Monday, 8 April 2013

The North Koreans are all around

The world is full of people with a point of view that they want to impress on others. Nothing is going to change about that. And indeed there is no reason why any individual shouldn't do some thinking for themselves, and tell all the rest what conclusions they have come to. All I say, is let it be rational thinking based on provable facts. And not simply a rant supported by nothing but narrow experience, prejudice, second-hand reports, political orthodoxy, and whatever they personally feel comfortable or uncomfortable with.

Because on one level you can acknowledge that something is so, or may well become so, and yet turn away from it because that truth makes you squirm with discomfort. It's a kind of doublethink that is perfectly sustainable if the truth in question doesn't (or will never) impinge on your everyday life. Such as the notion of black holes gobbling up everything in our local universe eighteen billion years from now. Or the not-so-remote notions that the world could descend into a vicious global Energy War in 2075, and an apocalyptic Food War in 2090.

In the UK at the moment, two of the hot public topics are benefit reform, and defence expenditure on the Trident Missile replacement. Or at least questions on these things were asked of a panel of politicians on last Friday evening's Any Questions? on BBC Radio 4. The slant on the first question was the linking of Mick Philpott, now convicted of the manslaughter of his own children, with his idle and supposedly comfortable life on benefits. The slant on the second question was whether the threats and tension created by North Korea justified so much of the government's limited budget being spent on having a world-class nuclear capablity.

On Mick Philpott, the view seemed to prevail that merely being on benefits did not create killers. There was no concensus however on whether people should have as many children as they wished, for the sake of generating benefit income from having a large family, and then living a life of idleness on the money coming in.

As for North Korea, the view seemed to be that it was too far away from us to matter: we were out of range. I checked on that - what about missiles being sent along a great circle route over the North Polar regions? But it was true. The UK is as distant from North Korea as mainland America is. And outlying parts of America, such as Alaska and Hawaii, are only a little bit closer - such is the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. And in any case, one can't see Russia letting any North Korean missiles pass over its airspace (Russia and North Korea ceased to be friends a long time ago, China filling the gap instead). You can easily see that if North Korea had a fleet of modern go-anywhere-in-secret nuclear submarines, with missiles on them, then the position would change. But it hasn't. So for the present, North Korean belligerence, on its own, doesn't justify a new Trident-style defence programme. Nor do the possibilities of terrorist activity and energy-supply blackmail from certain countries create threats that missiles will deter. Other precautions can be taken that will counter those things more effectively.

So much for two topical national issues. There are many others that pressure groups want us to know about. On the Internet, all kinds of stuff is thrust forward as important and requiring action.

In the trans sphere, you have people pressing for change, wanting to influence public perception. Trans people themselves want public understanding, belief, respect and full acceptance, with all the medical and life-improvement opportunities that go with that. And there are those who are opposed to trans people for one reason of another. Some for religious or political reasons. Some simply see us as a threat to their way of life. And their messages seem to me very much like the fearful, angry and insulting rhetoric that streams forth from North Korea.

I still dip into one or two of the trans hate sites, to see what is going on. It's a dispiriting thing to do. Nothing changes. Some posts chronicle those - mostly young, both genders - who transitioned early and then regretted it. The clear intention is to highlight the possibility of regret, and to call for a ban all gender reassignment surgery, especially for young people who might be deluded about themselves, or misled by a money-driven medical industry. Other posts chronicle the attitudes of (mostly older) trans women who are considered to have behaved badly or stupidly. They are held up as typical examples of 'men' invading or trampling on (i.e. raping) a female world that does not belong to them, and creating distress among women and children. The chosen examples make the desired point, but the persons written about are unrecognisable parodies of themselves. Just as North Korean propaganda will parody the South Korean point of view, and sneer at prominent South Korean personalities and their words.

What is disturbing is not so much the misrepresentation of real trans people, but the unchanging message. Nothing ever moves on. You would think that even the most rabid and suspicious trans-hater would sometimes take stock, and see things a little differently, if only to ponder why the world in general is slowly moving in the direction of full acceptance for trans people. How can millions of ordinary people be wrong, especially as half of them are natal females? Surely they can't all be taken in by falsehoods? Haven't they access to decent education and the latest research? But no. Nothing changes.

