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Radfem and the Anti-Transgender Agenda

I recently became aware of the RadFem group and their outspoken leader Cathy Brennan, who writes a blog over on Tumblr called Bugbrennan. If you have any idea what I’m talking about already, you know this isn’t going to be a “let’s buy these guys some milk and cookies” kind of post. At the same time, as tempted as I am to go all hissy fit on them, I’m going to try to look at this in a calm rational manner, with maybe just a tiny bit of humor thrown in. It’s all about getting a dialog started here people, and yes, I hope they find this and engage. Don’t worry, I’ll beat a path to my door.

I have not had time to read the entire RadFem site, but one of the predominant themes is a palpable anti-transgender agenda. They appear to be working this pretty hard; a tireless dedication to blocking or reversing any gains in rights that we make. I found this pretty surprising to be honest. I mean, there really aren’t that many of us out there, and to have an organization dedicated in part to working against us seems fairly ridiculous. When there is so much work left to be done to advance the equality of women all over the world, spending this much time and energy to give a micro-population a really shitty time of it seems either mean in spirit, or there is something else going on entirely. I can’t quite pin down whether it’s a Westboro Baptist Church kind of thing, or a Larry Craig/ Mark Foley denial and lash out, but either way, it’s not making a lot of sense.

I’m also not clear on the name choice. The ‘rad’ is for ‘radical’, as you may have well guessed. Generally speaking the population at large, especially those empowered to make any sort of policy decisions, typically eschew groups who actively promote that they are in fact radical. It has flair and is appropriately militant sounding, but downright horrible in the pursuit of any type of credibility whatsoever. It is comforting to know their stated goals are almost instantly thwarted by the name alone.

If I understand correctly, the end game for RadFem is to achieve unquestionable female equality in all areas, as well as promote the guarantee of female safety in society under all circumstances. I’m pretty sure that is something most women can get behind, including the trans population. For some reason, there seems to be a widespread belief among them that denying the existence of the trans population is a sure fire way to promote this. Yeah, I said the same thing. It’s sort of like being sent to prison and picking the weakest most pathetic inmate to beat up to establish dominance. I understand where they want to go, but they seem to be taking a very unnecessarily contentious way of getting there. There are a lot of sub themes to choose from, but I’m going to pick the two most prevalent to address.

Ms Bug et al take the line of David Hume style extreme rationalism. Born with penis = male, no exceptions. Binary logic is wonderful for running machines, but rarely applicable to the human experience. Exceptions are plentiful such as the intersex and other variations. I have not found evidence that there is clear consensus as to whether post operative transsexuals are still considered male by all or not. Either way, this simplistic world view either reflects the lack of ability to process complexity, or a convenient black and white rational to attack individuals who don’t fit a highly improbable binary model.

I’ve also heard the argument from this camp that there is no medical evidence indicative of transsexuals having a brain structure more resembling that of the identified gender. This is very easy to look up by going here (you have to click the link). If you spend some time here, you will see many articles both for and against this hypothesis. The Wikipedia entry is also fairly accurate, though not comprehensive. It may well be that RadFem is taking the line that a lack of a clear ‘smoking gun’ proven causal link is firm evidence to the contrary, thus ignoring the basic principle of scientific investigation that requires a significant amount of data to achieve conclusive results. Not that many studies have been done to date in comparison to much better understood conditions. I would also like a clear, validated and independently replicable test that yielded yes/ no answers, but currently the study of transexualism is about where that of homosexuals was 50 years ago. The RadFem position is comparable to that of creationists who point to as yet undiscovered data points in the fossil record to argue evolution as an unlikely theory in simplistic protection of a highly biased world view.

