Some Thoughts

About five years ago, I wrote a post on this blog called Queer2Trans, in which I theorized that the champions of the trans movement would increasingly attempt to make it the next big intellectual fad, largely inheriting and occupying a similar place which queer theory has now enjoyed for many years. I also predicted that trans theory would have several spin-off theories that would grow out of it and come along to support it and sheer it up, and that many lesbians, in particular, who have been laboring under the misassumption that they have a place in the big happy Queer family would increasingly come to understand that they had nowhere left to go in this movement that claimed to care for them.

Seeing where we are now, I don’t think I was too far off. Increasingly, queer organisations and queer ideology have been transformed to become explicitly trans-centred to the exclusion of everything else. The LGBTQ alphabet soup (which always had massive problems anyway) has been dismantled to the point where any other letter besides the T is only allowed to be a T-cheerleader and never discuss their own issues or declare their own rights to claim any resources from the movement, no matter how minor.

We’ve seen the rise of non-binary and genderqueer identities, as well as a plethora of obscure and impossible to keep track of sexual identities like demi-sexual, asexual, aromantic etc. which have all ridden in on the coattails of the trans movement and are all used to sheer up the false idea that there is an endless variety of gender and sexual identities, and that this further somehow ‘proves’ the existence of trans.

Lesbians have predictably been getting screwed over. I think one of the most obvious examples of this is the treatment of Arielle Scarcella, who, despite being as queer-affirming and trans-affirming as she possibly could, was still put in front of a firing squad for daring to understand the basic fact that lesbians are women who are sexually attracted to other women and not men, and that the trans movement employs incredibly rapey tactics to try and guilt and shame lesbians into sex with men they don’t want to have.

Funny how it never works out for women to support the eradication of their own rights, isn’t it? Whoever could have seen this coming, I wonder? (Besides every radical feminist and lesbian feminist ever).

Anyway, just for funsies, I thought I might make another post discussing some of my thoughts on the current state of where we’re at, and where I think we might possibly be headed in the future.

First of all, there is no question that the trans movement, thus far, has been extremely successful in getting what it wants, in winning nearly all of its battles, and in duping a huge number of people into going along with it. But, as the trans movement has continued to grow, so too has resistance to it. I think a lot of people who are only just now waking up to the madness and suddenly finding out they’re living in a dystopian nightmare when until a short while ago they thought everything was fine, are, understandably, scared, angry, and feeling rather helpless. But as someone who has been watching all of this unfold for a long time, I am actually seeing far more resistance than ever before, far more awareness of these issues amongst the general public who have previously dismissed much of this as a fringe issue they didn’t care about and who are just starting to realise how wrong they were, and a trans narrative that is becoming more convoluted and confusing and less convincing by the day.

Part of running any successful campaign for political and social change is having a simple message that the average person can understand and learn to sympathise with. Even if the issues are complex and nuanced, the campaigners have to find a way they can boil that message down into a few simple points they can drill into people’s minds over and over again. In some ways, it’s unfortunate that this is the case – I for one would love to see far more complex political conversations happening in the public sphere, with much greater intellectual demands made of everyone taking part – But realistically, that doesn’t happen, and anyone who has ever fought for any kind of political change understands that.

The trans movement used to have this simple message with the born in the wrong body narrative, and explaining trans as a medical issue needing medical intervention and treatment. But as the movement has grown and become bloated with more and more terminology, more and more conflicting ideologies, as it has drawn more and more different types of people into its folds, and all of it backed up only by a very small amount of weak and faulty science, along with the classic thought-stopping mantra ‘transwomen are women’, tensions are starting to emerge.

One of those is the large and growing number of individuals wishing to claim a trans identity for various reasons without wanting to undergo medical treatments, or only very limited treatments they can pick and choose. Another tension is the push to de-medicalize trans identity – if it’s not a medical condition, then what is it, and why does it need to be paid for by the public? A lot of these people are adult men who don’t want to give up their fully functional pensis, or their male privilege, but want to have the option to go into any woman’s space they choose and dominate said space in a very male way (see the debates around gyms, locker rooms, women’s sports, support spaces for rape survivors etc.)

These men do indeed happily push the ‘need’ for medical transition, as long as it’s not being done to them. GNC children and teens are the main demographic who are targeted for medical transition, and again, as stupid as the general public is, they’re starting to notice the disparity between what is being proposed for children and what these adult men are actually doing for themselves.