Dirt is a well-known blogger on feminist issues, from a specifically butch lesbian point of view. Her blog is at http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.co.uk/. Three years ago, on 30 March 2010, she published this:

"Femme" Imposters-in a Femme/Butch community near you

Since the Queer Theory stormtroopers ripped the door off the hinges of the Femme/Butch community leaving it wide open for any and all to enter, our community has been flooded with "femme" imposters. While a smidge of those imposters are "trans" disordered homophobic straight men, it is not they that I am addressing with this post.

And before anyone asks why a homophobic straight Mtf-man would join an F/B community, I'll clarify. There are a small number of Mtf-men now in our F/B communities seeking relations with Butch women. And no I have never heard of a single Butch woman EVER dating/relating with an Mtf-man. The reason these straight homophobic Mtf-men use their male privilege to parade on into F/B lesbian spaces seeking Butch women is (depending on how faux female hormones affect the individual man) after injecting faux female hormones for a spell, many straight Mtf-men's brain structures/chemistry/sexual attractions begins to change and many find themselves attracted to men. But like your typical homophobic straight dude they often fight the urge (especially after SRS when their penis loses its focus because it has been mutilated to the point it no longer works properly) to seek sex with other men, they seek out instead women who in their pathologically binary thinking are "mannish" as a way to escape from their homophobia. Meaning they know Butches are women, whom to them "look like men", so if they direct their attractions towards Butch women, they arent being homosexual. Its not the homophobes outside the community we need to worry about as you can see, it is the thousands we've let into our gay and lesbian communities that we need to worry about.

The "femme" imposters I'm speaking of are the emotionally damaged straight women co-opting "femme" identity. These are women who have been sexually/emotionally/physically abused by males at some point/or repeatedly as children/teens. But rather than look their demons in the eye, hold those who hurt them accountable (patriarchy) and work through their pain, they deny their heterosexuality while remaining sexually attracted to men and use Butch women and Femme/Butch spaces to selfishly satisfy their sexual/relationship needs.

"Femme" imposters harm the F/B community on three different levels:

1) One way "femme" imposters hurt the F/B community is how they treat/affect actual Femme lesbians. These "femme" imposters being the straight women that they are, internalizing hetero-patriarchy as they do, bring those negative hetero-patriarchal norms into F/B space, utilizing hetero-patriarchy's hierarchical norms that are designed to keep women apart which in turn keeps women from challenging hetero-patriarchy in massive numbers which could challenge hetero-patriarchy. In F/B spaces this takes the form of "femme" imposters vying for Butch attention through a "femme" hierarchical system such as IDing as "high femme"/"stone femme" in order to make themselves seem more desirable, more femme (as if) thereby out femming the real Femmes. And in doing so this creates a division between Femmes by creating Femme competition. This competition is made worse by a decline in healthy minded Butch women and the small decline in Butch numbers (will expand on this more in my #2). The hierarchical hetero-pat-systems femme imposters bring to our F/B community then creates a certain distrust between even actual Femme lesbians, shutting them off from one another for fear if they get too close to another Femme, said Femme may in fact either steal their Butch or if single curb the chances Femmes may have of finding a good Butch. This doesn't affect all Femmes and Femme friendships but where it has it has been detrimental to the community bysabotaging any chance of real Femme sisterhood.

2) Another way femme imposters harm the F/B community is in how they hurt Butch women. Because the femme imposter is NOT a lesbian she naturally has no inclination or capacity in participating in a full on complete mutual loving relationship with a Butch woman. This takes the shape in a few different ways; the femme imposter's compulsory heterosexuality prevents her from the commitment to the patience and intimacy needed to aid the average Butch woman in working through her Butch body/sexuality issues in order to achieve a healthy fulfilling F/B relationship, in fact more often than not the femme imposter does just the opposite. The femme imposter encourages Butch shame either subtly with hints of disgust towards the Butch woman body (minimal physical contact/lack of sexual desire for the Butch body) or to a greater degree in insisting Butch women are male like or worse actually men and therefore should trannify in order to achieve the maleness the femme imposter claims Butch woman have/are. The latter scenario obviously more dangerous than the first as it is irreparable, but do not discount the psychological damaging pain of the former.

