My radical feminism
is about liberating women.
So, icymi, feminism fighting transphobia is a thing.A thing that almost 800 people feel strongly enough to publicly put their name on the petition. I wonder how many of them were old enough to read feminist literature when I was first blogging about political change in the 90s. I wonder how many of them have read the feminist literature now. Not that I have. I’m a latecomer to the scene and am working my through the seminal works written before I was born or shortly thereafter. These books are making points that are far too relevant today. In fact, some of the issues have gotten worse in our culture given the access to technology and media that has permeated nearly the entire planet (they’re working on it).
I’m a middle aged tech woman that thought feminism was continuing to liberate my sisters whilst I was raising a child on my own and participating in a lukewarm dead-end career. It was only when my own daughter was being targeted in university by sex work ads (“one summer of escorting= one year of college, good times, sign up now!”) that I began looking at the state of feminism today. My concern at that point was that young women would be shamed into sex work if they were incurring loans. In Germany, where sex work is legalized, an unemployed woman under 55 will be cut off of benefits if she does not choose sex work.
As I started to delve deeper into the issues, I found that the state of feminism is not pretty. If we have a site with nearly 800 signatories that claims feminism is about fighting transphobia and NOT patriarchy we’ve got serious problems. The fact that they can blanketly label me and my radfem sisters with no concrete evidence provided should lead any critical thinker to scratch their heads.
Elizabeth Hungerford has written an excellent response to the ‘feminists fighting transphobia’ petition. Her post and the ensuing comments are enough to give you a lot of think over and think through. If you are not aware of her name, she wrote this 2011 letter to the UN with another radical feminist expressing their concerns that the proposed gender identity legislation amounted to the erosion of sex based legal rights for biological females.
That letter and the ensuing and ongoing storm is what has brought more than a few feminists forward with questions. And there are answers to them but you won’t find it in 140 character tweets or quick reads on tumblr, facebook or medium. If you’ve not given a lot of thought to feminism I ask you to take the time to really question why nearly 800 people are signing a petition that is not about fighting patriarchy but fighting a group of women that believe the construct of gender is a tool of oppression used by the patriarchy and as such it should be eliminated.
I myself have faced threats of violence for attending a radical feminist conference in Toronto. I have lost friends who have accused me of transphobia. Radical feminists are now forced to meet in secret due to direct actions of hatred and venue cancellations. Are trans meeting in secret? No.Are radical feminists creating petitions calling for elimination of transpeople? No. What kind of liberty exists for those of us who believe the construct of gender is harmful to all? None.I do not hate trans nor do I wish them excluded from human rights. The accusations of transphobia are atrocious. I’m genderphobic and I think all of us should be, male or female.
Our radfem meetings are about issues that affect females: reproductive justice, sex trafficking, nonstate torture, and the harmful effects of the objectification of girls and women in our culture. Basically: systemic oppression and it’s many forms that affect us from birth. And more importantly, our meetings discuss about how can we directly act to free all women from the oppression against us that is still raging across the planet. As one radical feminist put it to me recently: “Until all our sisters are not systematically oppressed, none of us are free.”
My feminism will always be about fighting patriarchy and this ‘fighting transphobia’ forum and the attention it has received by feminist women purporting to liberate women disturbs me greatly. If your feminism puts patriarchy at the top of your concerns regarding the ongoing oppression of women, the petition should trouble you too.