I understand the desire of women to transition. My dirty secret is that I have felt it too.

May 11, 2012

This post comes from a comment left here: 2012/05/11 at 7:18 am on THIS post.

It deserves to be widely read and warrants its own post. From Lesley213:

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I am a radical feminist and a lesbian. I hate the Trans project and how men invade women and lesbian space because they are “really women” or “really lesbians”. I hate the inherent misogyny in the Trans position.

And yet at an individual level I understand the desire of women to transition. My dirty secret is that I have felt it too.

I was not the typical tomboy as a child that many lesbians profess to be. I played with dolls, played happily with other girls and embarassingly for my mother with her feminist ideas, refused to wear trousers as I found skirts more comfortable. This all changed when I hit puberty. Although I was happy to get my periods and see my body become that of a woman, I found the social aspects of puberty very hard.

Suddenly all the girls seemed to only be talking about hair, makeup, clothes and how to get a boyfriend. I had no interest in any of this and felt like a real outsider. I began from 12 to hang around with boys and had a boyfriend from 12 and boys who were friends. I felt like I could fit in more with boys. There was no talk of make up, clothes or getting boyfriends. I look physically at this time, what would have been characterised as a “nerd”. Sensible haircut, jeans (skirts were no longer appealing when I was supposed to wear uncomfortable court shoes and shave my legs), t shirts and jumpers.

It is also at this time I developed my alter ego – Stuart. In all my daydreams I was Stuart. He grew up with me and I day dreamed about my life as a teenage boy and then a man. Of course like all daydreams, Stuart was more popular and better looking than my real female self, but he didn’t always have an easy time in my daydreams. However, crucially he didn’t experience any of the everyday sexism that I found so hard to take as a young teenage women. Every woman reading this will know what I mean by this. Stuart was a big part of my life until literally a year ago when he just vanished from my day dreams. At the time I didn’t understand why, but I think now that I was beginning to understand a year ago at some level that Stuart was a device to deal with my anger around everyday sexism – a sort of, what if daydream.

I have never talked about any of this in real life as I am deeply ashamed of this, so apologies if all of this seems really disjointed and poorly thought out. Its hard to put something into words for the first time.

But the truth is I think if in my early teenage years I had been presented with the discourse of Trans to explain my feelings, I could have easily transitioned.

I have read radical feminists talking about FtoT hating their female bodies and hating their female themselves. Of course at a fundamental level, undergoing cosmetic surgery is a self hating procedure to undergo. But I never hated my female body, beyond the usual insecurities of any teenage girl and young woman. I don’t know if those who actually transition feel differently, but I have always liked having breasts and a female body. But the things that did make me think I would rather be a man were simply that life would have been easier. I wouldn’t have had to deal with all the everyday sexism that as a teenage girl made me so angry. I wouldn’t have had to deal with on an everyday basis

– sexist teachers who treated girls and boys differently
– my parents who in spite of what they professed did treat my brother better. Yes we both had equal chores for example, but whereas he rarely did them, I was made to do mine
– judgements and pressures from other girls that I largely ignored, to wear make up, prettify myself, etc
– pressure to behave in a certain way now that I was a teenage girl, rather than just behave as myself
– casual judgements from men on whether I was attractive or not

I could go on and on, but you all know what I mean. I basically wanted to go back to being treated as an individual and not be faced with being treated as a lesser being with all the pressure to conform to being an acceptable teenage girl and then women.

.

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So what stopped me framing these feelings as “really being a man inside”.

1. I think first of all the Trans project was pretty much in its infancy when I was young and at my most vulnerable. And certainly FtoT was largely unheard of, everyone in the media was MtoT. I was born in 1969 to give this context. As I was a younger adult, anything I read on FtoT made it clear that the surgical solutions around creating a penis were pretty rudimentary as well – and basically I didn’t want to be a freak – someone who in the surface looked like a man but had no penis or a pretty poor substitute for one.

2. I knew I wasn’t a man and that it was not really possible to become a man. If it had been, I would have been much more tempted.

3. Feminism – although I have only come to radical feminism in the last few years along with an understanding of the Trans project, I did have enough of an understanding of feminism as a teenager to recognise that my feelings were really about, as I would have expressed it then, the sexist society I was growing up in, rather than about my own individual feelings and “gender identity”.

4. I have the intelligence and self awareness to analyse and challenge my own internal feelings. Many women, including those who might be much more academically intelligent than myself, often have what I would see as quite a low understanding of their own feelings and behaviour. I generally do understand why am I doing something, even if it is for shameful reasons.

