesn't altogether fit, I couldn't help recalling Belgicia Howell's maxim "Never explain yourself. Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe it." while I read tonight.
I saw no malice at all in your first post on this subject; I took it that you were just expressing what was on your mind about the various types of people you listed. Your opinion, based on your experience. To which you are entitled. And maybe you have no sense of humour and my reading just endows you with one (doubtthatverymuch), but I found it very funny in many places. It also didn't seem to me that you were taking any of it too seriously, but apparently some are. Yeah, there are norms we can't deny no matter how much we may want to and there is a continuum of extremes for every norm. Every point on every continuum is interesting and plotting where the point lies doesn't invalidate it, no matter how many accusations of having done so are levelled. The responses you are apparently getting make me tilt my head. But oh well, that's interesting, too.
In the midst of one of those intense "Slough of the Despond" periods in life, it's very cool that you can be light-hearted/ light-handed in your thoughts and your writing. It's a sign of courage and I think it's a good sign for a complete recovery ... probably sooner than you think. I wish and pray all the best for you.
"Nolite te bastardes corborundorum". :)


Capt. Red Llewellyn said...

Oh my WORD! i learn so much from your blog dear...Otherkin? cissexual? all new terms to me...thank you for your intellect, humour, and forebearance and i read to learn and you teach. And you're an amazing human and i admire you greatly...always have. acerbic wit, razor sharp mind and not afraid to say what you think or feel!
take care of yourself. i'm a fan.
~Capt. Red

Luminis said...

Emily, I'm glad your intentions are to be an ally of intersex and trans gender people. I'm sorry you feel as if humorless and hypersensitive people have attacked you when your goal is to be an ally, but I for one responded because you mocked a fellow blogger you don't know. If you've been marginalized and abused in life, please, don't just attack other marginalized people you've never spoken to.

I want to respond to your citation of the story of an imprisoned rapist in Spain gender transitioning and possibly being moved to a women's prison. I do *not* believe that people should be "exempt from the repercussions of their bad acts by virtue of being transgendered or intersexed." I don't excuse violence like rape by anyone. In fact, I'm a rape survivor, and very much regret having kept silent about that for years because I was told publicly confronting my (gay male) rapist would fan homophobia. People of all stripes commit crimes and should not be excused.

What I objected to was yet another instance of something I encounter day after day. I enter a conversation about an intersex issue--say, the fact that perhaps half of all intersex people do not identify with the binary sex doctors assign them to. Suddenly, boom, somebody is raising their distrust of trans gender people, and telling some story about how sex offenders will claim to be women in order to gain access to "real" women in some vulnerable place (bathrooms, prison, shelters). If I object that this has nothing to do with the topic that was being discussed, I get accused of not caring about women's victimization, or of defending trans criminals.

Emily, you quote a lot of my comments, but not the section where I discuss how sexual panic has been used to control many groups" "For many decades of virulent racism in the U.S., every time somebody raised the issue of ending discrimination, a shrill cry would be raised that animalistic black men were raping white women, whose safety and virtue must be protected. 'Everyone knew' this was a dangerous problem, and everyone had heard about some African American man in a nearby town who had committed a brutal rape and been lynched. In fact, looking through the historical record you'll see that most lynching victims were not even accused of rape, but of crimes like 'incendiarism' (i.e., standing up for equal treatment). But the sexual panic was a very effective tool for keeping African Americans down."

So no, I don't excuse violence like rape. But while you see some relevance in Rhianon's raising the fact that somewhere in some country there is a rapist who may be pretending to be trans gendered to attack women, I don't. Somewhere in some country there is a rapist pretending to need to use a wheelchair to trick victims. Should that fact be raised every time somebody complains a building lacks wheelchair ramp access?

The other thing I wanted to address briefly is the term pseudohermaphrodite. I don't defend the term; I personally find it foul. Very few intersex people use "pseudohermaphrodite" as a positive self-identifier; it was made up by doctors in the early 20th century to try to define intersexuality out of existence. On the other hand, a term like "heteroqueer," at which you roll your eyes, was made up by straight people to identify themselves positively as allied with queer folk. My policy is to call people whatever they wish to be called and not call them things that offend them.

What made me feel alienated in your prior post was not that I identify as a pseudohermaphrodite or a merm, but that you presented terms that are associated with intersex folk as examples of bizarre and freakish labels.

