The other morning, i got in a bit of a….disagreement…with another driver over who had right of way. I think the “green” light in my direction should have clarified that. Or the “red” light in his. But after following me to my parking lot, he screamed all manner of obscenities at me, and told me that i should fear for my safety. He also called me gay, which i really rather enjoyed. Otherwise, i might forget.

I did my best to ignore him, but I’m starting to think I should have laughed. What better to let him know that such threat and vitriol was worse than useless?

Note: This is where i lost a whole chunk o text. So bear with me, as i try to reconstruct my argument. I was reading over another round of the rad fem/trans stuff, and was finding my blood pressure rising. Heart and Mandolin were going a few rounds, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

I tried to even imagine a way that one could stay on totally pure theoretical ground, and discuss why gender is fixed…i can’t do it, and i’m pretty sure that the creation of a fictive category implies harm to those so determined, but sure…let’s give it a whirl. Let’s say they could.

But even then, we’ve got a track record here. The discussion doesn’t stay in a imaginary and pure theoretical moment. It moves to conclusions, associations, allusions, supports, inferences, and hypothesis. And we’ve seen them to be hateful to queers of all kinds.

All because everything is being described in term of m/f. If that’s the only language you speak, you have to have an essentialism to fix your categories. You can obfuscate it all you like by claiming that it might be biology, it might be common experience, it might be yada, yada, yada. You have to fix your categories. Or it wouldn’t make sense to commit to m/f as a sufficient description. You have to have a tribe to have a tribe that bleeds, see? And if Heart hasn’t used that phrase herself, she’s still on record with material that posits a certain mojo to womens and something else to men.

Guess who you’re sharing the dance floor with now?

Sorry. if you can’t bracket gender, you’re going to end up needing to make a description of how you differ from the other kinds of essentialists you’re contesting with. And so far as I’ve seen…it’s all pretty thin sauce.

Which then leads us back to the defenses of why the rhetoric must go on. If you like, read what Heart is claiming as a history of trans oppression of rad fem communities…a bunch of it boils down to some queer folks not wanting to see a movie. Yup. We don’t want to see Gendercator. Ouch. That’s pretty harsh.

I commented over at Feline Formal Shorts on the issue
Heart in particular is committed to a victim status as proof of her moral superiority. WOC are oppressing rad fems, gay men are oppressing rad fems, lesbians who enjoy SM are oppressing rad fems, MOC are oppressing rad fems, sex workers are oppressing rad fems, transgender women are oppressing rad fems, transgender men are oppressing rad fems…

The list continues. What isn’t separated is injury from status. Someone might hurt me, but still be socially disadvantaged over all. If i get robbed on the street by a radical feminist (pretend!), i still have my dudely privilege to help me recover. It’d be a pretty lame argument to translate this personal experience into a theoretical understanding of the opressive nature of radical feminism. Or even if some of them shouted me down over expressly political matters. Extrapolation from anecdote is not going to give you a wall to wall universally applicable theoretical apparatus.

And most of us have conflicted status…a mix of privileges and disadvantages. But as long as their bet for moral authority is placed on coming out dead last in the power calculation…they won’t own up to the power they do have. Disguising that takes effort…mostly the kind of flailing we’ve come to know and love like this mess.

Kactus also notes over there that we shouldn’t assume that online representation of radfem causes does the movement justice, and that’s a fair proviso. But as far as I’ve seen it expressed by such folks as Heart, it’s something that I can’t be arsed with.

Does it look het-centric? Does it sound transphobic? Does it need my time and energy?

Yes. Yup.



PS: Since writing the original draft, i’ve heard something along the lines of Heart getting DDOS’d. That, of course, is about the worst way one can deal with conflict and is asstastical. Boo.