Hey social justice activists!
Are internet flamewars bumming you out?
Do interactions on social media sometimes make you feel like you’ve entered a fighting pit?
We’re tired of the lightless heat, too. That’s why Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) has arranged for a public dialogue on two of the most controversial issues facing modern feminism, abolishing prostitution and ending gender.
On Saturday May 24 we will honor Memorial Day weekend with a political ceasefire and call for the opening of peace talks. In the spirit of honest, respectful engagement, you are invited to come ask radical feminists any questions on these subjects you may have wanted to ask but were too intimidated by rancorous internet interactions.
Please join us for what will be a thought-provoking day for everyone who wants clarification on what radical feminists really think about prostitution and gender.
April 17, 2014
Originally posted on Liberation Collective:
Janet Mock is a transwoman author who has strong opinions on gender and the sex industry shared in this memoir. Mock discusses many topics, but this review will cover five: essentialism, the term “cis”, the term “fish”, hormone blockers for children, and the sex industry.
View original 3,081 more words
Dana McCallum, male senior Twitter programmer and self-proclaimed “transgender woman” charged with three felony counts of rape
April 11, 2014
McCallum, legal name Dana Contreras, was arrested in the early am of January 26 at the home of his estranged wife and charged with multiple felonies including three counts of rape, reports the San Francisco Examiner today. Rape is defined by the state of California as the violent insertion of a man’s penis into a woman’s vagina.
From the Examiner:
“Dana McCallum, a senior engineer at Twitter who speaks and writes about women’s and transgender rights and technology issues, was arrested Jan. 26 and booked into County Jail on suspicion of five felonies, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
McCallum, 31, whose legal name is Dana Contreras, was charged Jan. 29 with five felonies, including three counts of spousal rape, one count of false imprisonment and one count of domestic violence, according to the District Attorney’s Office. She has since pleaded not guilty.
McCallum has been out of jail on $350,000 bail. A condition of her release is that she attend AA meetings, according to court documents.
A Jan. 29 criminal protective order obtained by The Examiner says McCallum must not contact or come within 150 feet of her wife.”
McCallum’s defense attorney claims the victim is lying, but admits the victim’s teenage son is a witness, having heard his mother’s cries of “No!” through a closed door during the alleged attack. McCallum, who goes by “@DanaDanger” on his twitter account has declined to make a public comment since the media blackout on the charges was broken today. Instead, he tweeted the following message:
Sara Chipps, co-founder of Girl Develops It!, responds:
Dana McCallum has been an outspoken anti-woman activist, referring to feminists as “wackos”, and participating in the transgender “#Fuck Cis People” twitter campaign (“cis” is a transgender community slur for “biological females”).
McCallum considers himself a “male lesbian” and at least one media source has already run the headline “Lesbian Twitter Engineer Charged With Raping Wife”.
McCallum offered the following rape ”Safety Tips For Ladies” commentary last year on his twitter account:
“Ultra-Violent Girl” used in testimony to justify new female juvenile locked-facility turns out to be male transgender
April 10, 2014
It turns out that Jill, the ultra-violent girl cited in testimony by DCF Commissioner Joette Katz in February 14th hearings regarding the need for a Connecticut facility for ultra-violent female juveniles is in fact a male transgender.
The 16 year old “girl” and “female” cited in multiple reports as an alleged serial violent batterer of women and girls across several foster care placements was revealed to be a male “transgender teen” yesterday when gay activist groups revealed he has since been remanded to an adult prison facility for evaluation and placement by the state.
In most recent charges, the male teen has been charged with biting a woman on the top of her head, kicking her repeatedly in the head arms and face, punching, assaulting, blinding a female caseworker, and breaking her jaw.
The young man has now been sent for evaluation to an adult (female!) prison for evaluation without charge, an extraordinary occurrence.
From the Hartford Courant:
“A transgender youth under the care of the Department of Children and Families has been transferred to an adult prison with no criminal charge pending — a rare action that has triggered strong opposition from the state child advocate’s office and the youth’s public defender.
The youth, 16, is a male who identifies as a female. The teen, with a history of committing assaults against staff members in various juvenile facilities, was ordered transferred to prison April 8. DCF had argued before a judge at a trial that it could not care for the youth at any of its programs, including the high-security Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown.
In court, DCF lawyers cited the statute, which permits such a transfer if DCF demonstrates that no suitable treatment program exists.
It is the first time in 14 years, that the statute has been used, and the first in more than 20 years that the youth in question was a ward of DCF. The agency deals with dozens of assaultive youths, including those who have been arrested multiple times in a matter of days for assaults against staff at the training school.
