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Trans Activists Torpedo Film by Lesbian May 25, 2007

Posted by angryscientist in Bad Science, Feminism, Uncategorized.
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Oh, those poor transgender folks, feeling oppressed by a film created by acclaimed lesbian filmmaker Catherine Crouch, because her film makes a point they don’t want to hear. This article from the Bay Area Reporter I found linked at Womensspace. Heart said she would be blogging about it shortly. Crouch says:

Things are getting very strange for women these days. More and more often we see young heterosexual women carving their bodies into porno Barbie dolls and lesbian women altering themselves into transmen. Our distorted cultural norms are making women feel compelled to use medical advances to change themselves, instead of working to change the world. This is one story, showing one possible scary future. I am hopeful that this story will foster discussion about female body modification and medical ethics.

Not if the transgender activists have their way! They say Crouch and her film are peddling transphobic stereotypes! That’s news to her. At least one of the outraged transmen is torn about the idea of censoring her, but such qualms didn’t stop more than 130 people from signing a petition denouncing her film and Frameline’s decision to screen it. I have to ask, who is oppressing whom here? She is worried about this trend of women who don’t fit the female stereotype feeling they have to change into men. Who sold them that bill of goods, I’d like to know. I’ve had more than a few women friends. None of them fit the female stereotype. What the hell does taking testosterone and going through such drastic surgery have to do with being a gender outlaw? Nothing. That’s just trading one stereotype for another, not to mention probable cancer or other major health problems to look forward to. I think it’s important to discuss the compromised medical ethics involved, but to these outraged transpeople, that’s just more of the same old transphobia!

Why would women do this to themselves? I think it has everything to do with the way culture indoctrinates everyone to see women as inferior to men. One would think women rebelling against stereotyping wouldn’t fall for this deceptive solution to their issues with how females are supposed to be. What does it buy them, a ticket to validate female inferiority from the other side? I don’t know, but it sounds like a hell of a way to rebel, becoming a man to prove to oneself one is not like a typical woman? There is no such thing as a typical woman anyway, at least not from my point of view.

Men are different in that respect, because we men are highly rewarded for conforming, and most men don’t have the balls to defy how men are supposed to be. In a sense, women are also rewarded for conforming, but that reward is more like hollow societal approval for accepting their place as inferior beings, which offers no protection from being harassed, raped, or battered. Typical men don’t have to deal with such threats. Transmen do, especially when discovered.

I’m not going to claim to understand why women do this to themselves. I have my suspicions, but no way of knowing. I can sort of comprehend the MTF phenomenon, because the male stereotype makes me want to distance myself, at least psychologically. As a man who respects and cares about women, I find it abhorrent and incredibly sad that women would feel this is a viable way to escape oppression. Maybe they feel changing the world is hopeless. I could certainly understand that pessimism, though I don’t share it. I’m not in their shoes, though I’m a gender outlaw myself, considering myself a straight androgynous man. I’m fascinated by women, but I have no desire to alter my biochemistry. I’m weird, and like it that way, despite the flak I catch for it.

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Comments»

1. Zoe Brain - May 25, 2007

Suppose you, angryscientist, had been born with a female body. Feeling exactly as you do now, just with 46xx chromosomes.

Maybe you’d try on the “Butch Lez” stereotype for size, see of it fits, because sure as heck you’re not a standard model female. Maybe you could live with that. Maybe not.

See http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2006/01/male-view.html for how another guy felt. I can’t really understand, being female myself, but he’s one of the more masculine guys I know.

As long as you see Transsexuals as “women becoming men” or “men becoming women” you misunderstand the whole situation. People with HBS (the preferred nomenclature du jour – Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome) really have mostly male minds in mostly female bodies, or the reverse. I say “mostly” because a lot are physically intersexed in other, minor ways, and having the wrong hormone mix changes the brain, hence the mind. When they go onto HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) they’re more functional, more consistent. Some can get by without surgery, some can’t. How would you like it if your male body had got a vagina, not male genitalia? Could you cope, or would you raise the $100k and take a 30% chance of having successful phalloplasty?

