Tagged: trans issues

Who needs identity politics?

Alas, dear friends, it is late in the night and I’m buggered if I can recall what trail of sorry links lead me to the posts upon which I am to unleash my wrath.

It’s yet another spin-off of the cultural clusterfuck that is Nationhood Speech Der Zweite; specifically, the response by Chris Trotter entitled “The Liberal Left: Who Needs You?” Our special surprise guest is a commenter going by the name of John Pagani, apparently an adviser to The Speechmaker Himself, assuming anyone is honest about their identities on the interwebz these days (she says, writing under a pseudonym).

First things first, there’s the casual dismissal of all and sundry who thought that maybe explicitly modelling a speech after the Don Brash/Orewa mold might not be entirely kosher:

Their reflexive condemnation of anyone who dares to hold Maori politicians to the same standards as Pakeha betrays an arrogant unwillingness to accept the ethical norms of their own society. These people have become the fervent champions of an indigenous culture they can never truly join because, fundamentally, they despise their own.

On the “same standard” bollocks, see my previous post.  Idiot/Savant notes well in the comments,

Be honest, Chris. The word you’re looking for is “self-hating Pakeha”. Or maybe “race-traitor”.

Disclaimer: I am so white it’s ridiculous.  I don’t say I’m “proud to be white” because HOLY CRAP with the instant supremacist associations.  Also, you know, taking pride in the identity of an ethnicity which has categorically dumped on basically every other ethnicity over the past several centuries?  Not so much my thing.

But I am white.  My cultural points of reference are white and Western and English-speaking.  And there’s a big fucking difference between acknowledging that white people have seriously fucked up on the race relations/not committing genocide front and “despising [my] own [culture].”

But I guess it makes it much easier to ignore people’s objections when you can say “oh they just suffer from too much liberal white guilt” – and when you’re happy to forget the fact that we have quite a bit to be guilty about.  Throwing in that whole “too arrogant to accept basic ethics” line is a nice touch, too.

Fuck that, though, I’ve covered it already – point is, Chris Trotter is my least favourite kind of leftie: the one who thinks being a leftie makes him automatically open-minded and understanding of privilege and power dynamics and oppression, but clings happily to the notion that every single bad thing in the world comes down to nothing more than class.

Side note: Trotter responds to I/S’ comment with:

If the cap fits,Comrade …

GET IT, GUYS, HE’S A TOTAL LEFTIE BECAUSE HE CALLS PEOPLE COMRADE, WHY DON’T YOU WORSHIP AT THE FEET OF HIS MARXIST CREDENTIALS.

Anyway, point is:  identity politics.  Ah, yes, those trifling matters that get in the way of real class struggle.  Can’t think why “objects to “identity politics”” is a phrase instantly associated in my mind with white heterosexual males who happen to have a few leftwing ideas, but oh well …

Along with hassling the ZOMG LIBERAL LEFT for having no power or influence “beyond the blogosphere” (whereas Chris totes has influence ’cause they wheel him out to sing The Red Flag on election nights for a laugh) there’s a few nice jabs at we Liberal Lefties:

Those faint-hearted liberals who can’t stand the heat should get out of the kitchen.

They have no understanding of, nor empathy for, the hopes and fears of ordinary people.

The truth of the matter is, liberal leftists have been preaching to themselves for so long they no longer appreciate how few people give a tinker’s cuss what they say.

And then there’s allegedly-John-Pagani in the comments:

It’s about connecting with things that matter to people and making politics work for people, instead of instructing people in what’s good for them and inventing fabrications about the people the left represents.

And that’s frankly where I get right fucking pissed off.

Because apparently, the Liberal Left just don’t understand ordinary people.  We don’t care about things that matter to people, we just want to instruct them because we’re bossy britches.  Fuck, I’m stunned no one managed to insert a nanny/evil headmistress/other authoritarian-woman-figure-who-kills-our-fun-but-is-not-a-Helen-Clark-reference-AT-ALL into the discourse.

Why is the second “people” in both italics and bold up there?  Because when two guys get in a huddle and start slanging against the Liberal Left and the evil distraction of identity politics, and whinge about how we need to think about ordinary people, I think we can make a few very good guesses as to the kind of people they’re talking about.