All of the non-binary and snowflake identities are another complicating factor. The average person has neither the time nor the patience to understand something that has grown out a teen tumblr sub-culture, and it becomes ridiculous when applied to the real world, as seen in Canada’s recent LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP inclusiveness training for elementary school teachers (Oh Canada, you’re such an embarrassment to yourself). And, of course, the transgender movement can’t quite shake the growing ranks and association of the trans-race spinoff movement, which tends to bring into stark light for many people just how ridiculous and offensive trans-anything is.

In addition to all this, the trans movement blasts through people’s goodwill like a destructive tornado, frequently making enemies of those previously sympathetic to the cause. And in terms of the day to day interactions average people might have with trans people, the trans movement requires the average person to play along with a huge number of falsehoods; to believe that this person they have always known as one sex was really the other sex, to ignore any and all evidence they see that the person is still the same sex despite the fact that the trans person might sincerely wish otherwise. Some people are willing to do the mental gymnastics that requires, but many are not. Many will be silent dissenters, who will resent being forced into an abusive dynamic where they have to deny what they know to be true about the world to make someone else comfortable.

I think it is worth pausing here for a moment to point out a significant way in which the gay and lesbian movement and trans movement are fundamentally different in respect to the kinds of acknowledgement they want to have from others for their lives and realities. Unfortunately it’s necessary to do this again and again because the trans movement claims it’s just like the gay movement, and way too many people have been conned into believing this, including a lot of deluded lesbians and gays.

There’s no question that there are many homophobic people out there who would prefer not to acknowledge that gays and lesbians exist, and who might be angry or uncomfortable if they have, say, a gay or lesbian colleague who is out at work. They’ll be upset to have their worldview challenged, they’ll be upset if their work climate is such that they can’t oppress and bully that gay person as they wish.

However, a gay person wanting to be recognized as a gay person only requires recognizing that which is demonstrably true, it doesn’t require anyone to buy into falsehoods. A gay person is someone who is going to be pursuing romantic and sexual relationships with someone of the same sex. Their partner will be a same-sex partner. It’s true that a homophobic straight person might not want to recognize the legitimacy of a gay relationship, but in that case, it is the homophobic straight person believing false things (same sex love doesn’t exist etc.), not the gay person who experiences attraction to, and falls in love with, people of the same sex. Also, at no point to do gay people say that because gayness exists, heterosexuality can’t exist. A heterosexual person can recognize and affirm that someone else is gay without first having to disavow their own heterosexual orientation.

A gay person IS NOT a person who is secretly straight but wants to be called gay and be part of the gay community whilst also still being allowed to date opposite sex partners, and calling anyone a bigot if they question their actions (that’s what the queers do, lolololol), but the point should be obvious. This second scenario is much closer to what trans politics demands of people than the first.

Trans politics requires that people buy into the concept of ‘gender identity’, which is really just ‘comfort or discomfort with certain sex-stereotypes’, it requires them to accept the designation of ‘cis’ and change their own concept of their identity before they can affirm trans identity, it requires agreement that physical sexed bodies are meaningless and insignificant markers in how people are treated throughout life (which many, many women take issue with, given that we are oppressed on the basis of our female bodies), it requires an entire re-engineering of how we understand basic concepts like the fact that humans are a sexually dimorphic species and that this is something which remains constant across different times, races, and cultures, even if the social and political roles deemed appropriate for those who have male and female bodies may change over time and location. (I could go into a tangent here about how embarrassingly a-historical and a-cultural the entire trans movement is, but I’m sure my intelligent readers can think of numerous examples for themselves).

The trans movement requires lesbians and gay men to reconceptualize their sexuality as being same-gender attracted, not same-sex attracted, making the sexed body irrelevant and gender paramount, completely undermining the foundation of lesbian and gay sexualities. Again, this is also a lie. Lesbians are attracted to those who have female bodies, and many of us don’t care whether someone is ‘cis’ or not (as trans people use the term), in fact many of us go out of our way to find partners who are not ‘cis’, because we don’t want to be with someone who buys into damaging sex stereotypes. It’s another example of how others must not only accept what trans people say about themselves, but what trans people say about the rest of society as well.