Just because you, or your readers, or I have not heard of a term before doesn't make it invalid. Just because somebody identifies in a way we do not doesn't make hir crazy or wrong. Kicking other marginalized people never increases the peace, it just increases the chances we'll be divided and conquered.

Emilly Orr said...

So, I took a couple days off, to breathe and reflect, because there's no use for anyone if I came right back in in high snit. Also, we seem to have more than one voice in this conversation under "Anonymous". This makes it confusing.

So, Anonymous Respondent One:

I don't understand the issue of gender privilege? I'm not being rude, or abusive, and I'm not standing up and saying 'prove it, c'mon'--I'm being literal, and confused. Gender privilege? There is such a thing?

Secondly, thinking may have moved on from this point, but in my understanding--and this is restricted strictly to transsexuals, not intersexed people--there are primary (from birth/pre birth) and secondary (desires to change sex manifesting between 38-52 years of age) transsexuals. And while I do not deny the secondary transsexuals their place, they were, in large part, just fine being their birth gender until the midlife crisis hit.

The fellow Rhianon and I mentioned? Fits neither of those qualifications. No therapy? No consultation, which is available even in prison? No outside confirmation? No matching to life incidents--hells, they have his entire police record on file, they can talk to his family, they can talk to his friends--that may indicate even a predisposition towards the alternate gender?

In that case, it defaults to an impulse control problem. He wants to be a girl now. Two years form now he may want to embrace Catholicism and use that to try to get better treatment. It's not a case of transsexuality, intersexuality--it's a legal dodge because he has mental problems and he doesn't want to stay in jail.

I still say it's not transphobic to mention the rights of other prisoners who might be soon trapped with this dangerous individual; it's just uncomfortable for pro-trans-at-any-cost people to contemplate. Just as hearing that women can abuse their partners just as much, and just as violently, as men can, is traumatizing to staunch feminists to hear.

Emilly Orr said...

On to Anonymous Respondent the Second:

Oh, hee, hello, Miss Elspeth! I didn't catch it was you. Fair enough, there *are* two Anonymous voices, but I know the second one. :)

Thank you, and I do understand what you're getting at with the quote, but I really did feel that, for better or worse, I needed to revisit this terrain. First, because I will always, always happily provide people with the means to despise me, as long as they're in the neighborhood--I just want them to despise me for what I've actually done, not some nebulous misunderstanding set based on how a few statements sounded.

Now, the initial post was lighthearted, because a lot of the terms I'd never run across before, and--as this is still predominantly a Second Life blog--I was doing a fair bit to translate (even if just in my own head) the terms to Second Life and the virtual world experience in general.

I think this conclusion was largely missed by Luminus (who plays in SL, so buh??) and Anonymous.

I do regret dismissing "merm" and some of the other terms which seem to have deep personal relevance to some of the respondents; but that doesn't mean I have any better understanding of them, and how they apply to life on the grid. I just don't get that.

I mean, seriously, Second Life is the place you can actually be a hermaphroditic dragon--and there are even groups for that--so "pseudohermaphrodite" in that context just baffled. In the context of the real world, in the context of the medical diagnosis, sure; but on SL? Really?

Emilly Orr said...


Thank you muchly; I do try. As far as "cissexual" goes, while it apparently goes back to the mid-nineties, it's come into far more recent use, and means, roughly, people who are comfortable being the gender they're born with.

I think it's a divisive term; I may be alone in this. Though to be fair, it does beat the more cumbersome "men born men"/"women born women" phrases, the "bio-man"/"bio-woman" concept, or the whole "trans" vs. "normal", debate, because really, what's normal?

"Otherkin", you won't get a positive definition from me. I just can't do it. They've got their own webpage, and the 'official' definition is that they're predominantly people who feel that they have "non-human" souls in some fashion, or are non-human--be that form of non-human to be animal, alien, celestial, or otherwise mythological.

How'ver, considering that nearly all otherkin action is net-based, I'm still pretty comfortable saying they're a group of net loons with a common psychosis.

Emilly Orr said...


I'm mostly nodding and agreeing with your comments; I just have a few comments in return.

The biggest cliche--"It's a complex world"--does come into play here. I don't necessarily feel as if I have 'ally' status in this--that makes me think like I'm a church lady in the big hat being kind to 'those poor colored children'--I more feel like I'm part of (at least the trans) community because I've had trans friends, trans partners, and--because of my PCO--I've counseled baby FtMs on how testosterone works in the female body, what they can expect to see.