I do think I might have been influenced to go down the transition route if I had been surrounded both by the discourse and by individuals who were telling me that my feelings were really because I was a man underneath and that it was perfectly possible to change my body to that of a man’s.

I also do understand FtoT who then access lesbian space. I have had so much support, good times, a feeling of being accepted and generally nurtured in lesbian space. By nurtured and accepted I don’t mean in a support group type of way. I simply mean being allowed to be myself and accepted for that – a simple thing, but it has felt very powerful. If I had transitioned I suspect I would be wanting to access lesbian only space. it is literally about trying to get the best of both worlds.

I am not butch and so the lesbian discourse around being butch rather than being trans has never appealed to me. All I have ever wanted was to be myself. It terrifies me how the Trans discourse is now being sold to teenage girls and women as a solution to internal and societal conflicts. And it angers me that feminists are silencing objections to the Trans discourse as Transphobia.

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30 Responses to “I understand the desire of women to transition. My dirty secret is that I have felt it too.”

  1. amazondream Says:

    I think this is probably more common than we know in women. When I was seven or eight I had the thought suddenly pop into my head that I was going to grow up to be a boy and that this was going to happen sometime in the near future, like junior high. It was a huge relief and then I promptly forgot it.

    As an adult I came to realize that what had happened was that I most likely becoming aware of myself as a female and being totally scared out of my wits as what I saw as the female future. We were poor white trash living in a housing project in West Los Angeles and I came to see that it was the misery, powerlessness & hopelessness in the women around me that I wanted to escape, not myself. We were exposed to too many things at too early an age and my mother was one of those who constantly said “just wait until you grow up & have kids” along with talking about killing herself and us to escape. There never was enough food around and there was always some desperate drama going on somewhere.

    Mine was a child’s solution to a dangerous world. If I were that child today I’d be declared ‘transgender’ and put on the road to a lifetime of misery and loneliness that did nothing to alleviate the psychic pain.

    As it was I left home at seventeen, joined the Army at eighteen, and made use of the VA benefits I could access for education. Now that move has paid off when I was declared disabled and got the full benefits.

  2. Violet Irene Says:

    Powerful. I can really relate to a lot of this, especially “I basically wanted to go back to being treated as an individual and not be faced with being treated as a lesser being with all the pressure to conform to being an acceptable teenage girl and then women.”

    I was born later and the trans trend was in full swing when I got to a painful crossroads in my young life. I shudder to think about going through the same feelings if I were a teenager NOW, when early transition is pushed even harder.

  3. Bev Jo Says:

    Thank you so much, Lesley, for telling us your story, and thank you, Gallus Mag, for printing it. This is so important and will help so many girls and women.

    On an elemental level, it does makes sense to come to these self-hating ideas if you are without support. I mean, who really WOULD choose to be an oppressed, ridiculed, caricaturized, humiliated person, always subject to threats of sexual assault and murder, etc., if there was another choice? It’s only with feminist awareness and the support of a community that females really can fight the propaganda and ally together.

    Of course you just wanted to be yourself. But they do not make it easy.

    Thank you also for telling us how you are not Butch. The myth that the women most attracted to joining the trans cult are Butch is a hard struggle because of stereotypes of Butches already being more male (even though we are not). I also have just wanted to be myself, but, whether I identify as Butch or not, or as Lesbian or working class or disabled or older, I still am stereotyped and treated as Other against my will.

    What you described is also why I feel very differently about F2Ts than M2Ts. F2Ts are still women. Many will change their minds. Of course many still want to be with Lesbians — like my F2T friend whose main reason was that she didn’t want to be raped any more. But I also agree with women who do not want anyone identifying as male to be in women-only space, until they no longer identify as male. There are many more public spaces where hopefully some will miss what they had and return to us. (The pornographer/sado-masochist women who want to be gay men can continue staying away though.)

    Amazondream, you make me wonder if all girls don’t at some point want to be boys just to be treated better. Your mother sounds like mine, with the “just wait until you grow up & have kids” and threats of suicide. (I just could not stand the cruelty and prurience of most boys to want to join them, so I used the threat of becoming a nun as the one other option I was aware of that proved not all women married and had kids.) How many girls do end up killing themselves though, with so little options and such a hard life as you had?

    What I’m wondering though, why is the existence now of much loved public Lesbians not having more of an effect? There is a choice for girls to see as an option other than becoming male. What I would have given to see Ellen Wanda Sykes or kd lang or Melissa Etheridge or Rose O’Donnell, and now Queen Latifah on TV in in films. And the handful of positive Lesbian characters who appear in the media must have some effect.

