Philosophy’s End: The Defamation of Rebecca Tuvel

May 2, 2017

This is pretty funny. An academic on the tenure track in the field of philosophy at Rhodes College named Rebecca Tuvel wrote an article titled “In Defense of Transracialism” which she was selected to present in January at the American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division conference. https://apaonline.site-ym.com/?page=2017E_Accepted  This was a pretty big deal for someone in her line of work. Only the cream of the crop make the cut and the competition is tough.

Near as I can understand it, the field of academic philosophy involves the application of logic to various questions. Like mathematics, practitioners attempt to follow their computations to an unassailable conclusion supported by data. Then their opponents try to pick holes in either their logic or their data. It’s like a nightmare form of Twitter where every reply requires a 2500 word rebuttal. A brutally unromantic, areligious, aspiration to the highest levels of human thought, all couched in various fightclub lingo only understood by other initiates.

Anyway, Rebecca Tuvel examined the logic behind white Rachel Dolezal identifying as black (transracial), and male Bruce Jenner identifying as female (transgender), and concluded that the premise was one and the same and we could either affirm both identities, or neither. Further, she argued that society had reason to support such identities, and had precedent in doing so. You can read her paper in full here: https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/in-defense-of-transracialism-rebecca-tuvel/

All of this was well and good until a site specifically concerned with women’s liberation, the (ostensibly) feminist philosophy journal Hypatia, reprinted Tuvel’s article. Like all places and spaces dedicated to the specific interests of female human beings Hypatia was heavily monitored by those who wish to preserve sex-roles and police the women who protest or critique them. Particularly the men who identify as transwomen and those who champion them in that endeavor. Long story short, the shit hit the fan!

No one had any idea how to counter her logical arguments. They could easily prove Rachel Dolezal wasn’t actually black, but the same arguments applied to Caitlyn Jenner proved he was a sexist man performing a ghastly pantomime of womanhood. Not only could they not rebut her argument but they couldn’t stop people from reading it, so they did what every gender panicked soul who hates the idea that sex roles are culturally created to ritualize female subordination to males is left to do: Silence, censor, smear, threaten, defame.

Heterosexual white female Nora Berenstain of the University of Tennessee accused Tuvel of being a violent perpetrator:

“Tuvel enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways throughout her essay. She deadnames a trans woman [Bruce Jenner]. She uses the term “transgenderism.” She talks about “biological sex” and uses phrases like “male genitalia.” She focuses enormously on surgery, which promotes the objectification of trans bodies. She refers to “a male-to- female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege,” promoting the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege.”

https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/nora-berenstain-on-rebecca-tuvel-and-hypatia/

Heterosexual white female Alexis Shotwell of Carleton University  https://twitter.com/alexisshotwell organized a demand letter for censorship claiming that Rebecca Tuvel’s work fails standards of scholarship:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1efp9C0MHch_6Kfgtlm0PZ76nirWtcEsqWHcvgidl2mU/viewform?ts=59066d20&edit_requested=true

Archive: https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/alexis-shotwell-open-letter-to-hypatia/

Call for censorship signed by Jack Halbersham

In response, the moderators of the Hypatia facebook page, representing “A Majority of the Hypatia’s Board of Associated Editors” (whatever that means) censored and deleted all previous related posts and announced an unauthorized (?) apology from Hypatia stating that academic philosophy should never hurt the feelings of people who like sex roles:

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

23 hrs ·

To our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy,

We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused. The sources of those harms are multiple, and include: descriptions of trans lives that perpetuate harmful assumptions and (not coincidentally) ignore important scholarship by trans philosophers; the practice of deadnaming, in which a trans person’s name is accompanied by a reference to the name they were assigned at birth; the use of methodologies which take up important social and political phenomena in dehistoricized and decontextualized ways, thus neglecting to address and take seriously the ways in which those phenomena marginalize and commit acts of violence upon actual persons; and an insufficient engagement with the field of critical race theory. Perhaps most fundamentally, to compare ethically the lived experience of trans people (from a distinctly external perspective) primarily to a single example of a white person claiming to have adopted a black identity creates an equivalency that fails to recognize the history of racial appropriation, while also associating trans people with racial appropriation. We recognize and mourn that these harms will disproportionately fall upon those members of our community who continue to experience marginalization and discrimination due to racism and cisnormativity.

It is our position that the harms that have ensued from the publication of this article could and should have been prevented by a more effective review process. We are deeply troubled by this and are taking this opportunity to seriously reconsider our review policies and practices. While nothing can change the fact that the article was published, we are dedicated to doing what we can to make things right. Clearly, the article should not have been published, and we believe that the fault for this lies in the review process. In addition to the harms listed above imposed upon trans people and people of color, publishing the article risked exposing its author to heated critique that was both predictable and justifiable. A better review process would have both anticipated the criticisms that quickly followed the publication, and required that revisions be made to improve the argument in light of those criticisms.

We would also like to explain our review process. Manuscripts sent to Hypatia are sent out for peer review to two anonymous reviewers. The reviewers do not see the names of the author of the manuscript, and the identity of peer reviewers is not known to authors. The journal has had a long-standing policy of minimizing desk rejections due to its commitment to providing constructive feedback to feminist scholars. Revised manuscripts are also sent to the same readers for review. In the case where two peer readers disagree, a third anonymous reader may be found. Members of the Associate Editorial Board might be asked to provide another opinion and are expected to serve as readers on two articles each year. Some have wanted us to reveal the identities of the peer reviewers for this article. We cannot do this. We are a scholarly journal committed to an anonymous peer review process. We want readers to feel free to offer their honest feedback on manuscripts submitted to Hypatia. Anonymous peer review is important for the scholarly reputation of Hypatia; mistakes in particular instances should not compromise the commitment to anonymous peer review in scholarship.

In addition, to reconsidering our review policies, we are drafting a policy on name changes that will govern review of all work considered for publication in the journal from this point forward. We wish to express solidarity with our trans colleagues in our condemnation of deadnaming. It is unacceptable that this happened, and we are working to ensure that it never happens again. We also wish to express solidarity with our colleagues of color (understanding that gender and race are entangled categories) in our condemnation of scholarship about racial identity that fails to reflect substantive understanding of and engagement with critical philosophy of race. We are working to develop additional advisory guidelines to ensure that feminist theorists from groups underrepresented in our profession, including trans people and people of color, are integrated in the various editorial stages. This does not mean that we want to place future responsibility solely on transfeminists and feminists of color. We are committed to improving our review process and practice in order to make the best decision about publication and to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Hypatia is a journal committed to pluralist feminist inquiry and has been an important site for the publication of scholarship long-considered marginal in philosophy. Too many of us are still characterized as “not real” philosophers by non- and anti-feminist colleagues. As a feminist journal, Hypatia is committed to providing mentorship to all who submit articles by encouraging substantive feedback on essays submitted for consideration. Clearly there was a mistake along the line in the review process, and we are doing our best to figure out a way forward.

Several further types of responses have been suggested to us, including issuing a retraction and setting up a blog or website for further conversation about how to move forward and improve our process. We continue to consider those responses and all of their potential ramifications thoughtfully. We welcome more feedback and suggestions, as we intend to learn from this mistake and do our best to be accountable and worthy of the trust of all feminist scholars.

Finally, we want to recognize that following the publication of the article, there was a Facebook post from the Hypatia account that also caused harm, primarily by characterizing the outrage that met the article’s publication as mere “dialogue” that the article was “sparking.” We want to state clearly that we regret that the post was made.

