A friend pointed me towards the following blog: ‘so you want a gender revolution, the binary bites back‘ by ‘Radicalbitch’, presumably knowing that it might either offend me or invite me to react. The latter is the case and here is the reaction. What’s the story?
In that blog transgenders and transsexuals are denied access to ‘women space’. It seems that the writer opposes transgenders and transsexuals being able to identify themselves as women and particpating in women space in society. Well first of all it’s directed solely at MtF transgenders, but ok let’s forgive that glitch. Being complete would probably make things more complicated. Second, women space is defined as the feminine side of a binary gender world. And that’s the catch. The writer doesn’t at all dig into the even remote possibility of a gender spectrum consisting of a continuum between masculinity and femininety. It seems the writer is what most people would regard as transsexual but according to her text is probably intersexual with a female gender identity. Thereby labelling herself as a ‘cissexual’, a women embracing the female side of the gender binary divide. She does that with fierce absolutism and attacks others who think different. Gender binary normativity on display.
The lack of mentioning the gender continuum as a feasable approach to gender but only writing about ‘the third gender’ being transgender shows the limitations and fear of people when confronted with non binary placeble individuals. The reaction to that fear is somehow agressive or at least tense. And it’s a waste as far as I’m concerned. Because trying to do the intellectual exercise of reasoning from another perspective than her own didn’t occur in the text on her blog. Being extremely normative in her approach she actually denies transgenders or transsexuals access to women space. As if she really could do that. Exclusion is the typical reaction of people who are insecure about a topic, in this case about gender. Exclusion in itself disables discussion because the excluded are pushed into the defense. So adressing the issue in a blog and subsequently excluding the people who think different is not showing an open mind and in essence it’s a token of shortsightedness.
My answer on her blog is as follows:
Well, well, well. To be honest I think your reasoning is limited and wrong, not to say abusive in itself. The last sentence in your blog is as far as I’m conserned total crap.
What you are showing is what I state as ‘gender binary normativity’. The only truth you seem to represent is that of the gender binary. Thereby giving no room to transgenders that cannot identify in that binary as they represent people living in a gender continuum. I do not support neither approve of Butler’s thinking on this by the way. Even Butler thinks binary.
I am, as many transgenders a human being with a predominantly female identity AND less dominant masculinity. I live somewhere in the gender continuum, being neither woman nor man. Physically not born as a woman but reconstructed for as far as possible by a gender reassignment operation. But still not completely a woman. Mentally I certainly am not a man but much more of a woman. The result is in essence that I am an ‘inbetweeny’. I cherish that as my real identity. I live and love as a woman but I do have a partly male core identity that is undeniably there.
I don’t see why I as a gender binary opponent would not be allowed to enter women space. entering that space is not so much agreeing with the gender binary female. It’s the space that I feel most comfortable in in a mental sense. Ok, I’m lesbian too so I do have an interest in womanhood from that angle as well.
Actually what you are dmonstrating in your blog is cissexism: rating transsexual / transgender gender identity as inferior to your own – also acquired – cissexual identity. That is a lame approach to gender identity. People come out worse being exclusive in stead of inclusive when it concerns gender identity.
So, no! I will certainly not accept gender binary as the real world of gender. It’s a continuum in my view. And no! I will not accept being denied participation in women’s space anywhere as I am predominantly female. Why would I not have the right to be who I am? Who are you to deny me / us our gender expression as women and at the same time embracing the gender continuum? We are just not completely female. But are you? Don’t think so my dear.
So pleace rethink and check out Julia Serano for a change. It might help clearing your mind.
It’s a pitty that gender challenged people identify themselves to the other gender binary pole, leaving a live of forced masculinity or femininety for the opposite in such a way that they exclude the opinions and feelings of those sisters and brothers who feel slightly different. For as far as gender is concerned offcourse. Maybe, just maybe human thinking might evolve in accepting the concept of a gender continuum and learn that there actually is no human who is 100% female or 100% male. That we all have both genders in us, wether we like it or not. After all, isn’t it biologically the case that all humans are in there conception feminine and by hormonal influences might end up being what we state as being a male? Rendering every man alive as at least having been a female for a couple of weeks. The diagram in this blog shows the ambiguity of gender (sorry for the Portuguese text but you’ll be able to understand after looking at it for a while). It also hints at a continuum by showing that some people somehow don’t fit in the binary divide.
Alice © 2009