  4. mary Says:

    Incredibly moving, and I could really relate to a lot of what you’ve said.

    My parents grew up during the second wave and my mother, especially, really took the messages within the movement to heart. I was given a lot of freedom about my style of dress/activities, etc. and gradually I’ve tended towards more “masculine” stuff–male clothes, no shaving, no makeup, etc. But I like how I am, I’m happy with my female body, I like being a woman (although obviously hate the sexism that accompanies it).

    I distinctly remember going to a new doctor when I was about 13-14 (I’m in my late teens now), had just started getting comfortable expressing myself, etc. And my doctor, when she looked at me and saw my hairy armpits, non-made up face, “manly” clothes, whatever, began criticizing me–or at least saying I had “eccentric” dress, etc. I was also figuring out my sexuality and was suffering from depression, so I was very vulnerable, and I think I started crying. As soon as she saw my reaction, she started bringing up the possibilities of a sex change, that would make me more “comfortable” with myself. The frightening thing is I actually considered it, for a few days, then I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was.

    That’s what really makes me angry, in hindsight–it was just such a blatant attempt to try and manipulate me into getting that surgery. It’s a way for the medical industry to profit off of people’s (especially women’s) discomfort with the gender binary system. In order for people to be truly free to express themselves we should be getting rid of the BINARY, not telling people to get a surgery so they can conform to the “right” gender.

  5. rahelle Says:

    I never thought about actually transitioning, but, growing up, if I’d had that sort of choice, I’d have probably chosen to have been born a boy. I hated growing up so much. The groping and perving started, first by boys from my school, then by adult men too. I was miserable and scared, and all my mother could offer (though she did try to make her tone consoling) was that that was simply part of being a woman, and I was just being immature.

    I also hated becoming physically weaker than the boys I grew up with, hated what that means in society, and hated how they knew it well and how arrogant and happy they were about it. I remember constantly envying how easy and free their lives were in comparison. So I can definitely understand girls’ urge to transition. I can understand it so well, that I’m terrified of how much the numbers might grow as scared and fed-up girls choose what is basically presented to them like a good way out.

  6. lesley213 Says:

    Thanks for your comments. Just to say I never seriously considered transitioning, but I do understand the desire to.

    Bev Jo – I have read some of your blog and totally agree with what I have read in relation to butches. But sorry with this, it kind of feels like you don’t really get it when you talk about lesbian role models.

    For me the issue wasn’t really about identifying myself as a lesbian so decent role models would have made little difference. Its about growing up and hating the different way you are treated as a girl – when I was growing up there was much more freedom to be what you wanted to be until puberty – even if it was under the banner of the tomboy. The pressure for girls to conform more strictly to their gender role starts younger these days – from 8/9?

    But at puberty everything changed and behaviour became more strictly policed both by adults and other girls. And I became more aware of how girls are treated as lesser beings than boys. One of the hard things was how the girls I knew just accepted this and my complaints about particular incidents or refusal to conform with things like shaving, were simply seen as making a fuss or being a bit weird.

    So how do you explain and deal with the feelings of anger and upset when girls and women round about are accepting the same treatment and you are being told you are making a fuss about nothing if you complain about it? I explained and dealt with it mainly by having an understanding, even though basic, of feminism. That made me understand both why I was being treated the way I was, that my feelings of anger and upset were valid and that I was right to resist the pressure to conform. This was all internal dialogue by the way.

    But what do girls and young women have now? Fun feminism of slut walks, pro porn, etc. If growing up now I was presented with this, I first of all would not have wanted to identify with feminism and feminism would not have helped me deal with and explain my feelings. In fact the fun feminism would have had a negative impact and just reinforced my feelings of being the only one to object to everyday sexism and feeling unhappy at the pressure to conform to what a woman should look like or be.

    So how do girls and young women explain their feelings to themselves? One obvious way is listening to the Trans message that seems to be everywhere nowdays. So in my case – you daydream of being a boy/man – thats because you really are. You get angry and upset at how you are treated as a girl/woman – thats because you are really a boy/man and you are getting upset/angry because people are not treating you as a boy/man.

    Visible lesbian role models make in my view, absolutely no difference to this, unless they speak out about girls/women being treated as lesser beings and how to deal with this. Its the analysis to understand feelings of anger/hurt that makes the difference and with the rise of fun feminism and the Trans explanation, really being a boy or man is actually now the most visible explanation of these feelings. And this is reinforced and made more visible I think by Trans people in our midst.