We sincerely thank all who have expressed criticism of the article’s publication and who have called on us to reply. Working through conflicts, owning mistakes, and finding a way forward is part of the crucial, difficult work that feminism does. As members of Hypatia’s editorial board we are taking this opportunity to make Hypatia more deeply committed to the highest quality of feminist scholarship, pluralism, and respect. The words expressed here cannot change the harm caused by the fact of the article’s publication, but we hope they convey the depth and sincerity of our commitment to make necessary changes to move forward and do better.

Sincerely,

A Majority of the Hypatia’s Board of Associated Editors

 

https://www.facebook.com/hypatia.editorialoffice/posts/1852550825032876

 

As you can see, no rebuttal of Rebecca Tuvel’s arguments exist. Her paper was vetted by both the American Philosophical Association and the Hypatia Journal.

The capitulation to genderist harassment by some members of the Hypatia organization who have taken control over their facebook content (Board of Associated Editors have no input or control over editorial decisions, they seem to be interns) has raised the alarms among academic philosophers.

Leiter Reports calls for a defamation lawsuit against the genderists:

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2017/05/the-defamation-of-rebecca-tuvel-by-the-board-of-associate-editors-of-hypatia-and-the-open-letter.html

Daily Nous did a piece in response with a comment by Rebecca Tuvel:

http://dailynous.com/2017/05/01/philosophers-article-transracialism-sparks-controversy/

The jist of all of the protest seems to be that if transgender people were what they actually are (Not the other sex! As Dolezal is Not Black!) it would be the most awful thing imaginable.

125 Responses to “Philosophy’s End: The Defamation of Rebecca Tuvel”

  1. GILAW Says:

    I wrote a letter to Hypatia chastising them for their cowardice and suggesting that they invite Dr. Tuvel’s detractors to write reasoned responses to her arguments that they could then publish.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I don’t think they have any. The only quasi coherent rebuttal I’ve seen is from dumb dumb Ijeoma Oluo, who interviewed Dolezal for The Establishment. They paid her plane fare and everything!

      Another straight woman, she posted her analysis on Facebook:

      Ijeoma Oluo
      April 20 at 8:00am · Shoreline, WA ·
      Good Morning Friends!
      A few people have asked why I didn’t include discussion of transgender identity with Rachel Dolezal in the piece. I will elaborate further here, but note: I’m NOT opening up this thread to a debate on trans identity. I am a cis woman, holding that debate here, so that other cis people can come hypothesize on gender identity and we can all volley back and forth from the relative comfort of our privilege is gross. I won’t do it. This is for clarification only.
      I honestly did not want to talk about transgender identity with RD – why? Because I didn’t want to publish two cis people debating trans identity. It has been done SOOOO often during this entire RD debacle and I can’t see where it has done anything but harm for trans folk. However – I do see how my ability to sit down with RD, and even to decide to not bring up trans identity is a function of my cis privilege – so I was incredibly torn.
      BUT – RD couldn’t help but compare herself to trans people a bajillion times – and it is a duty of my privilege to call that shit out when I hear it, which I did. This discussion was not included because her answer was long and convoluted and to unpack it in a way that would not have done more harm would have required an entire essay. The length on this essay was fixed and I could not fit it in in any responsible way.
      But I did talk to her about some of the fundamental differences between racial identity and gender identity.
      I’ll briefly list some here (some that I told her and some that I did not):
      1) While the flow of racial identity can only go one way (white people can become black but black people can’t become white) the flow of gender identity goes multiple ways
      2) While a white person who becomes black retains the bulk of their privilege and indeed can more easily move to the higher eschelons of black society (RD becoming the head of the NAACP and a college professor with absolutely zero qualifications for example), when people transition genders, they give up absolutely huge amounts of privilege – whether assigned male or female at birth – I mean, trans people can’t even pee in peace for chrissakes
      3) gender is not inherited, but race is. The majority of black people suffer, not only from being seen as black in this world, but also from their parents and their parents parents and their parents being seen as black in this world. This creates a cumulative and interest-building oppression passed generation to generation. While the oppressions of women do add up over time, they build up in societies structures (i.e. professions that have been shut off to women for decades) not in families. When I gave birth to two cis sons, they inherited none of my female oppression, but if they were to transition, a large amount of female oppression would slam upon them immediately – along with a lot of anti-trans bigotry.
      Those are just a few of the many differences between the way the two function in society – which, to me, makes “racial transition” purely a function of privilege in a way that gender tradition is not. This does not mean that one day that won’t be the case – that one day black people won’t be able to transition to to white with similar ease or difficulty – but the way in which race is set up compared to gender makes that much more unlikely.
      Gender is basically the idea of two flawed buckets – you are x because you have these characteristics, you are y because you have these characteristics. Your privilege increases not only by if you are in the “male” bucket, but also by how well you can check all the boxes on your particular bucket.
      Race is more like a ladder – you are at the top – white – and then everything below is less than. All of the other racial buckets are simply rungs on the ladder – how much further you fall from “white.”
      Whereas being seen as “the ultimate female” would give you more privilege in society than being seen as “only slightly feminine female” – being seen as “totally black” would push you even further down the rung away from THE privilege of which you can only lose and not gain – whiteness.
      Anyway, I hope this helps clarify a bit about some of the decisions made with the piece. We are working on getting a lot of the content that was left out to y’all (there is A LOT – I was there for 4 hours). I will keep you posted.
      I love you all,
      Ijeoma
      ——————

      • GallusMag Says:

        So basically,

        Some females can pass as males, while no blacks can pass as white. (?)

        Men who come to identify as women don’t retain their conditioning/entitlement as males.

        Gender is not inherited as sex roles are not passed on to children and there its no inherited history of gender

        Compliance to male control confers a “house negro” sort of privilege. So women who get raped on the regular and/or live as “sister wives” have female privilege(?).

        Or something.

      • Oak and Ash Says:

        “Compliance to male control confers a “house negro” sort of privilege. So women who get raped on the regular and/or live as “sister wives” have female privilege(?).”

        This is one of my pet peeves! A lot of genderists seem to define privilege as any sort of advantage a person has, sometimes even just as a desirable quality, rather than a matter of societal/institutional structure.

        In fact, I’ve often used the exact situation of a house slave to try to explain why things like “thin privilege,” “pretty privilege,” or “feminine privilege” do not exist. Some house slaves may have had easier lives in certain material respects–better working conditions, slightly nicer clothes, more food–but no slave had any kind of institutional privilege. Similarly, some attractive women are able to obtain certain material resources from men, but this is a conditional advantage rather than structural privilege–it only continues as long as the men get what they want. And this is also why women can’t have privilege over trans women, because looking “more feminine” or being more desirable to men is NOT privilege.

        Genderists either don’t understand how privilege works or are deliberately ignoring it so they can claim women are exercising “cisgender” privilege and oppressing transwomen by refusing to date them, mentioning biological reality, etc.

      • silverside Says:

        I’ve been reading Gail Collins’ book on American Women, and it’s interesting there is a lot of evidence that women in slavery preferred to work in the fields, and not in the masters home. So much of servanthood involved standing for hours at attention, sleeping at the foot of the bed of the master/mistress, and generally having no life with your family/loved ones at all. For the similar reasons, women who were not enslaved, either white or free black, tended to prefer factory work when it became available, over domestic service. So no, historically, women have not preferred this kind of work. Not when something else was possible.


  2. I think both ideas–that a man can be a woman , a woman a man and that one can be “black” because “feelz” is such balderdash. Not to mention, it totally negates the female and Black societal,cultural, and daily living experiences. Just more crap from men trying to take it all for themselves. This may not be an “academic response” but it is based on a very rare commodity today: common sense.

