C. vs T.: Derrick Mathis and RENWL

So there’s this minor kerffluffle over the Craig Ferguson Skit, and among the places I found myself getting into the usual arguments full of derailing commentary and basic oppression was FaceBook.

Specifically, Pam Spaulding’s page.

And so at around 1 am my time, there is a response that literally left me floored.  As in, I was utterly and completely stunned that anyone — let alone someone who spends a chunk of his time saying how bad Pam Spaulding is and occasionally knocking her (using sexist language) for not being black enough — would dare write this out in the open and still have the fucking balls to claim to be an ally.  Which he does.

Then I recovered.  His name is Derrick Mathis.  he write the blog renwl.org, and is widely known for being a concern troll of the same sort as good ol’ AndrewW.  He’s also a regular at certain other online blogs, all of which are consistently known for being horrifically transphobic and full of asswipes.

But his response here is perfect, because it allows me to set things up in a manner that allows me to demonstrate just how bad it truly is when it comes to the C vs the T.

Because it doesn’t matter what Derrick’s sexual orientation is here.  A lot of people would normally claim that it does have something to do with it, and run with a comment about how its once again some gay guy doing the usual stuff they’ve done for, like, forever.  But it isn’t about his being gay.  It is about his being cis.  And the privilege that rolls out of him in this comment is enormously thick.

Let’s look, shall we?

No, Antonia. You’re just misguided. That’s where the foolishness comes in. I don’t have to look at and examine the life or lives of transgender women to understand discrimination or phobia when I see it.

I’m not saying you’re oversensitive about anything. I’m saying you’ve created an error in perception of this skit. And there’s no part of your history personal or otherwise that changes this Antonia.

Because none of it is about the personal or about transgender people for that matter. Only someone endorsing your perspective or sharing it thinks it’s so.

What I find most interesting about your argument is that you keep accusing reality as “derailing” something else. And what would that be? That big ugly straight men in dresses are not funny? Is that the derailment?

Well, I disagree. They are funny. And in all my years of being entertained by Milton Berle, Flip Wilson, Jamie Farr, Benny Hill among many other comedians one thing rings true—-when these guys dress in drag they’re ugly and they’re funny. And never once has the thought of them mimicking or attacking transgender people ever crossed my mind.

Where you’re coming from now is saying that I SHOULD be thinking of transgender people when I see this. Well Antonia, I don’t. The probability of the majority of Americans sharing this perception I’d say is more high. And that might be because heterosexual male comedians in dresses doesn’t conjure up the image of any self-respecting transgender woman that any American would be exposed to.

They don’t exist in the same realm. They’re not even comparable. So it’s stunning that you see otherwise. The thought never occurred to me until last night when Pam and Chris Geidner decided that things were too slow in the hate Obama world so let’s start some shit. I watched it all unfold. Mouth wide open. Cause there’s nothing there.

But you took the bait just the same. Like Pavlov’s dog. Sad

Pick and choose your battles Antonia. This ain’t one of them.

As you can probably gather, he’s not only wrong, he managed to get me to add a new battle.  Because this isn’t the first time he’s done this sort of stupid thing — and at least once he did it while literally saying he is a supporter of trans equality.

Oh yeah — he’s that kind of low life scum dirtbag.  And so, here we go…

I need to provide a little bit of context — just a tad.

He wrote this a short while earlier:

The character of “Peg” is a parody of Craig. This person playing the part of “Peg” has often appeared on the show as a parody of Craig — usually wearing a suit jacket and speedos. This particular night he was wearing a skirt. Why? Because Oprah recently discovered a long lost half sister, and “Peg” is the Craig equivalent of that. Nothing more, nothing less.

My response to that (and, ultimately, the defenses he was doing on Pam’s page earlier than that) was that he was claiming trans people were interrogating things from the wrong perspective.

As in, the Derailing For Dummies style:

You’re Interrogating From The Wrong Perspective
This is a very special tactic but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be freely or liberally used. If anything, it means you should use it as often and as widely as you can.You see, in this one you get to insult their intelligence and perceptiveness but in a very subtle and underhanded way! This one is very useful in discussions about literature and other media or academia.
The gist of it is this: there’s nothing offensive in there, you just don’t get it (because you are too stupid)!

