Originally posted on August 25, 2018, reposted in 2019.
I just quit an online group after being attacked and called transphobic. I shared a friend's Facebook post, an article by Skylar Baker-Jordan about homophobic, anti-woman trans activism on a supposedly inclusive online safe place. When I shared that, I made it clear I have indeed encountered trans women bullying, expecting me to be subservient while wanting acceptance at the same time, I find the double standards hypocritical and unacceptable.
Anyone who disrespects me doesn't deserve respect from me as well.
So in comes a group of trans activists, including one trans woman. I know this because I commented on his posts previously and supported him. They made it all about their gender identities, telling me how this article is offensive and my comment is offensive.
I was asked to clarify myself, I cut and paste my comment on my post again, replied, which part is unclear? I didn't get a direct reply, it was a continuous stream of nonsensical comments peppered with "offended" and "being offensive."
I asked patiently, which parts exactly? Can you quote and explain why? No answers were forthcoming from any of them, particularly one trans woman, beating around the same offended bush with the same cis equals you don't get it stick.
"You must never have met a trans woman!"
"Check your cis privilege!"
"This is literal violence!"
It went on and on, a sure sign of a group of people coming unhinged, mass hysteria of a group of volatile people.
Then I was told that me as a "cis gendered woman", I don't have the same experiences as her. When I knew that I didn't, didn't claim that I did, not just on this post, I never did ever in my life, because that would be invalidating and dismissive.
The exact same thing he's doing to me on the spot, repeatedly, on the same thread. First it's my words hold no weight, I was asked to repeat it. When I did, it was dismissed again.
This, by the same trans woman I supported previously, talk about a slap in the face.
This is the first time I experienced cis being used as an insult. So I asked if he was a trans woman or trans man?
It was upon quitting the group that I remembered he is a trans woman.
I asked then because I can't figure out why would someone be so offended? I was told I'm offensive again, it's really getting old and somewhat comical, I didn't know I could be so offensive or someone can be so offended when I was the one being piled on, 6 attacking 1 and I'm the one with the problem.
I apparently didn't deserve to be offended even AFTER they ganged up on me.
His jacked up sense of entitlement made the gulf between how I'm being silenced even more remarkable, reinforced the the point of the article further.
Trans activism turned misogynistic is real.
Now "it's none of my business." I was instead lectured repeatedly in barely contained rage about how I should be polite and inclusive, sprinkled with a couple of politically correct obviously disingenuous pleases.
Basically human 101 things I already knew as a teenager, it was a mind numbingly dull monologue, he was on a roll, it was a performance and he was enjoying the spotlight of world's greatest victim and my imaginary role in his victimisation.
None of the pleases moved the conversation forward, like a goldfish circulating around the same tiresome bowl of how offensive I was, further polluting the water already made murky by assumptions, none of them mine. None of it was about my experience, NONE.
All of it was about his, his experiences, his offence, his, his, his.
Apparently assuming I'm cis and telling me I'm cis isn't offensive, using it to indicate my lack of ability to think critically isn't offensive because I don't know, having a vagina means I'm dumb. Being cis means I have to immediately defer to him or I was "offensive". Who died and made him queen?
This made me think, someone can identify as a trans woman and live a life of male privilege on some days as well. As long as transition isn't visually apparent or the identity as a trans woman isn't a daily affair then yeah, it is possible they get to enjoy male privilege on days they don't dress in woman's clothing.
Posting occasional photos online doesn't prove anything, they could be cross dressing on some days and not live as such on other days. They can dress up for pride parades or for art performances such as drag shows and take it off as and when they want.
Being a woman isn't a costume, I cannot take it off.
For an obviously visual woman with naturally large breasts, I go to great lengths to hide them, buying breast reduction bras and what not, even considered breast reduction surgery when I was in my 20s because I kept getting back pain. I get too much male attention, the male gaze kind, the kind that makes me cringe and has made me uncomfortable all my life.
I didn't do it in the end, it would only take it down one cup size and I would have to pay 10K, doesn't seem like a fiscally responsible choice.
It is possible to enjoy let's say male privilege at work then at night or in private enjoy the trans woman's side. It's fairly easy now to just create an online account, even post photos of the days they do crossdress. If the experiences are so unique that no woman can understand, an idea that's widespread in trans activism, always used as an excuse not to understand women's experiences, then why would they want to be included in a movement that doesn't understand them?