    As a former academic myself, I must say I am ashamed at what passes for logic and research nowadays. Not to mention philosophical stances.

    • rheapdx1 Says:

      But, this does pass as mental manure. It’s a shame there is not a field for it to be used on.

      That said, this not only shows how far academics has fallen, it also points to how deep the tentacles of erasure…be it the life experiences of black females or all females …are in the system. Those enabling this removal process, have no idea what will result from this. Which is a shame, seeing history is replete with examples of how cults have done this. As well as that, a war was fought in the middle of the last century, against a cult that engaged in erasure, of the most reprehensible type.

      Then too, academia in that country was complicit in those actions, just by being silent or going along. One would think we would not repeat the same insanity.

    • Meg Says:

      Precisely. I’d say a academia should hang its head in shame, but we’re far past that now. There has been no coherent work of ethics since academia tried to ignore feminism.

    • k.jane Says:

      I agree. Anyone who hasn’t been indoctrinated by the cult will laugh at the notion of a man claiming to be a woman because of common sense. It’s only through brainwashing and constant bullying that they start to “believe” that idea.

  3. Bev Jo Says:

    I fucking hate the term “transfolk,” as if they are a real people, rather than female-hating pretenders where men pose as women and women pose as men.

    At least most people do not accept Rachel Dolezal as Black, but too many repeat her childhood victim stories that we have no proof about and few repeat her very real suit against Howard University for “discriminating” against her for being white. So much for her feeling Black.

    In my experience of dealing with the trans cult since 1971, both the men and women pretenders also lie about their female-hating and often Lesbian-hating past, while they endlessly play victim.

    I will never get over how anyone can believe either trans lie, let alone attack real women for saying not to the gaslighting con.

  4. Kismet. Says:

    It’s like we are on the edge of reality, and it keeps getting worse.

    • Dogtowner Says:

      For anyone familiar with filmmaking, directors used to use (and perhaps still do for all I know) what are called process shots BEHIND an actor or actors doing various things. In other words, a film behind the film. You can always tell a process shot when you are watching a movie. In our current world, reality has become a process shot for most people, something that happens behind their backs and has nothing to do with the life they are living in their heads.

      This is especially true for these academics who yap and yap and have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. For example, Nora Berenstain finds the phrase “male genitalia” violent and harmful. One can only inquire what world she is living in. She presumably does not associate with biological males, has no children, has no pets, and never looks out the window at the male mourning dove trying to impress the female.

  5. Oak and Ash Says:

    Hypatia’s hasty retraction and apology remind me of a line from the first Star Wars movie: “I suggest a new strategy. Let the Wookiee win.”

    Seriously, the only argument against this paper seems to be that transgender men won’t like it, with the implied corollary that they may react violently. And it’s interesting that Rebecca Tuvell is being accused of violence, because that’s what a lot of male abusers say about their female partners’ failure to comply with their wishes.

    • silverside Says:

      Exactly! This is what particularly alarms me about trans ideology. I get very nervous when trans start claiming that words or concepts are “violent,” and even more violent than actual assault, torture, or death. This is EXACTLY how batterers justify their behavior. She “disrespected” me (by suggesting I get a job, not making me a sandwich fast enough, etc.), so I may have “roughed her up” a little. But it was mutual violence, see. Never mind she ended up in the emergency room, blah blah. The idea that words, or attitudes, or looks are “violent” is extremely reactionary, and justifies (to abusers) that their actual violence is perfectly reasonable response.

  6. Peggy Luhrs Says:

    The apology from Hypatia is hysterical in a philosophy journal. One thinks of the the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority but here it is self appointed authority with its own self referencing language so it is more like an appeal to illegitimate authority so beyond redundant.
    Nora Berenstain spits out phallacies she’s been force fed in the current mass hysteria.

  7. grixit Says:

    [q] Too many of us are still characterized as “not real” philosophers by non- and anti-feminist colleagues.[/q]

    So now let us prove them right.

  8. Medi Says:

    Jack Halbersham— LOL very funny. They could not answer her philosophical arguments and Hypatia has turned into a very cowardly magazine apparently. Wow, talk about caving to the trans cult, and self censorship of women philosophers…. but hey the two suppositions are the same, and they know it.

  9. Kathleen Lowrey Says:

    Brian Leiter is mostly a nightmare but he’s on the right side of this one. Not with the advice about a defamation lawsuit — sue everybody eleventy! is his go-to reaction — but just on the fact that Hypatia’s letter is ludicrous (“we mourn”).

    The fallout from this is going to be very, very interesting. I wonder if we will hear from the editorial board “minority” next.

    Relevant (from poli sci prof Adolph Reed Jr.):

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/15/jenner-dolezal-one-trans-good-other-not-so-much

  10. ephemeroptera Says:

    It’s interesting the extent to which Tuvel affirms trans* self-identification apart from passing, e.g. in footnote 11:

    “For now, I note that I am open to the possibility that there might be ways to know what it’s like to exist and be treated as a woman without being so classed by others.”

    Also, Judith Butler signed onto that open letter to Hypatia way down in that list of names (unless someone else posed as her and planted her name?).

  11. Elle Driver Says:

    Great, great post Gallus. Just one note: Nora Berenstain is at the University of Tennessee, not Texas.

    https://philosophy.utk.edu/staff/berenstain.php

  12. baalthor Says:

    One of the signatories is “Dick Chopper – Independent Scholar” – gotta be a troll ??

  13. fxkatt Says:

    I don’t really get the issue here. If Tuvel is defending both trans-racial and trans-gender, how does all this translate into controversy. It seems to me that she is being charged for her terminology in doing so, and who gives a damn about that except the trans theologians.

    It wasn’t as if Hypatica was courageous in publishing the piece. So, it’s hard for me to discern why it is less courageous in caving to the criticisms. It seems to me (I must be missing something) that this would only be a story if indeed Hypatica had published an anti-trans piece. And then we could be discussing both their audacity and subsequent timidity.

    • fxkatt Says:

      Hypatia, I mean. Hypatica sounds like something for stomach upset.

    • GallusMag Says:

      You and your damn logic.

      I think the issue is that most black people don’t care for crazy-ass white people slapping on some tanner and doshiki and running around calling themselves black. However their entirely reasonable objections can also be applied to men who do woman-face like Bruce Jenner. So when Dolezal and Jenner are compared it forces people who are anti-racist but pro-sexist to create an argument about why it is not okay for whites to LARP blackness but it okay for men to LARP womanhood. Which they can’t do because they have no such argument. This creates cognitive dissonance which they react to by attacking anyone who introduces the analogy.

      Tuvel realizes that the only way out is to either reject or accept both Dolezal and Jenner’s claims to be self-designated members of marginalized groups to which they do not belong. Which is the only logical pro-trans position.

      • Bev Jo Says:

        You say it all, Gallus Mag. The trans cult simply cannot answer about why Dolezal is rightly criticized, but they are not. When anyone is on the streets asking for money for organizations, I ask what their politics on trans is. The het white man cavassing who I last asked, told me to ask their “transwoman” member on the other street corner. He looked like a typical drag queen stereotype.

        I said, “I’m not talking to him. Do you accept Rachel Dolezal as Black also?”

        “That’s different,” he said.

        “No it’s not,” So, if he’s a woman, would you date him?” I so wish I had a photo of his horrified face. Good enough for het men in drag to fuck Lesbians, but not fuck het men like him.