The events at Speaker’s Corner in London and later at the Anarchist Book Fair where women were physically attacked, intimidated and threatened for opposing trans dogma are shocking and horrible, but, also, if anything, an example of trans’ peoples increasing levels of insecurity and fear in the failure of their movement to confound all resistance. Typically, abusers will ramp up abuse when their past abuse tactics have failed to work as they wish, and their victims are still resisting. It’s an attempt to force compliance through escalating brute force. It’s not going to work, especially as the ranks of those critical of trangenderism continue to grow.

For those who have bought into the trans movement, they have a lot to lose if it fails, and that is why many are fighting so hard to stop the ship from going down. At least some of the politicians who championed this shit will lose their careers (as they should, honestly); I sincerely hope that many of the doctors and psychologists and gender therapists who have created a market for all these hormones and surgeries will be punished for their absolute negligence and wrong-doing, though sadly, my guess is only a small number will be left holding the can and most will get away scot free to reinvent themselves elsewhere. Academics and various other hangers-on will lose their easy career tickets. Trans individuals themselves will become sad victims of medical experimentation instead of brave gender warriors as they are viewed now (to be clear, I don’t think either of these are fair characterisations of trans people, but again, the public is stupid and not capable of nuanced thinking). There will be a huge number of bystanders who will have to come to terms with the fact that they enabled a vicious and destructive cult, parents who will have to acknowledge they subjected their children to unnecessary and cruel and physically and psychologically damaging medical procedures, there will be many lesbians and gays who will have to confront their own internalized self-hatred and acknowledge the harms done to them by the medical community. Many more lesbians and gays who will have to come to terms with the fact that they willingly sold out their own movement to a bunch of anti-LGB ideologies. Liberal feminists who will have to acknowledge their own deeply internalized hatred of themselves and other women. There are men who have found the perfect way to deny their male privilege whilst still taking advantage of it and who are currently having a grand old time abusing women with impunity, and they sure as hell won’t want to give up on that. Everyone who has invested themselves in this cause will have to confront horrible things about themselves when it fails, and that is why the discourse is getting wilder, the screaming louder, the opposition more brutally silenced. (Actually, men are not going to confront anything about themselves once the trans movement fails. They’ll quite happily abandon it and skip along to the next thing they can use. The trans movement will have many victims, but the heterosexual men within it who are causing the most grief for everyone will not be among them. Also not everyone in those various other groups I mentioned will take responsibility for their actions either; they’ll just go quiet and slink away and pretend to themselves and everyone else they were never part of the problem).

Nevertheless, a lot of people have invested a lot into the trans movement, have bet their futures really, counting on being on the ‘right side of history’ (because who cares about ethics or morality as long as you’re seen as a hero by some theoretical future generation), and they will fight very hard to stop all that grandeur from slipping away.

But it will go. And for all that day may still be a ways off, I feel like we should already be thinking about what will come after that. Because I think it will be a time when things could either take a more genuinely progressive turn where we finally start to reevaluate a lot of the damaging ideologies and beliefs and political and social systems that are screwing us up, or we’ll take a hard conservative turn that will cause any kind of Leftist or politically challenging and revolutionary thought to become ridiculed and reviled, while ‘a return to tradition’ is seen as being the only thing that can save us, screwing over women and gays and lesbians and many other minorities, including, incidentally, all the current generation of the young and naive gender warriors, who won’t be well treated in a conservative setting at all. Guess I’ll revisit this blog in another five years’ time to see how the future is looking.

Is There Any Other Group that Refuses to Date within Their Own Community?

I don’t know if this analogy will help people to further realise the offensiveness of the transgender campaign to enforce the widespread corrective rape of lesbians (and occasionally a few gay men), but since it was something I came up with I thought, hell, why not, I’ll share it.

Trans people are very invested in trying to force people outside the trans community to date them, particularly transwomen who insist that lesbians have to validate them and fuck them or whatever. Of course transwomen never seem to want to date other transwomen, a point which feminists have brought up many times in relation to this issue. And the reason why is obvious – because transwomen are men, and they don’t want to date another man, they want to date a woman. And they believe they are entitled to that, even though they say lesbians are not entitled to also have our own sexuality and our own choices, of course.

But to illustrate the bizarreness of this, I was trying to think of any other group of people, no matter how big or small, who categorically refuse to date from within their own community, whilst also demanding that members of other communities date them.

And I really could not come up with a single example.