“This was nothing less than an extraordinary state action and is almost unprecedented,” said Child Advocate Sarah Eagan. “DCF is is this youth’s parent, and is obligated to fashion treatment and programming.”
The state public defender’s office is appealing the transfer. The youth is now at the York Correctional Institute for women in Niantic, but might be shifted to a male facility after an evaluation.
In a written statement, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz acknowledged the rarity of the action, and said DCF did not do this lightly. She said such a request would only be considered if the department felt it could not safely hold an assaultive youth at one of its programs.
”We work hard to serve youths with even the most complex needs, but in extreme cases …. it is incumbent upon us to take appropriate authorized measures,” Katz said in the statement.
On Feb. 14, Katz, while lobbying to open a secure treatment facility for girls in Middletown, brought up this youth’s story in testimony before the legislature’s appropriations committee. Katz didn’t name the youth, but said that a staff member was blinded and had her jaw broken in the assault. Katz said this youth would be appropriate for the locked program, which was the subject of opposition from advocates and some lawmakers. The allocation of $2.5 million was approved and the unit is now open on the campus of the former Riverview Hospital in Middletown.”
Read more about this breaking case at these links:
“Jill”, reported solely as female before today’s revelations : http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/girls_detention_center/
GenderTrender will be following developments in this case.
Finally a response from the Transgender Law Center’s Cecilia Chung after two days of death threats against lesbians and feminists in his twitter timeline. Killing women “is not helpful” at this time, in his estimation. Unbelievable.
April 4, 2014
The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “Gender Hurts: A feminist analysis of the politics of transgenderism” by Sheila Jeffreys.
Gender and women’s equality
Transgenderism cannot exist without a notion of essential ‘gender’. Feminist critics argue that the concept of ‘gender identity’ is founded upon stereotypes of gender, and, in international law, gender stereotypes are recognised as being in contradiction to the interests of women (Raymond, 1994; Hausman, 1995; Jeffreys, 2005). The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) was drawn up before the language of gender and the idea of ‘gender identity’ came to dominate international law discourse and to stand in for women as a sex category. It spoke instead of ‘stereotyped roles’ and recognised these stereotypes as the basis for discrimination against women. Article 5 says that States Parties should take ‘all appropriate measures’ to ‘modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudice and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women’ (CEDAW, 1979: Article 5). The idea of ‘gender identity’ relies on stereotypes for its meaning and is in conflict with the understanding in CEDAW that such stereotypes are profoundly harmful to women.
The term ‘gender’ itself is problematic. It was first used in a sense that was not simply about grammar, by sexologists, the scientists of sex, such as John Money, in the 1950s and 60s, who were involved in normalising intersex infants. They used the term to mean the behavioural characteristics they considered most appropriate for persons of one or other biological sex. They applied the concept of gender when deciding upon the sex category into which those infants who did not have clear physical indications of one biological sex or another, should be placed (Hausman, 1995). Their purpose was not progressive. These were conservative men who believed that there should be clear differences between the sexes and sought to create distinct sex categories through their projects of social engineering. Unfortunately, the term was adopted by some feminist theorists in the 1970s, and by the late 1970s was commonly used in academic feminism to indicate the difference between biological sex and those characteristics that derived from politics and not biology, which they called ‘gender’ (Haig, 2004).
Before the term ‘gender’ was adopted, the term more usually used to describe these socially constructed characteristics was ‘sex roles’. The word ‘role’ connotes a social construction and was not susceptible to the degeneration that has afflicted the term ‘gender’ and enabled it to be wielded so effectively by transgender activists. As the term ‘gender’ was adopted more extensively by feminists, its meaning was transformed to mean not just the socially constructed behaviour associated with biological sex, but the system of male power and women’s subordination itself, which became known as the ‘gender hierarchy’ or ‘gender order’ (Mackinnon, 1989; Connell, 2005). Gradually, older terms to describe this system, such as male domination, sex class and sex caste went out of fashion, with the effect that direct identification of the agents responsible for the subordination of women, men, could no longer be named. Gender, as a euphemism, disappeared men as agents in male violence against women, which is now commonly referred to as ‘gender violence’. Increasingly, the term ‘gender’ is used, in official forms and legislation, for instance, to stand in for the term ‘sex’ as if ‘gender’ itself is biological, and this usage has overwhelmed the feminist understanding of gender.