So, they want to be included as they see fit and excluded whenever they see fit as well, to enjoy the best of both worlds. Women when under the umbrella of feminists then special women set apart from the same feminists, entitled to be more deserving. Male privilege under LGBT so they control the narrative of how LGBT activism looks like and "lesbian" as a woman to get LB support.
I use to think that identity is what someone wants it to be, as long as it's what someone believes it to be, it is, it's only respectful to take it for what it is instead of arguing about it.
I didn't know that I had to defend my cis genderedness yet I never did ask them to defend their trans genderedness. Again all about them, I do not exist, I am the invisible woman, did I somehow don the cloak of invisibility, melt into an article I didn't write, forced to take responsibility for everything that I didn't do, say or feel?
It is called abuse. When someone hold you personally responsible for their subjective reality, experiences that you didn't participate it and can't possibly know about until you invest more time, someone who can't tell what is outside your sphere of control and what is within it, that is abuse.
In a post I posted, it was still not about me, when it is my turn? So I comment on the thread, so does that make my experiences invalid? How do you know how painful it is or isn't? How do you gauge suffering and who gets to gauge it? You or me or?
You see, this is exactly why I defended trans people, including trans women to others. My personal assumption was that their suffering is more than mine as a lesbian woman, so I'm more privileged. This conversation gave me pause, how I got it all wrong, that they might actually be more privileged in the LGBT+ community and otherwise, due to the same thinking as mine as well as other factors such as trans activism is always about playing the victim.
Before I spent four years researching narcissistic abuse including manipulation techniques.
I would have believed them, after that, no way. I think we all want to do the right thing and there's always the grey.
While I was supporting them, they were degrading me a lesbian and as a woman. I even cut and paste this part of the article,
"No feminist believes that transwomen should be attacked or injured. No feminist believes they should be sacked for being trans or be refused housing or health care. What feminists believe is that women — adult human females — have a right to sex-segregated spaces as sanctuaries against male violence, and that women should have particular rights as a result of having been born female under patriarchy. What feminists believe is that gender is an oppressive social construct used to subjugate the female sex class."
It was also promptly dismissed, skipped over immediately, poured automatically into that minute fishbowl of offence. Funny how I was at once fluid, flowing and rigidly offensive, stiffly so, whenever they wanted me to.
So many contradictions that made my head spin, so many double standards I don't even know how it's possible. Transplaining, misogyny AND gaslighting, all happening at once.
I have the reverse Midas touch it seems, my vagina causes all things to turn to shit, I must be treated like shit, take their shit, while he sit there, cherry pick the bits he's offended about, worse, act like he deserve to be offended and I don't deserve to be offended. Ignoring my bullying while stroking his fragile ego, have the gall to be offended while hurling unfound accusations.
What a hot mess!
When the whole point of that damn article is about homophobia, anti-woman trans activism. It's really a twilight zone moment that shone too bright a light on something I didn't want to know.
They further proved that this was indeed an issue and perhaps not an isolated one, I need to do more investigation.
So I was wondering, he invalidated and dismissed MY experiences then tell me I'M offensive while using cis gender to devalue me, telling me my cis genderedness is the same reason why I should be empathetic.
How does it work really? To add injury to insult, ignoring the most important part of the article. "lesbians are being bullied and pushed out of the Dyke March. Women in rape crisis centres are being forced to room with male-bodied people, and told they are in violation of the law when they protest."
Another woman in the group also piped up about how she has been raped and feel unsafe around people with male genitalia, she was also invalided and dismissed the same way.
By this time I was livid, enough is enough.
Come on, anyone who stand on moral high ground on a discussion about gender identities in the face of someone's rape experience is unacceptable!
If rape isn't enough to be a valid reason for concern then gender politics have gone way off track.
On and on about their identities, disagree or agree with whether it's a social construct or not, they missed the whole point of it, it's NOT about them, this article isn't about them, my post isn't about them, it's about me and people like me, it's about lesbians and women under attack.
It's also about battered women possibly feeling unsafe when they're around, a point that became even more brutally clear as this went on, how valid this point is.
Even when a woman is raped, it is not as important as their tender gender identities, then I say that is hatred for women, pure hatred.
Also, given many opportunities to educate me about their views, they refused, because that's not the point, they just want to abuse me, because being offended was more important than public education, doesn't sound like a sincere activist of any kind, I met hundreds of them and none are like so.