I didn't quote your lengthy (and historically accurate) comments on sexual panic not because I didn't think you made good points, but because I didn't think they needed to be part of the continuing discussion--while comments may and do wander far afield from SL, I try to keep most of the posts on the blog either SL-centered, or tech- or music-centered: those remain my prime focus.

Sexual panic has been used by nearly every majority group to downplay minority groups, at least in America; it's known, it's understood. And having read the original comments, I can see why you felt attacked in that selfsame way--here is another human just begging for decent treatment, and Miss Jameson is pulling out the sexual panic card.

Well, I won't speak for her, and--as Anonymous said--the comments weren't specifically addressed to me, but I was the one who knew the case she was talking about. And in that case I don't believe the prisoner should be reassigned to the womens' prison. I think it's a clear delusion on the part of that prisoner.

Does this mean that every time a trans person goes to jail, we trot out the invalid access argument? Of course not. And yes, men have raped women by pretending to be injured, by pretending (or actually being) doctors, dentists, police officers...does that mean any time someone graduates from medical school or the police academy, we should automatically suspect them? Of course not.

But if they have a history...if they have a demonstrated lack of any other signs and verifiers of being transsexual...At least according to the reports I've seen, that individual does not. And has, in fact, been turned down for gender reassignment surgery due to mental defects.

I am very judgmental. I can be convinced, I am willing to talk about things, I am willing to change my mind. But to me, a term like "heteroqueer" is meaningless; made up by straight people who support gays? Whatever happened to "gay positive"? "Gender positive"? Even "supportive"?

"Heteroqueer" makes it sound like "I'm straight, but I'd blow the right guy". Get real.

You can't just mindlessly combine terms and think they're going to mean the same thing to everyone. Witness these two posts for clear examples of that.

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous one, I came back to read what you replied, I have a couple of links for you and a couple of pieces of information.

Firstly, the idea of primary and secondary transsexuals is no longer seen as accurate or valid, including by gender specialists. Nor does the idea that trans people come out only in midlife or in childhood hold true. We come out at all ages of life. It depends on individual circumstances and a huge variety of factors. It's individual and is no indication of intensity of dysphoria or anything else. Also just as with any kind of closeting, one is not just fine until one comes out, one tends to suffer in all sorts of ways that are supressed along with the denial itself. It is no easy ride for people who stay longer in the closet.

Some links on privilege:

specifically cis privilege:

Emilly Orr said...

See? This is helpful!

*goes off to read*

Emilly Orr said...

And upon least this one in depth...I still don't see the transphobia for me, personally.

But then, I am long since used to challenging the expected 'norms' of society with the way I look, RL; one woman ran into traffic to get away from me (true story); I have lost two jobs because of my appearance, I've definitely lost loves, and once, was unable to join a womens' support group because of the 'conflicts' I might cause those women to feel.

Cissexual privilege is the privilege of having a body that matches the sex your brain expects. Cissexual privilege is the privilege of having a body that matches what society expects.

(Taken from the second cis privilege link you sent)

So, yeah. Don't have that. And technically, with the advent of PCO arriving when puberty did, at age eleven, I've never really had's just gotten much worse as time goes on.

I will work on revising the primary/secondary distinction in my head; it was based on extant medical research of the time, but I freely admit, I haven't kept up.

Sphynx Soleil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sphynx Soleil said...

Since it was mentioned, for those who may be unfamiliar with PCO, here's a medical link for more info.

Honestly, folks, *I* can be more likely considered to have cisprivilege issues than Emilly can. I challenge expectations because that's the way I am (finding societal expectations of women to be patently ridiculous most of the time, if not worse), but at the end of the day, what they see physically and what I state do match.

(Prior deleted was me, I wanted to make a slight expansion.)

Emilly Orr said...


Great link on PCOS, btw, which is also now being lumped into something extraordinarily vague called "Syndrome X".

Also, I do find it amusing, and confusing, from a psychological standpoint--one can be any shape, any size, any gender, in SL; you've chosen to rarely be the same twice, and, even though I say that, most of the time, I've picked a set of three avatar forms that cause people to call me out on the street.

(I should just give up and develop a three-foot clockwork catgirl, and let EVERYONE go crazy!)

The mind writes deeply in the body. Mine apparently draws me to things that still challenge people.

