This is a very good take-down of what I was talking about at the beginning of October on the rampant and annoying feminist transphobia of Trans women (MtF; including pre- and post-op transsexuality).
Well, I should say annoying and embarrassing for me; for trans women, it can be lethal. If all the women fighting for women's rights are pointing at you and going "oh, but she doesn't count, because she's really a man, so don't include him" (pronoun deliberate), then who the hell can you trust?
To be honest, it disgusts me, this trans bigotry. The hypocrisy of claiming women are not biologically destined to be homemakers and baby factories and then turning around and saying that someone is biologically destined to be a particular gender because of the genitalia they are born with is huge. Feminists focus on Trans women almost exclusively in their anger, but their "disappearing" in dialogue of Trans men - claiming pre-op Trans men as "women", and ignoring the existence of post-op Trans men is part and parcel of their bigotry. As KiriAmaya writes, it seems to focus on the peen to the exclusion of all other parts, but there's a lot of "womb-focus" going on as well (we'll touch on that later). In short, Biology is Destiny when it comes to gender. Isn't that the opposite of one of the cornerstones of feminist thought?
I know some of you are thinking right now "but that's different! Hormones dictate what gender people are!", but that's incorrect. Gender dismorphia is a perfectly normal, if not extremely common, condition. The gender binary as practiced in our society is rigid to the point that it doesn't even admit the existence of people who are completely androgynous, uninterested in identifying as either sex, except to mock them (such as the recurring SNL skits about "Pat"). Gender identification is a continuum, not two diametrically opposed things, like matter and anti-matter.
(And I really, really, really hate the phrase "women born women". It's insulting, and disappears every state except absolute body-gender matching. Someone who knows from birth that they're a girl/woman might still have male genitalia, or both female and male genitalia, or neither. They know who they are, you can't decide for them.)
It is so wrong to demand that other people conform to our idea of how the world should be. We rail against it when people do it to us; how is it any different when we impose our demands on other people? The world is a big, interesting, varied place, and it is not going to match our expectations. People differ; why should we elevate our mild discomfort or fear over the absolute needs of others?
The sad thing is, feminists use the same arguments against Trans rights that men used (er, still use) against women's rights, with the big one being that Trans people aren't "natural", just as women wanting to go to work and choose whether to have children was "unnatural". This is such a deeply ugly, hurtful argument, that I actually hesitated calling it out here, because I don't know who's reading this, and I don't want to add to that hurt. But calling it out for the rancid fearmongering that it is matters - you have to drag the nasty into the light to show it for what it is.
The word natural means existing in or in conformity with nature or the observable world; neither supernatural nor magical; "a perfectly natural explanation"; though it has other definitions, when used in transphobic arguments, it is this definition that people explain - as in it's "natural" to identify with the gender of your genitalia. Clearly, this doesn't hold up - Nature provides for all sorts of variation. It is society that has decided that Trans people aren't "natural" (the exact same argument is used by homophobes, and we know they're wrong, too).
By society's definition, I'm not exactly natural, either; I have no children, and my uterus doesn't work (deliberately). Are people with cancer who have had organs removed "natural"? How about women who have had their reproductive organs and/or breasts removed? How about people with mobility issues? How about people with mental illness? People with Autism? People who have had plastic surgery to correct a feature they felt "wasn't right"? Who the hell, exactly, is "natural"? Perhaps we should redefine their argument to the more correct definition, and say that we, who do not fit their worldview of How Things Should Be[tm], are simply non-conforming.
Nature does not conform; it constantly evolves and changes. Conformism is societally imposed. And I am continually amazed that feminists, who claim to want to resist conformity, try to force conformity on others. You can't demand rights for yourself that you aren't willing to extend to all women, no matter how different they are from you.
(Let's not even get into the issue of the continual attempts to confine feminist activism in this country to only those issues that affect white, middle-class feminists. It's too big for my little blog.)
I don't think any of us who support Trans rights can reach these hard line feminist bigots, but I wish that the people who simply don't undersand much about Trans issues would push through their fear and actually read the blogs and essays of out Trans people, both male and female (I tend to focus on Trans women because of the intersectionality of women's rights, feminism, and the rights of Trans women, but there's great writing on both sides), to experience the part of their lives that they're willing to share with the world. If you do, and you have an ounce of empathy, you should be able to see that they're people - human beings with all the same hopes, fears, desires, dreams, and ambitions that everyone else has. It's the "othering" of Trans people that is really unforgiveable - to deliberately choose to see a group of people as less than human, and to use that "less than human" status to justify denial of human rights, and further, to justify terrorizing, beating, rape, and murder (or, in the case of feminist bigotry, to refuse to see that beating, rape, and murder as a "women's issue", and focus instead on the scary scary freaks demanding to use the ladies' room, the nerve!) (sarcasm, natch).
Marginalized groups throughout history have gone through the same othering process, including feminists; depicted as scary, dangerous, deserving of brutality. How they can justify pushing the same oppression on another marginalized group of people with a clear conscience is utterly beyond me.
I should write a good concluding sentence here to wrap up the essay, so here goes:
To hell with you, Julie Bindel.