Ramble 11-2012

Quick updates for those who don’t know what a Ramble is.

Rambles are monthly flows of thought.  There’s not much rhyme or reason here, but I’m thinking that for December there will be two Rambles, as a kind of test: one around the 15th, one around the end of the month.

Because I want to try something different with them.  So we’re going to start the something different phase…

 

Trans-Critical

I did a post recently about trans critical.  Some folks seem to have missed the point: the phrasing is already locked in.  Being critical, internally, of trans outlook and conceptualizations within the trans community is not trans critical.

That’s participating in the community dialog.

As an example, Democrats are not democrat critical. Within the party of the Big Tent are a shitload of groups who all sorta prefer that their focus be the big one.  That have problems with the way the predominantly white leadership has historically worked towards things. That are critical of it, to be blunt.

But due to the cultural tendency to prefer sharp dualism, saying you are “democrat Critical” is going to essentially mean that you are a Republican.  Whereas merely criticising policy and strategy is being critically democrat.

Trying to reclaim that phrase might be an honest effort, but it is an effort that is rarely going to succeed simplly because of the sheer volume of material — if you use the terminology, you are going to get lumped together.

Now, some trans people will say that the “trans critical” folks have somewhat valid points.  For example, perhaps they will say that they are right when they say

Do Gender Identity protections force women into nonconsensual participation in these males sexual activities? Yes

Well, allow me to point out that if you see that as true, then I strongly suggest you give great thought to what lies beneath all that, what is required in order to think that.

In much the same way that social constructions such a sex are often very difficult to escape, the cis-centric thinking that enables the above statement to even approximate a half truth is going to require one to step outside the boundaries of what you’ve been told and accept fundamentally that there are more ways than one to skin a cat.

Also, I’m going to point out that I’m not hostile to the idea of seriously thinking about trans stuff.  Hell, I did it, and most of doing that is how I came to many of the positions I have on many things.

I even wrote most of them out, and I *think* you can still find them all through the Golden Calves search here.  Most of them I plan to revisit in the upcoming year. Challenging things is absolutely critical. And the two quotes that started things out in that post are used as examples of how trans people tend to see the term, and how it differs from the way that cis people see the term.

Not merely radfems, but cis people, as a class.

And, on the subject of people as a class, one of the conversations that caught my attention on this topic had a statement that essentially said that Trans people are not a recognizable social class.

That’s not quite true.  They aren’t a visibly recognizable social class, but they are still recognizable.

One of the complaints that many of the actually transcritical people have (in this case, I mean radfems, because, again, critiquing trans theory is not the same thing as being trans critical) is that the efforts that trans people engage in make it possible for people who are not trans to do bad things.

Which is an effort to make trans people as a class responsible for the actions of another group of people, as a class.  IT is necessary to see those distinctions in order to make that statement, even if one isn’t actively aware of doing such

Example, again, being the quote above.  It really has nothing to do with trans people being a problem.  And trans theory is concerned with trans people. Let cis people deal with cis people shit. Or, in this case, let cis people deal with shitty cis people.  We’re already required to police ourselves (one of the hallmarks of our oppression as a class of persons), and the truth is if you’ve ever watched an argument over the presence or lack there of of crossdressers within the trans community, or perhaps one about drag queens, then you’ve seen policing in action.

And few, if any, of us are immune or separate from such: even I will police actions and behaviors.  And this isn’t including self policing, which is a somewhat unhealthy thing that supports an entire host of industries and has merit and value looking at in the feminist sphere (beauty products).

Some people complain that the intentional broadness of trans theory — and, in particular, the version that I write about, which has marked variance from that of other people — reduces the value and meaning of what it means to be trans to a poitn where it doesn’t have a solid class, a way of being whole and separate unto itself.

I’ll be blunt. That’s a strategic and semantic decision on the part of pretty much everyone I know that puts any kind of thought or energy or effort into things.  It isn’t merely because Sandy Stone let trickle down her awareness of things into the general population, nor iis it due to the work of Kate Bornstein.

It is the reasoned, logical progression of two separate forces that exist: being outnumbered as all fuck, and historic efforts towards social change.

The description that I use — found here in my page on what is Trans — is broad, but it still has strong walls, because the issues that we face as a social effort are all down to one simple thing:  “i don’t want to be one of those icky ass people”.

I could sit down and fill another four thousand words about the subject, detailing the various ways that people get into that simple thing, but I’m pretty sure that subjective experience on the part of the reader will suffice.