These “women becoming men” are nothing of the sort. They’re Men becoming somatically male and giving up the Gal act they were forced into by circumstance. Lesbians, butch or lipstick, are totally different, they’re women, with bodies that match their minds.

As for the film – it depicts a vast conspiracy by Fundamentalists and Transsexuals to oppress others. Maybe not such a big deal, except that there was a very influential feminist tract by Raymonds which advocated the eradication of Transsexuals, and the banning of their treatment, as they were “tools of the Patriarchy”, comparable to Rapists and Nazis. .

I personally don’t think the film should have been banned. But that it is transphobic, demeaning, and encourages bigotry and prejudice is indisputable.

Some light reading on the subject of HBS.

Zhou J.-N, Hofman M.A, Gooren L.J, Swaab D.F (1997)
A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality.

Kruijver F.P.M, Zhou J.-N, Pool C.W., Swaab D.F. (2000)
Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus

Trouble is, N

2. angryscientist - May 26, 2007

Did your comment get truncated somehow?

Indisputable is a very strong word. I dispute your interpretation, and so does Ms. Crouch, who ought to know. I haven’t read the book by Raymonds, but I strongly suspect you are distorting her views as well.

I do agree these women are not becoming men, though they may think they are men in the wrong bodies. Biology has less influence on the mind than you seem to think. It’s true that the brains of men and women are wired differently, particularly the corpus callosum connecting the brain hemispheres, but this theory that transsexuals have some mismatch between mind and body is ludicrous. The mismatch is between mind and how society interprets biological sex, i.e. gender stereotyping, which is arbitrarily constructed by culture to maintain male supremacy. Changing biological sex is impossible, a technological myth. Defying one’s gender stereotype is difficult only because of heavy social pressures to conform to cultural norms.

How would you like it if your male body had got a vagina, not male genitalia?

Leaving aside genuine intersex, which is far rarer than transsexuality, though thanks to all the hormone disrupting chemicals it might be catching up, that hypothetical is a contradiction in terms. Male bodies have male genitalia and chromosomes, by definition. You seem to ignore my own identification as androgynous. That has almost nothing to do with my body, but it has a lot to do with the way I think and feel. I have long hair, but refuse to shave my face. I am not gay, queer, or kinky. I can be as fiercely competitive and coldly logical as any guy, but I abhor violence and value my intuition. So what does all that make me, besides weird? I choose to defy gender stereotyping as a matter of principle. I think women, regardless of sexual preference, should do likewise, since many aspects of the female stereotype are good for nothing but keeping women subservient to men.

3. Spango - May 26, 2007

By your very own statemnets, you do have next to no actual understanding of this concept. For transmen, it is not an a way for them to “escape oppression”. It is, rather, the way in which they bring their bodies into agreement with their minds. I know it is rather cliche and even frowned upon to state that a person is one gender trapped in the other gender’s body, but that is about the way to sum it up to layman such as yourself. Ms. Crouch really needs to sit down and think about exactly what it is she is afraid of. If it really is that she is losing her butch lesbian friends who are becoming transmen, she should ask herself if she wants those same friends to live a miserable life simple to support her agenda or if she would rather see these people actually achieve happiness with who they are. I would hope that she would choose the latter, but I seriously doubt that. No, I have a suspicion that she is afriad that if the transmen continue to become who they really are she will lose valuable political and social allies and thus the basis of her fear is one of perceived isolation and loneliness. A fear that is rather paranoid as there are still a large population of butch lesbians who are not transgendered and will alway be the women they were born as.

Oh, and by the way, being a long haired, bearded pacifist does not make one androgynous, but rather something more along the lines of a hippy.

4. Denise - May 26, 2007

“Biology has less influence on the mind than you seem to think. It’s true that the brains of men and women are wired differently, particularly the corpus callosum connecting the brain hemispheres, but this theory that transsexuals have some mismatch between mind and body is ludicrous.”