      • fxkatt Says:

        I’ve understood this about Blacks all my life, but what I’m saying is that Tuvel DEFENDS trans-racial and trans-gender. I do grasp your point, though, that this exposing the lie of the liberal position on trans-racial vis-a-vis trans-sexual, is the point, and not Tuvel’s actual position on both.

      • rheapdx1 Says:

        The lack of logic used by those who defend, via conjunction and association the transracial and transgender mind sets, boggles the mind. Let alone, points again to those who have major defects in the ego, wanting to colonize others, so they can feel important.

        What ought to scare people more is that the level of ignorance posters, like the logic impaired one that @GallusMag just took down is more common than previously thought. There are ways to fight and subdue this BS and it will mean that the other side will need to see and read facts, many of which they will not like. However, if they can get beyond the infantile ‘I do not like this’, then some of the damage can be mitigated.

  14. Oak and Ash Says:

    “The article contains egregious levels of liberal white ignorance and discursive transmisogynistic violence.”

    Berenstein simply lists one unsupported assertion after another on her Facebook “criticism” of Tuvel’s article (which people are now reporting she has deleted) in one of the most egregious examples of SJW virtue signaling I’ve seen–it reads like a Tumblr post with better grammar and more academic references. She attacks white, non-transgender women repeatedly throughout. When I was a graduate student, I encountered a few women who used the strategy of putting down other women while claiming they were different as an attempt to gain professional support from men. Perhaps this helps her career, given the way philosophy departments skew male.

    And on the subject of violence, it’s interesting that women’s disagreement with men is called violence, while men’s domestic violence toward women has so often been called a disagreement. Down the PoMo rabbit hole we go!

    “She refers to “a male-to-female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege,” promoting the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege.”

    We keep hearing that mtf individuals never have male privilege, even those who don’t transition until later in life. Bruce Jenner didn’t have male privilege while competing in an Olympic event from which women were barred? The Wachowski brothers never benefitted from Hollywood’s tendency to prefer male filmmakers? It’s purely a matter of inherent superiority and hard work that Martine Rothblatt is now called the highest paid woman executive in the country? (To be fair, Rothblatt does acknowledge having benefitted from male privilege.) It’s as if these people don’t understand how structural privilege operates–that you don’t have to choose to accept it in order to benefit.

    So, if transwomen never benefit from male privilege, even before transitioning and “presenting” as women, do transmen have male privilege before they transition, even while everyone assumes they’re girls and women? If so, how could that possibly work? If it’s analogous to the mtf claim that they always knew the messages directed at girls were for them, does that mean that every girl, trans or not, who assumes she deserves the same attention, resources, assumption of full humanity, etc., given to her brothers and male classmates somehow benefits from male privilege? I’d really like to hear the pro-trans take on whether and how transmen can benefit from male privilege BEFORE transitioning.

    Gallus Mag, I, too, assumed Berenstain was a white woman, but in this paper describing “Epistemic Exploitation,” Berenstain writes: “Black and Third-World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity.” Our? I haven’t been able to find any evidence that she has black or recent third world ancestry, so I don’t know why she’s including herself in that category.

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ergo/12405314.0003.022/–epistemic-exploitation?rgn=main;view=fulltext

    By the way, New York Magazine has a good piece on the Tuvel issue as a modern day witch hunt:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/transracialism-article-controversy.html

    • GallusMag Says:

      “Black and Third-World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity.” is an Audre Lorde quote. For some reason no quotation marks were used.

      Berenstain reminds me of this professor:

      • GallusMag Says:

        I bet Berenstain has a sekrit non binary twitter account and rants at Meghan Murphy all day.

      • Oak and Ash Says:

        Sorry–I read too quickly and missed that. Thanks for the correction, Gallus Mag! I wouldn’t want to propagate false information, even about someone as annoying as Berenstain.

  15. Marie Finch Says:

    As someone who has spent a lot of time studying philosophy, I have to say your characterisation of it was very good and also hilarious. I will now treasure the thought of it as logic fight club!

    • GallusMag Says:

      Is it?! I’m glad, lol I wasn’t sure..

      • Maji Says:

        As a mathematician, who also studied some philosophy, I say your characterization of both was very good. If other fields were a bit logical as them, we didn’t have postmodern pseudo-sciences (illusions) entering academia.
        And by the way, you did a great job in this article, as always.


  16. Amazingly astute, as usual. Shared widely. Thank you.

  17. Kathleen Lowrey Says:

    Gallus Mag, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your brave, glorious rudeness. An emerging semi-consensus in the academic discussions of this seems to be that the real problem with everything is scholars, especially feminist scholars, being way too mean. So that going forward, everyone should resolve to be *less mean* and then we won’t have problems like this any more. What the academic feminist discussion of trans issues needs a lot more of is a willingness to be rude and confrontational toward *actually* powerful actors (like Jennifer Pritzker, who funds both academic and medical research on trans experience). That would take so much courage and energy there wouldn’t be any left over for kicking at junior scholars like Tuvel, who sadly enough was trying only to defend a pair (Dolezal, Jenner) who *both* could use a lot less polite deference.

    • lilith1022 Says:

      Gallus Mag, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your brave, glorious rudeness.

      Well said! The whole comment is great, but the first sentence especially encapsulates how I feel, although I’d add also “witty.”

      When I first started reading gender trender several years ago, although I agreed with the ideas, I lamented the “rudeness” and “meanness” and thought, like many well-meaning liberals, you’d catch a lot more flies with honey…

      But after years of reading, here and elsewhere, of the trans madness, I finally came to appreciate GM’s attitude. Thanks for all you do!

  18. Herbert Thornton Says:

    Every aspect of this discussion raises issues of the utmost importance to the survival of genuine civilisation.

    I, for example, am a giraffe – but nobody acknowledges it. I attribute their unwillingness to see that I am a giraffe to the fact that I not only walk on only two legs, but have a short neck.

    Obviously, none of this ought to deprive me of surgery to make my neck much longer. Nor should it deprive me of my right to require people to acknowledge that I am a giraffe.

    Worse yet , whenever I apply for suitable surgery to provide me with a neck nearly as long as my legs, I get reactions that vary from offensive guffaws to accusations of madness. This is all extremely hurtful and damaging to my self-esteem.

    If things continue like this I intend to apply to a Human Rights Commission’s Tribunal for redress and compensation.

    Sadly, when I asked a feminist friend of mine (who happens to be a student of Philosophy) to review this comment, she asked – I hope facetiously – whether the Human Rights Tribunal might declare that the matter was outside their jurisdiction, on the specious ground that they were not empowered to deal with the problems of giraffes.

    Could they really be so narrow-minded?

  19. GallusMag Says:

    To the “anonymous” academic philosopher who sent me a not for publication (!) message regarding the archive of the Open Letter to Hypatia.

    You stated: “I have since withdrawn my signature, and I do not want to it appear among the list of names you have publicized.”

    I would be happy to add a note reflecting your subsequent reversal of opinion. I will not modify the archive by erasing a historic record of your signing. You are a well known figure in the academic philosophy field whose public signing of the open letter must have come as quite a shock to Rebecca Tuvel and carried some weight in persuading others to subsequently sign.

    Perhaps a public statement reflecting your change of opinion might be more in order. I would be happy to publish it here.

    Let me know what you would like to do, and thanks for reaching out.