While the nitty-gritty of neural mapping remains fuzzy at present, there is conclusive evidence that a population exists wherein members recognize a core gender identity opposite to that their birth genitalia and hormonal function. Much like a Mac OS loaded on a PC, function will degrade rapidly (I know, I know, it’s an imperfect analogy). Hardware modification to resemble the hardware configuration of a Mac, however, will improve function dramatically. The transsexual population is in the same predicament. Unlike brain mapping studies that are still in infancy, there is a mountain of causal evidence that physical and social transition to a person’s core gender identity significantly improves overall functionality in spite of the enormous social, emotional, physical, and financial costs involved. To date it remains the only successful form of treatment. My point is that whatever the true root cause is, transsexuals are recognized as existing by every credible medical and scientific organization that possess the expertise to render a meaningful opinion. The end result of transition is a person who has a physical appearance that matches their gender identity. Philosophical disbelief in our verified existence does not provide a moral, legal, or social platform to ethically argue against equal rights.

I think this brings us right to the bathroom issue. Yes, I’ve talked about this before, hence the handy link. I understand the RadFem position to be that the societal protection of women requires the establishment and enforcement of segregated space that is designated female only. Concerning this statement, in and of itself, we are in agreement. Regardless of individual RadFem member positions on “is it really a he or she?”, they take the further position that allowing access to female facilities invites male sex offenders to adopt a disguise and commit rapes in the ladies room, primarily because this has happened, though very sporadically and never by a trans person. Let’s talk about that for a second.

The discussion brings forth an image of several shady characters huddled around an old radio in an abandoned warehouse down by the docks, eagerly listening to see when GENDA finally passes. “All right boys, they passed it! Let’s strap on some heels and go hit the crappers!” The unlikely part of this scenario is the notion that scheming rapists are currently stymied only by the finer points of an equality law only applicable to a tiny segment of the population. If a rapist is inclined to do this, he is going to anyway regardless of what the law says. Furthermore, it can be argued that given rape is brutal hate crime to establish dominance in the form of forced sex, and that the vast majority of men find adopting female garb humiliating and emasculating, it is further unlikely that the incidence rate of this heinous sort of thing is going to increase. From that it comes down to the fact that some females are uncomfortable sharing facilities with transgender women either due to fear based on misunderstanding or inherent prejudice.

Here are the facts of the matter succinctly. Cisgender women are not at risk from transgender women. There has not been a single recorded instance of a transgender woman acting inappropriately in a female only facility. Like everyone else, we just want to pee, check our make up, and leave without hassle. Transgender women, however, are at significant risk of physical and sexual abuse in a male only facility. Barring transgender women from female only facilities is directly comparable to barring African-American women on the basis of fear based on prejudice and misunderstanding. Forcing trans women into a situation of real documented risk in order to cater to prejudicial fears based on a lack of understanding is unconscionable. Furthermore, due to the risks involved to our well being, trans women have and will continue to use female only facilities. We are humans with physical needs, identify entirely with the gender the segregated facility is for, and must look after our personal safety. Attempting to block passage of equality laws is not going to change this.

I do understand this is a difficult issue overall. I do acknowledge that risk of abuse exists and I am personally concerned about it myself, as are we all. I also understand that there is no clear means of telling the difference between a post-op transsexual, pre-op transsexual, cross-dresser, or drag queen without utilizing personally invasive means. I would, however, vastly prefer to work together to discover and implement mutually acceptable solutions designed to safeguard the well being of all women. This makes much more sense to me than expending considerable time and energy fighting a battle that ultimately benefits none, and puts some at risk.

