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A thought that has been on my mind quite a bit recently is this…  You ever feel a little “oppressed” by the assertions other people make about your gender, sexual orientation, or otherwise?   Ever find yourself feeling as if people are applying something to you which has nothing to do with you?  Even feel labels constrain people from actually understanding who you are?  I get that feeling a lot.  In my situation I am a person who was assigned male, but lives as a female.  My internal sense of self is a static thing for me.  Also, because of the fact that I identified with my mother, and with women I am feminine in many cultural regards.  The problem with that is where the situation gets sticky.  As a transgender person people who perceive me as feminine without thorough evaluation of who I am feel, “Oh, your feminine, how typical of you”, or they apply stereotypes to me which do not apply.  This is especially true of cisgender people, and even more so radical feminists.  As a fellow feminist, I understand the performity of gender, more thoroughly than some of them do.  But, this is where understanding breaks down… My feminine qualities are unintentional, a product of other people’s definitions and quite inconsequential to my gender identity (how I feel about my body).

What I am saying is that I have both masculine and feminine qualities (by cultural definitions) and I am a woman (socially and biochemically through medical intervention), that these two things while they do affect each other are completely unrelated.  And as for the performity of gender to a certain degree of femininity and masculinity isn’t a performed, but rather an acquired behavior through family member we identified with.  My behavior in relation to my gender is independent of my gender identity, however my behavior is very much effected by my gender identity.  Essentially gender expression has little effect (If any), on my gender identity; but the reverse is true if their positions are transposed.  My gender identity growing up has a lot to do with my acquired, or learned habits.  So it frustrates me that people impose their “gender assertions” on me, that because I became a woman (trans or otherwise) that it’s only typical I should be feminine.  I was always effeminate to the same degree I am now, but you can’t really draw on that (on its own) from my transition.  Butch male to females, and genderqueer male to females as well as many intersexed people stand in blatant contradiction to that idea.

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Where I find the social issue with this is the exclusivity that comes with the lesbian community.  Culturally, even among those of the GLBT community femininity, or feminine attributed behaviors are treated negatively (mixes of cultural and acquired behaviors), and by extension people who are GLBT and feminine get treated poorly to a degree.  People don’t try to discern acquired habits from stereotypical, or gender performative phenomenon.  And I am not talking about culturally hyper exaggerated female behaviors or superficial obsessions, I am just talking about the behaviors acquired by identification with other women, and the biologically dependent factors.  Hormones play a big role in behaviors, as does how you were raised, and your gender identity.  But when people hear I am transgender, they automatically toss that “effeminate label” and all the negative cultural contexts regardless of whether they are true or not. or even apply.  I don’t wear crap loads of make, well not anymore now that I have tossed cultural stereotypes… I have grown into being my own woman and I am no longer trapped by that dichotomy, but people I have never met before treat me as if I am an “agent of the patriarchy” or “agent of oppression”.  I am not.

I am not a woman because of my behavioral traits, nor do my behavioral traits, habits, or appearance make me a woman on their own.  The problem I often find in dealing with certain philosophies of feminism is that they marginalize transgender people for what they feel some of us represent.  They often speak of us as those “Agents of the Patriarchy, trying to rape the vestiges of womanhood“, or some of them do.  We are not, or at least I am not.  Transgender people in fact stand up as an example against the limiting and narrowing ideology contributed by patriarchal binary gender concepts.  It is a patriarchal concept, whether you see it or not.  It stems from the patriarchal mindset of men with sexual entitlement and compulsory heterosexuality of women.  Transsexuals specifically muck up that whole system, as do lesbians; which is all the more reason why we should help each other, but I digress.  I sacrificed any privilege I may or may not have had in transition to be true to who I feel I am, and to avoid driving myself to the point of suicide.  Moreover, I have become a woman who doesn’t exemplify the stereotypes that are used by the patriarchy to make women second class citizens.  That is the last thing I want.  I don’t want to be made into a second class citizen because I am a woman, anymore than I want it because I am pansexual or transgender.