  20. Oak and Ash Says:

    In her latest article on Feminist Current, Meghan Murphy astutely points out that the work of Cressida Heyes, who wrote the apology for Hypatia that hung Rebecca Tuvel out to dry, happens to have been criticized by Tuvel in her paper.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/05/03/hypatia-throws-critical-thought-window-name-feminist-philosophy/

    What were any of these people thinking? They’ve acted less like academic thinkers and more like a mob with pitchforks and torches.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Yes I see it’s been confirmed that Cressida Heyes is the author of the defamatory Hypatia “apology”. Wow! That is huge.

      Tuvel’s critique of Heyes work was pretty scathing. LOL!

      Here it is:

      “In her argument defending the moral permissibility of transgenderism but not of transracialism, Cressida Heyes makes just this point. Heyes suggests that arguments in defense of transracialism, like that of Christine Overall (Overall 2004), discount the fact that society’s dominant belief structure limits the available resources one has to claim different forms of identification. As Heyes puts it, “beliefs about the kind of thing race is shape the possibilities for race change. In particular,… the belief that an individual’s racial identity derives from her biological ancestors undermines the possibility of changing race, in ways that contrast with sex-gender” (Heyes 2009, 142). According to Heyes, because sex-gender has been understood to be a “property of the individual’s body,” the possibility of changing one’s sex-gender through bodily modification is acceptable in our society. However, because race has been understood to be a matter of “both the body and ancestry,” one cannot alter one’s body to become a different race (139; emphasis added).

      The problem with this argument is that it dangerously appears to limit to the sta- tus quo the possibilities for changing one’s membership in an identity category. Indeed, American society has not always granted recognition to those who felt their gender did not align with their sexed bodies. Would Heyes’s argument imply that, during this time, a person born with male genitalia, but who identified as a woman, would not be permitted to affirm her self-identity, because the available social resources were not yet in place? Or, imagine a transgender person born in a country today where such forms of identification are not tolerated, because the understanding of sex-gender identity is firmly restricted to the genitalia one possesses at birth. Would that person be justly forced to renounce her felt sex-gender, because she was born into a society where “beliefs about the kind of thing [sex-gender] is shape the possibilities for [sex-gender] change” (142)? The implications of such a position for the normative question of whether one should be allowed to change race are more radical than Heyes might appreciate. Indeed, if we hold the legitimacy of a particular act hostage to the status quo, or to what Heyes calls the “range of actually available possibilities for sustaining and transforming oneself,” it is difficult to see how we can make any social progress at all (149). Accordingly, to say “this is how racial catego- rization currently operates in our society” is to provide a very poor reason to the per- son asking how racial categorization should operate. And this type of reason is even more disappointing when it comes alongside Heyes’s acknowledgment that “the actions of individuals, now and in the future, will be constitutive of new norms of racial and gendered identity” (149).”

      So Heyes responded by using her connections at Hypatia to smear Tuvel professionally and damage her career. Amazing. Takes the Fight Club analogy to a new level! These people need a reality show.

      • ephemeroptera Says:

        Due to the tenure system (esp. the probationary period where everyone’s enculturated into it and then the “we all have to live with each other” ethos on the other end), there’s norms of tolerance for behavior that’s quirky then unpleasant then unethical then illegal.

        The same dynamics that foster this whack behavior also foster sexual harassment and its departmental cover-up, for example.

        If there was secure, renewable indefinitely positions upon initial hire (apart from malfeasance, of course), you’d have a lot less of this, I think.

      • GILAW Says:

        QUOTE FROM ABOVE TEXT: As Heyes puts it, “beliefs about the kind of thing race is shape the possibilities for race change. In particular,… the belief that an individual’s racial identity derives from her biological ancestors undermines the possibility of changing race, in ways that contrast with sex-gender” (Heyes 2009, 142).

        I’ve always felt that my sex derives from my biological ancestors. Something I’ve valued about my womanhood is the strongly felt connection with my mother, grandmothers, and great grandmothers through the very physical act of giving birth.

  21. Jurek Molnar Says:

    It is interesting that there is no theoretical contradiction to Tuvels paper. For instance the allegation that she was “deadnaming” Jenner has nothing to do with her argument. Also the fact that some transgender people may have been hurt by her text is no argument against it. The deliberate confusion of personal and political resentment with dubious references to “scientific standards” which are practically non-existent in this field is also telling.

    Tuvels text was an unintended step into a hornet’s nest. They are panic that the whole conception of whiteness which they have promoted is actually devalued for what it is: bullshit.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I assumed an act of intention rather than an unintended step.

      • Kathleen Lowrey Says:

        Do you mean you think she was covertly intending to send up trans identity by making this argument? Because everything I’ve seen suggests everyone involved genuflects about their own cisness etc. The whole kerfuffle would be over in two seconds if anyone involved took a radfem perspective — it does not look to me like any parties to it, no matter how much they might otherwise be antagonists, do that. It’s like watching a religious debate with no atheists or even recognition that atheism exists..

      • GallusMag Says:

        I just meant I assume she knew it would be controversial, as did Hypatia. I agree with your comment.

      • Leo Says:

        I did wonder from the use of the term ‘transgenderism’ in her article, and the repeated use of Jenner’s former name (and what really just comes across as a sarcastic description of his Vanity Fair cover), if she’s actually a (fairy good, but not perfect) troll, who id intend to send up the out-there transactivists, even if she partly supports them if they’re less extreme. Would someone who was totally absorbed in trans rhetoric, who hadn’t seen any RadFem criticism, make those ‘mistakes’? Transactivists often instantly lose it if the term ‘transgenderism’ is used.

      • GallusMag Says:

        She referred to Jenner only twice as Bruce, both times with the caveat “formerly known as”. And transgenderism is still used by transgenderists, particularly in academia. Tuvel cited Serrano 2016 on the matter. Prohibitions against formerly acceptable terms happen very quickly in the trans politic, it’s a strategy for destabilizing discussion and analysis. The point is to make people fearful of speaking. The term lesbianism remains an acceptable description for example.

        One reporter described Tuvel as bursting into tears when they called her for a comment, I seriously doubt she is insincere.

        That being said, a long term career-spanning troll of the academic philosophy field would be hilarious and quite clever although not that difficult. It’s hard to imagine someone maintaining interest in the project.

        In my observation, although the transgender narrative is incredibly popular as a salve to roll back the terrifying destabilization of sex roles wrought by the feminist and gay rights movements, serving as a pressure release valve to divert revolutionary change, the incoherence of the narrative is the cause of its own unraveling. Any examination is anathema to the movement, which is why censorship and tactics to inhibit (or even outlaw!) analysis are the primary strategy.

    • Arla Hile Says:

      So pleased that the Chronicle published this editorial! But I wish that the article had been more clear about what happened, who the perpetrators were.


  22. If people can change their sex, then why can’t they change their race? This is a legitimate question.

    Why is racial appropriation considered ethically wrong and in bad taste when wealthy white males such as Caitlyn Jenner and James, Jennifer, Pritzker shamelessly appropriate the lived experiences of half the human population? Jenner,father of six children by three different wives, is a while male who “transitioned” at age sixty after making millions from endorsements, etc. No female athlete of his generation ever made this much money. make. Pritzker, father of three children is worth $1.7 billion.

    Does anyone really believe that Jenner and Pritzker would trade places with a poor woman living in a dilapidated tin shack in India or the wretched favelas of Brazil?