Gays and lesbians do not refuse to date other gay and lesbian people and go onto heterosexual dating sites expecting to find a straight person who will convert to a homosexual attraction for them.

German people do not refuse to date all other German people and instead go looking for partners who are exclusively French, and then demand that the French person must date them, perhaps even uproot their life and relocate to Germany etc., or they hate all Germans.

Christian people who want to find a Christian partner do not refuse to join Christian dating sites and instead sign up to Muslim dating sites and expect to find a Muslim who will convert to Christianity for them because they’re a nice person and the Muslim is being closed-minded if they don’t.

I’m not saying that people who come from different communities or who have different ethnicities etc. can’t or shouldn’t date each other, let’s be very clear about that, I’m just saying, I can’t think of any group out there who starts from a position of ruling out members of their own community as potential partners and instead fixates on some other group and expects the members of that other group to change their own identity in order to date them.

Saying but trans are such a tiny percentage of the population! Doesn’t really cut it. Gays and lesbians are a tiny percentage of the population too. Dating in small towns or rural areas is often challenging for gay and lesbian people. They still don’t expect straight people to date them on the grounds that otherwise their choices are too limited.

Of course there’s the perennial favourite: ‘transwomen are women, there’s no difference, how dare you suggest there is, that’s exactly like being a racist and saying Black women aren’t real women!’

But that is a lie. Transwomen have male bodies, that may or may not have undergone some degree of cosmetic surgery. That is not the same as being biologically female. Trying to bully someone into believing a lie and then punishing them if they don’t is evidence of being an abusive asshole, not evidence of giving a fuck about the rights of oppressed people.

If transwomen really believed that – If they believed transwomen were women, they would have no trouble dating other transwomen. But the numbers of them who do are vanishingly small. And there are no campaigns from within the trans movement that are all about teaching transpeople to learn to find other transpeople attractive, and to undo the ‘cis-normative’ ideas of attraction they have internalised. All of those types of campaigns are directed at lesbians. It is always seen as the responsibility of some other group to take care of transrights and transfeelings and most importantly, transdicks.

Just say no, dykes. Seriously. Find your fucking pride and say no to all this shit.

What happened to lesbians in Nazi Germany? All you need to know is that it wasn’t as bad as what happened to men

This article has some interesting (and horrible) information in it about how lesbians were treated in Nazi Germany, and also some shocking internalised misogyny on the part of the writer, which says so much about how far we still have to go in terms of recognising the torture of women as being actual torture.

The author writes, “Stories from women’s camps, while not as violent as the men’s, highlight one way the Nazis tried to reform lesbian internees.”

So what is she talking about that happened to women, and specifically lesbians, that wasn’t as bad as what happened to men? Specifically, this:

“The Nazis used the brothels to ‘convert’ lesbians back to heterosexuality – but the women’s lives came with a ‘use by’ date, after which most of them were killed. The average span, and often life expectancy, for a woman to work in forced prostitution in one of the camps was six months.”

So the writer is talking about forced prostitution and repeated corrective rape so violent that many women died, or were killed, within six months.

And that is not as bad as what happened to men. Because…Women aren’t human, I guess? And deserve to be raped to death by men? Like, what else do we exist for? This writer is behaving in such a way that violence against women and lesbians is normalised and erased, even though talking about those abuses is meant to be the point of the article. It is inexcusable. It’s also utterly self-defeating.

Gay men eventually got their memorial and their apology and the ability to claim compensation for what happened during the Nazi era, and I entirely support that. I wonder if anyone has bothered to erect a memorial to all those lesbians (and no doubt many other women) who were repeatedly raped and murdered in concentration camps? I wonder if that’s a cause gay men would help lesbians fight for? I think we all know the answer.

The Shaming of Lesbians in the Queer Female Community

Unfortunately, self-identified queer women shaming lesbians within the female queer community, particularly the young under 30s-community, is the norm these days. What would have once been primarily understood to be lesbian spaces for lesbian women are now queer spaces in which it is not acceptable for women to declare themselves lesbians, or uninterested in men, or uninterested in penises (especially the almighty ladypeen).

But who are these queer women who are shaming lesbians? I think a lot about this, and I don’t think the answer is a simple one. I also don’t think I’ve fully captured the complexity of what is going on in this post, probably not even close, and as someone who has tended to limit my exposure to queer spaces since I don’t find them that friendly to me, my analysis may be incomplete. But I wanted to get my thoughts down anyway, since these topics are being discussed so little that I think it’s important.