You all may notice that in spite of getting a little contentious at times and drawing from unsavory or exaggerated examples and comparisons to drive the point home, I kept this much less provocative then I was originally inclined. I would like to urge my trans friends and trans allies to resist escalating the battle. I would like to see if a dialog can be established and foster communication to see if common ground or a common cause can be  found.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

24 responses »

  1. I am looking forward to the day when there is a women’s sports team entirely made of trans “women” and they win the championship.
    It should be entertaining to see the reactions of the various groups

  2. Your article was well written. I think it boils down to this: RadFems and Transgendered M2F individuals are people with the same “condition” but deal with it in different ways. RadFems are not denying the existence of gender. What RadFems are saying is, the traditional term for gender, was to describe persons who are either born male or female (with obvious biological and physical differences between male and females). No RadFems is denying that there are brains that can be more on the male/female side in terms of whether the brain is more male or female. Here’s where it gets tricky… Women who are more masculine are treated like shit from the “gender typicals” all of their lives. These women don’t wear makeup and high heels because it doesn’t feel natural to them, and many of these people are RadFems. As a coping strategy, some women prefer to live as males in order to “fit in”. I’m not going to ignore that some women also objectify the male member…However, for the most part I believe that individuals with brains that don’t conform to what “gender typicals” think is right, just take alot of shit in general, from those people who are basically “neurotypicals”. People with gender identity issues and non-conformance to the old-fashioned gender dynamic, tend to be on the spectrum from Autism, Aspergers, Gay including most but not all Gay individuals, and Transgendered people. However, RadFems don’t want anyone to feel the “neurotypical societal pressure of genre conformance” to lead anyone to feel that they need to physically mutilate their genitals. And, it goes further, in any case of body dimorphism, the individual gets fixiated (obsessed, an aspiring trait) with a body part and feels that it shouldn’t be there. That doesn’t mean the body part shouldn’t be there. The biggest problem is that field of psychology is full of neurotypical individuals. The NT way of dealing with a problem is, if you can’t fix it, make it go away. Psychiatric professionals are unable to help people with Autism related disorders. Autism at its root is a dissassociation of the mind with body. Most people on that spectrum are really really really rigid. If they have an idea no one can convince them otherwise, on the other hand, they are people who feel that something is wrong with them and desperately want to feel normal, so when psychiatry promises a quick fix (I.e. genital mutilation) they jump on it. The biggest and most disturbing thing that I see in the Transagenda is the attempt to silence those who have undergone the genital mutilation procedure. There are stories online and you can read them. Sexual organs are a big and important part of being human. They are required to provide us with hormonal balance. To be born with healthy functioning organs is a blessing. To be born intersex, and not have had your genitals mutilated by a doctor without your consent when you were a baby or underage is a blessing. Not having your penis mutilated and/or removed through some botched circumcision is a blessing. Mutilating your genitals in order to fit in with “neurotypical definitions of gender expression” is wrong. We need to protect individuals on the spectrum and not promote this agenda that genital mutilation is a cure or a quick fix to something far incurable but with education, something that people can learn to live with, without being steered into unnecessary medical procedures.

    • First of all, thanks for commenting Anonkneemouse. Second, oy, so many things to address here! OK, one by one…

      1. I disagree with the statement “RadFems and Transgender MTF are people with the same condition”. While I do think that both should be politically aligned, and that the two terms should not be mutually exclusive, I don’t believe they are the same thing at all. RadFem is a philosophical and political movement that seeks to end or lessen the impact of gender roles and perceptions in society, ideally for the end goal of creating a level playing field in which true and not lip service equality exists regardless of what genital configuration a person has. Transgender individuals have strong affiliation with the gender opposite of that they have been living in or no gender at all. RadFem is an intellectual stance that is chosen. Transgender is a condition of as yet unknown origin that appears to exist from birth. One can learn and adopt RadFem philosophy while transgender appears congenital and is often grudgingly accepted after often extensive periods of denial and multiple attempts to correct. At present, a person can eschew RadFem philosophy while transgender is generally accepted to be an unavoidable and persistent condition. Finally, I have some doubts as to any RadFem adherents living as males to “fit in” and believe that would be completely antithetical to the philosophy.

