Friday, 21 February 2014

Duplicitous or £9 notes...?

There seems to be a bit of a TErf offensive going on right now attempting to use “science” to discredit and delegitimize trans people. TErfs are disinterring the old canard of "scientific" gender to tell everyone that trans women can never be ‘real’ women. Our chromosomes are different, they say, we do not menstruate, they say, we cannot have children, they say. As Stavvers explains in her excellent article taking down their biological essentialism, society and technology have evolved to the extent that women, including trans women, no longer need to be defined by biology. Biology is no longer destiny.

 “What about chromosomes?” bleat the TErfs with all the originality of joke in a Christmas cracker. Yawn. You need a laboratory and trained scientists to be able to identify these accurately, they simply cannot be used for the purposes of gender identification in the course of everyday life. Remember it took a team of scientists nine months to come to the opinion that Caster Semenya was female, and even then they would only give an opinion not a definitive answer. Indeed it is highly likely that only a tiny percentage of the population have ever, like Caster, had their chromosomes examined.

So let’s hear it again: TErfs want to use something that is invisible and undetectable in the course of everyday life, to distinguish women from trans women. Priceless.

So if, as Stavvers explains, women no longer need to be tied to biological functions, why have the TErfs started spouting huge quantities of essentialism, something almost every feminist opposes?
The answer can only be that the biological essentialism is not actually what they are focusing on. It is not the point of their argument or the reason they embrace it. 

So in that case what is the point of so-called feminists arguing something that undermines feminism? The answer can only be that these arguments are in fact nothing but a front for transphobia and oppression. They represent nothing more than an attempt to delegitimize trans people with the intention of discriminating against us. These people tell us they do not wish to persecute trans people yet they are attempting to have us classified as 2nd class women, or indeed not the genders we are at all. The TErfs are effectively saying that they have the right to decide who we are that they are the sole arbiters of gender, based on characteristics that are no longer crucial determinants. A kind of gender fascism. In a small taste of this mode of action, a London-based TErf deliberately misgendered me (but not to my face) while threatening one of my friends with violence at an LGBT History month event this week.

In fact the tired TErf trope “trans women are men,” carries with it so much baggage in terms of biological essentialism that it can only be read in terms that are intensely anti-feminist.  In truth a simple deconstruction of this attempt to exclude, delegitimize, erase, disempower, misrepresent and bully trans women is very revealing. It exposes the TErfs’ illogical and ideological obsessive hatred and how the dishonest fa├žade of feminism they hide behind is far greater than any genuine commitment to anything other than oppression of trans people. These people are true fanatics, fixated by their hatred of trans people, trans women in particular.  In their desire to mandate us out of existence, they will misuse whatever they can in order to achieve that aim as they have done in the past.

Recent attacks have demonstrated clearly that some people who claim to be either trans-allies or neutrals are either nothing of the sort or gullible dupes with a level of credibility somewhere between that of J Michael Bailey and a £9 note.