I think that often the radical feminist perspective is to assume that such queer women are primarily heterosexual or bisexual, and I think it’s true that a portion (maybe even a majority?) are. Certainly in queer spaces there are no shortage of women willing to declare themselves bisexual or pansexual or nonbinary or any other somewhat-cool-label that they hope (probably on a subconscious level) will enable them to escape some of the shit of compulsory heterosexuality without incurring the ire of the patriarchal overlords (which the term lesbian is sure to do).

But I also think it likely there is something else going on here; probably a few different, though related, things. I keep coming back to a particular kind of sub-set of women I’ve encountered in these spaces – women who very vehemently declare themselves bisexual (or perhaps queer, with the understanding they are interested in the ‘person and not the genitals’ or however it’s being put these days) – but who in the past, when they were younger (perhaps in their teens or very early 20s) said they were lesbians.

Now this is very interesting, and it’s not something I think I’ve ever really seen discussed before. Perhaps it’s just not very common, perhaps other lesbians haven’t encountered women who tell this sort of narrative, I really don’t know.

Of course, this age – late teens, early twenties – is a time of life when people are going through a lot of changes, developing quickly, learning new things, finding themselves, etc. etc. So it’s perhaps not surprising that someone who is still relatively young, still developing their sexuality, would find they had an attraction they hadn’t previously been aware of, or hadn’t previously felt.

And …Well, certainly for the sake of the individual women, I hope that’s the case. That it’s all nice and positive and freely chosen. But it’s difficult for me to put on blinkers and not think about what else could be going on here. Like…We know that young women are extremely vulnerable to sexual coercion and sexual assault and rape from men. We know that corrective rape is something that happens to lesbians all around the world. We know that many women and girls internalize sexual abuse they’ve experienced and blame themselves, or deny that it happened. (I really wanted it. It was just a case of ambiguous consent. It was just bad sex. I must have given off signals. Etc.) We also know that more covert and insidious patriarchal indoctrination is going on all the time (including in queer spaces that should, theoretically, be safe for lesbians), where these women are constantly getting the message that it’s not okay to be lesbian, that’s it’s not okay to write men off as potential sexual partners. In this kind of context, talking about consent and choice is fairly meaningless. The whole game is rigged to channel women, whether through subtle coercion or outright violence, into sexual availability to men.

And there is perhaps something to think about with age here. If you have a teenage girl who is calling herself a lesbian, but then in her twenties decides she is queer or bisexual…Well, is that happening because of entry into the local queer spaces via university or the scene? Is there something within queer culture that is contributing to that decision? In at least some cases, I would probably say yes.

I suppose part of what makes me ask these questions, aside from knowing how brutal patriarchal men are, is that some (certainly not all, but quite a few) of the bisexual/queer women I know who tell this I-used-to-be-a-lesbian-but-now-I -know-better narrative, have an extraordinary amount of anger towards lesbians.

Usually the reasons given for this fall – broadly – under the ‘lesbians are biphobic (and transphobic) bigots’ umbrella. Well…Not wanting to date someone or not wanting to hang out with someone in a social or political space because you don’t feel you have enough in common…Is not exactly bigotry or a phobia, for all it might be personally hurtful or upsetting…And nor do lesbians incur any kind of structural or societal advantage over bisexual/queer women for being lesbians, so let’s just head off that tired privilege argument before it even gets made.

But all that is rather beside the point I want to make here. Currently, it is queer sexuality – not lesbian sexuality – that is celebrated by the LGBT movement and the progressive left. Lesbians are certainly not in a position of power or authority over queer women; just the opposite. So why this anger that is thinly justified on the basis of some fictional phobia?

The potential for this being a patriarchal reversal are quite high – that it is in fact the queer women who are themselves exhibiting lesbophobia in how they hate, shame and despise lesbians. But, for some of them at least, is there also an element of internalized self-hatred here? Hatred for the original lesbian self that is buried somewhere under all the queer indoctrination? Hatred that is directed at other lesbians since being a lesbian is seen (correctly) as the cause of whatever punishment they received from men and/or from the queer community, and it is easier to direct that anger towards other members of the lesbian community rather than direct it towards the real culprits – powerful men?