    Caitlyn Jenner, a wealthy white Republican heterosexual male, father of six children by three different wives said,

    “The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.” – Caityln Jenner, Glamour’s 2015 Woman of the Year

    Some women took his quote and ran with it.

    https://www.theodysseyonline.com/the-hardest-thing-about-being-woman

    https://imgur.com/gallery/SW9iq/comment/517292617/1

    The actual struggles of poor women globally could just vanish if they devised a quicker more efficient way of deciding what to wear. Female genital mutilation, rape, decades of sex selective abortion resulting in 163 million missing girls from India and China, child brides, poverty, etc. all boils down to deciding what to wear. If this isn’t base, vulgar appropriation of the lived experiences of women world wide, then the word “appropriation” is meaningless. Do these “feminists” think that Jenner would be worth 100 million today if he were really a female? Lipstick, makeup, plastic surgery, and pretty designer clothes don’t make a woman anymore than white people putting on black face makes a person of color. I don’t know any woman who actually believes that the hardest part of being a woman is figuring out what to wear. Even women who have a boat load of money to buy expensive clothes don’t think like this.

    Apply this statement to people of color and see how it sounds. Replace “woman” with black or Asian, and see how Jenner’s statement sounds.

    “The hardest part of being black is figuring out what to wear.”

    Forget that whole slavery and Jim Crow thing. I apologize to all people of color.

  23. Tim Benson Says:

    From the Editor of Hypatia:

    As Editor of an academic journal that espouses pluralism and diversity, I believe that Hypatia should publish on a wide array of topics employing a wide array of methodologies. I believe that a community of scholars should contest concepts and engage in dialogue within the pages of the journal to advance our collective project of educating—students and ourselves. I believe that an academic journal is not a blog or a discussion board.

    I firmly believe, and this belief will not waver, that it is utterly inappropriate for editors to repudiate an article they have accepted for publication (barring issues of plagiarism or falsification of data). In this respect, editors must stand behind the authors of accepted papers. That is where I stand. Professor Tuvel’s paper went through the peer review process and was accepted by the reviewers and by me.

    The Associate Editorial board acted independently in drafting and posting their statement. That board is a policy board and plays no role in the day to day management of the Journal.

    Since April 30, I have been working with the publisher, Wiley, to respond responsibly and appropriately. We have consulted with the corporation which owns Hypatia and, together, we are proceeding to refer the situation to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for guidance.

    Sally J. Scholz, PhD

    http://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Journal-Article-Provoked-a/240021

  24. Tim Benson Says:

    All of the vicious name-calling directed towards Tuvel on social media, especially by the odious Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein, is a glaring example of what Foucault called polemics. These people do not want to engage in a civil and rational discussion. Rather, they reserve for themselves the right to prosecute others for crimes and heresies. Foucault is right when he calls polemics a type of comedy.

    ——————–

    Paul Rabinow: Why is it that you don’t engage in polemics ?

    Michel Foucault: I like discussions, and when I am asked questions, I try to answer them. It’s true that I don’t like to get involved in polemics. If I open a book and see that the author is accusing an adversary of “infantile leftism” I shut it again right away. That’s not my way of doing things; I don’t belong to the world of people who do things that way. I insist on this difference as something essential: a whole morality is at stake, the one that concerns the search for truth and the relation to the other.

    In the serious play of questions and answers, in the work of reciprocal elucidation, the rights of each person are in some sense immanent in the discussion. They depend only on the dialogue situation. The person asking the questions is merely exercising the right that has been given him: to remain unconvinced, to perceive a contradiction, to require more information, to emphasize different postulates, to point out faulty reasoning, and so on. As for the person answering the questions, he too exercises a right that does not go beyond the discussion itself; by the logic of his own discourse, he is tied to what he has said earlier, and by the acceptance of dialogue he is tied to the questioning of other. Questions and answers depend on a game — a game that is at once pleasant and difficult — in which each of the two partners takes pains to use only the rights given him by the other and by the accepted form of dialogue.

    The polemicist , on the other hand, proceeds encased in privileges that he possesses in advance and will never agree to question. On principle, he possesses rights authorizing him to wage war and making that struggle a just undertaking; the person he confronts is not a partner in search for the truth but an adversary, an enemy who is wrong, who is armful, and whose very existence constitutes a threat. For him, then the game consists not of recognizing this person as a subject having the right to speak but of abolishing him as interlocutor, from any possible dialogue; and his final objective will be not to come as close as possible to a difficult truth but to bring about the triumph of the just cause he has been manifestly upholding from the beginning. The polemicist relies on a legitimacy that his adversary is by definition denied.

    Perhaps, someday, a long history will have to be written of polemics, polemics as a parasitic figure on discussion and an obstacle to the search for the truth. Very schematically, it seems to me that today we can recognize the presence in polemics of three models: the religious model, the judiciary model, and the political model. As in heresiology, polemics sets itself the task of determining the intangible point of dogma, the fundamental and necessary principle that the adversary has neglected, ignored or transgressed; and it denounces this negligence as a moral failing; at the root of the error, it finds passion, desire, interest, a whole series of weaknesses and inadmissible attachments that establish it as culpable. As in judiciary practice, polemics allows for no possibility of an equal discussion: it examines a case; it isn’t dealing with an interlocutor, it is processing a suspect; it collects the proofs of his guilt, designates the infraction he has committed, and pronounces the verdict and sentences him. In any case, what we have here is not on the order of a shared investigation; the polemicist tells the truth in the form of his judgment and by virtue of the authority he has conferred on himself. But it is the political model that is the most powerful today. Polemics defines alliances, recruits partisans, unites interests or opinions, represents a party; it establishes the other as an enemy, an upholder of opposed interests against which one must fight until the moment this enemy is defeated and either surrenders or disappears.

  25. GallusMag Says:

    Good reporting here. Also explains the what the associate editors do (not much):

    “In addition to Ms. Scholz and the 10-member associate editorial board, the journal has 12 local editorial advisers and an editorial board of 25 people. The associate editors are “not involved in editorial decisions” but do advise on matters of editorial policy and play a key role in appointing the editor, said Ms. Solomon.”

    http://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Journal-Article-Provoked-a/240021

    • Artemis Jade Says:

      The party line, quoted by Tuvel critic Botts in this article, is that ‘race is a function of ancestry, while gender is not.” Ijeoma Oluo, who wrote the anti-Dolezal profile in the Stranger , takes the same stance: “The majority of black people suffer…from their parents and their parents parents .. being seen as black in this world. This creates a cumulative and interest-building oppression passed generation to generation….When I gave birth to two cis sons, they inherited none of my female oppression.” But if Oluo had daughters, the daughters would have “inherited” this anguished history. These arguments that rely on the pain of an oppressed ‘ancestry’ discount the experience of female pain at the second-class status of women, which status little girls perceive starting at a very young age.

      • Oak and Ash Says:

        That sort of “reasoning” seems to be just one more way of saying women’s pain doesn’t count. Claims by Oluo and others that women suffer individually rather than collectively have always struck me as part of the attempt to keep women from banding together in solidarity.

        As for inheriting oppression, modern research into epigenetics suggests that suffering may be literally heritable. Some studies have provided evidence that people can be affected by stress and other adverse circumstances experienced by their parents and even grandparents in childhood, so there’s no reason to believe that women don’t inherit the suffering of their mothers and grandmothers in addition to experience their own oppression. And there are also all the harmful cultural traditions that mothers are expected to inflict on their own daughters.

      • hearthrising Says:

        So ancestry is real because it is inherited, but sex oppression is false because it is not inherited (at least by boys). Age discrimination is false because we’re born young. The disabled are only oppressed if their parents had the same disability. I don’t place too much importance on absurd arguments like this. This is convoluted logic cis allies tell themselves in order to protect and affirm their commitment to male supremacy, while reconciling this commitment with their other beliefs. Enlightenment is trying to poke through and they are desperately fighting it off.