I have been looking for the expert on this issue! I take it you are the one? There has been so many different studies and they point in so many different directions that MOST scientists in this field refuse to make such blanket statements. Many have opinions that are directly contradictory, based upon their, and others’, medical research. But, I’m relieved to know that you have the true answer. Not an opinion, just the right answer. Damn, that’s got to feel good.

I’m proud of Frameline’s decision. Not because they censored a movie — I’m opposed to that. I think all viewpoints should have their space, even those that frame others as being evil or to be feared or even eradicated (I favor allowing the Nazis to spew their superior race crap, despite my strong revulsion to it). No, I’m proud of them because they took the opportunity to make an informed decision for themselves. They didn’t buy the filmmaker’s spin and they didn’t pull the movie because someone got upset (people are upset at ALL kinds of movies, for ALL kinds of reasons — wasn’t it teletubbies or something like that that got in trouble a few years back?). They listened to both sides and decided where they stood. It was a principled decision. I would have supported them deciding to show the film, despite my sadness that people think transgender folk are living their lives in service to the patriarchy (ignoring those who aren’t straight and continue to fight the gender system, even post transition) instead of merely pursuing their own internal peace.

Substantively, I also loathe the return to the Barbie doll culture, and I absolutely see parallels within the trans community and I’d be the first to acknowledge that many trans people reinforce gender stereotypes (for better or worse). But, to suggest those stereotypes are the sole underlying motivation to transition belies a narrow perspective and an unwillingness (or, inability — which is understandable) to see another reasonable explanation.

5. Zoe Brain - May 27, 2007

Some quotes rom Raymond’s Book:

“Rape…is a masculinist violation of bodily integrity. All
transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the female form to an
artifact, appropriating this body for themselves…Rape, although it
is usually done by force, can also be accomplished by deception.”

“I contend that the problem of transsexualism would be best served by morally mandating it out of existence.”

As regards the “Gender is a Social Construct” theory, what evidence do we have of that? You know, scientific studies, numbers, acts? Compare that to the autopsy results showing MtoF Transsexuals have parts of their brains within female norms, and outside the norms of “other” males, gay or straight? Did you even look at either of those two papers?

Here’s the URLs
http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/BSTc.pdf
http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/brainsex1.pdf

At least you accept that male and female brains tend to differ: most Gender Studies scholars reject that.

6. angryscientist - May 29, 2007

I have a lot to say, later. I am curious if you two consider yourselves representative of the transsexual community, also if you support Camp Trans. The way I see it, both commenters have clearly identified they do not support feminism, doing brilliant jobs of making my points for me. Such shallow analysis. I expected better from the Yahoo Group quoting my entry in the Transgender News. At least Zoe Brain doesn’t support the censoring, which is my primary reason for starting this thread.

7. Spango - May 29, 2007

Oh my, such sweeping generalizations. So I guess by your reasoning, one neeeds to be transgendered in order to support transgendered persons? As far as Camp Trans goes, I do support their mission of bringing an end to the transphobic atmosphere that surronds the MWMF. I must admit though that I am rather puzzled as to how you gathered that I lack support for feminism. The way I see it, a woman should do whatever it is that she wants or needs to do to be the person she wants to be, even if that means becoming a man. As far as the censoring goes, if a trans person made a film taking aim at the gay community, would it be shown at Frameline? I think not. So why should a film by a gay person that takes aim at trans people be shown? The director’s own comments clearly show that she is opposed to transmen because they are allegedly supporting the gender binary. And just for the record, censorship is a governmental act. If the NEA or a similar body moved against the film, that would be wrong. However what we have here is a film festival that states as part of its mission that it is support of transgendered issues and, thus, a clearly anti-trans film has no place at the festival.

I would also recommend actually spending some time learning about trans issues before jumping in head first into an area which I can see you know precious little.

8. Zoe Brain - May 31, 2007

If he knows precious little – and I won’t dispute that – surely it is up to us to point out the evidence to educate him.