Obviously, even if this is happening with a few women, I don’t think it is happening on any kind of conscious level. That’s kind of the point, I suppose. It would all have to stay as internalized feelings of discomfort and hate that wouldn’t be able to be named, understood or analysed. And I’m sure even writing this will piss a lot of women off. How dare you question my agency and my identity! Etc.

Regardless of that, I keep wondering. Do we have a situation on our hands where at least some of the self-identifying queer and bisexual women populating the queer movement, are lesbians who have been taught self-hate, taught to dissociate, and are now encouraging other lesbians to feel that same self-hatred from inside the community?

And does this tie in at all with the way that more butch or obviously gender non-conforming lesbians are being encouraged to transition, often by these same queer women?

As I stated earlier, most radical feminist analyses that I’ve seen, have tended to assume that the feminine looking queer/bi women populating the queer movement are primarily heterosexual, and that their behaviours can be understood within the framework of a heterosexual orientation – not having a problem with penises in women’s spaces, not having a problem with penises in sexual situations, general disgust of lesbians, discomfort with butch women/butch lesbians (and hence encouraging transition).

And I don’t doubt that all of that is going on. But I don’t think it’s all that is going on. I think that to assume that within that demographic there are no women who have internalized self-hatred to such a degree that they are denying they are lesbians; that perhaps rape or sexual assault also played a part in that journey, is to overlook one potential aspect of how our current and future generations of lesbians are being destroyed.

I suppose one thing that got me thinking about this issue is the fact that again, at least some of these queer/bi women, whilst encouraging transition, also appear to often fetishize butch lesbians as women, not as potential/future transmen. (Though should those same women decide to transition, they’ll also celebrate that). The dehumanizing degree and type of sexualisation and fetishization is…Well, certainly a bit on the weird and creepy side to say the least, and let me emphasise I can only speak about this as an observer and not someone who’s experienced it, and there are butch and visibly gender nonconforming lesbians who have written about this phenomenon far more eloquently.

But within a culture that is heavily sexualized, heavily pornified, heavily built around patriarchal ideas of domination and submission, it’s to be expected that the only language of desire these young feminine women can speak is a destructive language of patriarchal objectification. (And the reverse is also often true as well, with more butch women objectifying feminine women in dehumanizing ways). But even expressing the desire in the first place (however messed up and mangled the form it takes), again makes me wonder if we are really dealing with a purely heterosexual demographic.

It also makes me wonder about the incredible load of cognitive dissonance everyone in this community must be carrying around. On the one hand, butch lesbians who have been taught to hate and reject their femaleness and their lesbian-ness in order to become men. On the other hand, more conventional looking women, at least some of whom we know once saw themselves as lesbians, who have been taught to reject their lesbian-ness in order to make themselves sexually available to men, and encourage their more obviously non-conforming sisters to transition, whilst also wanting, or at least claiming to want, to partner with the butch lesbians (as butch lesbians and not transmen) who are the very ones fleeing womanhood.

Doublethink Nation

Quite some time ago now, I wrote a piece entitled Queer2Trans about what I saw as the increasing dominance of trans politics within queer ideologies.

Interestingly, I came across this call for papers recently, and to me, it very much shows in action an example of exactly the sort of take-over I have been imagining.

The title of the proposed event is AGender: Female and Transgender Masculinities. In a sad and ironic but hardly unexpected twist, it claims inspiration from two lesbian artists of the first half of the twentieth century, Marlow Moss and Claude Cahun; women who refused to live their lives within the narrow constraints their society placed upon their sex.

In earlier times, such women might have been incorporated into narratives of feminist resistance, of lesbian resistance, of female resistance, to the grinding and never-ending forces of male oppression that seek to belittle and destroy all women, especially those who refuse to conform.

No longer, however. These days such women must be understood within a framework of ‘queer resistance’, of ‘female masculinity’ and transgenderism. In other words, the only reason they did what they did was because they were somehow exceptional, internally different from all those other women who were ‘cis-normative’ and happy with their lot as men’s subjugated slaves.

‘Normal’ women are happy to remain slaves; therefore, women who refuse to do so, who aspire to ambition and humanity, must obviously have something male about them, because male is human and female is not. They must practice ‘female masculinity’; they must be transgender, they must not be understood to be the same as other oppressed women who very likely long on some level for exactly the same autonomy and respect, unless they have been so broken and brainwashed they have lost any semblance of self.