    BevJo – I wasn’t saying we should let FtoT into women’s only spaces, I don’t actually know what I think about this. But more, that I do understand why a woman would transition, but still want to access women only spaces.

    • GallusMag Says:

      “Visible lesbian role models make in my view, absolutely no difference to this, unless they speak out about girls/women being treated as lesser beings and how to deal with this”

      Such excellent, important commentary/sharing of thoughts. Everything you’ve said resonates with me. I am so grateful for you sharing this. Thank you.

  7. GallusMag Says:

    Gender, of the “trans” variety or not, is so toxic to all females. Lesbian “role models” -or any female role models- are useless without addressing the outrageous treatment of females in cultures worldwide. Rachel Maddow is great for being “out”. Ellen Degeneres is great for being “out”. But hawking Maybelline female “beauty” products and uncritically providing a mainstream audience for self-hating lesbians (Chaz Bono) promoting conservative anti-female gender politics does not help the young females facing a lifetime sentence of dehumanizing exploitation based on female reproductive biology. Being visibly lesbian, so courageous as it once was (and perhaps still is) is no longer enough to support girls against the sexist psycho/medical fad of clinical gender compliance.

    • RoseVerbena Says:

      Exactly. I like Ellen Degeneres as a person, but her analysis is pretty shallow. I’d love to have coffee with her; I don’t want any young person I know uncritically accepting what she (apparently) accepts in our culture without question.

      A lesbian touting make-up is not a “daring” act just because she’s in a tuxedo and not an evening gown. At the end of the day, she’s still just a female promoting the idea that we are not fully dressed as females without smearing poisonous chemicals on our faces in order to be “sexy” and “appealing” — that focusing our energy/effort/money on being “sexy” and “appealing” is the entry-gate fee all females MUST pay in our day-to-day lives to be socially acceptable and not pariahs — even out lesbians — no matter what else we accomplish in life.

      This is the shallow perception that feeds the whole “trans woman” side of the cult: that if a biological male can achieve an appearance that is “sexy” and “appealingly feminine” then he IS, in fact, a woman. Not only that, if he looks “hot” in his woman-face and drag, then he is a BETTER woman than my grandmother, who was comfortably dumpy, never wore make-up, dressed very modestly in loose-fitting layers, and focused her time and energy on raising her family, quietly doing many, many good works around the community, and painting art with oils and watercolors.

      If celebrities can’t CLEARLY see that “level of hotness while ‘passing’ in stereotypically female drag” does NOT equal “more woman” — especially when females are horribly oppressed based on our sex from the first sex-typing ultrasound to 90 and beyond — then I don’t want kids looking up to them and emulating their shallow, uncritical thinking!

  8. yttik Says:

    Oh yes, I can relate to this post! As a kid, I remember wanting to be a boy and for several weeks, I think I almost convinced myself I was one. I wanted the freedom, to be stronger, to not have to do chores, and to avoid sexual abuse. At family gatherings, women and girls had to spend all their time cooking and cleaning, while the men and boys went outside to have fun. The world of women kind of sucked too, it was petty, competitive, and powerless.

    Fortunately we were poor and didn’t have psychologists, doctors, the culture at large, eager to promote transgenderism and medical experiments. In an odd way, it was good I was a girl, because my quirks just weren’t viewed as important. My brother was the center of the universe, if he had had a gender crisis of some sort, it probably would have been a very serious thing and people would have stepped in to “help” him conform, one way or another.

  9. SheilaG Says:

    This whole discussion makes a lot of sense, and I agree lesley213 that we are living in very different times now. I actually don’t know the answer to the horrifying feminization machine capitalism subjects girls to today, or what we could do to make life so much easier for girls.

    I’m not even sure my life story holds the answers either; I was a butch dyke from the get go, was subject to horrifying bullying and ridicule especially in my teenage years, but I was also a feminist, wanted a career, hated men and boys and still do, and was determined to go my own way in the world.
    Nothing could put a stop to my inner vision of myself, and I thought make-up, long hair, shaving your legs, dresses and frilly stupid outfits completely stupid. I found hetero teenage dating rituals stupid, and I focused on my studies, I was lucky as a kid to be in Girl Scouts which put me out in the woods, taking canoe trips, and being in all girl environments with like minded tomboyish type girls, many of whom turned out to be lesbians later.

    It is hard to say what we could do to help girls stand up to the relentless social pressure to conform, because we are in extreme reactionary times right now, the culture has put all girls up for sexual grabs, and the femm indoctrination is relentless. It’s even hard for me to find LESBIANS in Los Angeles with short hair these days!