My definition is culturally portable, as well, which is important in a world that is as diverse and varied as ours. It applies across time, to be honest, because it is all relative to the culture. This is a guess, but I’m willing to bet that most people making his kind of argument tend to see trans people very narrowly, when it comes to the cultural lens, and don’t stop to think about the variations that lead to travesti or muxe, and how they don’t fit the otherwise broadly used but culturally normative definitions.

That’s important — again, I come at it from the angle of a sociologist, and specifically, from that of a cultural theorist. That isn’t inherently a philosophically viewpoint (though yes, there is a great deal of it there, as there is in anything).

And then you factor in that since we are outnumbered, we have to make people feel as if they can join us without being too much like us, and you have to sell people on the effort to aid us.

If they can see themselves int he movement, in the thing being sold, then we have a better chance.

Again, hence the efforts against us tending to focus on people who are not trans.  Which is silly.

So, in closing this, I just want to point out that I was aware of the reason that Marj Erwin wrote her piece — and that the issue in play isn’t that trans theory doesn’t need critical analysis, its that calling something trans critical means some really fucked up shit is going to be the bulk of it, no matter who writes it.

Until such time as the people who effectively have the social discourse of that labeled area under their control are no more.

 

Day of Remembrance

It is, as I write this, Thursday the 15th of November.  In three days, the Phoenix Trans Day of Remembrance will be held. I have some minor involvement there this time, and so I’ve been seeking out a good listing,because for me it is, again, all about much more than just the US.

Previously, I wrote that it was one every 36 hours. The final number, released yesterday from the efforts of Transgender Europe, was 265 in the last year.

That’s really one every 33 hours and change.

I’m going to stick with one every 36 for now.  It has a better strategic ring to it.

I was reading through the list, and I made the mistake of doing so while a meeting on the topic was going on, and I had tears pouring down my face and a lump in my throat and I had to pause far more times than I wanted to.

There are several 16 year olds in the list.

126 deaths in Brazil. 49 in Mexico. 15 in the USA. 9 in Venezuela. 8 in Honduras. 6 in Columbia. 6 in India.

It goes on.

The way they were killed is, as ever, shocking, stunning, and yet to be expected.  These murders are personal. Brutal. And yes, more brutal as a whole than the murders of other groups.

Just in general.

It also drives home the biggest and most powerful argument against the “trans critical” — against our opponents. We are often said to be “men”, to be “male”.

These murders are the deaths of people who are not seen as men in their cultures. They aren’t even seen as women. They are seen as things, as inhuman, as unworthy and unvalued.

Were the handful of people who were captured for doing such stuff allowed to, they would without hesitation claim that they didn’t kill a person.

They killed something other than a person, something other than a man, something other.

I know that it will always get worse before it gets better.  I am very well aware of it.

But I don’t know if I can bear the cost in our blood.

 

Question:

Why do you send donation requests out to trans groups when you know that trans people are generally less likely to have money?

Answer:

I’m hoping the trans people will spread the word, will tell others, who are not trans, and who can afford small chunk of 10 dollars a month for a year. That’s why I tell trans groups.

Please support This Is HOW. We only need 1000 people donating 10 dollars a month to help 15,000 trans people in the Metro Phoenix area, and this will help us reach beyond just the locality, to reach ore rural spaces and provide greater opportunities.

Donate today or spread the word. Please. http://thisishow.org/our-own-space/

Question:

Why is it I only ever talk about trans people stuff?

Answer:

By talking about trans people I talk about everything else. Trans people are Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Bi. Trans people are people of color. Trans people are rich and poor, loved and unloved, republican and democrat, religious and atheist.

And I talk about all those things. We are touched by marriage equality, by immigration, by latin@ struggles. We are affected by women’s rights and old rules that cripple society. I have said ti before and I will say it again: there is nothing that goes on in this country that does not affect trans people.

So I do talk about all those other things, and I am working towards all those other things — I do it through the lens and the “funnel” that I see.Help the least, and the you help the most.

Statement:

If you aren’t figuring out how to get ENDA passed in the next four years, then you aren’t thinking about LGBT rights in flyover country.

And I do indeed mean all four letters there.

And I also mean, though it isn’t going to be visible, that the L and the T are going to benefit the most from such.

How that is, I leave as an exercise in researching demographic trends to the reader.

 

Petition if you like

Stumbled across this today.  I figure I’ll share it.

White House Petition to include SRS in policies for Americans.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/provide-coverage-sex-reassignment-procedures-transgender-americans/JYRrPbJb

 

Wow.  Short post today, huh?