      2. Adopting or not adopting traditional gender norms as a condition of either group is a misconception. Individuals who espouse the RadFem philosophy may or may not have strong or weak internal identification with the female gender and traditional expressions thereof. While it is a cultural more for many RadFem affiliated and thought leaders to choose a more androgynous appearance, it is in no way universal. Transgender individuals are often culturally misrepresented to adopt an extreme form of femininity, although the actual dress and mannerisms of transitioned individuals is generally distributed along the same curve as genetic females. On the personal level, I generally wear jeans, my hair is now much shorter than my picture, and I never wear heels. I consider my mode of dress to be only marginally affiliated with my gender identity, and this is true of many transgender individuals.

      3. “Neurotypical” generally refers to individuals who are not perceived to fall on the autism scale and has been recently also attached to anyone not perceived to be atypical. Personally, I feel it is the same as calling people “normals”, which of course if a complete misnomer. Given a wide enough range of criteria, the number of individuals in the world population shrinks to nothing.

      4. Putting Autism, Asperger’s, Gay, and Transgender on the same spectrum is very farfetched. At present, there is absolutely no evidence of a common etiology or comparable modes of behavior. It only works if viewed in a very high level of human differentiation between “neurotypical” and “atypical”, which would then also include everything in the DSM and then some. Ironically, I think you would be looking at a catch-22. If you are deluded enough to believe you fall into the neurotypical group, you are by definition, crazy and thereby leaving the designation empty.

      5. Characterizing Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS, or whatever we are calling it now) as “genital mutilation” speaks to a strong negative bias on your part. I don’t know if the bias is rooted in a strong understanding of the transgender condition, or a learned bias imparted by transgender opposition philosophy. I think the latter based on your other comments. Speaking of it in very negative and politically charged terminology, however, is perceived by the transgender community to be combative, incendiary, and either deliberately or ignorantly hurtful. I don’t know if your intention is to be combative, but you should understand that use of derisive terminology is highly likely to negatively bias your listener or reader and lead them to deeply discount any argument you may be presenting. It’s like trying to convince someone by starting your argument with “Hey, stupid.” A good way to ensure your point of view is immediately written off.

      6. Your statements, “And, it goes further, in any case of body dimorphism, the individual gets fixated (obsessed, an aspiring trait) with a body part and feels that it shouldn’t be there. That doesn’t mean the body part shouldn’t be there.”, come across incredibly condescending. First it presumes transgender medical intervention is rooted in fixation and is analogous to someone unhappy with their nose and fixed on the idea of having it corrected simply to look like the people around them. Second, it appears to draw a parallel to body integrity identity disorder (those who feel a limb is not part of them) who deeply desire amputation. Those cases revolve around firm fixation of a body part, usually a limb, and not identification with a demographic. MTF transgender people are all about self-identification as women, and some, but not all, seek GCS as a final measure to be comfortable in their own skin.

      Speaking from personal experience as a post-operative woman, it was never about hating what was there or feeling it wasn’t a part of me. It did, however, wreak havoc on ability to have a fulfilling sex life and caused some measure of personal discomfort that made it increasingly difficult to find that inner comfort. I had already been living as a woman for nearly two years when I had the surgery and the benefits far outweighed the monetary cost and very temporary physical discomfort. Let me make it clear that I had this operation after years of contemplation, and seeking of alternatives. It was in no way a “quick fix”. Nor was it something education could alleviate (that route having been exhausted), or something simply deciding to live with would have at all helped. These suggestions really appear to be blasé “quick fixes” more than anything and seem analogous to telling a person to educate themselves out of back pain or live with something that increasingly causes debilitating discomfort when a clear and effective medical solution exists.

      What really concerns me is the notion of an allegedly well-meaning group of people, with no personal experience of the issue, seek to intervene in the areas of legislation or medical best practices for a person’s “best interest” when it comes to their own body. From a progressive perspective, such a stance appears obscene at a time when similar “philosophical” battles are being fought regarding female reproductive rights and ridiculous definitions such as what “legitimate” rape consists of. It’s pretty audacious to claim a primacy of opinion in deciding what is best regarding what is going on in someone else’s pants.