    But we can talk about this on the Internet, girls will find these discussions. We still haven’t figured out how to create space for the overthrow of patriarchy.
    And we are up against the male medical machine going into high geer profiting off of elective surgery as never before. It is their profit motive that is fueling the trans trending machine, just as it is fueling plastic surgery that even some of my friends are doing now, because they can’t face their real mid-50s self– hetero women in their 50s are going through a lot of angst, and are doing horrifying things to THEIR bodies.

    We can continue to articulate the radical lesbian feminist message, we can be there to mentor teenage girls, and to stand in support of our sisters of all ages. It is what we are all doing here!

  10. SheilaG Says:

    We can continue to bring the message of freedom to all women, and continue to create woman loving spaces. We can celebrate butchness, and we can counterattack the male medical machine just like we always have.

    I can’t address the feelings of isolation that teenage girls feel. As girls, we all felt deeply, while boys have no feelings at all– they are simply pigs and idiots compared to the compassion and complexity of girls. Just having mixed sex education and subjecting girls to boys is a problem.

    What I do know about my life, is I simply endured the incredible social hatred and rejection, I learned to fight back, I did beat up boys who harassed me, and I did stand my ground against het girls who were teasing, mean and nasty…. the same women who complain now about how screwed up their het lives became.

    I had an inner vision of liberation in a time when there were no lesbians out there at all. I never wanted to be a boy/man, I just wanted all the benefits and jobs they had, and it was clear that I was going to do battle to have the world I wanted.

    We were in a time of social activism back then, we are in a time of conservative backlash now. We are speaking out here clearly and honestly, and I think we are having an effect on the trans machine.

    I applaud your honesty and courage in speaking up here, and the foundation of feminism begins when we do this as women. It’s how the whole movement began… consciousness raising groups, which we could easily return to!

  11. Adrian Says:

    Wow. I’m about the same age you are (b. 1970, here) and a lot of this speaks to my own experience also.

    I too have only come to this blog and similar places recently, and one of the things that drew me here was reading discussion elsewhere about what it supposedly is like to be trans, the various “signs,” and realizing that if someone looked from the outside, my own childhood self very well may have fit – yet I’m not trans.

    I very much resisted adult “woman” clothing and behavior (still don’t fit it!) because of what it represented. You have to wear a bra now, you’re supposed to wear heeled shoes, you’re supposed to carry a purse, all this, because now you’re a sexual being, who will fit into this slot of “lesser, secondary” in society, and you must endure people looking at you differently, all the perving. This led to battles with my parents, who tried to force me to fit in. I didn’t want to grow up to be “a woman” in the role prescribed, I too just wanted to be myself. I wanted to be the one wearing a suit and going off to work in the morning, free to choose any career I want. I didn’t want to marry and have to follow only someone else’s ambitions, as my mother complained about. I wanted to be the adventurer in the science fiction tales, imagine myself fighting at the end of the world, or whatever it is, rather than having the unspoken rule be that as a woman, in such scenarios, I would be the chattel because women are physically weaker and “that’s just how it is.” In all my internal fantasy stories, I was a boy – because they are the “standard character” who gets to do everything. Plus they’re not living terrified of rape all the time.

    I never did “fit in,” but found my place – doing my own thing, essentially “crossdressing” every day right down to the skin, but okay with being a woman. I have my own career, did marry (happily!) but someone who is okay with my “nerdy” self, I am the single earner in my household now. Never wore heels in my life.

    But I’m not trans. Whatever brain I have, however I think, it’s a woman’s brain. I’m a woman, so I dress like a woman, even if not “woman.”

    …and that’s what brought me to blogs like this, because I’m reading all over the internet that people say they “have a woman’s brain” inside while being born male and raised as boys. What does that even mean? How would they even know, and what they describe certainly isn’t like me. Meanwhile I see people describing thoughts like mine explaining that that’s why they need to transition the other way.

    Ages ago I read on a blog (linked here I believe) someone saying “I’m a woman on the outside, a human on the inside.” That pretty much sums it up, I think.

  12. Adrian Says:

    Something else, too – when I was a kid, in some ways the gender binary was more enforced. Women were only permitted in certain jobs, it was a scandal for girls to wear pants to school in many places, that sort of thing.

    But on the other hand, in some ways it seems the gender binary is stricter for kids now. There were always “dolls for girls” and “guns for boys” toys, but when it came to balls and bikes, they came in all colors. Now if you want to buy a ball, there’s pink ones for girls, and all other bright primary colors for boys. Girls are supposed to be “boy crazy” and obsessed with makeup and looking “hot” from earlier and earlier ages.