  26. GallusMag Says:

    “The feminist thought police are the flip side of the alternative facts machine.”- a scathing take-down of the whole mess here:

    http://thephilosophicalsalon.com/if-this-is-feminism-its-been-hijacked-by-the-thought-police/

    I’d love to know which of the writers now decrying the savaging of Rebecca Tuvel would give the same consideration to allowing feminists space to discuss Radical Feminist analysis of Gender. As someone speculated upthread, I suspect not many.

    • GILAW Says:

      I was struck by the careful way this author tried to defend her PhD student while still making sure to note how very terribly oppressed trans people and people of color really are, certainly more than women.

    • Kathleen Lowrey Says:

      Too right — for many of the outside observers most excited about this it’s because it pushes their “feminism is stupid” and “girl fight hurr durr!” buttons. Brian Leiter, for example, is *delighted* by it all because it’s a humiliation for his liberal feminist enemies who have been disgusted by his spirited defense of the creepy creepster male academic Peter Ludlow.

      There is zero chance they will draw the conclusion that the basic problem with this situation is too little feminism. Of course it will be evidence for them that there is too much feminism, feminism has gone too far, and the rest of that nonsense.

    • Oak and Ash Says:

      The more I read and think about what happened, the more troubling I find the entire incident. There’s a new article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Shannon Winnubst, one of those involved in writing the letter calling for retraction.
      (http://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Tuvel-s-Article-So/240029)

      She writes, “The fundamental problem with Tuvel’s article isn’t her ability to construct a rational argument but rather the omission of any sustained engagement with the well-developed, interdisciplinary scholarship on race and gender, particularly by black and trans scholars” and–just like everyone else–doesn’t provide any substantive criticism of the article. Does anyone who posts here believe that if Tuvel had engaged sufficiently with that scholarship, she would then have been allowed to make the comparison she does? No, I didn’t think so.

      Also, are we to assume that no white male philosopher has written anything equally problematic from a PoMo, social justice point of view? Why has there not been a similar callout against any male-authored articles? Once again, I don’t think we need the help of a philosopher to work out the answer to that.

      Moreover, I find Kelly Oliver’s remarks about those who piled on in public while sending sympathetic messages privately quite revelatory of what’s really going on. It’s ironic that it’s Tuvel being attacked for misusing her supposed “white female” privilege, when I see the white women who attacked her engaging in a kind of white, upper middle class “self-dealing” that I’ve observed since I left my working class town to go to an expensive college. In a sexist professional culture with limited opportunities for women, some women can improve their own individual chances of success by demeaning other women to win the approval of men (a.k.a. “transwomen” in this particular case). I haven’t noticed that women who explicitly call themselves feminists behave much differently. And there’s probably also a role for internalized misogyny in this drama.

      Tuvel’s biggest mistake is one I admit to making as a grad student who thought I wanted an academic career–she assumed that the point of intellectual endeavor was to figure out what was really true rather than to follow established dogma. If her opponents could make convincing arguments against her article, they would make them, but since she’s challenged certain foundational assumptions with devastating logic, they’re left with no alternative but to charge her with heresy.

    • GallusMag Says:

      ?
      I cited it in the above comment, ^^^. Thank you.

      (I wondered if you would equally defend speech of philosophers who argue a radical feminist analysis of gender)

  27. Medi Says:

    Oak and Ash — right on target—

    “Claims by Oluo and others that women suffer individually rather than collectively have always struck me as part of the attempt to keep women from banding together in solidarity.”

    Tell this to all the girls who were recently released by Boko Haram, that collectively girls and women are terrorized by men— yes, keep feminism meaningless, and keep fueling the thought police so that women don’t consistently build on solidarity across time. Keep trying to erase sisterhood, keep being cowardly in standing up for academics who question the who trans-racial trans-gender narrative…. meanwhile male leaders who “rescue” girls get to parade them around the capital, because whether men are heroes or not, they get to “play” both roles don’t they.

  28. franklin Says:

    Hilarious video by some Australian comedians:

    “Becoming trans is the only way a straight white man can have a say on sex, race, or any minority issue.”

    “No, I don’t think gender is a ‘thing’. But I think you’re a fraud.
    Yeah, but I identify as not a fraud.”


  29. I read the Oleu rebuttal (*eyeroll) and the response article to her comment. I’m glad other people see the hypocrisy. But her commentary is not uncommon, unfortunately. At the risk of airing dirty laundry, it’s actually been a real issue with Black women in pseudo activist spaces with huge followings and clout – I’m talking popular YouTube channels, sponsorships, successful Twitter pages, successful brands, books, basically mini celebs – championing MtT issues as if their lives depend on it and then cussing out Dolezal ten tweets later. And they will jump through all sorts of awkward hoops and analogy fails to justify it but people eat it up because it’s what’s trendy lately and of course because people love to see women centering biological men. But it makes 0 sense no matter what angles they try to argue it from or how many false and unfounded statements they attempt to offer as some kind of truism. For a group of women who are well aware of power dynamics and systemic abuse of power, they are completely and totally blind to it when it comes to trans identity. And even when we try to engage with them to challenge their logic, they either go AWOL on the post or go on the defensive. It’s been such a draining experience to the point where I have had to separate from brands and spaces I used to love because they refuse to apply any nuance or logic to this issue and will sell womanhood completely up the river without apology. Thankfully, there’s a minority of “woke” Black women on social media who, despite folks’ expectations, do not feel compelled to mix our issues as Black women up with biological men who feel like women, as they see very clearly the power dynamic that’s at play.

    • Carter Abbie Says:

      It’s absolutely maddening and it’s what pushed me well over Peak Trans. This notion that your oppression as a female isn’t shared with sons is specious as fuck when it’s well noted that single mothers are overly represented in poverty. Why the hell do they think that is if not oppression? And how does it not impact their sons? And that’s only one example. The hand that rocks the cradle…oppression of women blows back on children of both sexes. How could it not?


      • Exactly! But a lot of women really do not appreciate- or even know – the reality about our collective standing in this world. Women are separated from each other. We also have a bit of special snowflake syndrome, which is human. But it can blind us from the fact that we aren’t the exception to the rule and that we are part of larger systems at work and that yes, that includes our sons.


      • @Carter Abbie

        (sorry if my response sequence is off)
        “Because we are so racially segregated most black women are much more likely to encounter these effeminate gay male trans than the hulking middle aged white male autogynephiles.”

        Now that is a darn good point! Hit the nail on the head with that. Laverne Cox and Janet Mock are just as flowery as they wanna be and very much a part of our social circles or family circles. There’s also still that internal patriarchal programming going on with many of these women, too with the over indulging every male feeling and emotion. Because rarely, if ever, are they discussing FtT issues.

        Haha, yes I too have witnessed the Lipstick Alley rebuttals on MtT issue. I was surprised but very much like “Oh thank you jebus!!” and breathed a sigh of relief.

    • Cassandra Says:

      @sure-footed Cynic:
      I was reading some Jezebel article after the Dolezal fiasco and there was one Black woman in the comments section going full on po-mo SJW on some radfems that got out of the grays. It’s my interpretation that many of the Black women who defend MtT see excluding them as being too reminiscent of “their” own exclusion/disregard from the mainstream second wave feminist movement. I’m sure you know this already but I found it incredibly disheartening to realize that’s what it is. Perhaps they’re afraid of being seen as hypocrites? What a nightmare “gender identity” is on about a thousand levels.