In this book I have chosen to use the term ‘sex caste’ to describe the political system in which women are subordinated to men on the basis of their biology. Feminists have disagreed over whether women’s condition of subordination is best referred to in terms of ‘caste’ or ‘class’. Those who use the concept of women as a ‘sex class’, such as Kate Millett, are referencing their experience in leftwing politics and see the idea of ‘class’ as offering the possibility of revolution (Millett, 1972). Millett did, however, use the term caste as well, speaking of women’s ‘sexual caste system’ (Millett, 1972: 275). If women are in a subordinate class in relation to men, as the working class is in relation to the bourgeoisie, then women’s revolution can be conceptualised as overthrowing the power of men in such a way that sex class ceases to have meaning and will disappear as a meaningful category (Wittig, 1992). It also implies, as in left theory, that women’s revolution requires the recognition by women of their ‘sex’ class status as the basis for political action. Nonetheless, the term sex class can be problematic because it implies that women could move out of their ‘class’, in the same way that individual working class people could change their class position by becoming embourgeoised. The term ‘caste’, on the other hand, is useful for this book because it encapsulates the way in which women are placed into a subordinate caste status for their lifetime (see Burris, 1973). Women may change their economic class status with upward mobility, but they remain women unless they elect to transgender and claim membership in the superior sex caste. Both of these terms can be useful in articulating the condition of women, but the term ‘caste’ offers a particular advantage in relation to studying transgenderism. The very existence of transgenderism on the part of women demonstrates the stickiness of caste subordination. The marks of caste remain attached to females unless they claim that they are really ‘men’, and only a very significant social transformation will enable change in this respect.
Postmodern and queer theorists share with transgender theorists the idea that ‘gender’ is a moveable feast that can be moved into and out of, swapped and so forth. Gender, used in this sense, disappears the fixedness of sex, the biological basis that underlies the relegation of females to their sex caste. Female infants are identified by biology at birth and placed into a female sex caste which apportions them lifelong inferior status. The preference for biologically male children and the femicide of female infants, for instance, which has created a great inequality in the sex ratio in India and other countries, is based on sex and not ‘gender’. Female foetuses are aborted and female infants are killed because of sex, not ‘gender’ discrimination (Pande, 2006). Foetuses do not have ‘gender’ or ‘gender identity’, because the forces of a womanhating culture have not had a chance to affect the way they understand themselves. The inferior sex caste status of women is assigned with reference to their biology, and it is through their biology that their subordination is enforced and maintained through rape, impregnation, and forced childrearing. Women do not pass in and out of wearing ‘women’s’ clothing, as cross-dressers may do, indeed they may reject such clothing as inferiorising, but still suffer violence and discrimination as women. Though individual women may be successful in roles more usually arrogated to men, they are likely to be treated as interlopers and receive sexual harassment, as happened to the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Summers, 2013). Her caste status was continually thrown in her face by hostile male commentators, politicians and cartoonists. Women do not decide at some time in adulthood that they would like other people to understand them to be women, because being a woman is not an ‘identity’. Women’s experience does not resemble that of men who adopt the ‘gender identity’ of being female or being women in any respect. The idea of ‘gender identity’ disappears biology and all the experiences that those with female biology have of being reared in a caste system based on sex. Only one book-length critique of transgenderism was written in second wave feminism, Janice Raymond’s deservedly well-known tour de force, The Trannsexual Empire (1994, 1st published 1979). She usefully sums up the difference between feminist understandings of women and that of men who transgender thus:
We know that we are women who are born with female chromosomes and anatomy, and that whether or not we were socialized to be so-called normal women, patriarchy has treated and will treat us like women. Transsexuals have not had this same history. No man can have the history of being born and located in this culture as a woman. He can have the history of wishing to be a woman and of acting like a woman, but this gender experience is that of a transsexual, not of a woman. Surgery may confer the artifacts of outward and inward female organs but it cannot confer the history of being born a woman in this society. (Raymond, 1994:114)
“Gender Hurts” will be released on April 17. Order your copy here:
March 30, 2014
Reprinting this blog post for discussion. Nothing groundbreaking here, but not linking to source because there is some confusion over whether author “PlasticGirl” is the violent, deranged anti-lesbian and anti-muslim Dr. Aeryn Fulton of Pittsburgh, PA.
Dr. Aeryn Fulton claimed to be the author of blogger PlasticGirl’s posts in the course of Fulton’s violent gay-bashing death threats against blogger GayNotQueer, and others, who were critical of stereotypical sex roles for gay men, lesbians, and society at large.