For example – you might want to impress your belief that context is irrelevant (there’s no racist parallels in a mythological planet where beautiful white elves keep horrible, animalistic orcs as slaves – it’s completely detached from earth’s history!), or that they’re just reading it wrong (well sure, you could take that attitude if you approach it from that perspective, but that’s not the perspective it was meant to be read with so your argument is just flawed!).

Once again (and truly a fundamental aspect of derailing) you demonstrate your lack of awareness of their issues but you also get to tell them that they’re wrong because you (and all the other Privileged People®) simply know better. Try it out and just wait and see what you get back.

Burn, baby, burn!

Literally. His response to me regarding my assertion that that was what he was doing was this:

@Antonia: I just laid the whole thing out for you. LET IT GO. Now you’re looking foolish and petty.

I know it’s hard to back off of something when you’ve already went out on a limb with assertions and assumptions that are in fact, misguided. I get that. Oh I’ve been there. Pride is real let’s put it that way.

Both you’re going to have to do it this time—and that’s get over it. The “derails” that you speak of is the reality of it.

Now you can choose to reject reality.You’re a grown woman—do what you want. But just know you’re headed for a brick wall and potentially the loss of a considerable amount of credibility if not all of your credibility. Because you’re trippin’ over something that’s not there.

This is not the battle to pursue. Open your eyes and see that before you get in deeper and really end up looking like a fool.

Now, keep in mind that the subject we are talking about is a skit on a late night talk show and it’s impact on trans lives in the society we live in.

This is classic oppressive behavior here — it immediately seeks to use the derail to go from the actual topic to making it about me, while still remaining a concern troll and further seeking to silence a voice that is speaking out against the oppressive actions that he is engaging in by defending the skit.

None of which he will understand.  None at all.

So that’s the backstory to the comment that had me floored.  And what *truly* floored me was his blunt, direct, and absolute assertion in the first paragraph:

I don’t have to look at and examine the life or lives of transgender women to understand discrimination or phobia when I see it.

Holy fucking shit.

Of course, if you don’t know anything about the lives of people, then, well, you aren’t going to know how they are oppressed, and therefore you literally cannot see or know discrimination of phobia when you see it.

But hey, he’s *special*, you see.

If you hadn’t guessed it, he’s on my shit list.  Big time. Because any brother who can’t see how what he says is perfectly fine and entertaining stuff isn’t the equivalent of showing all black men as gang members, pimps, and drug dealers — or, even more accurately, that this is step’n fetchit for trans people — is too fucking stupid to know his ass from a hole in the ground and not able to figure out which to pull his head out of.

Now, I have to be reasonably fair here: this cissexist and cisprivielged wanker goes to some trouble to point out that trans inclusion is often stalled by what he calls Gay, Inc. (shorthand for the white controlled and dominated organizations that he doesn’t like, to include GetEqual, HRC, NGLTF, and so forth).  Which is accurate and true.  And he doesn’t like Autumn Sandeen that much.  And he’s apparently on Ashley Love’s short list of people who are ok since he takes tips from her regarding the trans community.

(yeah, if that sounds like there’s a problem there, you are probably correct. But it explains why he feels that his experience is more important than that of trans people.)

Then again, maybe not:

Yesterday we were enraged when transgender activist Ashley Loveexpressed her support for Get Equal in private communication with us. Of course she saw our post the following day in which we referred to her enthusiasm about the org as calling them the BFF friends of the Transgender community. That’s not true. She didn’t say those words. Nor did she say Robin McGehee was mother Jesus. Those were our words.  Love just expressed her support of the org.

We bring this up because we want her to stop sending us hateful Facebook messages.  We’re actually quite fond of Love. But we’re at odds over LGB support. And also because we hate the hypocrisy Get Equal and orgs like it represent. If Get Equal is such a good friend of the Transgender community, could they at least address the rampant transphobia in the gay community on some level? Or at least admit that it’s way beyond chickenshit to blame Barney Frank solely for ENDAs failure.