Now if he ignores it, then by all means criticise. If he questions it, give him more data.

The worst thing about the film in question is that it lies. There is so much Bad Science, Opinion with no evidential backup, quite literally falsified data and Religious bigotry to contend with that we really don’t need any more of the same from people who should know better.

But the cure is not to silence the mendacious, it is to counteract their rubbish with hard data. Which includes writing comments in obscure blogs of people who have shown that they are amenable to reason.

More light reading 🙂
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/DeakinLRev/2004/22.html#Heading437

“At paragraph [252]: ‘The traditional analysis that they are “psychologically” transsexual does not explain how this state came about. For example, there seems to be no suggestion in the evidence that their psychological state can be explained by reference to circumstances of their upbringing. In that sense, the brain sex theory does not seem to be competing with other explanations, but rather is providing a possible explanation of what is otherwise inexplicable’.

At paragraph [270]: ‘But I am satisfied that the evidence now is inconsistent with the distinction formerly drawn between biological factors, meaning genitals, chromosomes and gonads, and merely “psychological factors”, and on this basis distinguishing between cases of inter-sex (incongruities among biological factors) and transsexualism (incongruities between biology and psychology)’.

At paragraph [272]: ‘In my view the evidence demonstrates (at least on the balance of probabilities) that the characteristics of transsexuals are as much “biological” as those of people thought of as inter-sex’.”

That’s the legal opinion of the Justice Chisolm of the Australian Family Court based on evidence from Scientific and Medical Expert Witnesses in 2003. It proves nothing, but it does raise a hypothesis that the “brain sex” theory is at least worth considering as a possibility, even if you disagree that it’s a probability. And assuming it’s true, the way TS people have been treated in law, by the medical profession, and by various Feminazis (I use the term deliberately) is despicable.

More Reading:
“First, I’ll have to explain “Intersex”. Although 98.3% of people are born normally male or female, 1.7% aren’t, quite. Of those, about half have trivial, insignificant differences from the norm, but some of the rest have significant differences. Some people are genetically male, but have female bodies, or the reverse. Others have their genes screwed up, so instead of being 46xx (female) or 46xy(male), they are 47xxy, or even a mix of 46xy and 46xx cells.

Now, I’ll explain “What is a Transsexual”. Some people – the Intersexed – have normal bodies, normal neural (brain) development, but cross-gendered genitalia. But others have normal bodies, normal genitalia, but cross-gendered brains. Genital development happens in the middle of the first trimester, neural development at the end. Little boys “know” they are boys before age 6, little girls “know” they are girls before age 6 too, and this has nothing to do with their body shape or upbringing, it depends on the neural development that was programmed in long before they were born.

Sometimes – about 1 in 500 according to Professor Lynn Conway, things go wrong to a greater or lesser extent. It’s possible to end up with a wholly male body, but a female brain, and a female mind. The opposite happens too, but as we all start with a basically female template, it’s easier to have a glitch that stops the masculinization of a male than to introduce extra masculinization in a female. That’s why only 1 in 4 transsexuals are “Female to Male”, men literally trapped in female bodies.

Many transsexuals whose “glitch” was partial can live with it, in various degrees of discomfort. But in at least 1 in 7 cases, or about 1 in 3500 people, the “glitch” is not partial, it’s complete. These people, normal men or women who happen to have the wrong shaped body for their brains and minds, get a very severe degree of discomfort indeed. And it gets worse with age. Their brains just don’t work very well with the hormonal blood chemistry they have, and their instinctive behavior is all wrong. Oddly enough, this has little to do with their sexual preference : many such women actually become ostensibly “lesbian” as the result of all the male hormones in their system, and the outside world thinks they’re normal, straight males.

There’s no “cure” for this congenital condition, but there is an effective treatment that’s got a 97% improvement rate. That is to alter the sufferer’s body with Hormones, and largely change it so it conforms to the brain’s setup. But HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) can only do so much, some surgical “detail work” is usually required so that the sufferer can look normal, and resume their place in society, but as a member of the opposite sex. The one they’ve always truly been, inside, since long before their birth.

