Jack Halberstam on the RadFem – Transsexual Divide

December 13, 2010

Jack Halbersham was asked for her thoughts on the theoretical divide between transsexuality and radical feminism, and this was her reply:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 “The radical feminist critique of transsexuality, I on the one hand have to acknowledge it on the other hand I have to say it’s kind of old at this point, maybe it’s not in the UK, maybe that’s still a really live issue, but in the US, and that’s fair enough that seems to be a sort of, um, a retro form of feminism, that doesn’t acknowledge the construction of gender that in fact feminism has been -the discourse it has argued for- from the beginning.

But in the US, you know there was a lot of discussion of Janice Raymonds book  the Transsexual Empire book, that came out I think in 1978, and there, there hasn’t been a big feminist lobby other than the Michigan, you know, brouhaha, about whether transwomen were allowed onto women-only grounds, It seems to me a little bit of a storm in a teacup in terms of the queer communities in urban areas within which Feminists, transgender people, genderqueer people, leathermen  and so on sort of interact in diverse ways.

So I’m less interested in these internecine fights between feminists and trans people, between gay, lesbian activists and trans people, than I am in this big standoff between some supposedly unmovable force of heterosexuality (with gender normativity presumed within it) and all of the rest of us. Because somebody partners with transsexual people and a lot of times they’re not other transsexual people by the way. There are a lot of so-called gender normative people and heterosexual people who are engaged in desiring relationships with people who are not gender normative. And who defy the hetero/homo binary as well. So that’s what I would say to that. “

Halberstam’s critique is therefore:

  1. Radical feminism is not new.
  2. Radical feminism does not equate sex with gender.
  3. She is not interested in the topic.

Halberstam like all trans-activists makes no distinction whatsoever between biological sex and gender and does not comprehend the Radical Feminist idea that gender does not exist beyond it’s function as a social construct designed to oppress those humans born with the capacity for reproduction (females). Radical feminism does not condone the transsexual philosophy that broad human traits, thoughts, characteristics and feelings are related to the reproductive capacity of one’s body. Males who “feel like females” would have no need to change the way the public at large perceives them.

(From the December 1 2010 University of Cambridge forum “Transitioning gender: the challenges of radical technologies”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/audio/2010/dec/07/transitioning-gender-radical-technologies-debate)

4 Responses to “Jack Halberstam on the RadFem – Transsexual Divide”

  1. gallusmag Says:

    One of the speakers at that forum actually suggested that a female truck driver who “doesn’t want nails” may need to define herself as other than female. lol.

  2. Valerie M Says:

    As in fingernails? Obviously never occurred to this speaker that a female truck driver might be a lesbian.

    Q. What do you call a lesbian with long nails?
    A. Single!

  3. Hexydezimal Says:

    You must understand that there’s a considerable amount of unrest arising between us and the people who decree things to others in our names. It is best to take the opinions of many ‘trans activists’ with a grain of salt, especially if they are Mara Keisling ass-kissers.


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