    Now they’re told “you can be what you want” but the unspoken message is very much there, that they better be “hot” while doing it, and of course always, always, always sexually available. Feel free to be a geek and wear geeky t-shirts, but the ones for women are cut tight and “flirty,” and part of the novelty is still based on “oh look, a GIRL is doing that? How cute!”

  13. lesley213 Says:

    Adrian, I agree. I think the formal rules were much stricter then e.g. very different school uniforms for boys and girls, different classes for boys and girls e.g. woodwork, cooking. But although the formal rules have relaxed, the informal rules seem to have got stronger and at a younger age.

    When I was a kid we didn’t have different shaped t shirts for example for boys and girls, girls were supposed to look attractive to boys/men but not the very sexualised “hot” they are now, etc.
    And like you Adrian I came to radical fem blogs through looking for writings challenging the idea of Transexuals and MtoF being “really a woman”. Bit ironic that for both of us, this has increased our radicalism.

    Just wanted to say as well that I know men and teenage boys as a class are oppressive. But as a teenage girl hanging around with a small group of boys I actually found it a much more supportive space than spending time with other teenage girls. The teenage girls tried to police my dress and behaviour and even the nice ones said stuff like – you would look so pretty with make up. The boys never once said anything to me. The only exception to that was once at 15 when one asked me purely quizzically why I wouldn’t wear a bra and accepted what I said, although I don’t think he understood it.

    I always remember one of the boys mothers saying to me quizzically when we were alone, X doesn’t treat you like a girl, he treats you like a boy. Of course what she meant was he treated me like an equal. Kind of ironic that it was a small group of boys I felt safer with. Of course when i got old enough to earn enough money to move away to somewhere that had a feminist and lesbian community, I left them behind. I am not in touch with them, but I am sure they grew up to be “nice men”.

  14. Bev Jo Says:

    I certainly agree that public Lesbians wearing toxic make-up are not good role models, but still … for there to be real Lesbians who are well-known and saying no to being “normal” women is a huge improvement from what some of us grew up with. There was literally nothing other than the most Lesbian-hating stereotypes when I was a teenager. The only books or films portrayed Lesbians who died or killed themselves or were the most disgusting grotesque characters (“The Killing of Sister George.”)

    I too was policed by adults and other girls. The betrayal from other girls was the worst really. There was no talk at all about girls becoming boys, yet when I told my best friend I was in love with her, she asked if that meant I would then use the male restroom — I guess to shame me. It was a shock because being male had nothing to do with what I felt for her, and it was horrifying for her to imply that it did. I know of women now who imply some Lesbians are male as a way to insult them. Yet, if a Lesbian does identify as male or F2T, then she is suddenly treated much better.

    There is more information now than the trans cult and the “fun fem” crap. It still is possible to find true feminist information in a lot of places.

    And we are speaking out and writing about all of this also, as Sheila said. A friend in her twenties said that when she was at Mills College she was part of a group who organized petitions to boycott Lesbian musicians who performed at Michigan in order to support trannies — until she found our book at the Oakland public library and completely reversed her politics, becoming a Separatist.

    We get threatened and harassed, but we still all are making a difference.

    Who knows how many lives this blog has saved?

  15. lesley213 Says:

    Yes having very visible lesbians in the media I am sure makes it much easier to identify and act as a lesbian. But I don’t think I am talking about that, much more about gender stereotypes and how young women and girls explain their feeling of anger and upset if they don’t want to fit into these.

    And yes radical feminist blogs are very important. But you have to be searching for this kind of analysis on the internet. It personally took me quite a bit of time searching before I found the blogs I personally read now. So I suspect with many young girls, the Trans message is more accessible via maninstream media.

    I know plenty of women don’t take on the explanation of Trans to explain their feelings around gender roles and expectations, so it is far from inevitable. But I do think it is an explanation for at least some of the FtoT nowdays.

  16. amazondream Says:

    I think many of us were ‘saved’ by coming across lesbian/feminist writings. I know when I was in the Army I had all of those feelings and made the connections in my head about the oppression dealt to us. It was hugely magnified by being ‘one of those women’ who enter the service. There were times when a guy would be shocked speechless at seeing one of us and actually couldn’t find a word to express his disgust, we were so beyond what they thought was the worst a women could be. I managed to stay physically safe but the psychic toll was horrific.

