Friday, April 03, 2009

Intersex Separatists, Transpeople Aren't Your Enemy

Intersex people are finally beginning to get the attention that they have long deserved concerning their issues and I couldn't be happier for them.

But one of the things that makes me shake my head are the separatists in our alphabet soup movement that seem to get their jollies from saying stupid crap that hinders coalition building.

Lately we've had some intersex activists who have been either regurgitating the same hate screeds from rad fems, claiming that transpeople want to 'oppress' them, or ignorantly state that 'their problem is medical while transgender is mental'.

Yeah, right. The increasing pile of medical studies pointing to a biological cause for transsexuality is exponentially growing, so peddle that BS somewhere else.

What you people exhibiting Bushian level stupidity don't seem to understand is that transgender peeps aren't your enemy. If you're looking for your enemy, you needn't look any farther than at the same Bible thumping right wing idiots we have to fight.

If anything, intersex people and transgender people have some things in common such as the general public phobic at times misunderstanding our issues, shame and guilt issues in conjunction with that, and the fallout from the Religious Right attacks on same gender marriage affecting the legal marriages of intersex and transgender people.

Those are intersectional starting points that which we can respectfully work together on in terms of fighting the Religious Right. But at the same time, we're serving notice that disrespecting or trashing transpeople so intersex separatists can build up your own movement won't be tolerated. If that's what you're attempting to do, it's a strategy that's doomed to failure.

We are not your enemies, intersex people. I think many transpeople would agree that we'd rather work in concert with intersex people on issues of mutual interest that are beneficial to both parties. Contrary to the lie that's being told by some of these disproportionately white separatists, transgender leaders have no desire to 'hijack' your movement or issues. But if you choose to follow your separatists and use the neo-Mattachine gay/lesbian playbook and spew transphobia in the process, then it's on like Donkey Kong and we'll give as good as we get.

We don't need or want that drama right now. The transgender community has been there, done that and we're tired of fighting rear guard actions with our 'allies' while fighting tooth and nail with the Religious Right.

Time for cooler heads to prevail in the intersex community leadership ranks and to repeat this message like a mantra until it sinks in.

Transgender people aren't your enemy.


Monica Roberts said...

And right on cue, the fool Nicky proves my point.

Too bad his transphobic comments aren't gonna stay up anywhere except at Maragaret Jamison's place.

Dennis R. Upkins said...

I've come to learn that when people start showing their ass in response to your statements, that usually means said statements are on point.

They're not mad because of what you said, they're mad because what you said is the truth.

Monica Roberts said...

I could care less about people like Nicky.

If they were serious about advancing the rights of all people, they would be exerting more effort to find allies to do that work instead of pimping a hate filled WP centered agenda.

Zoe Brain said...

Nick/Nicky's not alone in his transphobia. Not quite. But amongst Intersexed people, pretty close. Even the formerly hostile AISSG has moderated their tone. Too many members transitioned, you see.

Most transphobes are privileged white RadFems, and even then, most of the Feminist movement think they're bonkers.

Apart from Nicky - who has a condition many Intersexed people don't regard as "Truly Intersexed" BTW - shades of the HBS fanatics - when was the last time you heard an IS person utter blatantly hateful transphobic remarks?

At a guess.... never. Nick/Nicky's just a bit prolific. Also mad as a hatter, OCD.

idappaccayata said...

Monica -

Nick K.D. Chaleunphone is a troll - pure and simple. He have a view of reality that differs from the reality that the vast majority of intersexed folks live in. He fuels his reality by attempting to create situations in which he is arguing with transgender-identified people.

For the sake of stemming the tide of needless and counterproductive animosity, I want to make some things very clear:

1. While I don’t speak for anywhere else but Houston, in the Houston community, intersex people are very much a part of TG community. The prevailing sentiment by every intersex person I have met in the last 10 years *IN HOUSTON* is that we have much in common and that we work well together.

2. *IN HOUSTON*, intersex people with intersex identities who do not want SRS are very supported and honored *IN HOUSTON*.

3. *IN HOUSTON*, intersex people are in leadership positions within the TG community, at the TG Center and run TG groups. In fact, one of Houston’s biggest TG leaders over the past decade is an intersex person.

4. Personally speaking, the individual who helped me transition more than 10 years ago (and who is not the person I refer to in #3) was born with a penis, ovaries, testicles and a partial uterus. She was the president of the Gulf Coast Transgender Community group.

As I said, this may be very different in other places, but *IN HOUSTON*, we see each other as close allies who work well together and support each other.

I want to be clear that it is possible that the reality Nicky lives in may be very factual for Nicky. I wanted to be sure that folks know that there is, in reality, another approach that seems to be working well for all of us here in Houston.

*In Houston*, transsexuals don’t seem to hate on crossdressers, intersex people don’t seem to hate on transsexuals and crossdressers don’t seem to hate on transvestites. MTFs, FTMs and everyone else are tight - we care a lot for each other. We tend to all get along very well and get a lot done for the whole community - which is very nice!

I have never wavered in the belief that downing crossdressers, transgenderists, intersex people, bois, girrls, etc is beneficial. I have never thought that one group is better, cooler or more authentic than the other. Every leader I know *In Houston* shares this same view. I think this fact is a significant reason why Houston is just so cool to be in if you are not the stereotype of male or female.

Monica Roberts said...

I'm quite aware of what GLBT life is like is Houston and glad to hear that things haven't changed since I moved in 2001.

Remember I'm from there, cut my activist teeth in H-town and my mentors were Phyllis Frye and Sarah DePalma.

One of my roommates was intersex and I got to learn about some of her issues firsthand. One of the peeps involved in the early foundation discussions of NTAC a decade ago was an AA intersex person named Lynnell Stephani Long, who I have much love and respect for.

It's also why I have zero tolerance for Nicky and others like them BS.

Rachel said...

Wow. I was unaware of this friction, and you're right. It doesn't make much sense. Both intersex and trans folk not only suffer from similar social stigma, as you mention, but would also benefit from a loosening of our rigid gender roles and expectations, and the strange conception our culture tends to have about the relationship between biological sex and gender. Not to mention the conception that biological sex is not at all socially constructed but set in stone "by nature."

But here's the thing. This is one area where I think intersectionality is really crucial and deeply relevant. Our cultural attitudes toward biological sex and gender are harmful to everyone to differing degrees. Without a doubt it's much easier to be cis-gendered, and cis-gendered folk are very privileged But cultural attitudes toward sex and gender hurt all of us, and the more we can loosen them and make sex/gender/sexuality into a more fluid and plastic thing, the better off everyone will be.

And this, along with a recent clusterfuck of a post on Feministing, just makes me think more deeply about "passing," and what it means when you're trans vs cis, genderqueer vs gender-binary conforming, gay vs straight, intersex vs. born with a body that conforms to cultural expectations, etc.

Lori D said...

Great insight, Monica. I don't think I have the strength or desire to go toe to toe with these irrational arguments. I too didn't even know such a rift existed. I guess I need to start smelling the coffee a lot more!