3) And somewhere circling the harm the femme imposter causes to both Femme and Butch women the damage done can linger, harming the potential for healthy future Femme/Butch couplings. In the sense of Femme's internalizing the hyper hetero-femininity femme imposters impose on our community creating self doubt and insecurity where before there was little and in deepening Butch shame to those Butches who have the strength and presence of mind not to trannify from femme imposter pressures but whose fragile natures still get hurt from femme imposters selfish processes. Femme lesbians worry are they femme enough and Butch lesbians are so shamed and hurt they fear letting another Femme in regardless of the authenticity of the Femme.

It is time true Femmes and Butches reclaim our rightful identities and spaces! Say NO to femme imposters!

dirt

I didn't see her post until four months later. This was my reply on 14 July 2010:

Hmmm. First thing I'd say is that in this entire area there is too much in the way of jargon and definitions! It doesn't make things simple and clear and straightforward.

I agree that there is such a thing a 'male privilege', or at least 'assumed male privilege'. I'm a male-to-female trans person who has given all that up. I resemble a woman sufficiently to be treated like one. So I'm sometimes taken less seriously, handled with less respect, and I'm subject to all the usual glass ceilings that can hold women down, straight, bi or lesbian. And because I can't go back, this is going to be how it is for the rest of my life. That's fine with me.

But I'm also, in many situations, treated with a courtesy and decency and friendliness that would largely be denied to me if I still looked and behaved like an ordinary man. That's the privilege of being taken as a woman. But that's a by-product of the thing that drives me on. I feel I've had no deliberate choice whatever about transitioning. It's go mad or die if I don't. Given that, do you see me as a cunning interloper with an obnoxious agenda? Or am I welcome as an involuntary 'convert'?

Do I really invade your space? I think I'm somewhere else. Yes, I used to be attracted exclusively to women. That hasn't changed. But I don't think that somehow my retained sexual orientation now makes me a lesbian. My gut feeling is that 'lesbian' isn't the accurate name for my outlook or approach in potentially sexual or romantic situations. It may be equivalent to a lesbian situation, but surely I'm not really where you are, and I certainly wouldn't presume to claim membership of your particular club.

I'm still basically a male-bodied, male-brained, male-chromosomed person who has been chemically modified to resemble a female person. In time, the change will be quite radical. I think that it will to some extent be a mental change, as well as a physical change. I intend to tweak my physical appearance with surgery so that I can fully join in with society at large. I don't want to stay on the margins. I want the chance to play my part in some unselfish and worthwhile way that is reasonably high-profile and meainstream. I don't look male any more, but I need to look properly female - and be accepted a properly female - so that people stop thinking about me and concentrate on what I have to offer.

And getting back to relationships, I'm not deceiving anyone because I make sure they know my origins up front. No secret games from this quarter. I'm not a threat, although I might be a friend and ally.

Lucy

Reading Dirt's post now, nearly three years later, when I'm more used to the terms and concepts mentioned in it, I understand better what she was saying. I can see how it might be disturbing for a butch lesbian to find that imposters (unwanted new faces, anyway) were coming into her social world and establishing themselves. She has justification for complaint if this creates real-life problems for herself or her friends. I don't now think my reply addressed her concerns at all well. At best it was a general response to the thinking of some hard-core lesbian women. I think it it still stands up as a personal statement from me, and importantly it states that I am not her enemy, and might be her friend and ally. But I rather think she couldn't have cared less about my attitude. Never mind.

But I am disappointed to find, when looking at her blog this morning, that her message (and presumably her life) hasn't moved on. It's still the besieged feminist. Perhaps she would say that the war against men is exactly the same as it was three years back, and so long as it never changes, then the message will never change either. But I can't get my head around the attitude that says (a) I can exist, but you can't, and (b) I will never mellow and do other things. In a diverse world, in a world which may get harder for everybody, it's better to co-exist in peace I'd say. And drop the hate. North Korea, please take note too.

1 comment:

  1. Personally Lucy, I think it rather naive to think people are going to be influenced by what you, I, or anyone else says when they are so ingrained in their own lifestyle, thoughts and attitudes. All we can do is put forward our own views and let it rest. The world is full of wicked-minded and selfish people but you know my views on such things. People only hear what they want to hear, their hearts are closed, their eyes are blind to what really matters in this world.

    Shirley Anne x

    ReplyDelete

This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

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Lucy Melford