      As a friend of mine once stated, “talking is easy from the proper distance”. It’s very easy to read something or hear an engaging lecture and desire to have the world conform with the way things ought to be in your pet philosophy. While you do that, however, real people are actually living these lives you speak of and making these highly personal decisions in areas you suddenly decide you have the right to agency in. You may mean well, and I think you might, but you presume too much in an area you know too little about.

      As a final thought, I was asked by my spouse a few months after I had the surgery what it was like for me. I asked her how often she thought about what was between her legs. Hardly ever. Yeah, me too now, and it’s great. You only know the weight you were carrying when you finally put it down.

  3. There’s an ugly little secret that we trans women don’t discuss much, but I think it might serve to explain the aberrant behavior of Colleen Francis and others like her: co-morbidity. It’s embarrassing as all hell to admit, but far too many of us are not only trans, but a little crazy, too.

    Quantitatively, the numbers are amorphous at best. How many? What kind of emotional disabilities exist and to what extent? Qualitatively, the results can be disastrous, as already noted. Once is too much and enough to tar us all with the same brush. The causes are equally chicken-and-egg: are some of us socially maladjusted, given to acting out inappropriately, because we are trans or does societal pressure (resistance) toward the trans condition result in the secondary emotional disability? Shooting from the hip, I’d say the latter is the case, but we have no data with which to confirm either way!

    I’ll note this, though: those of us who make it a point to behave outrageously aren’t helping the cause one bit. But I can understand why, especially if it’s a dirt-poor trans woman who can’t get a job, housing, or assistance of any kind. I’ve been there. It almost made me crazy too, but enough people loved me enough to help me and keep me from being just another GDS (God Damned Statistic) My name isn’t on the TDOR list yet, but there’s always a possibility.

    I’m lucky. Here in Oregon, we have some sane, protective laws that have made life a lot easier for me and my community. But there’s a backlash from that too: complacency. Make it too easy and we give up trying. Too hard and we go crazy.

    There’s gotta be a happy medium, somewhere in this Gordian knot. Best approach: MORE DATA. Accurate data! We need to know why some of us go off the deep end and stop assuming that it’s solely because society created the problem. I’ll concede that it’s 50% of it (at least) but we need to know the why of the other 50%.

    Knowledge is power. We need more knowledge. If the NCTE is able to supply a preliminary survey of trans health issues, then it needs to go deeper and wider. We’re fumbling in the dark! If we want to PROVE that we aren’t a risk to any part of society, then we’d best be well-prepared with some hard numbers.

  4. One cannot debate with the aforementioned “radfem”. The “trans women are women but not female” meme was dispensed with when she moved to the “sorry about your penis” campaign. The ideology is based completely in the defamatory “works” of Raymond, Daly, and Jeffries; that is, trans does not exist except as a fetish made manifest by a “patriarchal medico-surgical establishment” serving the needs of autogynephilia. (Please note: if a blog contains ‘M2T’ to describe MTF, it is written in the lexicon of trans-exterminationalist partisan doctrine, *predicting a scathing rebuttal to what I have written here, along with obligatory dissembling*).

    Such anti-trans doctrine is also present in Dianic Moon Goddess Paganism, extreme veganism, and marxist-environmentalism. There is considerable truth in the comparison of anti-trans radfeminism to religion. The same zealotry, doctrinal puritanism, and absolutism characterize its proponents.

    However, beware of ascribing TOO MUCH power to them. You see, while they are certain they speak as the arbiters of “womanhood” and the gatekeepers of “women’s spaces”, there is simply no reason to acknowledge their authority. They can and WILL use vitriol and invective to advance their agenda, but the secular world continues to reaffirm our rights. The only power the RF have is within groups of like-minded (and ANGRY) persons; persons who were certainly not going to be allies.

