Unknowingly protesting with a lesbian transphobe!Bottom Highlights, Trans Progressive Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Commentary: Trans Progressive
Nov. 15, 2010, is the anniversary of when I participated with GetEQUAL in handcuffing myself to the White House fence for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). I’m not sure I’d do it now because of something someone said on my Facebook timeline this week that says something about them that is anathema not only to me, but to a large portion of the trans community.
Way over across the pond in the United Kingdom, a second wave feminist named Germaine Greer was scheduled to speak at the University of Cardiff. Because she stated in her book The Whole Woman that trans women are men “who believe they are women” because they have been “castrated,” she’s been identified as transphobic and a number students at the school objected to having her as a speaker. These students were so upset by the idea of her being a speaker at the school that one of them started a Change.org petition to have her “no-platformed” — in other words, not given a platform to speak at the university (or anywhere else, for that matter) because of her views on trans women.
Greer then went on BBC’s Newsnight and reiterated her “opinion” on trans women, stating, “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure, what I’m saying is it doesn’t make them a woman.”
Greer withdrew on her own from speaking at Cardiff. She used an anti-gay slur to make her point: “Bugger it. It’s not that interesting or rewarding.”
I posted about all of this on my Facebook feed. I’m no fan of these trans exclusionary radical feminists, which were dubbed by other non-transgender feminists by the abbreviation TERF. Many trans women have embraced the abbreviation, myself among them.
Not every woman or feminist who is trans exclusionary is self-identified as radical, and many self-identified trans exclusionary radical feminists consider the term TERF to be a slur. TERF however, isn’t the only way to identify as trans exclusionary.
There’s a dog-whistle term, and it’s woman-born-woman, sometimes spelled womon-born-womon. The abbreviation for it is WBW. It’s a way of stating trans women aren’t female.
Perhaps the most famous of spaces where trans women weren’t ever welcome was the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Lisa Vogel, a co-founder of the festival and person who, till the last festival this past summer, never welcomed trans women, calling the desire to exclude trans women in the end “the intention.” History will no doubt remember her as a transphobic bigot.
Unfortunately, I found out Oct. 25 that one of the women I handcuffed myself to the White House fence with didn’t believe trans women were fully women. Mariam Ben-Shalom, one of the women who I was protesting with, used the WBW dog whistle on one of my Facebook posts on Germaine Greer.
“This is just another attempt, IMHO, to negate WBW, I think,” Ben-Shalom wrote in response to an essay by Helen Boyd, where Boyd wrote a feminist take on why trans women wore both women and female.” I am no TERF, but I feel that WBW are under attack not only from Dominionist Christians, but from trans-folk and their allies as well.”
I’ve literally been sick to my stomach since I read that. I participated in LGBT activism with a lesbian I now consider a dog-whistling transphobe. She might as well of called me a man.
What a sad commentary: I went to support my lesbian, gay and bisexual community when trans people didn’t have a stake in repealing DADT. I’m left with the feeling now that I wouldn’t have participated with GetEQUAL in that November trip to the White House fence if I knew there was a lesbian transphobe in the group I went with.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=65342