Et tu, Owen Jones?

February 25, 2015

Originally posted on FireWomon:

Early last summer, following the Dyke March debacle, Benjamin Cohen, publisher and CEO of Pink News, retweeted a trans male, Sarah Brown, telling me to suck his balls:

benjamin cohen rt

Sarah Brown is a man who identifies as a woman. He has, according to him, had surgery to remove his external male genitalia. Whether his balls are pickled or not, I don’t know, and nor do I want to. The point is that it’s rather rude to tell a woman to suck your balls. (For the avoidance of doubt, I did not write the post to which he linked, nor have I ever written anything for that site. If I had, I’d own up to it. It’s a good site.)

I asked Cohen whether I was to take his retweet as an endorsement:

ben cohen me endorsement 1

I didn’t get any further response from Cohen. Now, if I were him, and I had NOT…

View original 2,974 more words

Photo of Germaine Greer that accompanied the letter in theGuardian

Photo of Germaine Greer that accompanied the Guardian letter

Letter from the Guardian:

“We cannot allow censorship and silencing of individuals

Universities have a particular responsibility to resist this kind of bullying

The Observer, Friday 13 February 2015 19.04 EST

The fate of Kate Smurthwaite’s comedy show, cancelled by Goldsmith’s College in London last month (“What could be more absurd than censorship on campus”, Nick Cohen, Comment) is part of a worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed “transphobic” or “whorephobic”. Most of the people so labelled are feminists or pro-feminist men, some have experience in the sex industry, some are transgender.

Last month, there were calls for the Cambridge Union to withdraw a speaking invitation to Germaine Greer; then the Green party came under pressure to repudiate the philosophy lecturer Rupert Read after he questioned the arguments put forward by some trans-activists. The feminist activist and writer Julie Bindel has been “no-platformed” by the National Union of Students for several years.

“No platforming” used to be a tactic used against self-proclaimed fascists and Holocaust-deniers. But today it is being used to prevent the expression of feminist arguments critical of the sex industry and of some demands made by trans activists. The feminists who hold these views have never advocated or engaged in violence against any group of people. Yet it is argued that the mere presence of anyone said to hold those views is a threat to a protected minority group’s safety.

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My Apology to Bruce Jenner

February 10, 2015

Marti in red outfit "dramatizing" Jenner's cross-dressing for National Enquirer

Marti in red outfit “dramatizing” Jenner’s cross-dressing for National Enquirer

terf

coda gardner rapists terfs

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Dave’s #EpicStrut

January 22, 2015

TransMirror

“Often, I wanted to be a girl.

I’d wanted that, off and on, since I was about nine years old. I was often mistaken for a girl as a child, and once puberty, which wasn’t pretty, more or less ended, I could sometimes pass for a girl again. One school journey as a sixth former, staying in a French hotel and having consumed a glass of wine or two, I happily let the girls dress me in their make-up and clothes. (I stuck a photo of that evening in a diary and labelled it “the feminine mystique.” My dad saw it and said, “What the hell do you think you’re playing at.”)

I found different ways of making sense of these feelings from childhood onwards, framing them through whatever I found available. At age nine, I fantasized that I could have a switch like the one on my Telstar Pong game that flipped between GAME and TV, except mine would read BOY and GIRL. In my early twenties, when the feelings either didn’t go away or returned again, I had much more freedom to dress up how I liked, and a circle of friends who accepted it. I read comic books like Neil Gaiman’s gender-playful Sandman, the sex-shifting Shade The Changing Man, Doom Patrol, with a hermaphrodite superhero, and Enigma, which concluded with a chapter simply titled “Queer.” One Christmas my grandma gave me a £10 check and, subversively, I used it to pay for a mail-order pamphlet called The Transvestite’s Guide to London. That was the vocabulary of the time. Those were the discourses of the time, the early 1990s. Twenty years later, when I did have Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, I found different words that also made sense of my feelings and experiences.

So by the 2010s I thought I was pretty set. I thought I knew a lot. I thought I knew about feminism. I thought I knew about gender. I had a lot to learn.

I’m sure everything about my account above is steaming with privilege, with confidence, with complacency. Books, travel, toys, cool parents, even famous family friends. It’s hard to quantify how much of that is due to factors like class and ethnicity, but I think I willfully ignored how much of it was to do with being born and raised as male. Whenever I imagined myself as a girl or woman, I saw myself as a high school Supergirl, as Elle Woods from Legally Blonde or Cher from Clueless: popular, smart, sharp, a perfect balance of charmingly charismatic and self-effacingly adorable. I imagined it happening like magic. I imagined, but I didn’t really think. I didn’t think about what it would really mean to grow up that way, under those conditions, and to become a woman within our society: a warzone, effectively, with women as the constant target.

Just as I was self-centered enough to never have considered my own mother as someone with a richer and more fascinating life than my own, I’d denied the fact that, despite my research, despite my reading, despite my good intentions, I had been successfully trained up as a boy, and then a man, within patriarchy. Yes, as a white middle-class man; but it was patriarchy that did the most work on me. Yes, I often felt so uncomfortable within the frameworks of masculinity that I dodged desperately to escape and become something different, but still, patriarchy did its work, and when it suited me, I embraced it and I accepted its benefits.

I’m still glad social media didn’t exist when I was a teenager. But it was social media that put me in contact—initially, in conflict—with women who pointed out what I should have seen years ago. I made demands of women online that I wouldn’t make of men. I challenged them, expecting answers, in a way I wouldn’t challenge men. Some ingrained, entitled part of me expected them to provide me with information on demand. I expected women to shush when I spoke. I expected to hold the floor. I expected to be thanked and praised for gestures in their direction. I expected to be the hero.

Then I talked to women who didn’t let that happen, and it briefly shocked me. Maybe social media, with its anonymity, enables more direct, no-nonsense responses to strangers than I was used to in real life, where women might be more inclined to raise their eyebrows and keep their peace: but I was told to hold my tongue, to butt out of conversations, to go away and read.

And, surprising myself a little, I did what I was told. I went away and read. I read a lot. I read blogs written that morning, and books anthologizing feminist pamphlets from the 1960s. I read pieces that contradicted each other, and I followed debates, and thought about them. But more importantly, I genuinely backed off, for one of the first times in my life. I accepted the role of a minor, almost-insignificant supporting character, rather than the hero, for once. I sometimes asked to join conversations between women and I was ignored, and it smarted but I swallowed it. So instead, I read: and online, of course, that’s a form of listening. Social media has many flaws, but one of its strengths is that through reading, you can listen and learn without bothering anyone: You can read and absorb, without feeling the need to interrupt and give your opinion. That’s an important instinct, I think, for a man to overcome: the feeling that everyone is waiting for your opinion. And because I was given no choice, I managed it. And then after a while, I sometimes spoke up, and when they had time, the women listened and responded, sometimes cautiously, but for the most part generously and encouragingly.

Perhaps with hindsight, my long-term, helpless yearning to be a girl, or later a woman, has always been more about not-wanting to be a boy or man. But it took me a long time to understand what not-being a man, on a social level, has to involve.”

Excerpted from here: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120788/men-who-want-be-feminists-should-shut-and-listen-women

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