Until the Erasure Stops

Posts tagged ‘lesbian’

Batwoman is Amazing

(Cross-posted from my tumblr)

I’m pretty happy that DC’s “New 52” relaunch has brought a stereotype-defying, awesomely independent lesbian character her own title. She’s a pretty realistic portrayal and she heralds (and has already heralded) a change in the way that LGBT characters are portrayed in comics. Kevin Keller’s early development (Archie), North Star’s marriage to another man (Astonishing X-Men #48-51), and Alan Scott’s proposal to his boyfriend (Earth 2 #2) have all taken place recently. The magnificent fauxhawk Ms. Marvel is sporting in her new tenure in Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel promotional posters) has me wondering if her apparent relationship with Spider-Man is somehow only part of her love life story. I’ve also been hoping for developments in the already-pushing-romantic interactions between Starling/Black Canary (Birds of Prey), Barbara Gordon/her roommate (Batgirl), and Huntress/Power Girl (Huntress mini-series, Worlds’ Finest). These aren’t the only magnificently progressive things that have been in mainstream comics, especially the New 52, lately—for example, Catwoman #10 makes use of the term “sex worker” in a neutral-to-positive context, and the Huntress mini-series consisted entirely of Huntress/Robin 2 shutting down a human trafficking ring. 

Even trans characters have started showing up a little bit here and there, mostly in indie comics. The best example I can think of is Image’s 1-shot “Our Love is Real,” in which a major character, Brin, is portrayed as her world’s version of a trans woman (sexuality, gender, and sex have very different meanings in a world where zoosexuals stand in for heterosexuals, vegisexuals stand in for LGB people, and mineralsexuals stand in for either trans people or the symbology that we should be willing to accept sexuality without judgment, depending on your interpretation).

I’m kind of hoping that this new wave of queer positivity in comics will lead to a trans major character cropping up in either Marvel or DC. I suppose if all else fails, I can always try to create one, right?

A Peaceful Message to Supporters of Radfem 2012

Radfem 2012 has been big news in the blogosphere for a while now. I’ve been trying to avoid trans-exclusionists and people talking about them, because I find that the fact that this divide still exists, that we as feminists are not united against the patriarchy on important issues like access to medicine specific to us or the trans men often mistaken for us, the glass ceiling, the gender wage gap, and the day-to-day sexism that we all experience.

I think we as women, trans or not, have a vested interest in an alliance on healthcare. We must not permit the patriarchy to restrict our ability to control our own hormones, such as with birth control and hormone replacement therapy. We cannot accept a system which physically or economically restricts our access to extremely important surgical procedures representing control over one’s own body, such as abortion and genital reconfigurative surgery. We must rise up against a society which denies us routine medical care like breast, cervical, and prostate exams. We have nothing but common ground on this, and we can’t let theories on the ideal form of a movement divide us on this–we simply can’t afford it.

I do not believe that men should be allowed in women-only spaces. I have gone out of my way to question the presence of trans men in our spaces, because they look, sound, act, and think like men do, and have the same effect on women-only spaces that any other men would–stifling our authentic interactions and creating a zone of patriarchal control. I am an extremist on the matter–I do not believe that any trace of male presence can exist in a women-only space if we are to find a place where we can be free of patriarchy, but trans women are not my enemy, even if they bear a physical resemblance to him.We need all the free female minds we can get, and my sistren are ready and willing to dedicate our lives to our mutual female liberation.

I think we can agree on sex work if we look at it the right way. Your desire to end the victimization of women at the hands of an industry that sells us is compatible with my desire to end the victimization of women at the hands of an industry that sells us. I simply ask for the right to my own personal dignity, self-autonomy, and possibly feelings of pride in my work, when I voluntarily choose to be a sex worker of my own free will. Pimps, johns, police, and attackers are the targets we must choose, and we can choose them together.

I have nothing but contempt for the gender binary system and forced gender roles and forced gendering. I tire greatly of a system that has contempt for me because I am a woman who does not dress or act femininely. I desire a system where butches and androdykes are accepted and valued. I desire a system where having a soft face and a tough swagger is okay.

Perhaps most importantly, I am not a fan of mainstream trans or queer politics. I find trans and queer activists every bit as sexist as you do–I have left queer organizations because of how they treated lesbians, and I have left trans organizations because of how they treat women. I think we can tackle these issues in activism together, as sisters in a movement that is for, about, and by women.