      • CarterAbbie Says:

        I get that I really do. I also think that because the majority of black male trans are gay men they are able to empathize out of racial unity. Because we are so racially segregated most black women are much more likely to encounter these effeminate gay male trans than the hulking middle aged white male autogynephiles. One of my dearest friends stunned me when she embraced trans, but one of her closest friends is trans. When you factor in the racism that has been endemic in much of the feminist movement, I suppose their reaction is not surprising. I’ve been heartened however by some of the posts I’ve seen of late as trans keep pushing their agenda. Someone posted about that Andraya boy on Lipstick Alley and the condemnation was swift and effusive.

        And these black feminists are very much outliers. On most sites frequented by black women it’s a totally different story.


      • Yup, a nightmare that won’t seem to end. I never made the feminist connection but I’m sure that is a big part of it. I think that once it became a “bathroom issue”, that’s when it was like a trigger word and everyone was automatically thinking Civil Rights and linking it to Black people’s bathroom segregation. I noticed that it snowballed from there and it was “all systems go”. even though it’s a false comparison, it was too late to backtrack because most minds had already made the connection. It has caused a lot of confusion and 9 times out of 10 it’s women bearing the burden of it. It’s very draining. I no longer engage with women who choose to shoulder this burden as their own to cape for grown men. It has become a huge waste of time and I just don’t have it in me right now, lol.

  30. Cassandra Says:

    You’re such a great writer, GM.

  31. GallusMag Says:

    Thanks, New York Times, for citing GenderTrender (twice!) :

  32. Artemis Jade Says:

    The academics who did a discussion at Public Seminar were ethical enough to thank GenderTrender for being their source for the original Hypatia article and the open letter.

    http://www.publicseminar.org/2017/05/what-happened-at-hypatia/#.WSEagLiVyTk

    • GallusMag Says:

      What?! Wow, thanks! 🙂

    • GallusMag Says:

      I can’t believe I missed that discussion too! Thank you for linking it! x

      • GallusMag Says:

        Great discussion. Thanks again!

        Also a hilarious exchange in comments:

        • Reply•Share ›
        Avatar
        B • 8 days ago
        A side note – While I appreciate that you found their post helpful, you might want to check out the blog gendertrender a little more carefully before linking and thanking them in your notes, given the topic under discussion…
        • Reply•Share ›
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        Tenured_Radical B • 8 days ago
        Citing GenderTrender is not an endorsement of any content that appears on that blog or the political positions it takes. When the organizers of the Hypatia letter closed their Google doc the signatures were obscured; in addition, the Tuvel article was not available without a subscription to Hypatia or to Wiley Online. In other words, we are citing to documents that were otherwise unavailable to us, since neither the signers or Hypatia chose to make them available in their complete form. Yes, I did check it out before using it — something which our conversation encourages more generally. And regardless of any political differences with GeneerTrender, I happen to know that running an independent blog is a lot of work, so expressing gratitude for getting us the documents we needed to discuss the issues in an informed manner — something the signers and Hypatia could have done but did not — does not seem out of line to me. But it does seem a symptom of the atmosphere that one should be expected to make a political disavowal in order to direct readers to the sources we used.

        I would also point out that some signatories feel they have been unfairly exposed by Brian Leiter’s many posts on this incident, and although we sympathize with people who have been trolled as a result (I’ve had that experience — it’s awful) his reporting is also part of the story.
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        B Tenured_Radical • 8 days ago
        Fair enough, glad you are aware and thank you for responding. I cannot help but wonder if a blog dedicated to advancing white supremacy in a similarly hateful way would be treated quite the same way in the notes of an academic conversation about race…. but perhaps the comparison is not fair; the last thing I want is to perpetuate the attitude of perpetual political policing that created this debacle in the first place, and the truth is, I too depended on Gendertrender to read the documents in question, and I certainly don’t feel that that reflects on my politics in any way. So I can’t in good faith say what I would want you and your co-authors to do differently, other than that I am glad the topic was raised and responded to in the comments.
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        Queered B • 7 days ago
        You are replicating, ironically, the entire point of this forum. Gendertrender is a feminist site which documents quite thoroughly instances of sexism and misogyny. It critiques identity politics as well. That does not make it an unfair source to use here any more than any of the speakers above.

        —————-

        “…. the truth is, I too depended on Gendertrender…..”

        LMAOOOOOOOO.

      • LC Says:

        Haha, so even while trying to distance themselves, they make it blatantly clear that your blog is invaluable. I don’t know of a better compliment than that, Your enemies need you!

      • GallusMag Says:

        I’m still laughing at this! Also that he would liken a blog critical of transracialism, written by those oppressed by race, with a white supremacist hate blog. What a tool. Hahahaha. Can’t make this shit up.

      • Leo Says:

        Lol, that’s too funny, and ‘grats for the deserved acknowledgements! Wonder if the first poster in the thread (B) was just trying to cover their back after what happened to Tuvel by bringing it up, the thanks (not that I agree with them obviously) yeah, but not the linking. I mean, this is academia not tumblr, WTF at the idea it might somehow be an issue merely to link even to sources you really disagreed with politically or straight-up offensive stuff, what an odd suggestion to make at all. How do they ever cover political issues/theory if controversial texts aren’t Ok to directly discuss, let alone just link to? So, if the problem with Gendertrender is meant to be that’s it’s so evil and transphobic it must not be linked to (lol) even when it’s a valuable source, then as Kelly Oliver’s writing on sexual violence and harm conveyed through pornography is mentioned, I’m guessing that following that logic she should be treated as either an evil SWERF who must therefore not be named (the liberal feminist version), or is beyond the pale for discussing such potentially upsetting misogynistic material as pornography. But it kind of ought to be obvious to them (and perhaps is, judging by the results of their discussion) that nothing actually gets done that way. It’d have made more sense if they’d only raised a tentative objection to the thanks at least, not to the linking.

        Bloody hell, why are *academics* who haven’t read the stuff getting away with it? Students bluffing, that’s understandable, but not actual academics, though I don’t think they deserve to be called so if they can’t even read what they’re commenting on. 0_o

  33. thisismeandonlyme Says:

    Unbelievable. Well, OK, believable. This is academia?

  34. Medi Says:

    Oh gee Gallus, you just wupped the gender queer academics, good for you. “….the truth is, I too depended on Gendertrender…” LOL LOL, you’re going to make the lot of them very uncomfortable.

  35. red Says:

    It’s gratifying to see them out themselves as not only bigots but unworthy of any academic credibility. But what else would you expect from people who believe the 12 cadaver study?

  36. Medi Says:

    Oh the 12 cadaver study, how scientifically rigourous. The thing is, most of the feminist academics out there have sold out to the trans, long ago. GenderTrender blog just wasn’t a part of the academy, so Gallus could just go for the research and have legions of women contribute info collectively. The facts just keep coming and coming and coming, until Hypatia just had to have yet another peak trans moment, meanwhile, the academic feminist women with their PhDs and tenured jobs, just have to face the facts—- there is no freedom of speech among feminists who challenge the gender blender establishment, but the women who do independent research are just carrying the torch forward!

  37. michelle Says:

    Thought this was fitting…a local Catholic university contemplating getting rid of the Philosophy program altogether.

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/University-of-St-Thomas-may-eliminate-philosophy-11167014.php

    And of course, all those tenured profs are already engaged in their hand-wringing because they might have to go out in the real world. They seem not to understand that tenure only works so long as the Department exists…

  38. Medi Says:

    “They are paid to lie. My labor is unpaid so I have no such obligation.”— LOL Gallus this just hit the wit jackpot machine ding ding ding, see the male to trans without the dong…. paraphrasing Justice Clarence Thomas LOL…..


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