And I’ll give you a hint:  it ain’t you or me, assuming you are not a middle class white heterosexual cisgendered currently able bodied male.

Because here’s what matters to me:

It matters to me that I not be passed over for a job or a promotion because I’m a woman who’ll obviously just leave to have babies.

It matters to me that I have the right to be paid the same as a man for doing the same work.

It matters to me that gay men and women can have their relationships recognised by the state just like every two-in-three-chance-of-divorce hetero couple.

It matters to me that people of colour not get pulled over by the cops because brown people shouldn’t be driving expensive cars, or are obviously on drugs because they’re brown, or not be played by white people in movies about their lives.

It matters to me that people with disabilities can travel on aeroplanes, and get into buildings, and pass exams at school (look out for that incredibly-expletive-filled-post tomorrow!) and go shopping without worrying some bastard’s going to throw them out for having a hearing dog.

It matters to me that trans people shouldn’t have to worry about being murdered because someone else feels they have the right to judge what defines a man or a woman.

It matters to me that people should be able to practise their faith without fear of persecution, and that people not-of-faith should be able to say so without harassment.

But fuck all that! That’s just identity politics!  That’s just me assuming that the way people identify, the way society wants to identify them, the assumptions others feel free to make about you because of your identity or assumed identity, might actually affect people!  It might actually rate a bit higher on their List Of Things That Pissed Me Off Today:

  1. Harassed on bus by guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.
  2. First question asked at job interview: “Do you have kids?”
  3. Threatened with sexual violence by blog commenter.
  4. Still alienated from means of production.

Come on, guys, the big important thing is obviously class struggle!  We can’t possibly let the things that affect women and people of colour and people with disabilities and trans people and people who ignore the gender binary and people whose identities are not the default white het cis male – who, in fact, by being not-white-het-cis-males, actually have the audacity to have identities – get in the way of the greater good!

And if we have to throw Maori under the bus to achieve our [white het cis male] worker’s utopia, then so be it.

To borrow a line from the bikers’ rally at Parliament, I can only ask, though: who’s next?

Other readingNo Right Turn, Lew at Kiwipolitico.

Offensive pronoun choice: not just for the media

At Questioning Transphobia (hattip: Feministe), we find it isn’t just inept journalists who like to un-gender transfolk to fit their own versions of events, in the story of a Seattle transwoman attacked by a group of teens (oh, only after she solicited them for sex, trufax, all transwomen are hookers obvs).*

And while you may be thinking, “Oh, it’s yet another case of the media using “he” instead of “she” and “was born a male” and “birth name was xyz””, you’d be wrong.

This time it’s the police report.

The victim, in her 30s, told police “that as soon as the suspects got to him [sic], they started hitting and kicking him [sic] …” according to a police report.

“He [sic] also stated that he [sic] sometimes wears a skirt and he [sic] stated that he [sic] believes he [sic] was attacked because of this,” according to the heavily redacted report.

There are no convenient, condescending, harassment-minimizing narratives being imposed here at all.

*Which raises a somewhat obvious question, under what other circumstances would it be appropriate to violently gang up on someone who comes on to you?  Because I’ve been hit on by any number of people I’ve found offensive and repulsive, and I sure didn’t get to punish them with a beating.

Karen Kissane can has transphobia, no can has journalistic integrity

Not sure if this has been covered elsewhere, as I just have time to post before din-dins.

Let’s start with a headline, courtesy of The Age via stuff.co.nz, which basically screams “let’s get some gratuitous offensiveness on”:

Court allows girl, 17, to have breasts removed

It can’t get worse? The hell you say!

An Australian court has allowed a 17-year-old girl to have her breasts removed so she can be more like a boy.

Or as we say in HaveAFuckingBrainistan, “An Australian court has allowed a young transgender man to have surgery so his external appearance can reflect his internal reality.”

… Admittedly, that requires both having a brain and believing in this crazy notion that transgendered people exist.