It’s just a minor, and quite common, congenital abnormality. Unfortunately, it has far-reaching societal effects. Today, the problem is often picked up early enough so that intervention occurs during or shortly after puberty. But our knowledge of this syndrome is relatively recent, and due to the maternal instinct, a lot of transsexual women (those with male bodies) who were born in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s are married and with children. As the discomfort gets worse with age, many are forced to “transition” at average age 45 no matter what the effect on their loved ones or careers, or suffer permanent and crippling psychological damage. But 45 is an average, some can last till 60, others have to transition before 30.”

See also
http://www.changelingaspects.com/Articles/Transsexualism.htm

Sex-steroid related genes and male-to-female transsexualism
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2005.02.006

Definition and Synopsis of the Etiology of Adult Gender Identity Disorder and Transsexualism
http://members.aol.com/gires2/Text_Assets/definition_signed.htm

And so on and so forth.

Still, until May 4th 2005 I didn’t know any of this either (long story).

9. angryscientist - June 1, 2007

Zoe Brain, you do like to throw around that word, Nazi. First you allege Janice Raymond’s book The Transsexual Empire compares transsexuals to Nazis. The quotes you chose don’t demonstrate that, though you may think I’m splitting hairs. Then you complain about Feminazis. What does that mean to you? Perchance are you a fan of Rush Limbaugh? I believe he invented that term.

Also, I’m curious if you also support Camp Trans. The answer seems obvious enough, but you didn’t say. I’m also curious what you see as the defining difference between male and female minds. I imagine your links go into that topic in some depth, but my time is severely limited (hence the six month gap between this entry and the last), and I’d like to read what you think about that in your own words. Both you and Spango make some pretty silly assumptions about me. I find that amusing, but predictable. It’s true enough I’m not an expert on transsexuality; it interests me primarily because transsexuals manage to make so much trouble for feminist women, lesbians in particular, which I find peculiarly objectionable. Hence this entry, and the Camp Trans entry.

As for my use of the word censorship, see the quote from Jules Rosskam in the Bay Area Reporter article. Canceling the film may not be an act of official censorship, but in effect, what’s the difference?

10. angryscientist - June 1, 2007

I rescued Denise’s May 26 comment from Akismet. I’m not sure what to make of the comment, nor how it ended up in there, but it’s not the first time a real comment got snagged. For now I’ll just say, no I’m not “the expert on this issue,” and I presume that was said in jest or sarcasm.

11. Denise - June 1, 2007

Yes, it was sarcasm; I’m sorry I didn’t make that more clear. I sometimes have a problem with people who see things only in black and white and espouse opinion as fact (calling an idea that is grounded in some research and backed by some evidence, though clearly not conclusive, as “ludicrous” qualifies, in my opinion).
You seem to be very focused on the MWMF. If you care about my take on that festival you can read my post on it — the comments are also worthwhile at:
http://musingsonlifelawandgender.typepad.com/life_law_gender/2005/07/michigan_womyns.html

12. Zoe Brain - June 1, 2007

Transsexuals making trouble for Lesbians? Ever hear of the term “projection”?

Given that perhaps 40% of late transitioning TS women are lesbian, that also complicates matters.

Fortunately the younger generation doesn’t have too much time for the dogmatic dinosaurs of the 70’s. Pity in some ways, the glass ceiling is still there, but the Fanatical RadFems did good work in raising it. Anyway, as part of the Ally program at the ANU, I spend a lot of time with college-age kids whose sexuality is unconventional. I tend to get on best with the gals, but that’s not terribly surprising given my history. I’m a woman with a TS medical history, not some Transgender Activist. I’m far too staid, stodgy and conservative for that. These gals don’t see being TS as a big deal, anyway. Greer and Raymond are less relevant than, say, Pankhurst.