I suppose that since I support them, I’m in the dog house too.  THe quote is from a story earlier this year, and apparently they got a taste of the venom that can drip from Ashley’s mouth.

Now, there is race stuff involved here.  And if you forget that race stuff is involved her, you will find out that race stuff makes a difference.  I’m a mixed, high yellow gal who’s taking on a darker guy.  You can be certain that colorism and various comments regarding houses and servants will be made if this goes down the usual path.

He does love Monica, though:

WE LOVE LOVE LOVE TRANSGRIOT! But this completely contradicts Ashley Love all but telling us that Robin McGehee of Get Equal (who’s not transgender as far as we know)  is the modern day version of  mother Jesus.

Folks, our head is spinning.  One minute we’re patronizing, the next we’re focusing on the wrong people.  The next we got our fav transgender blogger breaking it down!

Y’all got us comin’ ‘n’ goin’.  Can somebody please tell us what the hellz going on?

Now, I’ll point out that he’s all confused because he’s expecting there to be a monolithic identity, plus he’s talking to two people who are, basically polarized and opposite in terms of how they view with and deal with the trans community. THen you toss me in the mix.

Poor guy,  We should feel a little bit for him.  Ok, that’s enough. Especially given how he doesn’t have to learn anything to know something.

Of course the title of that post is “will the real transgender community leadership stand up”.  And he seems to have missed the part about Ashley not standing up for transgender persons, but for transsexuals.  And the part about Moni and I standing up for all of them. He can’t trust a lot of folks (which is ok, most of us trans folk don’t trust a lot of folks in key positions either), but he wants us to be a monolithic group without apparent contradictions — which is interesting since he posits in the article that Monica is talking about Get EQUAL, when she isn’t, so she isn’t contradcting what Ashley love said.

(If you caught that as his making something up out of thin air, you are right).

Now, Derrick Mathis first came to my personal attention when he fucked up an attribution regarding me. That was in this article, which he uses as another effort to tear into Get Equal (he apparently doesn’t like them very much) and to bitch at Autumn for not being trans enough.

To his credit, AFTER I pointed out to him that I was not on the BoD of GE, he posted this correction:

Corrections: Antonia Elle D’orsay is not on Get Equal’s board of directors but has participated in Get Equal activities.  David Fleck is a volunteer, not a staff member or board member.

Snce he likes to posit himself as a sort of reporter, we can now establish fairly conclusively that he’s unlikely to do much fact checking. After all, he doesn’t need to since he doesn’t have to understand what he’s talking about to be able to bitch about it (a malaise you all know I really, really, really hate).

That posting and some related stuff led to my posting a Response to him on Dyssonance.com: http://www.dyssonance.com/?p=10664

I might post the email that was involved in all of that if needed.  Pisses me off when people do stuff like try to cover their ass and be just as stupid in doing so as when they did the thing they need to cover their ass for.

And that response is also tied to this article: http://renwl.org/news/lgbt-rights/dadt-repeal-and-why-transgender-folks-should-heed-the-lesson#more-11104

where he basically says that trans people need to do more to educate people.

Keep that in mind.  It is important.

You see, he says that, and then, when an opportunity comes along to do some education, he posts that comment up there that just pisses me off.

Two sides, one mouth. If it doesn’t piss you off and you are trans, then understand that what he is saying is that he knows more about your life than you do.  And that he doesn’t need to learn.

But he’s also saying we have to do more to educate people. So apparently, given these overall points, what we have to do is educate more people he doesn’t like, but not him, and we have to do this while preenting a monolithic approach that doesn’t account for our diversity.

That sounds familiar. I’ve heard that kind of rhetoric before.  Let me think…

Oh, yeah — assimilationist fucktards and separatist dumbasses.

I knew it was familiar.  It’s the standard cisprivilege line. Shut up you trannies, but go over there….

Now, why would a person take the time to do lip service about transgender inclusion fairly frequently, but want to do nothing themselves to actually learn about trans lives and that would take the time to defend in multiple places (he and I also got into it on Chris Geidner’s piece that brought his to light, though I did not get into the follow up piece where Chris did a quick base touching with Meghan Stabler) an action that’s he’s saying on one hand we should be louder about while also saying we should be quiet about this and “pick our battles”.

in part, because: @Teddy: I so LOVE THAT SKIT. That’s the pattern. Me and millions across America like me. That skit has nothing to do with transgender people or transitioning.