Here is the post, open for discussion of transgender POV re: “womanhood”. His post is titled “Can Trans women and Trans-critical Radical Feminists ever be friends?”:
Can trans women and trans-critical radical feminists ever be friends?
Posted on March 30, 2014 by plasticgirl
I first discovered trans-critical radical feminism in late 2010, and since then, I’ve read Betty Friedan, Mary Daly, Sheila Jeffreys, a smattering of Andrea Dworkin, Janice Raymond, and Germaine Grier as well as Julie Bindel and Julie Burchill and every trans-critical rad fem blog I could find, in the hopes of trying to understand.
Setting aside for the moment, the various radical feminist postures on trans, I found my study of radical feminism to be mind-expanding. I lost sleep reading Sheila Jeffreys and Factcheckme. Radical feminism increased my situational awareness of the dynamics of power between men and women. I see media images and advertisements aimed towards women in a totally new way. I found myself in agreement of the idea that women as class: female, are still in need of liberation from the Patriarchy, because I had personally experienced patriarchal oppression as soon as I started presenting as a woman, I just didn’t have a name for it, other than, “welcome to womanhood”.
Then we get to radical feminism and trans.
March 28, 2014
Why aren’t we doing more about sexism? (self.asktransgender)
submitted by lolokreality36 F
I am lucky in that I was able to transition while employed, and everyone at that employer treated me very well (mostly). I left amicably and went to go work in a different town, where I knew nobody professionally, nobody personally, and I pass exceptionally well. I am out to two people, out of necessity (some benefits & legal stuff) at that company.
I have also just had what I consider to be my first incident of actual sexism (in the workplace; that happened long ago “on the street.”).
I am mid-career, and an engineer. I am very familiar with the way people interact with me, as an engineer, professionally. At my previous company, when I transitioned, nothing changed. With one (somewhat notable) exception, there was one date in which my name changed in email, and everyone switched to the new names and pronouns. Professionally I was treated almost exactly the same. In “not-quite-professional” situations, I was treated differently: people now held doors open and smiled more at me. They defaulted to driving on business trips (to the extent I didn’t even need to rent a car; my male coworkers more or less insisted). So those things changed, and I “noticed” them, but it didn’t bother me and I didn’t think much of it other than, “oh, that’s nice, they’re trying to make me feel comfortable/they like me/random vague positive thoughts.”
And I think what happened, as I look back, is I was able to retain some of the – I will say it – male privilege – I had before transitioning. This is to say, nobody doubted the veracity of anything I said because I was a woman, because to them, I was a man, and had thus been vetted and passed all the requirements (that is, maleness) for intelligence, authenticity, and honesty. Bear in mind I worked on two different teams, one of about 100 people that had maybe twenty women, and another of seventy people that had one woman – me (for those counting, that’s 12% or so women, or 1:8). Read the rest of this entry »
Very Interesting. Lesbian Feminist attorney Elizabeth Hungerford -who authored the controversial “Letter to the UN Commission on Women on Gender Identity” with another lawyer now states that the original “is incomplete”. A “doctor’s note” is insufficient to protect women from males who wield “Gender Identity” for an “Improper Purpose”. Read more at the link.
March 16, 2014
Cast your vote for Jules (now spelled Jewlyes, because gender!) Gutierrez, batterer of women, best known for cold-cocking a female student in a filmed beatdown attack at Hercules High School- as San Francisco Pride Grand Marshal!
That’s right folks- violently punching a female (who offends you as a male) qualifies you to be nominated for San Francisco Pride March Grand Marshal!
No, it isn’t April Fools Day yet.
I often wonder what happens to guys like Jewlyes’ minds when the more fucked up things they do the more likely they are to be given the keys to the kingdom. Oops, I mean… cast your vote today! Vote early and often!
March 16, 2014
From an online fundraiser here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/damien-leggett-surgery-fund–2
“On Oct 31st, 2013 Damien Leggett 34, was given a bilateral mastectomy performed at Pan Am Clinic in Winnipeg. The drains were removed Nov 4th. Damien should have been on the road to recovery within two weeks but within a week of the surgery it was very clear something was not right.
On Nov 10 he was admitted to St Boniface Hospital but transferred to Health Sciences Centre where he had an ultrasound and fluid was drained. This happened several times.
Damien’s condition deteriorated at home to the point that I called an ambulance as he had a high fever. His teeth were chattering and he was barely lucid. Early in the morn of Nov 17th he was admitted to HSC after the paramedics took a temp at his home of 39.5. He was very ill.