As for Camp Trans – I’m in Australia, and my view is no doubt distorted. I’ve read something about it, and my impression is that there are two groups of obnoxious people who cannot see each other’s view, and are far too committed to the fight to ever want to see a resolution. The politics of fear, hate, envy and privilege.

But I could be wrong.

The “Rush Limbaugh” comment I’ll let pass.

As for “defining difference between male and female minds”, there’s plenty of popular books on the subject. But you don’t have to read them, just recall how different boys and girls were at age 7, before they had been socialised into societal gender roles.

I’d recommend “Why Men Don’t Listen And Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What To Do About It” though.

To find out the extent of the differences requires experimentation, see http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7069 for example.

To find out *why* the differences happen requires advances in the field of neurobiology that are way beyond anything likely in the foreseeable future.

13. Zoe Brain - June 1, 2007

BTW read Denise’s link, and the comments pro and con.

Michelle’s comment at the end is particularly poignant.

14. angryscientist - June 7, 2007

I suppose I should have known better than to expect answers to my questions. Evasion does not help your credibility one iota, folks. Nor does tossing around these loaded words, Nazi, Feminazi, or Fanatical RadFems. I tried asking politely what you meant by Feminazi, Zoe Brain, but you didn’t want to answer. I’ll have to assume your answer is Fanatical RadFems, whatever that means to you. Do you see radical feminism as fanatical? If so, the joke’s on you.

Ludicrous to me is a relatively mild term of scorn. I consider much of conventional wisdom ludicrous, but some things are worse than ludicrous, for instance the notion that there is some male Supreme Being we should all venerate, or the notion scientists know what they’re doing. The promotion of abuses of science such as nuclear power; genetic engineering; mutagenic and carcinogenic pesticides, herbicides, and drugs; electroshock therapy; and psychoactive drugs for children, to name a few examples, prove otherwise.

Regardless, I’m singularly unimpressed by this so-called evidence you commenters have cited. The idea that children have not been socialized into gender roles by age 7 makes me wonder what planet you live on, Zoe Brain. Australia is half a planet away, but I doubt it’s that different from this USA. For the record, I’m a man who has been complimented as a good listener, and I know women who can read maps.

Projection, huh. That’s a good one. Maybe you should read my Camp Trans entry. I read Denise’s, though I had to fix that link (it had a period at the end). Transsexuals are making plenty of trouble for lesbians. If you doubt that, go read the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival bulletin board. You may find your glib impression is utterly off base. As I see it, woman-only space is not about denying transwomen their identity, but it is about women claiming the right to define what female means to them. Transwomen can create their own definition, but attempting to impose that belief on women is oppressive, a boundary violation by definition and intention. A transwoman can claim never to have been male, but from what I’ve seen, that claim is delusional at best; those who make the most noise about being a female born in the wrong body sound suspiciously male-like to me. I’m not particularly focused on MWMF. This blog has 16 entries so far, plus two pages. Besides this and the Camp Trans entry, I’ve been writing about completely unrelated matters. These two entries have gotten the lion’s share of comments, however.

How can you say with a straight face, the worst thing about a science fiction film is that it lies? It wasn’t meant to be an accurate depiction of this time, rather of what might happen in the future! You can disagree with her prognostication, but what does that have to do with lying? Nothing. As I said, what bothers people like you is that she is making a point you don’t want to hear.

Spango, as if I didn’t know merely being a long-haired bearded man doesn’t make me androgynous. You think you are so clever, and I know so little about what I’m talking about. Dangerous assumptions. I agree the typical long-haired bearded male pacifist is more likely a hippie than androgynous. So what? I said, “That has almost nothing to do with my body, but it has a lot to do with the way I think and feel.” Did you miss that, or choose to ignore it? And by the way, abhorring violence doesn’t necessarily make someone a pacifist. That all depends on how the term is defined, and most people misdefine it, from my point of view. I happen to think physical violence is totally counterproductive and unworthy of human intelligence. I don’t like verbal violence either, but it can be used to good purpose, and if I’m mad enough, I’ll use it.

