the letter z

From surprise to horror in about 30 seconds

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-05-28

Why do I keep reading the horrible blog that is PHB? I just noted this article about an editor for People coming out as a trans woman. It’s a nice story, but then it then backslides into a horrible critique about our community, our apparent divisiveness, and how we supposedly “eat our own”.

No, despite our differences, despite our fighting one another (for the wrong reasons for some), I believe in trans people too. As much of a possible pessimist I may be, I would rather believe in little light’s view of trans people than in Autumn Sandeen’s.

A further realization

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-03-01

In one of my earlier posts I proposed the idea that the notion of community is far more important than any of the reasons that divide us, such as the methods in how we should achieve liberation.

In fact, the reasons for these divisions come up not primarily because of other trans people within our community, not really, but because of an inherently kyriarchical society. (Of course, some people may have actual, immediate issues with other trans people, but this isn’t really the issue.)

Why is the HBS crowd really antagonistic with other trans people who do not have their views? They claim to separate themselves from other trans people, and claim that they are the “real” trans people, and that everyone else in our community is making them look bad. Why should the HBS crowd care about looking bad? Because, in our society, we have abrogated our natural rights to government, for the tyranny of the majority to grant back towards us. Of course some factions of trans people would care what the majority think of them, if this were the case!

Let me clarify immediately that saying this is not intended to excuse or pander to the behaviors of the HBS crowd — we have enough divisiveness in our community already that internal sniping is counterproductive — I say this to illustrate that a reasonable deduction from these separatist ideas is that this separatism is done to serve cisgender comfort, not for any section of the trans community.

Do the socialist contingent of the trans community divide against any other political ideology because other political ideologies are wrong, or because if they don’t implement their system, trans liberation won’t be fully achieved? Do those trans people involved with transphobic media defend it because they are content with that media, or because they would rather have a little bit of exposure of trans people in the media, even if it plays to cisgender fears and stigma?

The answers to these questions could be anything, and ultimately, the answers don’t really matter as much. We need to deconstruct our motives for our discontent internal to our community. Cisgender people and the rest of our kyriarchical society don’t validate our community, our rights, our existence, our humanity. We are the only ones who can do it.

A remark

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-02-07

Cisgender is not a filthy swear, and if you think otherwise, I think there is something wrong with your perceptions of the world and the people in it.

I’m not going to waste time trying to explain why this is the case.

A minor observation

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-02-03

It can be troublesome to make assumptions about whether someone one the internet is cis or trans. More importantly, it can be useful to assume that someone is trans unless proven otherwise.

Omg, omg, omg, omg…

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-01-25

Why did I not hear about this earlier? Why? This fucking made my day.

Can you tell I’ve gotten over this yet?

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-01-08

We are involved in the business of no less than liberation of people. We may be more or less involved in the liberation of some specific subset of people, but more or less, when we discuss theories and beliefs, bring up news articles about oppression, we do so to an end of achieving freedom for people.

Most of the time, in addressing oppressor-oppressed relationships, what we talk about boils down to a simple request: that the oppressor group in an instance essentially should respect the oppressed group as fellow human beings, as opposed to murdering them, or harassing them, for instance.

How do we convince one group of fellow human beings to treat another group of fellow human beings in the same way, we ask each other? How do we stop the oppressor-oppressed cycle, here? Diversity is one of the common key words that are used in these discussions; we deconstruct insularity and us-versus-them mentalities by sheer exposure: we are all fellow human beings here, eking out our same existence, having the same thoughts, dreams, and hopes as everyone else. It’s a noble riposte, amongst the other defenses in our repertoire.

Do we really believe it?

Mainstream feminist theory is a convenient case study. There are several classical branches of feminist thought, socialist feminism, liberal feminism, postmodern feminism, etc. When we talk about feminism, do we actually talk from a position that respects a multitude of feminist schools of thought?

Let me address this by bringing up an example, early May last year this article was reposted on Feministe, regarding a well-publicized incident of a police officer murdering a black man and the subsequent lack of action by the police force.

The event isn’t what I’m talking about here, it’s the language used in the response to it. It is formed as a “vow” in formal language, and starts off with a statement that has a goal of diversity and inclusivity to stakeholders in feminism:

We as women, transgender people, two-spirit people, queers, gender-oppressed people, and allies of the Bay Area mourn the loss of Oscar Grant;

Very commendable: it’s not often that feminist discourse explicitly speaks to those other groups. However, further down:

Whereas police violence comes 10% from individual bigotry and improper training, and 90% from a capitalist state system designed to protect property, not people;
Whereas such a property-focused police system, controlled by the rich and influential, enacts and supports gender-based and sexual violence;
And Whereas such a system can never be adequately reformed, based as it is in the fundamental inequality borne of a patriarchal capitalist system:

What does this tell anyone who doesn’t hold a socialist feminist mindset?

This isn’t addressed to you. Move along.

Look, the rest of the sentiment is very inspiring, and this is a repost from someone’s personal blog, and there’s leeway to be afforded there, but the point is that it was reposted on Feministe, a popular feminist reader with no aspirations to adhere to any specific feminist ideology.

Furthermore, this sort of thing seems to pop up in other places, too. I’ve talked earlier about QT’s recent anticapitalist slant, of course. Pam’s House Blend ran a piece recently about the exclusionary tactics of one particular trans community leader; even though I personally don’t agree with those exclusionary views, criticism still needs to be handled carefully against members of your own community.

Ultimately, by decrying one ideology, you implicitly exclude those who believe in it, by supporting one ideology, you implicitly exclude those who do not believe in it. That is what we are talking about here, belief. No one has ironclad proofs that if we all implemented the strategies and behaviours of one ideology, that the problems inherent in existence would fade away. But what becomes popular becomes de rigeur, and we play this implicit exclusion game when we allow ourselves to say to those in our community “This is what we believe, and so should you”.

It’s a thin line to walk, to honour diversity in ideology as I am proposing we do, by all means. But I think we need to try. They are our people, our fellow human beings. We all have the same goal of liberation in our minds.

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2010-12-13

Do we really have a voice, if no one is around to hear it? Does a voice — our voice — require an audience, for us to exercise it?

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2010-11-09

Re this post from the consistently amazing little light: while those communities outside our own may fail us, we must always keep in mind to avoid we as a community failing our own people…

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2010-10-28

While QT has thankfully seemed fit to move its laudatory discussions on socialism elsewhere, they still feel that making one-sided economic statements in the blog byline is an appropriate thing to do.

I don’t think I’ll be going back, thanks. A discussion on trans liberation and economic principles are arguably indivisible, that is for sure, but advocating and promoting a singular economic point of view to the exclusion of all others sends a clear message to those who might think otherwise.

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2010-10-15

I haven’t had much to say recently. I wonder if this is emblematic of something.