Monday, September 20, 2010

Why The Trans Community Hates Dr. Janice G. Raymond

I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence”

Before there was an HRC and its various leaders pissing us off, the Religious Right, Jim Fouratt, The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, Rep. Barney Frank, Dr. Paul McHugh, the Catholic Church, the Tea Klux Klan, The WWBT's, or Julie Bindel and a long list of radical feminists hating on transpeople, there was the trans community's original Public Enemy Number One.

She is radical feminist UMass professor Dr. Janice G. Raymond. While she focuses her time on her award winning work combating prostitution and the sexual exploitation of women, back in her disco era collegiate days her rhetorical sights were trained on transwomen.

The animus between the trans community and her starts in 1977 while she was being supervised in her Boston College Ethics and Society doctoral studies by Mary Daly, the same transphobe who called us 'Frankensteinian.'

That doctoral thesis was turned into the infamous 1979 book entitled The Transsexual Empire-The Making of the She-Male.

In that transphobic waste of trees she stated among other things:

All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive

"Transsexually constructed lesbian-feminists show yet another face of patriarchy. As the male-to-constructed-female transsexual exhibits the attempt to possess women in a bodily sense while acting out the images into which men have molded women, the male-to-constructed-female who claims to be a lesbian-feminist attempts to possess women at a deeper level, this time under the guise of challenging rather than conforming to the role and behavior of stereotyped femininity”.

This book sowed the seeds for the anti-trans attitudes prevalent in radical feminism today, the 1980's anti-trans attitudes in the feminist movement, and the sometimes bitter acrimony that transpeople of my generation and the one that preceded me feel toward feminism.

It also inspired transwoman Sandy Stone, who was attacked in Raymond's book, to write an essay entitled The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto.

It's sad because both transwomen and cis feminists should have been playing on the same team. Thanks to the book affirming the transphobia that existed in some feminist quarters, they didn't.

While The Transsexual Empire was bad enough to the trans community, another anti-trans screed she penned had more devastating effects for us in American society.

In 1980 Dr. Raymond wrote a paper entitled Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery, for the US Government. This not well publicized tome discussed the topic of federal aid for trans people seeking rehabilitation and health services.

This paper effectively eliminated federal and state aid for indigent and imprisoned transsexuals. It has forced incarcerated trans people to file federal court cases to get back trans related medical treatment they lost as a result of Raymond's transphobic pen.

When the federal and state governments dropped funding for indigent transpeople, it was used as a pretext by private health insurance companies to follow the federal government’s lead and deny or disallow services to trans patients for any medical treatment remotely related to being trans, including breast cancer or genital cancer. The cancer denials were extrapolated to be a consequence of treatment for transsexuality.

The resulting decade long negativity toward Janice Raymond was so strong it took the 1995 rise of Elizabeth Birch and some publicized anti-trans remarks by her as head of HRC to supplant Raymond as Trans Public Enemy Number One.

For you folks who are wondering why you can't use the insurance policies you pay for to cover much of the medical work you need done or wonder why the Medicaid and Medicare taxes you pay doesn't cover SRS or any trans related care, you have Dr. Janice G. Raymond and her unleashed disco era transphobia to thank for that.

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