Please, for the sake of so many much more important issues, let us stand by your side as female activists. Remove anyone from those spaces if they, as an individual, jeopardize the safety of the space, but please, don’t paint my sisters with the same brush you used for those of us who do have crimes against other women to answer for. Certainly don’t paint us with the same brush you paint men with, because men have oppressed me for my femaleness just as they have for you, for just as much of my life as for yours. We are every bit as committed to our co-liberation as females, liberation from a patriarchal system, as you are. Punish those of us who personally do wrong. Exclude all the men you want. Just don’t exclude my sisters and our other feminist allies, because we have too much to gain from an alliance.

Do Video Game Characters Really Represent Real People?

I play a lot of World of Warcraft–and although I’ve never done it here, I complain regularly about the sexist way they handle their female characters. I play a lot of Zelda, Pokemon, and other Nintendo games, and I think it’s blatantly obvious how poorly those games handle female characters. The only badass chick in Nintendo that any casual fan could name is Samus, and in all but the last couple games she’s been in, she might have been male if not for the traditional scene where she takes her helmet off at the end. But, what I’m going to talk about today is a game I’ve played occasionally and left for the same reason every time.

The name of this game is League of Legends. It’s essentially an offshoot of a Warcraft III minigame, which became a small silicon valley company with quotes from Barry Goldwater and Rudy Giuliani on their website. Of the many, many playable characters, I’d say about 33% are female, the vast majority of which are support characters or long-ranged characters. (more…)

What do We do About Transphobic Feminists?

Transphobic feminists occupy a lot of my time. They really do–one of the biggest factors of Kyriarchy in the oppression of trans women (especially non-hetero ones) is the fact that our safe spaces, full of other women more or less just like us, are behind walls of angry political bad blood. So we do what we do best–we organize the small scraps of trans rebellion together and bring our sights to bear upon the source of our discontentment.

I, for one, am willing to consider the concession that this isn’t the way we should be going about it. Today marks an interesting day for N&B, because I’m about to tell you to do something I would feel uncomfortable about doing myself. See, the thing is, transphobic feminists may be transphobic, but they’re also feminists. We don’t have to agree with them about trans stuff. There’s plenty of other things I won’t agree with them about–sorry, but I don’t agree with proscriptive feminism, sex positive or sex negative.

There are a few things I do agree with them about, though. I agree with them that there are times that men need to give us a safe space. I agree with them that we need to take everyday steps to combat oppression, and not just hang around in whatever liberal mass happens to be near you and expect them to listen to us. That, sisters/ziesters/cisters and brothers, is what makes us radical feminists. (more…)

Transmisogyny in Action #2: Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a wonderful thing we can (largely) thank the Womanist movement for being the first to examine. It’s what happens when you stop looking at just one identity (say, woman, or trans), and you take a look at what it means to have more than one identity, and how that affects those people. Folks quick on the draw might realize that this blog consists entirely of intersectional trans + woman examination. My more deep-thinking sisters may realize that this isn’t a new realization and has in fact been the intention since before this blog existed. Still others are the reason I spelled that out. This is an intersectional blog, it always has been, and it always will be. But it seems like a nice time to talk about what that actually means for us.

Intersectionality is about adding a few fundamental rules to feminist theory. First of all, there is no such thing as one identity having it worse than another. You might have noticed I go way out of my way to avoid the very common comparisons of trans oppression and the oppression of people of color. That’s because it’s both erasurist towards and cold comfort for those people who happen to be PoC AND trans. It’s about imagining identity as a dynamic thing, and never settling on thinking something is a “women’s issue” or a “transgender issue.” There are a lot of disabled women who are transgender, so an end to transmisogyny could easily be said to be a disability issue, just as it is a transgender and a women’s issue. Intersectionality is about giving voice to those people like, for example, trans women, who get erased from ciscentric discourses on bodily self-autonomy (which fail to understand that this may entail wide, sweeping changes to the body, changes which should be free, easy, gateless and legal). (more…)

Transmisogyny in Action #1: Double-Binds

Transmisogyny in Action is a new series of posts I’m going to start alongside tales of a trans girlhood (which will be receiving a second installment soon). Since Tales are inherently long in nature, I’m going to try to add a new one every 2 weeks. TiA posts, on the other hand, are going to be quick, straight-to-the-point posts, and I hope to add a new one every week.

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>A Day in the Life of an Angry Trans (and Lots of Other Stuff) Woman

>(Cross Posted at Asher Bauer’s Tranarchism Blog)

So just a note about this: Asher Bauer recently posted something called “A Day in the Life of an Angry Transsexual” which detailed his experiences with microaggressions in his transmasculine existence. He also requested that others email in with their own versions. This is mine. My intention was to show the way that there’s really no escape from microaggressions. In the near future I’d like to write a little more deliberately about microaggressions, why they’re important, and what we can do about them. But for now, here.  (more…)

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