Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BTB: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

It's Below the Belt time again!
I call myself transfeminist, because I identify as trans (with a little help from our wonderful society which does so much to keep me from forgetting it) and feminist. Usually this isn't a problem: I identify as a woman, and  feminism is about furthering the causes and rights of women, and I am. so. there.

But at the same time it has to be acknowledged that feminism and transgender activism often have found themselves in at best an uneasy alliance, and at worst completely divorced from each other. A certain strain of radical feminism (see: Heart, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and my friends at AROOO) maintain a richly transphobic tradition of never seeing trans women as women (or trans men as men, for that matter; that's why so many trans men have had no problem getting into MWMF), using such all-time hits as "mutilated men," "colonizers," and still number one with a bullet, "rapists." (I always like that one. I once went looking for statistics on how many trans women get raped a year. The numbers proved very elusive--it seems most trans victims are either killed instead of being raped, or killed right after being raped.)
 Mach schnell!

1 comment:

  1. Thinking about one relatively small point that I find reasonably important. Is there a difference for you between identifying as trans feminist or as transfeminist ?
    Trans feminist for me is a trans identifying person who identifies as a feminist.
    Transfeminist is by contrast someone who's feminism is centred to a significant degree on the trans experience.
    Personally I'll identify as primarily a transfeminist in that my conceptualisation of gender identity through my experience has led me to a position rather distinct from most feminisms vis-a-vis gender essentialism, the nature of gender identity, etc.
    I think this does make a difference in how one approaches the broad church of feminism. As a trans feminist issues of trans inclusion are paramount. As a transfeminist I'm obviously still majorly concerned with these, but equally I'm concerned that mainstream feminist theory should relate to my transfeminism in a mutually respectful and productive way.