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Transgender Rights Are A Feminist Issue

Transgender Rights Are A Feminist Issue

A consistent, and exceedingly fair critique of the feminist movement is that it is grounded in a certain white, liberal privilege that offers very little social and cultural change for populations that need it most. And maybe nowhere is that critique most on-point than the issue of transgender rights.

Make no mistake about it. Transgender rights are feminist rights and transgender issues are feminist issues.

Take, for example, the landmark opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late April that said gender-identity discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This opinion was made possible thanks to legal precedents from the 1980s and 1990s were a woman was overlooked for a job opportunity because she didn’t act or look “feminine enough” and another where a man was sexually harassed and threatened by other men at work.

At the heart of these cases is the idea that forcing someone to conform to a privileged or preferred gender performance is discriminatory even if those decisions did not stem first from complaints by transgender employees but rather by professional, heterosexual women. The discrimination faced by those women is inextricably linked to the gender discrimination that other people face, including and especially transgender people.

And the reality is that protecting transgender rights in the workplace makes the workplace safer for everyone, just like protecting transgender rights everywhere makes the world safer for us all. Violent attacks against transgender people are motivated by the same dark impulses behind rape and domestic assault. These are not (usually) crimes motivated by passion but instead of power–of putting non-compliant persons in their place and by reinforcing, if by force, dominant gender norms.

So despite a rocky history embracing differences based on sexuality, race, class, disability and gender identity, women’s rights and women’s activism needs to embrace and incorporate transgender activism into our ranks if for no other reason than because it impacts women. Feminists support, or at least they should, protecting all people from sex and gender discrimination and there’s no better way to do so than to align with our transgender allies and bring about an end to transphobia and discrimination.

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84 comments

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9:28AM PDT on May 26, 2013

Hi Teresa.

I don't think you and Kaye are talking about the same groups of people.
There is no way that the rights of male heterosexual cross-dressers (who still have oodles of male privilege and who comprise a large part of the 'transgender umbrella') are a feminist issue, surely?

Best wishes,

Sarah.

6:58AM PDT on May 26, 2013

Kaye, it's a feminist issue because some women are still under pressure from their families, neighbours, etc. to get married, and they have difficulty explaining to them why they cannot get married (because they are transgender, lesbian, etc.), or they'll expose themselves to ostracism or even aggression.

7:12AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Hello Mary.

If you're not familiar with these issues, it might be easy to think that there is some prejudice being displayed against those who claim the 'transgender' label, but that really isn't the case. I've experienced enough prejudice to know not to consciously judge others, and I wish all of the disparate groups under the transgender umbrella the very best in life and hope they all find the fulfilment which is everyone's right.

It's helpful to understand that some under the transgender umbrella have claimed that transsexual or post-transsexual women or women with a transsexual history are also part of the transgender umbrella, and this is not an assumption which can be made. Many of us resent the appropriation of our identities and see it as an attempt to gain legitimacy for lifestyle choices by conflating them with a medical birth condition; that of transsexuality. Transsexuality was at one time moderately well regarded as a medical condition, but the increasing demands by say, male-identified cross dressers to gain access to (for example) women's spaces such as toilets has put that in jeopardy.

I really don't see why I should be expected to stand besides such people in their demands when I don't identify with them at all.

Sarah.

4:52AM PDT on May 21, 2013

My last comment was cut off and perhaps the most significant part was missing and, briefly my point was that I identify have been cured of my transsexualism by hiormone therapy and the surgical provision of female genitalia. I live, think and behave like any other woman. I believe that the hidden agenda of many activists of the transgender umbrella is the erasure of the transsexual syndrome and the pathological resources assigned to it in favour of their own misogynistic parodying of women They are mostly men with xy and testosterone. they argue, think and behave like men. Of course those who identify as transgender have rights and I would defend those rights but why any woman would see them as a feminist issue escapes me. Surely that is one hell of an oxymoron.

4:15AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Uhuh, Kendra ...and Mary T , I still think you either don't get it or have some clandestine axe to grind.Nobody suggested that those who opt for the transgender lable should not be treated like human beings.Criminals and those convicted of the vilest crimes are yet treated like human beings, a human right often not afforded by them to their victims. Oh yes, there are victims of the great transgender fraud. They are people like me and the thousands of others who are deceived by the transgender myth and its lunatic "Gender Theory" You should hear some of the vile things said to me relating to my curative gender affirmation surgery.by activists vigourously promoting their TG nonsense.