Who suggested gender stereotypes are the sole underlying motivation to transition? My contention is that transsexuals aren’t challenging those stereotypes in the way they may think they are. Some evidently aren’t interested in that challenge, they just want to fit in and be accepted as the gender they think they are. I think Frameline’s decision was neither principled nor informed; they just didn’t want to take the heat.

15. angryscientist - June 9, 2007

Congratulations, transgender activists! You’ve done it again! Now you’ve convinced the Boston Dyke March to cancel Bitch, just because she performs at Michfest! That march should be ashamed of itself for booking such a transphobic performer, right? You know, I try to be understanding of unconventional people, being such a weirdo myself, but it’s getting really hard to understand why I shouldn’t see these actions to stifle lesbians as antifeminist and lesbophobic! Check out this entry at Heart’s blog.

I saw Bitch perform last year, opening for the Indigo Girls. I’m a longtime fan of the Indigo Girls. They both put on an amazing show, though I must concede some of Bitch’s fierce lyrics made my hair stand on end! I’m only half joking, but I wouldn’t hold that against her. I can understand why she would feel that way. It’s a crying shame a dyke march gets pressured into shunning women who perform at Michfest.

16. hyperjoy7 - June 9, 2007

WTF? You’ve got to be kidding me. I haven’t heard anything about this! When did this happen? jesus h. christ.

My partner went to Cornell. Their LGBT center wouldn’t sponsor or co-sponsor any performers who’ve been to Michfest (unless said performers had since “recanted,” I suppose). DAMN that ticks me off.

17. No - August 8, 2007

So, if Michfest should be allowed to discriminate against transpeople, then there’s really no point in complaining when some private golf course won’t let a woman play. Seems pretty fair.

As for the author – I would sincerely suggest learning about the subject matter before spouting off on it. Just my suggestion.

18. angryscientist - August 8, 2007

Wow, a real comment for a change! In case anyone didn’t know, this blog has been attacked by trolls. 150 comments that made it past Akismet, mostly within a couple of hours yesterday evening. I’ve been cited as a challenger over at Encyclopedia Dramatica, so I’m fair game for their lulz.

Regarding this latest real comment, I see another trans-defender assuming I know nothing about the subject. Your analogy is stretched for reasons you apparently can’t comprehend. Women, lesbians in particular, have no power over transpeople, which is what you’re implying by calling Michfest defining female to exclude those born male discrimination. If you don’t see any validity in that definition, that sounds to me like typical male entitlement, nothing to do with your analogy. Or are you saying, like some at Camp Trans, that Michfest should admit males? Why not, if they should admit transwomen? That’d be only fair, right? If not, why not?

19. Arantxa - August 10, 2007

I don’t think Camp Trans would like it very much if Michfest admitted men (the kind that don’t deny being men) because that would make their violation of that space pointless.

20. Loki Lover - December 18, 2008

This is a bit late, but as a transgender man- You know, the one that’s been oppressing all those lesbians out there just by existing?- I got to say, the most offensive comments I’ve ever gotten were from Lesbians. In fact, the only time I’ve ever been earnestly discriminated against was by Lesbians. This is NOT to say that all such ladies are like that, I’m just trying to point out that discrimination and hate goes both ways. It’s just as bad for a woman (lesbian or otherwise) to discriminate against a group of people, as it is for a man to discriminate against others.

21. angryscientist - December 18, 2008

I’m a bit confused. Is a transgender man a transwoman, transman, or neither? Regardless, who’s ever said anyone oppresses lesbians just by existing? What constituted what you claim discrimination by lesbians? That’s hard for me to imagine, since lesbians are one of the most despised and discriminated against groups on the planet.

Usually it’s the people in power who discriminate. Claimed exceptions are usually hopelessly stretched analogies, such as transwomen claiming discrimination by lesbians because Michfest only wants to invite biological females. That claim makes about as much sense as an amateur golfer claiming discrimination by the PGA because one has to qualify for professional golf tournaments. It’s generally absurd to compare discrimination by men to discrimination by women, because of the power differential. If it’s white women discriminating against black women, that’s roughly comparable, but lesbians making comments you find offensive, or excluding you from something you want to be part of, is nowhere near comparable. I’m curious what you call discrimination and hate. I suspect I’d have a different term for it.