Sphynx Soleil said...

My mind apparently wants to be a chameleon when it grows up. *mischevious grin*

And you're welcome on the link. I suspect it's likely some of your comment readers may never have heard of it, or may be thinking of something else entirely, the medical realm being as full of medical acronyms as it is.

And there is actually a couple commonalities for my avs - if it's humanform, it's always TALL. If it's non-human, it's usually bulky, even when female.

Beyond that, anything goes. LOL!

Emilly Orr said...

I started out taller. When I was dancing, I was around 55-60 on the sliders, depending on the day.

Now? I have a 'tall' form that's 45, and nearly everything else is 20-40. :)

That, and nekos get it coming and going. I get dissed by humans for being non-human (oh, and a rep as a Vampire of Caledon, that's *always* been amusing); I get dissed by 'fellow' nekos for wearing whiskers and fur-patterned skins (as opposed to human-smooth). I can't win!

Dale Innis said...

All of the issues that have come up in the discussion of this are fascinating. :) I did (and do) think that the original post was pretty mean; mean in a lighthearted and funny way, certainly, but still mean. If I were you I would say somewhere in here "yeah, I was having a bad day, and I took it out on a stranger; sorry about that!".

Is it insane to feel that you have a non-human soul? I don't think it's insane. The DSM doesn't think it's insane, at least not if it doesn't interfere with your daily life. I am surprised to see you using words like "loon" toward otherkin, apparently without any qualm. How is your feeling that these people are insane different from, say, your typical radio talkshow host's corresponding feeling about people who feel they are in the wrong-gender body?

Serious question here; I'm not just trying to attack you. What is it about otherkin that makes you comfortable with calling them names based on what they feel about their soul-identities?

This question is probably not as interesting as some of the other questions in this thread :) but I think it does directly bear on your justification for being mean to the original random stranger...

Emilly Orr said...

Well, I'm not entirely sure I need to justify being mean to random folk on my blog; it happens, and it doesn't happen rarely. How'ver, I do take your point, and I did--to a degree--explain the situation RL that had the impact on what and how I wrote.

It could have been anyone on the vast interwebs that drew my attention, and my fire; it happened to be GeoPunk. And not because of anything on GeoPunk's blog, per se--just that 'term cloud'. And then only because it wasn't presented in the form of, "I occasionally feel as if I am...these things" but "Hello I Am--these things.

All of those things. All at once.

That is what I took exception to, that kind of all-in-one thinking that pervades the otherkin community. And granted, this just goes to people I've personally spoken with, interacted with online, read--though I lambast everyone in the community--and I still think rightly--it's only based on my conclusions after dealing with the ones I have.

Let's pull this into the religious forum, briefly, see if that makes more sense to you.

I am fascinated by religion, faith, why people worship what they worship. And, in my personal path to belief, I have stopped by many a wayside, and those bits and pieces of religion have, on large occasion, stayed with me.

I still on occasion spit rum onto mirrors when asking for boons. I still think of the moon in female terms, though my main faith calls it male. I still think of the sky and the earth as lovers separated; I may always. I still on occasion go formal, and call the guardians of the watchtowers. I still sing to Kali Ma, chant her name in worship.

Because I have studied voudon, because I started out Egyptian ceremonial, because I walked with Kali for twelve years thereafter, because I am Asatruar now.

But when I spit rum on the mirror, I am calling on Papa Legba, and no other name; when I think on the female moon I do not call it by any Norse name; when I think on land and sky I think Geb and Nut, no one else. To me, though my faith is patchwork, the roots of those faiths are clear.

Get your typical New Age practitioner, who hasn't looked into how these faiths developed, and God is Baldr is Osiris is Apollo is Cernunnos, and there is no distinction. Goddess is Isis is Astarte is Kali is Cerridwen is Athena, and there is no distinction.

It's not even the pantheistic faith of the Wiccans, where all Gods are one God, where all Goddesses are one Goddess, and they accept all paths to the Divine Pair of male and female principles as valid.

Does that make more sense?

Dale Innis said...

Okayyyyy... These people definitely take a different approach to things than you do; as you've mentioned you like words to have simple meanings, you like the world divided clearly into thises and thats and all. But is it really plausible that simply by not doing that, by being comfortable with things running together a bit more, in less unambiguous and more ill-defined ways, that all these people count as insane, and loonies, and psychotic?