Then I was told that I'm unsafe for transpeople, when I replied, "so I'm bullied by a trans woman and I'm unsafe, YOU are unsafe for invalidating and dismissing me." When I said, it's hurtful to invalidate and dismiss my experiences of being bullied, I was called transphobic.
That's when they alerted admin, who said the discussion was getting heated, anyone who wants to discuss it, do it in private message.
This is giving people who really do experience transphobia a bad name, using transphobic as a shield for abuse, leaving a bitter sour aftertaste in my mouth as I deleted the post and clicked leave group.
I'M OFFENDED, VERY MUCH SO.
I now understand why a female friend of mine said she's uncomfortable with trans women calling themselves women. Trans activism is sometimes indeed at the expense of a woman. I defended trans women, risking our friendship at that time.
Now I have a deeper understand why.
Just because I try my best to be inclusive of them, don't mean they in return are inclusive of me.
Another friend brought up another good point, just because someone claims to be a trans woman, doesn't negate the possibility of a man pretending to be a trans woman to infiltrate women only safe places to do harm.
What if it's crossdressing more as a hobby, for fashion sake or a temporary exploration, yet identifies as a trans woman, there's nothing stopping someone from doing so.
All gender identity takes is someone claiming it and someone else believing it. The reasonable refusal of male genitalia in women only safe places for reasons of safety cannot be denied, as is the possibility of misogynistic attitudes by trans woman or transgenders.
There is no reason why they should have special treatment!
When British singer Alison Moyet said on Twitter, she didn’t want to be known as a cis-woman, just as a woman. ‘I defend everyone’s right to have the pronoun that they choose and will honour it’, she diplomatically said. And ‘I do not choose Cis for mine’, she continued. ‘It took women like me long enough to own the title “woman” in the first place. It’s a long enough word for me.’
She was mocked, ridiculed, accused of stoking hatred of trans people. She was bombarded with stern, abusive tweets. How dare this woman call herself a woman – that was the bizarre and more than a little misogynistic undertone to the mauling of Moyet. It got so bad that Moyet eventually gave up. She withdrew her sinful tweet in which she dared to say she was a ‘woman’ and recanted her speechcrime: ‘Ok, people. You win. I get that I’m reprehensible… I delete.’ Then she said she was leaving Twitter for a month, for the the sin of ‘egregiously offending a whole community’.
So at the end of that discussion, my take away is this, I would be cautious about supporting any transgenders in future, not feed the assumption that a transgender journey is automatically more painful therefore more deserving of empathy nor does someone's pain automatically transform him into an empathetic person.
Not everyone grows empathy from their own pain, many become narcissistic instead, some become abusive and some become manipulation.
Take a woman who has been raped, disowned by her family compared to a trans woman who hasn't and accepted by his family. Or a wealthy white trans woman compared to a poor black straight woman. Or in my case, a white trans woman who enjoyed white male privilege before he visually transition and will go on to enjoy white privilege as a white person.
I don't know how many years, I do know if it's one day, it's one day more than I enjoyed white male privilege. I'm a lesbian woman of colour all my life, so his privileges as a white trans woman is more than mine. Yet purely on his trans experience that sets him apart from me, he is special and I am not. That means I have to give him leeway if not I'm transphobic, did he stop and think about my position?
He's not the only one too. DJ Crystal Rose, Jessica Diamond and Deborah Budding have flipped the script too, cis women are silenced instead.
I see how the reaction of feminists, how TERF - Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist is necessary, erasure of women in transgender activism does exist. Even this term TERF by itself has demonised women and feminism, causing a divide between feminism and LGBTQIA rights.
How about trans exclusionary men? How about them?
We are now labeled non-trans or “cis” women. Some trans activists are even claiming it is “cissexist” or “transmisogynist” just to refer to pregnant women as women. The Midwives Association of North America (MANA) will no longer use the term “pregnant woman” because they have been informed this is transphobic. Instead, they will use the term “pregnant person,” because it is now considered bigoted to imply a direct connection between women and pregnancy. So “womanhood” has been erased from the language of midwives in order to protect the feelings of a tiny percentage of the trans community.
Author and trans activist, Julia Serano, tweeted that “contraception-centric feminism” has been “alienating” for her.