It’s your usual “denial of transgendered person’s identity, constant and deliberate use of blatantly incorrect pronoun in the face of clear stated preference” tail, only this one has two little twists, one almost funny and the other fucking sick:

First, there’s the fact that Justice Diana Bryant, who made the decision to allow 17-year-old Alex to have the surgery, always uses the correct, male, pronoun … which, given the introduction has already identified Alex as a girl, leads to this:

Justice Bryant told The Age: “In the end, it wasn’t a particularly difficult issue because the only real issue was, ‘Would he (Alex) have it at 17 or once he’s 18?’ Then, he doesn’t need permission…

The “journalist” feels the need to explain that the he Justice Bryant refers to is the same Alex referred to in the headline as a girl.

I mean, most people might have taken the hint when the Chief Justice of the Family Court is using a particular set of words to describe a person.

But not Karen Kissane, senior writer at The Age. Nope, she goes straight for the fucking sick twist:

But ethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini said mainstream medicine did not recognise hormone treatments and surgery as treatment for gender dysphoria. He said it was a psychiatric disorder qualifying under American guidelines as a psychosis because “it’s a belief out of accordance with reality“.

Well, he’s an ethicist, he would know, right?

And if there were anything about this ethicist that might possibly put his comments in context, Karen Kissane would have mentioned it, right?

Like how they stick little “XYZ ABC is a commentator for the Suchandsuch Thinktank and has previously written on the effect of lint on suit jackets” disclaimers at the end of opinion pieces.

I mean, if you’re just going to call someone an ethicist and then report their words with no criticism or questioning, they’ve got to be, well, credible, right?

You wouldn’t, for example, expect them to be Associate Professors at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, right? It’s not like that screams I have a certain and telling doctrine underwriting my statements on gender and identity or anything. It’s not like that might affect how people read this article, and interpret this ethicist’s statements, and how they reflect on the life and identity of a 17-year-old boy.

Karen Kissane, I might have raised an eyebrow over your illiterate inability to get the pronouns right. I might have just screamed FUCK at my computer screen a few times over that pathetic excuse for a headline.

But when you describe Alex’s identity as “longing to be the opposite sex”, when you quote someone like Nick Toni-Filippini and feel apparently no need to point out that his comments are hardly objective, when you discard the serious efforts Justice Bryant has gone to to reach the best decision for Alex because you want to treat a young transman as a circus freak to get you headlines?

There is a special circle of Hell waiting for you, Karen.

Letters to The Age: letters@theage.com.au

ETA: More at Hoyden About Town and The Hand Mirror.

Accentuate the positive

It’s Friday, I’m buggered (and a few Jaegers down), so let’s just have some good news for a change:

Angie Zapata’s killer was found guilty of first degree murder

Take that, trans-panic defence! And the jury only took two hours to deliberate. I call that a fucking victory.

Helen Clark awarded honorary doctorate by U of A

The Standard’s resident trolls are of course ticking every available box on their bingo boards (come on, guys, no GUESS SHE DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT THE LAWS OF THE ROAD yet?), but fucking good on ya, Helen.

“Iconic” might not be the word you’re looking for

So, the Eskimo lollies issue, which apparently is a Symbol of the Loss of Identity And Culture Created By Globalisation, New Zealand Tradition Under Attack My God Won’t You Hypersensitive Brown People Just Shut Up It’s FUNNY Dammit.

First, a world to international readers: “Eskimos” are a “traditional” Kiwi lolly, pictured in the above-linked article. They taste like death. Their sales success is due to only two things: (1) everyone consumed a metric ton of them as children because they were a vital component of the fabled, long-lost One Dollar Lolly Bag, and (2) nostalgia makes people do STUPID SHIT like eat rubber-spongey candies that TASTE LIKE DEATH.*

I swear, even gargling all-sugar Coke doesn’t kill the VILE AFTERTASTE OF CHEMICAL FLAVOURINGS.

Of course, now we can add (3) this has somehow become spun into a watershed moment of Kiwi xenophobia I mean, maintaining our National Identity. This is fracking GALLIPOLI 2.0, PEOPLE.

But here’s what bothers me.

If Eskimo lollies are so iconic, so part of our heritage … what, pray tell, does that say about New Zealand and New Zealanders? If Eskimo lollies are representative of it?

