A Culture of Fragility

I’m often told that “Dead-naming and misgendering are literally responsible for the deaths of trans people” and I’ve personally known trans people who have committed suicide. I nearly did so myself a few years ago. I know how much these things can hurt. I used to feel devastated, crushed, invalidated and ashamed.

I was lucky though because something changed for me. I started to see gender as being socially constructed and to see how society conflates femininity with being female and masculinity with being male. I came to accept that it’s ok for me to be a male who looks and acts like I do. How there should be no need for anyone to think I’m *actually* female to be a perfectly valid and worthy person as I am. Accepting this meant I no longer had to live with the cognitive dissonance of believing that I’m female whilst knowing that females don’t father children. It meant I was able to let go of the volatile, unstable belief system that, despite objective reality, I have a female brain and that made me female. So now I’m fortunate that I don’t get too upset, or damaged by somebody using my old name or misgendering me because it doesn’t burst my bubble.

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STOP EVERYTHING

Ok so here’s the thing about transactivists and “TERFS”…..
You are all saying the same fucking thing! This whole thing is about semantics so get a grip people and start directing your anger in the right place instead of at each other.

Here are the things you are all saying…

1) Genitals do not dictate personality. 

2) Grouping people into two social groups based on genitals is bullshit

3) We should all be freed to live authentic lives and embrace our personalities and embrace the cultural artefacts of our choosing irrespective of our genitals

4) Some humans may prefer things traditionally labelled masculine, or feminine, or both. Again this has nothing to do with genitals. 

5) people should not be discriminated against because of their genitals

6) people should not be discriminated against because behaviour and expression doesn’t match that which society traditionally associated with a given set of genitalia.

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Does it matter?

This is a very personal, self indulgent post. It’s just about me. It’s not about the wider issues and it’s certainly not about class analysis. It’s a brain dump in an effort to make sense of myself.

I’ve written loads about what woman means, and about how transwomen aren’t women. I’m not and never will be female obviously, but fuck, you know sometimes maybe it’s appropriate to contextualise things in terms of the real world that we actually live in.

People argue about whether gender is innate or just a social construct and whilst this is really interesting and all that, in the real world that I actually inhabit gender is very much alive and well and the vast majority of people that I meet in real life (not on the internet) have absolutely zero concept of gender as a social construct. As far as they are concerned I clearly present as and live as a woman. And nobody gives a shit. I just get on with my life.

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What is a woman? What is a transwoman?

I think that these are really important questions. On the surface they seem quite simple questions but once you start to look at the implications we can start to understand what the real issues might be.

The question is about the definition of woman. A good place to start with definitions is usually the dictionary.

“woman
noun
An adult human female.

I don’t think that the definitions of human or adult are in contention, but let’s look at the dictionary definition of female.

“female
noun
Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes.”

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Hi Helen. Your blog is pretty interesting – it’s cool to see a different perspective on gender and transgender-ness. What pronouns do you use in every day life? If I’m gonna recommend your blog to someone, it feels nicer to use your normal pronouns than just pick one at random even if you’re not all that bothered.

Honestly whatever you feel comfortable with. In my everyday life people refer to me as she but I don’t expect it or need it. Thank you for being respectful enough to ask though xx

Thanks, Helen for responding so quickly. I’d quite like to engage you in discussion over it, but it’s not easy in a limited character space. Suffice to say: I agree with you that it is best to start with the biology where we can talk about real objective characteristics. What goes on in our heads is really only known to ourselves. When it comes to biology, how many changes do you need to make before the assertion “sex is immutable” becomes untenable? I suspect that science isn’t finished yet.

You’re welcome. Always happy to discuss things xx

Male Violence: husbands who become transwomen

Male Violence: husbands who become transwomen

mymenarche:

“There wasn’t a time when he “dressed” and didn’t get an erection. Even after he started taking internet bought hormones. If anything, the thought that he was chemically transforming himself into “a woman”, held immense erotic charge for him…

…I know from bitter experience of reaching out, that the primary concern is for the welfare of the trans partner, who must never be questioned as the most oppressed creature to walk this planet.

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Hi Helen! I’ve been in touch with Miranda. She suggested that I contact you directly in order to pick up on your statement that “‘Trans women are women’ is a vicious and dangerous lie.” Two questions (for starters) are “how do you define a woman” and “how do you define a transwomen”. I do empathise with much of what you wrote, but I get bogged down with terminology that gets conflated and means different things to different people.

Thanks
for asking this. I think that they are really important questions. On the
surface they seem quite simple questions but once you start to look at the
implications we can start to understand what the real issues might be.

Your
first question is about the definition of woman. A good place to start with
definitions is usually the dictionary.

“woman
noun
An adult human female.

I don’t
think that the definitions of human or adult are in contention, but let’s look
at the dictionary definition of female.

This is interesting! Show me all of it...