    They will RAGE, but so what? That is what they DO. They are of whatever consequence you bequeath them, and any transperson would be wise to divest themselves of their company. Be forewarned, if you stare too long into their abyss, it will poison your thoughts. Their writings are a dagger aimed at your mind, to nudge you closer to the suicide our statistics promise them is inevitable. Like crystal meth, just say NO! ;>

  5. Pingback: Again With The Trans Bathroom Issue | Michellelianna

  6. Time for open season on radefem retards. This people need to be wiped out of existence.

    • dentedbluemercedes

      Seriously? Since when would genocide be an ethically viable solution?

      Take care in how we respond to hate, lest we become haters.

    • I sincerely hope you mean through rhetoric and intelligent debate if you plan to engage at all. I will absolutely not condone violence of any kind here. We are better than that. If we lose the moral high ground we may as well lay down and expect decades more of bad treatment with the opposition finally having something real to point to.

      My personal suggestion is not to engage them at all: The ineffectual pocket they occupy on the wrong side of history will swallow itself in short order. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Thanks For the Provocation, But I’m Good « Michellelianna

  8. Pingback: Yes Please, May We Have Another? My Take On The Guardian Kerfluffle « Michellelianna

  9. “Here are the facts of the matter succinctly. Cisgender women are not at risk from transgender women. There has not been a single recorded instance of a transgender woman acting inappropriately in a female only facility.”

    I guess the world just collectively imagined the Collen Francis incident then (the most recent high-profile incident). Surely you remember that one- the police report described the presence in a women’s locker room complete with male tackle exposed. Only it was also in the presence of minor females, who by the way had to be relegated to secondary facilities in order for the ‘transgender woman’ to be accommodated (an action that effectively viscerated the protections of the female athletes that they should have had under Title IX).

    Exposure in that manner by a male-bodied person to minor children is certainly something MOST rational people would consider to be ‘acting inappropriately in a female-only facility.’

    • Wow, how did I not hear about this? This is going to need its own post to adequately address.My personal feeling is that while Colleen had the right to be there, she could have shown more decorum; nobody needs to see that. My point that cisgender women are not at risk from transgender women, however, remains intact. The primary purpose of segregation law has to do with protection from sexual impropriety and sexual violence. While I think she crossed some boundaries of common sense, there is also no evidence that she posed a risk to anyone. I find this incident regrettable, but an isolated incident of impropriety is in no way generalizable to the entire trans population who currently do share facilities with cisgender women.

      Addressing my trans sisters out there who read this, please don’t do this sort of thing. Yes, we may feel entitled, especially when local law is inclusive, but the majority of the population has a long way to go before we are accepted as women with a horribly unfortunate condition. It behooves us therefore to be on our best behavior and not create incidents that our detractors like to wave around like they are indicative of trans behavior in general.

      • Francis did a LOT more than to have “crossed some boundaries of common sense.” The entire response given in the aftermath was entirely consistent with the grooming behaviors exhibited (no pun intended) by sex offenders. This was not a locker room filled with adult females who were later being told by Francis that it should have been a ‘learning experience.’ Rather it was MINOR children in there in accordance with the agreements that existed with the school for use of the facilities for their training. There is NO excuse for an adult to be exposing themselves to minor children, especially children of the opposite sex.

        When the demographic formerly known as ‘transsexual’ decided to bring along the men in dresses, you also assumed all of their assorted baggage. And the entire nonsense of allowing persons with male genitalia into female-segregated space presents a threat to females. Females understand why this sort of conduct is a risk. It boggles the mind how and why males claiming to have female brains cannot grasp that simple reality…females were raised with the knowledge and awareness of the threats that surround them- after all, we are the ones who are at the greatest level of risk. You don’t generally see females clamoring for access to male-segregated space. Yet the M2T demographic is hell-bent on preventing women from ever having their own segregated space anymore. And while it may be true that a significant number of the M2T population that is surgery-tracked would never get out of line, females have the absolute right to take steps to own our own space. Your own attempts to equate it to racial segregation is no different than when Francis tries to use the whole ‘water fountain’ analogy.