The biggest misconception in all of this is the assertion that “If gender is performative, and you know it, why transition?”  Gender identity isn’t about how you look, or act necessarily.  Gender identity is about how you feel about your body, your body map so to speak.  Gender identity is your innermost sense of self.  Clothing, gender roles, or acquired behaviors can’t compensate for that.  On their own, they can’t reduce gender dysphoria, nor do they make the treatments we receive any less necessary.  And there you have it, we end up right back at sexism, specifically cissexism, and gender stereotypes.  The biggest gripe I have between some other feminists and myself (the transgender feminist) is that.  They nullify our non-binary gender in the same way the patriarchates do.  They are cisgendered after-all, but their sense of gender and binaryist entitlement is still no less influenced by the gender brainwashing we are given from youth that causes an erasure of all non-binary persons, or anyone whose genders fail to conform to the sexists regime.

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Some feminists call themselves “Womyn” (and other variations) to partition their identity into one that only they can claim, something more real.  Example: [You identify as X.  You meet a neighbor who identifies as X, or with an X sounding identity.  You don’t like your neighbor and resent their co-located identity, or believe they aren’t truly X.  So you identify as Y, to separate yourself from all those you see as “Falsely X”, or “Too similar to X for comfort”.]  Ever hear the phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face?  I find the word Womyn, in such a context to be offensive and sexist (cissexist) as it derogatorily limit being woman to being born with a vagina.  Many intersexed people and all transwomen are born without them and other “Female Only” structures, but essentially female ≠ woman (which is part of the gender binary).  You don’t change your name just because you don’t like, or don’t understand someone else with the same name.  That would be ludicrous.  I find there are many feminist who convolute the idea of gender just as bad as patriarchates, and are just as sexist and without good reason.  (As if there was ever a good reason for sexism).  Point is I am tired of people broaching me with their labels, while failing to understand me as a person.  It’s frustrating to have someone treat you as though you are supporting the terrorist regime of male privilege simply because you’re transgender.  (All considering: I don’t completely understand the need to change the spelling or what point it really makes, though I do understanding the underlining concept I feel it seems inappropriate for the situation.  That is my opinion.)

Furthermore, these same groups treat transmen completely different even though some of them do partake in “Male Privilege”.  Femininity in the stereotypical concept is bad, and is biased for the patriarchy and against equality of women everywhere, but being a woman isn’t something to be scorned, nor is acknowledging the qualities that come with that, no more than identifying with those who are genderqueer, neither, both, or just other…  Femininity and Masculinity are social constructs exaggerated and placed on top of our innate human behaviors to force assimilation with the gender binary.  But being a feminist doesn’t mean I have to pretend I am something I am not to be one.  I think it is up to each of us to decide for ourselves what our womanhood means to us, and the same for men to define manhood outside of their privilege.  To define it outside of the cultural dichotomies, and outside of the coercive and performative concepts.  Perhaps the disconnect is in understanding about what the basic dictionary definition says about femininity and what culture and history says.

Being submissive doesn’t make you a woman anymore than being dominant makes you male.  I feel it is time for us as a culture to shed the false dichotomies of gender which create oppressive logic like sexism.  The patriarchates don’t want that because it undermines their power to control.  I hate the appropriation of gender to things that are genderless.  They want you to stay complacent in your little gender roles, to stay with in your invisible caste.  They will fight you every step of the way.  They try to feed off the disagreements and in fighting between feminism and trans-feminism, and those who are just transgender feminists.  Men can be feminists too, by acknowledge and trying to do something about their privilege.  But perhaps what we really should seek to obtain is pure and simple gender equality for all.  Gender equality that doesn’t discriminate against the nature of gender itself or label things as “Gendered” which are not.  To make a society that makes an exception for those who are exceptional on the basis of need not libertarian simplification of the narratives of who we are.  It’s time for the intellectual dishonesty and laziness surrounding our understanding of gender as a society to end.  We shouldn’t treat one gender or sex as a better than the other, and abolish all establishments of “Separate but Equal” once culture has grown past the social constructs of gender.  When I stand up for myself I am not speaking from residual privilege.  I stand up because I am tired of being put down and pushed around by sexists for not conforming to gender roles, societal perceptions, or for refusing male privilege and fighting against our still very patriarchal society.

Just me. I stand for gender equality because I know what it's like to be hated because of your gender. Zemanta doesn't want to properly wordwrap left this image (Shakes Fist).