And what the fuck does it say when the media are able to get this much of a beat-up out of a single person voicing the mildest objection to it? I mean, fuck, there’s the classic automatic “feeling personally attacked due to attack on something held dear” and then there’s HOLY MASSIVE OVERREACTION BATMAN. Over a fucking lolly. A nasty-tasting, crappily-molded lolly.

This crap ain’t iconic of any New Zealand I’m proud to live in.

*And watch 1980s Transformers reruns, and sing the Captain Planet theme song in public. Am I showing my age?

PS. Editing the Herald, I love ya, but seriously:

Or perhaps ‘Eskimo’ just really isn’t up there with World’s Worst Insults.

Please shut up, your privilege is showing.

In other news: Deborah and Julie at The Hand Mirror have already covered the greatest panic-inducing headline story of the year: Obesity Epidemic Causes Global Warming.

Feministe has good coverage of the Angie Zapata murder trial, with predictable headdesk-inducing bullshit from the defence well underway.

Buying New Zealand-made is something I like to do when funds, and ethics, permit.

Strike one company off the list: Charlie’s.  You see, there’s only so far a company can push the “haha, all good blokes here, let’s be mildly offensive” cart before it ends up in “we’re actually bigoted dickheads pathetically insecure about our masculinity, which could probably go some way to explaining our horrific rates of domestic violence” land.

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A traitor to my ovaries

As I was writing my last post, I was trying to think what I could add by way of explaining why “trans issues” even rates a tag on Ideologically Impure. And then I got annoyed at myself: it shouldn’t need an explanation.

But, what with the theme this season* on the feminist blogosphere being transgender people, transgender “issues” and, no doubt, somewhere, a transgender agenda, it has become clear that there will be people, women, feminists out there who want one.

Now, this post from belledame at Fetch Me My Axe sums up the basics.

Know why online feminist discussions keep coming back to trans issues? Because some “feminists” are being GIANT fuckheads about, and -to-, actual trans women. To the point of being jaw dropping bigots and interfering in what in any other context would be, SHOULD be understood as basic fucking womens’ rights. Human rights, even, in some cases. That’s it. That’s all. Start actually listening to actual trans women, including the ones that don’t tell you what you want to hear, (hint, there’s probably more of the latter than the former), and you might not be having this problem.

But maybe that’s not good enough. And maybe when belledame does post a rant about threats to rescind gay marriage rights, maybe those fuckheads will say, “Oh, well, she’s gay, so it’s personal, it’s not a feminism thing.” After all, they are fuckheads.

So let me, as a heterosexual ciswoman, someone you fuckheads might actually care about, explain in terms even you should understand, why trans women’s issues matter. I mean, sure there’s the whole “I have a soul” aspect, the whole “I have the capacity for empathy” aspect, the whole “my feminism makes some fucking sense” aspect, but clearly those aren’t playing a major part in the “anti-trans” mindset.

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Oh goody, the evolution of bullshit

Kellie Telesford was murdered. She happened to be a transwoman. A man who was the last person to see her alive, who left her apartment with her cellphone and her travel card, has walked free.

Wait, wait, wait. I see what you’re thinking: “Oh, fuck, another wanker has called “trans panic” and got off.” Nononononono. Too simple. You see, why admit any kind of culpability at all when your lawyer can pull off a stunning “victim killed self in kinky sex game” defence? Huh?

I mean, sure this defence requires a jury to believe that Kellie Telesford was a) into choke-play, b) decided to do a little coincidentally right after the accused left, and c) covered her own fucking body with a fucking sheet, but hey, it’s worth a go if you can sell them on a few crucial pieces of bullshit:

  1. Transpeople = weird, and thus probably into weird things.
  2. Transpeople = ALL ABOUT THE SEX, AMIRITE, and thus almost certainly into naughty things.
  3. Transpeople = deviant, therefore Not Like Us, and therefore stupid, and thus likely enough to kill themselves stupidly while doing deviant things.

And that’s even ignoring the fact that yet again it’s a woman of colour who’s been murdered, and we all know how much outrage that kind of thing generates, or all the other bullshit trans-myths that they’ve looked at over at Questioning Transphobia.

Oh, and BBC? When you’ve already painstakingly pointed out that Kellie Telesford was “pre-operative transgender female”, adding “who was born a man” is just a tad redundant, n’est-ce pas? Oh, I’m sorry, were you trying to subtly emphasise the “scary deviant” aspect? FAIL.