        Francis was only the most recent of many incidents that have been documented over the past decade. And females understand that ONE incident is one too many. And when we point out such things, it is the females who are being told by trans to ‘die in a fire’ or to ‘die cis scum’ or some other vile comment. Yet rare is the instance that females EVER see the trans-demographic speak out against such comments or instances of conduct like in the sauna. Only when trans begins to police their own might there be any constructive dialogues that will ever occur. But since that generally has not happened in my lifetime, I don’t expect to see it happening anytime soon…

        • Hi NYK,

          I’m not ignoring your points – I think you are making some very good ones. I was traveling all last week and unable to draft a good answer. I have given this quite a bit of thought and will address most of your points in an upcoming post, so you can actually expect to see this in your lifetime, and better yet, sometime soon.

          I appreciate you taking the time to bring this up as I had totally missed the incident. In spite of appearances, this blog really only takes up like 0.2% of my life, which is generally spent doing much more boring things. Unfortunately you are dealing with a crowd that gets, well, a little touchy at times as an effect of dealing with a condition (or whatever it should be called) that is hideously problematic. I’m not of the belief, however, that anyone should resort to hurling insults; something I was disappointed by when doing my threat assessment over on Brennan’s blog.

          All my best,


        • I really think you’re blowing a lot this out of proportion IMHO. First of all, really, what’s the big deal about just seeing another person’s genitals? It’s not doing any actual harm to anyone. Granted, it’s not my place to dictate to parents what is right and wrong for their own children to see, but placing such high importance on modesty presents just as many repercussions as not placing such importance on it. It’s only because the more conservative people in our society have so thoroughly demonized any expression of sexuality and sexual interest and subsequently placed such strict moral stigma upon even seeing these body parts that so many people are now considered “perverts” just for having sexual urges.

          And what threat exactly does the mere existence of people with “male genitalia” pose to women? It seems to me that the notion that all men are perverts and are thus somehow innately threatening to women (as a generalization) is just as representative of a society dominated by the patriarchy as the notion that women are innately weaker than and sexually vulnerable to men. Why? Because both generalizations are based on the sexist premise that it’s “good” for women to remain sexually “pure” (which shifts the responsibility for deviant sexual conduct onto the victim instead of the pervert), and conversely that all men are sexual deviants by nature (thereby freeing men from being required to take any responsibility for their conduct and behavior).

          Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that women shouldn’t ever have safe spaces, but let’s get one thing straight here: women were granted these safe spaces everywhere to do their business as a CONVENIENCE and PRIVILEGE due to the rising importance placed on modesty in our culture, not out of any actual need or necessity for it. If we were to assign safe spaces to people based on actual need, it’s trans women who are the ones at the most risk to be victimized, and so it’s they who are the most in need of a safe space, ever so much more than women in general.

  10. Hi there, I arrived here after reading your exchange with Brennan on her blog. I am personally on the fence about this whole issue because I see valid points (and limitations) from both groups but I don’t participate in these convos these days because they get so negatively emotionally charged; I’ve seen nastiness & viciousness (from both groups) and I think this deters others from joining the conversation too.

    “I would, however, vastly prefer to work together to discover and implement mutually acceptable solutions designed to safeguard the well being of all women. This makes much more sense to me than expending considerable time and energy fighting a battle that ultimately benefits none, and puts some at risk.” —-> I agree.

    • Thanks! I understand being on the fence; it’s a complex issue, but if there is anything you would like to know, please never hesitate to ask. I’m just not the bite someone’s head off type. My exchange over there was a little disappointing. I was hoping we could agree on what we disagree on and maybe talk about those things where we are aligned, but it simply didn’t work out that way. Thanks so much for writing!

