my small, vocal message to white trans women 'leaders', fuck you
June 15, 2015
After reading a second response to Burkett’s now infamous NYT article by a white trans woman in a leadership position who decides that taking a potshot at “a small but vocal portion of the transgender community online” (in context she’s referring to the trans ppl who think that the “Vagina Monologues” is outdated, cissexist garbage – which it is). The first response by a different white trans woman leader is more explicitly dismissive: “these are the actions of some college students, and they hardly represent the trans community”. Her contempt for trans youth is palpable.
Both of these things concern me more than Burkett’s NYT piece. That article has literally nothing new or interesting in it. Same recycled transmisogynist shit that radfems have been saying for forty years.
I’m interested in these responses because these two white trans women are leaders of organizations that claim to be fighting for people like me. While I can’t be dismissed as a ‘darn college kid’ by Beyer bc I’m too old and graduated years ago, I probably do count as part of Tannehill’s ‘small but vocal’ online community of trans ppl who are creating a negative stereotype of the trans community.
In many ways, both of these women (especially as expressed via their responses to Burkett’s piece) exemplify what I’ve been calling trans*nationalism. These responses demonstrate a clear position of wanting to assimilate to the dominant culture by responding to hate with a conciliatory nature. Moreover, they attempt to shape trans discourse into something that is politically palatable to current structures of power.
And they do all of this while trying to marginalize, diminish, and dismiss the voices and dissent of trans people they apparently find too disreputable to fit into their trans*nationalist agenda.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to both of their arguments is an insistence that there is some biological basis for gender. In both cases their assertions merely reveal a deep ignorance and misunderstanding about what social constructions are and what it means for gender to be one. Their position that gender does have some biological basis pretty much runs counter to most trans/gender theory.
Nonetheless, what these arguments for a biological basis for gender serve to do is support the cis-normative edict that trans/gender must be medicalized and pathologized in order for it to be coherent and subject to ‘human rights’. And, in turn, this belief that trans/gender is a medicalized and pathologized reality is likewise white supremacist so I’m not entirely surprised to see to older, white trans women advocating for this position.
In any case, here are ‘our’ trans leaders. This is what they have to say in response to a hateful article written in a major news media outlet. And in case they ever end up reading this blog post, please know that I’m quite sincere regarding the title. My small, vocal message for these two women (and white trans women in similar leadership positions) is “fuck you”.
You are just as much my oppressor as the cis woman you’re replying to. The only difference is that you think you can speak for me (or alternatively dismiss my voice because I don’t agree with you). You are sadly mistaken if you think that pushing your trans*nationalist agenda will accomplish anything truly meaningful. You’re just a different part of the problem, not the solution.