    I was in my final year when I came across ‘Sappho Was A Right On Woman’ and I cherished it dearly. I even kept it on my bookshelf in the barracks and when others would ask if I was worried about the authorities thinking I was a Dyke I just said ‘well ya know I’ve got Huey Newton & Angela Davis up there too and that doesn’t make me a Black Panther, so no I’m not worried’. The truth was I was so burnt out by the human misery that the Vietnam war machine was grinding out that I didn’t care what the authorities did or thought anymore. I had seen perfectly fine young women turn into heroine addicts, abuse victims and walking zombies by what we were subjected to.

    One thing the Army did give me though was the ability to engage in verbal smack-downs if I have to and the know-how to engage men in their games and win.

    With these young women I think we need to be careful about how we come across to them since they’ve been conditioned to the idea that we’re some horrible relic from the past. We’ve got to engage that bullshit without reinforcing it and without turning the young women off, unless a verbal smack down is warranted. We have got to be strong, free and loving wimmin and show them that there’s a better way than medicalized angst.

    • CherryBlossomLife Says:

      That’s a lot of life you’ve packed in there amazondream! Amazing.
      That disgust you talk about, I haven’t experienced it from a stranger myself,(although I’ve experienced it from plenty of men I’ve known intimately once they realised I had my own mind.)
      But I was watching KD Lang on youtube yesterday, and at the end of her performance, when she’s singing her beautiful final note, a testerical male voice from the crowd screeched “YOU’RE FAT” . It’s like he couldn’T stand it any longer. Here in front of him is a woman that everyone’s in awe of because she is a goddess, and who does not care what any man thinks of her, let alone what they think of her appearance. And he cannot stand it. Her performance caused him to brim with anger, he can’t contain himself. He’s incoherent. His hatred culminates in what he believes to be the worst thing you can say to a woman, “You’re fat”.
      He’s insane. Please listen to him, for a laugh ( 5:29 at the end of the clip)

      • Barbara Di Bari Visconti Says:

        Wow, that was beautiful. Thanks, CBL.
        And yeah, what a testerical idiot there at the end.

      • RoseVerbena Says:

        As a survivor, I wish cancer on the people who heckled her at the end. It’s a great way to learn empathy and compassion before you die.

      • cherryblossomlife Says:

        Cancer…hmm, bit extreme no?

        Nah, on seconds thoughts, it’s about par🙂

  17. MNDR Says:

    Thanks Lesley. I like to think I’m fairly smart but I fell for the trans line big time as a teenager and thought about transitioning.

    I wasn’t a typical tomboy either. My father wanted a son and my mum had grown up in the 60’s, denied access to some of the opportunities her brothers had. She thought it would be okay, if not benificial to let my father call me his ‘son’ and raise me as a ‘boy’ until school age. I guess they thought it might give me some advantages.

    I had the expectations of a boy put on me and it didn’t come naturally. My father believed in a regime of corporal punishment to toughen me up and I learned that showing excessive emotions was frowned on and that crying angered him and made the punishments worse.

    I grew up with a blunt, rude and expressionless way of talking to people that didn’t win me any friends. At home I was never ‘boyish’ enough and outside of home I was just considered weird because I would put on ‘femininity’ in the clothes I wore, but I had all the arrogant, entitled attitude of a chauvinist.

    I felt isolated from other girls. I half revelled in being a nasty, arrogant little shit and half of me hated it deeply. People said I had a bad attitude and I honestly thought girls were perfect beings and I couldn’t be one because I was too twisted. I saw I could get everything I wanted by manipulating people with various ‘acts’ – everything except unconditional love and thats what I longed for. I thought if I was either a ‘real girl’ or a ‘real boy’ this battle for love and attention wouldn’t be happening to me. That started a long term superstition that I was half and half and if people found out they would shun me.

    In a way I couldn’t wait till puberty. I wanted to have a womans body like it was the next new toy because it seemed cool and special. Also it would finally put to bed my superstitions about being half-boy. I got severely bullied when I was 11 and this was when my happy childhood ended. I believe this was when my paranoia started. My body image became really warped and I was convinced there was something physically wrong with me. It was a coincidence that I inherited strong facial features, grew very tall and started puberty late so there was a time in between when I got mistaken for a young man. I tried to counteract it by changing my neutral style to extreme feminine but kids would call me caveman and drag queen. I went through a stage of experimenting with drugs, trying to block out the weird thoughts I was having. I used to wonder whether I was part male but now I was ashamed and horrified by the possibility. I got obsessed with checking my appearance and turned to ritual behaviours like self harm to ‘prevent’ me turning into a man. It got pretty serious and eventually I had some kind of mental breakdown which was very scary.

