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Декабрь 11, 2009

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07:08 pm - Response to ChipUni
I'm rerouting my response to this comment on my last post to a new, top-level post. I can do that because its my blog, but I don't want ChipUni that I'm so annoyed I need to clear the decks.

To ChipUni- yes, by all means, you are welcome to debate here. Nothing you've said is inappropriate, though I disagree strongly. I do find it a little hilarious that the core of your argument is that what people like me need is to get to know more people like you. Are you familiar with the phrase "What these people need is a honky?"

The objection I have to your remarks (and this is neither offensively obvious nor limited to you by any means) is that you are having a hard time separating transgender as an idea from trans people as people. I couldn't agree with you more about the need for more prominent, respectable trannies in the world, and more open, vocal self-advocacy by people like myself who are both trans and of-a-social-class-congruent-with-academia. Your advice to "insist people treat me as the woman that I am" is well taken. However, whether people treat me as a woman or as a man, they are also treating me as a tranny and this, not my percieved gender, is why, among other things, I'm not in grad school right now.

Academia is very good at dealing with abstract structures of social thought: crazy/sane, for instance, or the concept of deserving, or of respect. Academics are also able to encyclize questions of identity, self-expression, community or functionality. I have no doubt that the current perception of trans people as having an "innate brain" of a given gender, or that the process of transition is a form of self-actualization or self-realization, I don't doubt that these have their roots in academia. And I don't doubt that they have changed the way people think about transgender.

They have not done fuck-all to help actual trans people.

This is perhaps the root of the anger I poured into that last post (or the original rough draft- whew!)- this distance between the urge to study the phenomenon of trans people, as a biological or social test case for larger ideas of what it means to be human, and the actual needs of the individuals who take offense at your sidelong glances down on 12th and Locust. For biologists, or neurobiologists (hi, lucullean!), or psychologists, or god-help-us-cultural-theorists, to wonder why trans people are the way we are, in twenty-first century America, is like debating whether calling yourself "bisexual" supports the idea that there are two opposite genders... in the middle of seventh grade gym class. Its a farce.

I get furious at the National Day of Remembrance. Actual, living trans women, who are not white, are sex workers, sleep in vans, are maybe using drugs or sleeping with men they aren't out to, these people are messy, complicated, and prone to ask you exactly where you get off poking about in their personal business. Nobody would ever, ever, get together and light candles for these folks while they were still alive. Once they die, apparently, they are transubstantiated into symbols of oppression and survival, tragedy and violence, meaning and meaninglessness, kind of how trans guys are similarly transubstantiated into symbols of ambguity and desire by taking off their pants and letting you fuck them, only with more blood and fewer surviving essayists answering your call for submissions. That can't be the cost of recognition.

I'm tired of rational explanations. I don't think they matter. We don't know why people like cats. We don't know why people get crushes on whoever they get crushes on. We don't need to know why trans people exist to accept them, a priori. We don't need to know who we sleep with, or what they think of us, or whether we're the result of some weird Toxic Airborne Event involving phthalates or whatever the current theory is. We're here, we're queer, and we desperately need things you are blithely uninterested in providing. Worse, your mechanisms of study require us only to be born, answer questions, attempt to transition, and to die.

It has become fashionable to rout the politics of gay marriage, because of the history of property relationships or privileged monogamy. I feel for people who want to get married, who come up against that among their friends, because I feel something similar about gender. I would gladly trade every precise term for identity manipulation, every "proof" that I am no more likely to kill my partner or molest children, every development in gene-directed neurodevelopmental insight related to gender identity, for a jobs program that put trans women in positions of power and self-determination- and I fucking hate capitalism and the "jobs first" ideology with a passion you cannot believe. Why? Because too many people are killing themselves, self-destructing, or, occasionally, getting murdered. Our lives are worth more than all your good ideas- we'll only give them up for good ideas of our own.

With love,

(9 комментариев | Оставить комментарий)


[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 09:10 pm
". . . and I fucking hate capitalism and the "jobs first" ideology with a passion you cannot believe."

I have said stuff similar to this recently regarding women and gender equality. The free market does not solve all our ills, but I definitely believe that, given a choice between economic independence and free birth control, I'd choose economic independence. It's one of those paradoxes that only remains a paradox until you give it some thought. Better for any given segment of the population to have a roof over their head and a steady paycheck.

Where it goes sour is when people decide that the free market cures all ills. And then they adjust policies accordingly. It's not a religion. Capitalism is not the hand of god. It's just a means. I like my hammer, but I don't build churches in worship of it.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 10:45 pm
Very well-said. Thank you.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 02:12 am
Anne, so basically you wrote this entire essay only so that you would be able to hog all the sexy ivory transtivist tower research for yourself, right? Don't lie, you med skool resume builder, you!

Anywho. Can you find a way to Lost Angels so we can do some um research together? Mwhaha. Um research is my favorite kind.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 02:23 am
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 02:28 am
Fucking hell, Becca, its worse than last year, if you'd believe it. I've never heard such ominous silence. I don't even want to talk about it! But visiting Cali, or that other coast generally (Katie, Eric, are you reading this? I made kaboom on teh internets!) might not be a bad thing. We'll see if I can get myself employed here in Philly first...
Date:Апрель 5, 2010 02:05 am
I'm trying to get in touch with you regarding your writing. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

Karen Scarpella

(Удалённый комментарий)
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 02:20 pm


Well huh.
Date:Апрель 5, 2010 02:04 am


I would like to be in touch with you regarding your writing. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. Thanks!
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 07:31 am
Many of these studies are indeed worth very little, socially. But I do suspect that each time yet another fancy research scientist shows up in the news with the astonishing and totally unexpected conclusion that trans (or gay, or autistic, or black, or deaf, or whatever) people are just as sane, intelligent, safe around children, [insert random aspect of humanity] as everyone else, the easier it is to convince people that maybe it's really true, including legislators and judges who may not be able to go out and make the real world great, but sure as hell can make things pretty painful if not convinced otherwise.

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