      • Thank you Michelle, much appreciated. You know, the more I think about all this, the more I think the sex and gender wars are needlessly complex. I think the solutions to the problems just take some common sense and the whole thing doesn’t have to be as complicated as it’s made out to be. There are always “bad apples” in every crowd, and I don’t think it’s right for people’s choices and life movements to be restricted & restrained (legally or otherwise) based on the behavior of a few bad apples, such as the case of Collen Francis and others that some radfems are spotlighting. The sex and gender wars are going on within a deeply fucked up culture and are hitting our Spiritual and moral nerves; those on the moral side of reality see things a lot differently than those on the Spiritual side of reality. I’m ending here as I gotta run. Last point: I liked Cavan’s comment & need to process it some more.

        Thank you Michelle for a safe & respectful space to talk about this minefield topic. I really appreciate your openness to questions and will definitely take you up on it as I keep processing this discussion.

  11. All, thanks for the excellent comments! I did contact Ms Brennan on her own site and welcomed her to further discussion and got a “that’s nice” reply. I’m under no illusion that she read my post and suddenly had her eyes opened. If anything, I think that either (a) she is tired of engaging trans people and would rather pontificate her position or (b) is really more of a ‘big personality’ type showman being deliberately provocative as a means of promoting her brand.In either case, she appears disengaged. I’m by no means done with the matter and just going to pick at it until I achieve some understanding of the mindset; you simply can’t change minds unless you truly understand the root cause behind the belief system. Yes, I have no reservation about taking on impossible causes. 🙂



  12. dentedbluemercedes

    Good luck with that.

    Just a reminder that conflicts should be about ideology, rather than about individuals. You’re talking about an agenda that baits and then turns angry responses into apparent personal attacks and evidence of menace, feeling that it validates transphobic perspectives. It’s a game to them. Stick to challenging the ideology, because that’s the issue.

  13. I’ve posted once before, when I responded to a post you made a while ago.

    I just wanted to let you know that I have personally debated/argued with Ms(Mrs.?) Brennan before via the comments section of a website.

    We debated back and forth, and she agrees trans women are women – but says trans women aren’t female. (Uh, no shit?) I called her on this, as basically she said “trans women are women, but they aren’t CIS women” where I then called her position out for being cis-supremacist. She proceeded to blather about how cis privilege doesn’t exist, blah blah blah. I provided examples of how cis privilege does exist, and she basically threw up her hands and left muttering to herself.

    Their logic has no ground upon which to stand. Their entire anti-trans movement is irrational.

    About the only thing I do agree on is most laws wording is too ambiguous – a transgender bathroom protection bill technically gives cismale crossdressers (read: not transsexual women) access to women’s spaces. I can agree with that being unreasonable.

    Regardless, these people are someone we all come across eventually. It’s just a shame that some actually listen to them.


    • The only reason I would doubt you’ve debated with her is because she never seems to debate. All she says is a variant of “I’m right and you’re wrong” or just tries to end things by telling people to shut up and/or “stop trolling”. She’s also claimed that she isn’t cis because she thinks it’s an insult, and is now saying that transwomen aren’t women. The comments in the initial Roseanne Barr post shows that (cluster***k warning).

      She also can and will use a tracker to find and post Facebook profiles, email adresses, phones numbers, etc. She’s also an attorney (though, I can’t imagine a very good one if she can’t debate) so if somebody tries to do the same or take legal action, she’ll defend herself.

    • I don’t know about you, but if someone is putting in all the effort to present as the opposite sex, then I feel that we can give them the benefit of the doubt for as long as they are minding their own business.

      That cross dresser or drag queen may be a trans person exploring their gender. And, let’s face it: cross dressers and drag queens are also at risk of getting beat down in the men’s rooms. Also, I am not averse to people of either sex using the other sex’s bathroom to avoid long lines, because 1) that’s a legit reason and 2) it shortens the lines for other people not so brave as them.


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