    After that I needed answers. I couldn’t wait any longer and I was too ashamed to ask anyone I knew so I went online and the word ‘transgender’ kept coming up. Basically it offered an alternative and preferable explanation to my problems without touching on painful or difficult subjects: my upbringing, society’s treatment of women, my generalised paranoia, the drug taking. It explained away why I preferred being treated ‘as a man’ (or you know, like a person rather than a fragile, hysterical alien species). Why I had twisted body image where I was seeing a ‘man’ in the mirror (ignoring my upbringing, the lies I’d internalised, not to mention the cocktails of drugs I was ingesting!) Why I longed for my old flat chest back (which didn’t physically hurt all the time and didn’t make people treat me like my IQ had dropped 50 points.)

    Getting out of the trans movement didn’t solve all my problems. I still have some dysphoria. I am still going to have painful, lumpy breasts because I have fibroadenoma. I still think about top surgery, but what stops me dead in my tracks is knowing that I can’t get back that feeling of flat chested (physical) comfort. It would only feel like a surgical wound and I might have a lifetime of chronic pain. Neither will being flat chested bring back the psychological comforts of childhood. Its time to be an adult and GTFO. Having said that, facing my past does makes me sad – I am estranged from my father for other reasons, but my detransition (albeit just a social one as a I never took T) makes it even less likely that we’re going to be reconciled, and that has a knock on affects on other family relationships.

    All that said I am so glad I am living in reality, theres no peace of mind like a clear mind. I’m a human being with a biological sex and thats ok. Losing my identity politics made me feel lost for a while but I recovered and anybody can do it – I feel strongly that these stories shouldn’t be dirty secrets, thats why I’m sharing mine.

  18. magicpoppy Says:

    Wow, Gallus, I saw what Voz said on Twitter:

    “Female assigned people’s long exterminationist #waronwomen for being trans is not only proof of their cissexism, but sociopathy and racism.”

    Voz makes it sound like all FABs are white. Huh? All FABs are sociopaths?

    Many trans-critical females are women of color – how can their critique come from racism? Trans women always address radfems like we’re all white women, so therefore our analysis must be based solely on racism. They never back it up, they just state it as a self-evident truth. It’s such a cheap shot.

    “dfab people are the primary architects, implementors, and profiteers of purity myths based on racism, transmisogyny, and class.”

    That’s insane. None of this is even true of white women, but why is a person of color erasing all the women of color who don’t take her side in this argument?

    I’ve never seen a trans woman on the internet who could argue her way out of a paper bag.

    • ibleedpurple Says:

      Voz is a goddamn maniac. Not even the libfems want him, he’s that bad. He’s so much paranoid MRA and will go to unbelievable lengths to portray women as the ultimate fascist oppressors that I don’t even understand how he conceives of himself as a woman outside of trans victim supremacy. Reminds me of the guys who go ballistic when the feminists refuse to suck their dicks an insufficient amount of time.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Voz truly is insane. He’s the guy who said (on Feministe!) that all women should be raped in order to force them to suffer the way men who wish they were female suffer (!). He also said all FTMs should be raped and murdered. He is genuinely a psychotic seething MRA who spent years bullying and threatening women on feminist sites until they all banned him – only AFTER he spewed this shit at an FTM (Piny). Then he was cast off to haunt the trans_rage.livejournal purgatory. Ahh, the good old days (2-3 years ago). Then he went around begging everyone for money and that basically finished him.

      http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/07/11/ad-hominems-etc/

      http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/09/voz-latina-strikes-again.html

      http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=1447

      • magicpoppy Says:

        They’re ALWAYS asking for money.

        Is there any other group on the internet that begs for handouts as shamelessly as the trans cult?

  19. anon Says:

    re, the womanist musings link, interesting how the one trans poster adopted the geekbro “butthurt” expression. Kinda rapey… with or without finger quotes.

  20. Sinister Dreams Says:

    I used to think this way back in school to. I used to imagine how much easier life would be for me if I was a boy. I still think that to this day sometimes. I’m 25 now, and happily married, i’m not gender confused, I am bi though, I always say I could have ended up with just about anyone. Anyway, Mostly I just think about how easy life would be right now IF I was a man, and I don’t understand why any man would want to become a woman, being a women really sucks sometimes, and I would imagine it would be even harder to transition from male to female!

    Another sad realization I just had is, I was born in 87, the writer of this was born in 69, That’s almost a 20 year difference and my experience growing up was exactly the same, I hope this isn’t the case, but, i’m sure the girls who are born 20 years after me will also experience the same double standards and sexism in day to day life.😦


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