And nothing we say will change that belief on his part, apparently.

Hmm.  Why indeed?

I think it might be attention and traffic related.  I think he wants trans people to like him, so he says that stuff, but he doesn’t really give a shit or he’d be backing the fuck down from this deal with ferguson.

Oh, and, oddly enough, he said similar stuff on other blogs regarding the SNL skit.

Now, he might come out and say that what he wants us to do is be more politically vocal, and to speak up more against the power that be — his “Gay, Inc” that he’s using trans people to rail against and helpng to create that divide along the lines of Trans and gay, while conveninently ignoring that the divide is between cis and trans.

If I wanted to, I am certain I could find a situation where he posists that there are gay people and there are trans people. Separate.  Without being aware that trans people are gay.

Now, why would I, a high yella sister, be going after a brother, when there is this race connection and all that stuff that says e should be fighting together?

Well, that’s easy: he’s being a toad.  And we all know how I get when people are wrong on the internets.

It is because he’s a cis person using his privilege and position as a person with unearned privilege that he’s *certain* to deny having on the grounds of being a black gay man (which has nothing to do with his being cis, so that’ll be funny) and *possibly* the fact that he *might* occasionally do some drag (I don’t know for sure — I’m just covering a possible excuse I’ve heard in the past) that is engaging in the oppression of trans people for his own benefit (in this case, his ability to watch Craig ferguson, milton berle, et al continue to make it ok for trans people to be laughed at).

None of it is about the personal, he says, yet I’ve got an 18 year old gal who retreated into boy mode after seeing the SNL skit, and 30 something gal who spent the night scared to go out the day after the ferguson skit *and they don’t have access to television* right now.

They simply heard about it.

I don’t have TV right now — can’t pay my cable bill and the money I’ve been working with seems to find a more critical need TIH related, like extra beds since I’m over capacity right now — and I knew about the minute it aired because my phone blew up.

Including one gal from Lousiana’s hinterland who just needed someone to talk to after seeing it.

Yeah, Derrick, not personal at all — expcept for that part where it is entirely personal because you are fucking dildo that doesn’t want to bother learning about trans lives and thinks he knows what is “really” discrimination and what isn’t.

You know what?  If he said I didn’t know what it’s like to be a dark skinned black man in this country I could agree with him.  I don’t.  I know it’s harder than it was for me.  I had all sorts of privileges over him, and the most glaring is that when I was a guy I was lighter skinned.

But I can say what its like being a black man in this country.  I’ve been there, light skin or not.  And I can say that it has gotten worse for me as a black woman, at least in the Existing While Black department.

But I am also, very proudly, a white woman and a Native woman.  And Derrick is the sort who has, in the past, said things that are exteremely negative regarding people who are lighter skinned.

Which isn’t really that big a deal, after all.  I mean, I’d never have noticed because I’m used to it, after all.

But Derrick doesn’t know what it is like to be a trans woman in America, watching step’n gethcit type minstrel crap in your daily life and knowing that the next time you go to work you have to deal with bullshit comments that are based on stuff like this SNL skit and the CF one.

Now, my initial desire is to do something to him that’s not all that nice.

But I don’t want to do that.  I just want people to realize that he’s someone who has paid lip service to being an ally, but so far hasn’t demonstrated that he is one, and that he’s no better than the “gay, Inc.” orgs he so criticizes when it comes to trans stuff because he’s acting exactly that they do when we call them on their trans stupidity.

Its not that He’s a bad guy, mind you.  He’s just ignorant as all hell — and all we can do is hope that he finally gets down off his high horse of deciding what battles we should pick for ourselves and gets into the trenches with us.

Because until he does, he’s absolutely part of the problem, and he’s a big one for black trans women — but he won’t even take the time to find out why.

He tells me to do my best.

He’s not worth my best.

But a bit shy of 3600 words?  Yeah, he’s worth that.