It seems the understanding of lesbianism this event is pushing is nothing but a new revolution of the invert identity for the twenty-first century. It’s not a coincidence, perhaps, that both the lesbian artists selected as inspiration for this event, themselves lived during times when the invert identity was in vogue with the medical profession. But of course we can’t talk about how misogynistic and lesbian hating ideologies might have impacted these women’s sense of identity and self-definition. We can’t talk about how that’s still happening now with woman-hating and lesbian-hating concepts like female masculinity and transgenderism that draw correlations between non-conforming lesbians and men.

This is the erasure of lesbians, and more particularly the erasure of lesbians as women. Lesbians are not permitted to be female, to connect with or represent female culture. Somehow, because we reject subjugation, we are seen not as women seeking to redefine ourselves as free females, but as women who emulate men, or who wish to emulate men, women who worship men and male culture (because women never produced anything of value), or who indeed become men.

This is hatred. This is fear. This is erasure. And it’s happening in the name of progress.

Sex Positivity! It Works (Not)

A nice woman I know recently gave me some zines to read, mostly zines written by young, third wave type feminists talking about their experiences of sex, sexuality, rape, trauma and other related issues. A lot of what they related will be pretty familiar to many women – too many of them were used, abused, raped, taken advantage of. Too many of them internalised that self-hatred and replayed it repeatedly in destructive relationships.

All of these women were trying to write themselves towards some kind of healing, towards a greater understanding of what they experienced and why; a lot of them were trying to untangle their own self-destructive behaviour and develop a more positive sense of self, a better relationship to their own body.

So what happens when you throw sex positivity into the mix, which all of these women also identified with/as?

You pretty much get a train wreck.

You get women using the very thing that is going to re-traumatise them as a tool to try and get away from trauma.

There was one woman who related how upset and betrayed she felt when she found her boyfriend watching porn.

“But you’re sex positive!” he said, “you can’t criticise me.”

And actually – according to the rhetoric of sex positivity – he was right.

And yet this woman still knew on a basic, instinctual level that her boyfriend was doing something that was degrading to her, and degrading to other women. And she felt that. Despite supposedly believing in and following an ideology of sex positivity that made it all okay. What sex positivity didn’t give her was the political language with which to explore and discuss her discomfort at knowing her intimate partner with whom she was having sex was getting off on viewing images of objectified and degraded women.

There was also a lot of confusion around the issue of sex – with a lot of them the belief seemed to be the more sex the better – and yet they would also relate how alienated they felt by a lot of the sex they had, how a lot of it happened because of abuse/dependency issues, or an unhealthy need for sexual validation, and that actually it was part of the problem not part of the solution.

But if you’re working within a sex positive framework, then what other solution is there?

Well, I suppose(?) there’s the option to make better sexual choices – talking only on an individual level of course – but there’s not the option to call the whole sorry mess into question. And by the whole sorry mess I mean the entire fucked up structure of hetero-patriarchal relations in which (in the west anyway) enthusiastic sexual availability is demanded of women at all times, sometimes with the caveat of consent (which is meaningless in a culture that is already going to enforce consent through, amongst other clever ploys, the very concept of sex positivity itself).

Why could that be I wonder?

Gee, I bet it doesn’t have anything to do with that smug boyfriend wanking off to porn and saying, “but this is sex positive, and you’re sex positive, so you can’t criticise me!”

Gender Based Violence

I really dislike the terms “gender based violence” and “gender based oppression”. They are locating the oppression in the wrong place. It is our female bodies that mark us as acceptable targets for oppression, and the violence that is done to us very frequently targets our female parts: through rape, through genital mutilation, through enforced pregnany and childbirth, or enforced sterilisation.

This is oppression based on sex, not gender. To say “gender based violence” locates the oppression in our identity as women – an identity which is not even ours, but which is forced upon us as part of our oppression. Gender is in fact a large part of the violence that is done to females. To say our oppression is based on our “gender” implies that we are the ones responsible – if only we would change our “gender identity” to one that society found more acceptable, we would not be targeted. But there is no escape. No matter how we identify our female bodies will still be targed for violence. “Gender” will still be forced upon us whether we want it or not, and those who resist can expect to be punished in female-specific ways.

The other problem with “gender based violence” is that it conflates sex and gender – it invisibilises the fact that gender is a construction, and that the enforcement of “gender” is in fact a tool of oppression that is used against females.