22. Valerie Keefe - December 13, 2009

As a trans lesbian I really didn’t get the ‘point’ of the film. Really, though, being angry scientists (economics is kind of a science…) we certainly wouldn’t want to talk about the fact that trans women are more likely to be attracted to women than cis women, because that would completely belie Ms. Crouch’s fallacious argument. Really, I think the film should be shown, and I’ll gladly get it on video, and watch it along with Reefer Madness. It’s breathless fear of ‘butch flight’ from someone who knows nothing directly about the subject or how many of her fellow lesbians she’s erasing with this film.

And preemptively, you know why I can’t just be a somewhat femme straight boi? Cuz I’ve tried. Doesn’t work. Makes me feel horrible and hideous and like I’m denying the woman I fall for the woman she deserves. And she doesn’t want to see me go through that either.

Oh and a transgendered man would be referred to as a trans man. (Note that the term is written as two words as to imply that trans man and trans women are not separate genders, merely separate histories.)

23. angryscientist - December 14, 2009

I’m happy to hear you aren’t in favor of censoring the film, but I’m curious about this:

the fact that trans women are more likely to be attracted to women than cis women, because that would completely belie Ms. Crouch’s fallacious argument.

Assuming that is a fact, which I find hard to believe, there being plenty of trans women attracted to men, though no doubt it’s true for you, as a “trans lesbian,” why would that contradict her argument? I thought her point was to protest the pressures put on biologically female lesbians (as opposed to you) to become more like heterosexual men. I also find it bizarre when biological males cast aspersions on true lesbians for erasing pseudo lesbians. Or were you referring to lesbians who opt to become trans men? I doubt most of them still consider themselves lesbians. Maybe she knows more about the subject of her film than you do.

Why would defying the male stereotype as a male make you feel horrible? Is it because society in general looks down on such men? Is it because such men are misfits, neither male nor female as conventionally understood, so it’s like being in no man’s land with no support, so it seems easier to identify as female? The truth is, being bound by the mold of either stereotype is horrible, though most men, at least, are so used to it, they think there’s no other way to be, and instead of rebelling against the constrictions, they revel in it. As for your partners, I can well believe a lesbian wouldn’t want to see a male aping what he thinks of as womanly ways in an attempt to attract her. Kind of pointless, isn’t it?

24. Valerie Keefe - August 28, 2011

Hi there… tweenerish trans lesbian here… thought I’d belie your cissexual construction of women as men and vice versae by existing, along with most trans women who are either lesbian or bi (an estimated 23% are straight… poor things)… anyway have a nice day. ^_^

25. angryscientist - August 29, 2011

Hey, construct yourself as a woman all you want, but don’t expect me to believe a male can decide to become a female by undergoing plastic surgery and hormonal supplements. It doesn’t work that way. The mind can create and perceive reality only up to a point, then it becomes the work of interpretation and imagination. Isn’t it interesting how most trans women are attracted to women. Just like men in that respect, no? Sorry, I don’t believe your attraction to women compares to the way a lesbian female is attracted to a woman she loves. I think I understand atypical male psychology better than most men, being weird that way myself. Your feelings may not be like what you conceive as male, but they aren’t like what women feel either. The distinction between the sexes is more complicated than it appears. It’s more than biological, part of what makes people who they are, but not deterministic of abilities or personality, so it isn’t amenable to transformation, not through surgery or chemistry or any other means. People can alter their appearance and behavior, even their beliefs and feelings, and gender is an artificial construct anyway, but it’s a contradiction in terms to alter sex. I think even as an outsider I can see why some lesbians take offense when a biologically male person claims to be and feel just like them, or to have a right to crash an all-woman music festival.


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