Maybe they just have a somewhat different cognitive style...

Emilly Orr said...

The otherkin community--and again, what I've seen of it, though I've seen nothing, so far, that changes my view of the community as a whole--seems rife with this kind of thinking. They're not just wolves in human skin; they're winged wolves. They're not just kitsune; they're mermaids and faerykin and RL, they carry wands that shake glitter on the sidewalks as they dance by. They're not just half-angels, half-demons, half-what-the-hell-ever, they're aliens sent here to observe and some day, they will be called back through the cosmos to report on what they've learned.

It's not a belief system; it's an escape hatch, for everyone who feels that being human, in human skin, is bad, wrong, evil, unpleasant, uncomfortable, disturbing, or icky. I know, they all seem to say, I'm not human! That's why I don't fit in!

And it becomes escapism, clad in the form of belief.

Is it officially recognized as a DSM-IV class delusion? No, because for the most part--unless you actually ask them about being otherkin--it rarely comes up. They go to work, they come home, they watch TV, they get on the net, they're people just like everyone else--so the DSM doesn't address them.

Now, do I believe it's wrong for someone to think they're dragon-blooded, or elven, or any of a hundred other 'non-human' things they could believe in? No; as I've said, I've met two dragons in human skin, and I believed both of them; one of my friends is an elf, and there's just no other way to describe him.

It's the multiplicity. The quirk that makes them think they are elven dragon otter shapeshifters into alien fae-winged vampire birds. The gall that sends them into support groups for dissociative identities claiming that they, too, have multiple people inside their kitsune mermaid bodies, and they're named InuYasha and Hinagiku and Sayuri and Kino, Lestat and Louis and Armand (hells, now? There's a whole bunch of people named Cullen wandering around...who also claim to be alien gerbilkin with tentacles, or whatever).

And when you point this out to them, they cannot see the inconsistency. Because in their minds, they're perfectly fine being battle androids sent from the demon realm to be soul-bonded with a set of fictional characters--because just being human, you see, is just too painful.

I will grant, my loathing for the all-in-one attitude, in religion or personality, is extreme. There was a time I was just confused. Then I talked with someone who was more confused--and deluded--than I was, and I let her injure me (and yes, I know, I could have said no, I let her, the irony is not lost), and deeply. My rich and focused and very real loathing of her has morphed into rich and focused and very real loathing for everyone who swaggers in and adopts practices about which they know nothing, and never seems to connect that even "non-humans" can't be alien avian saurian goblinkin therianthropes all the time, and all at once.

Emilly Orr said...

Basically, for me, it comes down to the simple things. You want to be one thing, be that one thing. If that thing is non-human, fine--if you really, truly believe that, okay. I am not the one to tell anyone otherwise.

But try to convince me that you're a shapeshifter (who never sprouts fur), and winged (when no one can see the wings) and an elf who's burned by cold iron (when you can handle living in a loft surrounded by iron beams, cooking in cast-iron pans with metal spatulas) and all at once...I'm going to be skeptical in the extreme.

Even then, it was just skepticism, until a bunch of them wanted to adopt vampire as a tag as well. And that's when my head caved in. Because trust me, the real vampire community has ENOUGH GODDAMN PROBLEMS without people thinking, "Oh, vampires, right, they wear black and they think they're elves and they all have stupid Japanese names."

They seem to want, by and large, otherkin to be the stand-alone term for anything that's not "normal", by society's narrow definition. And it bothers me, deeply, and I do not like them for doing it.

Dale Innis said...

Nod nod. Extra points for self-awareness, certainly...

"My rich and focused and very real loathing of her has morphed into rich and focused and very real loathing for everyone who..."

I wonder if maybe, in some sense that you would endorse, all of those other people, who aren't her, don't actually deserve your loathing?

Seems a shame to spread one's net of loathe quite so wide...

Emilly Orr said...

Find me someone sane who identifies as otherkin, maybe there's room to talk.

Until then, I am against all that they stand for, and I want them to go away, and leave me and my beliefs alone.

Anonymous said...

One of my friends already told me about this place and I do not regret that I found this article.

Emilly Orr said...

M~ Anonymous,

Welcome to it, whether for or against; my attitudes haven't changed that much since I wrote it. I still get tempted at times to try to breakdown why "cisgender" bothered me so much initially, but I doubt it would have much impact, so long after the original incident.