Perhaps you have noticed the etymological similarity between transsexual and transgender which is not surprising because they mean exactly the same thing for sex and gender have the same dictionary definition , at least they did have until this was compromised by the architect of transgenderism Charles "Virginia' Prince who coined the term and with others of his kind established the magazine "Transvestia " and international transvestite societies admitting only male transvestites and to the exclusion of transsexuals and homosexuals. The similarity between the two words, transsexual and transgenderism is no accident, deliberately chosen to confuse and deceive society and its governments and other authorities (beginning with the USA). I am led to believe that the motivation for all this and the

8:52PM PDT on May 20, 2013

think everyone should be treated as humans regardless of our sex, race, creed, religious beliefs, etc. treat one like you want to be treated

3:08AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Dear Kendra. I give you full marks for trying and for doing it without acrimony but I think you really don't get it. Male cross dressers share the guilt with many of the so called gender variant people you mention, for the web of deceit which has been woven in attempts to compromise and invalidate the bona fide transsexual condition. IMO anyone who claims female registration and identity but wishes to preserve their male genitalia with the express intention of penetrating women and using women only places is a dangerous fraud. I feel I should mention here, intersex people or those with DSD (Disorders of Sexual Development) who have also been deceived by the vast majority of transgender people. Nobody should confuse women's rights with the transgender delusional fraud.

This may be where you and I differ most. I was transsexual only until I completed my transition by successful surgery to cure my condition. I now identify as a woman, albeit one with a transsexual history. I am not, as you put it, an island but I am well adjusted in a life with plenty of friends and activities. I consider it an obligation to try to make people aware of this gigantic fraud being carried out under the transgender umbrella. So I say again transgender rights are not women's rights since the vast majority of transgenderists are , in fact, men and misogynistic at that.

11:29AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Kaye and Sarah, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the issue of "transgender" as an umbrella term and its use as the "T" initial in the LGBT initialism. I'm as incensed as both of you are that some male-identified fetishistic cross-dressers have inappropriately co-opted the term "transsexual women," ostensibly seeking some degree of legitimacy to their fetish. But, there are a number of gender-variant people out there that are not male cross-dressers with a sexual fetish. They would benefit by the advocacy provided by the LGBT umbrella in general and the transgender umbrella term in particular. Would you deny, although the world and the US in particular is still heavily LGBT-phobic, that positive changes in attitudes are taking place in the mindset of humanity, driven largely by the umbrella advocacy of the LGBT community?

If you prefer to think of the T in LGBT as meaning transsexual only, fine, but the established use of LGBT initialism will likely never be modified to mean that. Or, possibly, you prefer to exclude the LGB community and identify only as a member of the transsexual woman community that identifies you individually, and only you. That's your call. I just prefer not to be an island unto myself, and that's why I support use of transgender as an umbrella term. I prefer to support what I see as the greater good. I'll leave it at that.

6:35PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

I so hate it when the end of a post gets chopped off (LOL). The last sentence in my post several minutes ago was supposed to read, "I think we stand closer together than you might think."

6:29PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

Kaye, your comments (all of them, including the one you just made in response to my post) are well received. If you reread the last paragraph of my post, you'll find that I share much of how you feel toward members of the transgender community who are not transsexual but who, most likely because they feel it gives them some greater legitimacy, claim to be transsexual. Yes, TS's are as different from those individuals as night is to day, and non-TS's need to own up to the reality of what they are, and not, figuratively speaking, hold a mask in front of their face that attempts to convince the general public that they are TS's. The essence of Jessica's blog, and Robin's comment, as I stated, is that most of the time, we gain more by standing together than standing apart. Standing together as a transgender community does not mean that we have to appear identical, and those in the community who are not transsexual need to acknowledge that. You may feel that embracing the term transgender as an umbrella term means caving in to the notion that people will see us as all the same, and that it dilutes the public image of who and what a transsexual is. I don't buy that. It's up to us to stand together with a common cause where common cause is beneficial, and at the same time do our small part to educate the general public as to the reality of the different aspects of the transgender community.

Bless you, Kaye, I do respect your point of view, and I think we stand closer together tha

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