What she said

Great guest post by Anita over at No Right Turn.

Last year in Parliament two failed amendments were attempted trying to replace the government’s status quo nominees with anti-abortion ones. One attempted replacement was a doctor who has worked for an anti-abortion counselling service. The amendment was put forward by Peter Brown (NZ First) and supported by all the NZ First MPs who voted and 21 of the 36 National MPs who voted. His supporters included John Key, Bill English, Tony Ryall and Judith Collins — the four hoping to be Prime Minister, Deputy PM, and Ministers for Health and Social Development. The second attempted replacement put forward by Gordon Copeland gained similar levels of support.

Go. Read.

ETA: Also, this post at In A Strange Land.

The rubbish in question being this nonsense from Noelle McCarthy, who has tossed her pretty head and decided that because she gets to make choices for herself, because she is independent, then clearly, there’s no need for feminism anymore. Feminism is past its use-by date, and no woman of any sense calls herself feminist anymore, and certainly there’s no sisterhood amongst women anymore.

Quick, someone inform the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.

And this post at Questioning Transphobia:

But this “gender is not real” thing is almost always used to ONLY illuminate the falseness of trans genders. And considering the notion that we are “really” a man or woman despite appearances tends to feed into transphobic discourse, legislation and eventually violence, I think it is worthy of refuting those non-trans normative biases and presumptions.

Fuck You Awards

The “Fuck you, you transphobic douchebag” Award

A proposal “gathering dust” on a Swedish Minister’s desk would require the sterilization of all transition transfolk.

Less-cuss-y analysis: Ami Angelwings and Questioning Transphobia.

The “Fuck you, you casually-racist piece of crap” Award

Mobs attacking Roma dwellings in Italy due to rumours a Roma was responsible for the abduction of a child? Your thoughts, Italian Government Minister? “Well, that’s what happens when gypsies steal babies.

Less-cuss-y analysis: The Corvid Diaries

The “Fuck you, you pathetically-insecure homophobic wankstain” Award

On Canadian Idol, a male judge tells a male contestant that said contestant’s performance “even turned me on”. Male contestant “doesn’t know how to take that”.

Video at Hoyden About Town, with transcript, but no commentary – it hardly needs it, but I need to get the cusswords out of my system before Torchwood:

IT MEANS HE WANTS TO TAKE YOU UP THE ASS, OBVIOUSLY. THERE IS NO OTHER POSSIBLE REASON WHY A MAN MIGHT COMPLIMENT ANOTHER MAN. IT’S OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE HE’S GAY, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY A TERRIBLE THING. OH MY JESUS, HOW COULD ANY MALE POP STAR EVER FUCKING STAND BEING FOUND ATTRACTIVE BY OTHER MEN? THEN HE MIGHT SELL MORE ALBUMS OR SHIT. That whole, “Dude, I’m hetero, and that was hot”? NOT A COMPLIMENT, A SNEAKY, SNEAKY GAY COME-ON. OBVIOUSLY.

Take the fucking compliment, moron.

Finally,

The “Fuck you, you judgemental asshats who wouldn’t recognise your privilege if it smiled at you while denying you food” Award

To all the commenters over at frogblog‘s post about some awful, and at the very, tiniest, infinitesimally least, inappropriate behavior of a Work and Income employee who told a single mother to “fuck off” when she applied for a food grant.

I sincerely fucking hope that none of you ever face, for example, the loss of a partner, the collapse of a company, the “right-sizing” of a job, the unannounced increasing of a rent, unplanned pregnancy, or, oh let’s not forget, fucking rising costs of living and fuel (like that would ever happen, QoT, what are you on about?). Because when you do, you deserve nothing fucking less than for some sanctimonious assclown to say, “WELL YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD A CHILD, YOU SHOULD GET A JOB, YOU SHOULD STOP RELYING ON NANNY STATE, YOU SHOULD MAGICALLY ALTER CIRCUMSTANCES TOTALLY OUTSIDE YOUR CONTROL AND NEVER EVER HAVE ANYTHING UNEXPECTED HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE”.

In conclusion: fuck you all.