Another popular genderqueer activist, Laurie Penny, wrote an article for Buzzfeed complaining that feminism’s “focus on women” was “alienating” to the queer community.
We are talking about the women’s movement here, aren’t we?
I am reviewing what I have done unconditionally in the past, support transgenders and trans women automatically when they might not be supporting my experiences as a woman and as a lesbian.
Anyone can be a misogynist, transgenders included.
I don't feel I need to apologise or explain my cis genderedness away to anyone, transgenders or otherwise. I find it ridiculous that I have to announce my cis gendered body out of respect for transgenders when my cis genderedness wasn't something I usually think of, unless I was around transgenders who bring it up.
It's purely out of consideration for them that I used it previously, a way of validating their experiences. But then I have encountered situations where I don't ask, I'm an asshole, if I ask, I'm also an asshole, I can't seem to win. Yet apparently they have no problem hating on me by using who I am or jump to the conclusion I'm transphobic without bothering to dialogue at all, just because their offence is automatically bigger than mine.
Even when it's ME being bullied.
This is abuse, straight up fits all the signs.
My cis genderedness isn't a cause for shame or alarm, if I don't want to announce it then so be it, just as transgendered people have the right not to announce it, I'm not going to automatically do it again for their comfort when they don't consider mine. It will be on a case to case basis from now onwards, what was once a common courtesy out of goodwill has to now be a considered decision.
I make a conscious effort to be sensitive around them yet my body keeps getting hated on daily, now by them as well. I have body image issues as well, is body image or the struggle for body positivity so unique to them only?
I think not.
Still, I am utterly unable to understand at all and it's not as if I don't want to understand, they were too busy hating on me to explain it to me. Don't ignore me then accuse me of not understanding while continuously asking me to explain myself, I have never seen the same person use the words "offensive" and "offended" so many times.
It's like a song stuck on repeat.
When I said, "I didn't write the article so why am I made to take responsibility for what's written?" Again, no answer. Because someone ready to be offended, ready to call someone offensive doesn't require logic, only the persistent demand that I shut up and stand down.
Abusers are all like this, logic out the window.
When I have fought so hard to own my body, I'm not going to tolerate someone using it against me. I love my vagina, she's a loud mouth, she's not going to shut up, E-V-E-R. I love my boobs, they're fantastic bouncy clouds of pleasure. I love being a woman in all ways, a lesbian woman in all ways, accept all of me or none of me, there is no in-between, this is not a bargain basement, no one gets to negotiate my worth.
My worth is fixed, my experiences are always valid, any dismissal is disrespectful.
For someone so defensive, I would imagine he knows what it's like to have to defend yourself all the time, "are you sure you're lesbian?", "are you sure you're a feminist?".
I will now move on to heal my hurt at the betrayal, my foolishness at being inclusive of the same people who aren't of me. The times I have made an effort to educate myself about gender dysphoria, continuously gave special consideration for transgenders and trans women views, educated others about it behind the scenes and in public as well. I also fundraised and campaigned for them specifically and in many areas that affect the entire LBGT+.
All seems like foolishness on my end at this point.
I have to process so I don't start to make sweeping statements, this responsibility has fallen on my shoulders due to irresponsibility on the other end. Experiences like these don't help, it's trans activism gone haywire. As a feminist lesbian who champion women's rights and lesbian rights, I have always been conscientious about exploring intersectional feminism, so as to not alienate fellow feminists, lesbians or allies of any kind.
I have had smooth mutually respectful interactions with a few rare trans women and trans men so I still feel hopeful bridging the divide is possible.
As much as they are fighting or have fought for themselves, even fighting me, they deserve to own their own bodies too. I make a conscious effort NOT to do it at their expense, they can choose not to do it at mine.
I find true specialness isn't about how we're different but how similar we're, real lasting inner validation is acknowledging that our experiences are all individually unique at the same time, connecting with sincerity so we find mutual meaning out of it.
Whereas temporary specialness is holding on too strongly to what sets us apart, polarising and pushing allies away.
That divide gone wild lets the offence monster overshadow what can be a teachable moment.
A moment that's not lost on me, but on them.
Eshet chayil, God is a She.
I go into more detail how trans ideology hurts everyone under LGBT+ here.
This experience was in 2018, this post edited in 2019 and changed to male pronouns. I was hesitant then to use male pronouns, after researching how gender identities marginalise women further, I cannot be complicit in my demise or my sister's demise.