I seek to live in a world where the identities of women, men and others are embraced, not oversimplified to be just to labeled under the archaic bronze age pathology as men (greater) and castrated-men (lesser).  Women should be reclaiming their identities from societal distortion; as should conscientious men, genderqueer, neither, bi-gender, transgender from those who constantly appropriate their own definitions on top of what our identities represent.  If you’re a woman, man, genderqueer, neither, both, other and you truly feel you are then identify yourself accordingly.  It’s simple.  I want sexism to end, regardless of what gender you are, whether you’re feminist or not, whether you were born a woman or a man, or intersexed, and regardless of your gender identity.  It is time it ended.  Much of this blog was inspired by dealing with the application of gender to me in ways that it doesn’t apply to me, or when it has culturally biased gender stereotypes in it.

Afterthoughts from reading several Feminist Blogs (particularly Rad Feminist Blogs)

I wish people would stop making attacks at the easy targets our cultural regime has made us, mostly referring to transgender and transsexual people here.  I’m dumbstruck by the amount of feminists who support the binary gender concept and take part in the erasure of all those who aren’t just purely exclusively male or female (not to mention the biased way about how they do it, mostly targeting only male to female spectrum people).  It helps the patriarchal power framework by denying the very reality of transgender, transsexual and intersexed people by reinforcing the patriarchates right to rule over all definitions of gender, and of its narrative.  It’s garbage.  Yes transwomen are different from women, but they also differ from men (neurologically, psychologically, emotionally, et cetera).  This insinuation that transwomen are only pretending and performing the patriarchal gender construct of women is a falsehood.  I know there are transwomen who subscribe to the social gender constructs and complete reconditioned their behavior in accordance with it.   This is as much a result of patriarchal power as it is with cisgender women who do the same.  Also, there certainly are some who seem to be “Caricatures of Femininity” such as with transvestite and drag queens.  But it is sexist, and scientifically incorrect to assert that transwomen are delusional, as it is never our presentations of who we are that are the core of the issue but our bodies.  Additionally, not all transwomen out there are “Playing the role of patriarchal concepts of gender”, so it’s wrong to stereotype either way.  (Ask any butch Male to Female about that).  Each and every one of us needs to find and define gender within ourselves, as people outside of what happens to be man and woman in culture.  Male and female should only matter when talking with your physician.

Transmen and transwomen don’t exist to convenience or inconvenience radical feminists… We just exist, and we do the best we can with what we have, whether a little or a lot.  We are oppressed by the patriarchy by interfering with their entitlement to have sex with women who aren’t trans.  We are part of the diversity of human sex and gender just like you are, we just don’t fall in one of the too median values, just like intersexed people.  Being a feminist doesn’t prevent one from also being a sexist.  It’s easy to make baseless assertions about transgender people not being one, but it doesn’t make you right.  It isn’t sexism making people change their genders, it’s most likely biology though it isn’t something readily understood or taught in schools.  It’s no different from homosexuality, you don’t choose which sex you are attracted to, you just are.  What needs to go is the social constructs of gender so we can just be the people we are without vestigial, useless behaviors ruling our actions.  It’s a genital centric view to assert people can not change their assigned gender which is the core of sexism.  Genital Centrism is part sexism and by extension of the power structure of patriarchal rule… Ignoring it doesn’t erase reality.  Gender, sex or transition in the social context of that is inconsequential to the fundamental nature of who I am.  I didn’t change who I am to be a woman, or to transition (though I did have a chaotic time adapting at first), I treated the symptoms of a medical condition and I will continue to do so as I see fit.

It just really irritates me to no end to see sexism frothing over on sites like those of radical feminist because they support patriarchal concepts, or support something I view as supporting male privilege or the patriarchy itself.  And they are so blindly following this cissexist line of thought without realizing its counter productive.  My understanding of this will grow more as I attempt to understand it further, and I am open at all times to critique and information that will help me make that conclusion.  I have only been out to the world for a couple years, and you can’t learn everything there is to know that quickly.  My position on this will change as information and evidence presents itself.  I may later write a blog about how I feel about male privilege and how it related to my life before hand.