Liberals join conservatives to defeat Charlotte’s transgender bill | Christian Examiner Newspapers

Liberals join conservatives to defeat Charlotte’s transgender bill | Christian Examiner Newspapers.

anyone surprised that the left and right are allied in their transmisogyny?

no?

this isn’t a new thing. radfems (the left) have always been aligned with right-wing christians in their transmisogyny. that one group alone ensures that the left and right will always see eye-to-eye on this.

i also changed blog platforms (again)

i had a wordpress blog. then i switched to octopress. and now i’m back with wordpress. this is why URLs and such are different and why i probably broke a lot of people’s links… *shrugs*

as much as i love octopress, i realized that i wanted to be able to sell copies of my books on my personal website, not just via biyuti publishing. it also means that i have a central place to sell copies of the books that won’t show up on biyuti publishing (like teh binary one). or maybe the e-zines that i might start making. i can also use this wordpress to host the audio posts i was starting to make but that then got… idk. put on hiatus while my organs were shutting down. (i hope to get back to making those… or i’ll put that into my imagined multi-media ezines. idk).

the URL remains the same ‘b.binaohan.org’

i’ll probably put up a contact form so that it is easier to get a hold of me in the future.

i might even use this platform to sell rare print copies of my books…

(note: i’ve mostly decided that i’m going to stop putting books out in print. i realize that people like them and. well, yeah. but. dealing with createspace is a hassle if you aren’t american and i just don’t want to bother with amazon anymore. i mean… they are a huge corporation and i hate them. i might do short print runs occassionally or do print zines but this will depend on personal energy levels bc i have post office anxiety).

incite, transparency, accountability, and transmisogyny

with all the stuff happening with COV4 and related, i dug up incite!’s history of transmisogyny the other day. perhaps the easiest to find link about the issue is this one. which broadly describes the issue and what happened.

first things first, how did i know that this event even existed? voz mentioned in on twitter a few years ago. pretty much one of the first things i ever heard about INCITE! is this incidence of their transmisogyny and their continued transmisogyny. you’ll note from the post i linked to that voz was one of the people (one of the few twoc) actually involved with this. so i side with her on this.

after i tweeted about this little bit of history, emi koyama tweeted at me that she was also involved and to let me know there were public discussions and responses from incite on the blog “questionning transphobia” which is where Queen Emily originally called out INCITE! for the clinic. this blog, unfortunately, is no longer available and wasn’t archived by the internet archive. emi said that she will — after obtaining permission — be posting some of the response/email that she has from the same time period. which is great.

however. HOWEVER.

one thing that my digging made clear is that queen emily posted a ‘response’ that was an email. this confirms and holds true that INCITE!’s response was through back channel discussion. something which is also confirmed since the INCITE! national website AND the INCITE! blog have zero mention of this issue or their response to it.

this is NOT my idea of ‘public’ or ‘transparent’. nor is it my idea of an organization holding itself accountable to past mistakes and the people they’ve harmed.

the fact that this kind of critically important bit of INCITE!’s history is being eroded by linkrot and the way that the internet really DOES forget… the fact that even finding out this much took an hour of digging to flesh out the story and understand what happened. the fact that incite national has no statement or recognition that this happened….

yeah. i don’t trust it or them. not when recent events show that back channel discussions to do damage control and their deep concern over the ~brand~ tells me that this is part of a larger pattern of how the org operates and behaves.

the thing that gets me about back channel discussions is that if you look into other big things that happened in online feminism, it is usually WHITE FEMINISTS doing this sort of thing. that rather than airing the dirty laundry and CLEANING it, they are stuff it under the rug and hoping no one notices or remembers. like. i’m super fucking happy that emi is willing to spend the time and effort to dig up old emails and (maybe) post parts of it. but the point i’m making is that she shouldn’t have to.

initial thoughts on trans*nationalism

People will notice that I’m using the asterisk in this title and this is on purpose, despite my fairly well-known criticism of the asterisk. ‘Transnationalism’ is already a term that exists with a set of meanings and this isn’t what I want to evoke when talking about trans*nationalism. As many people know that asterisk in ‘trans*’ is supposed to represent the notion of an umbrella of identity, of overlapping communities that have something important in common. Others might be familiar with the idea of homonationalism (or the place where Gay Inc (or the gay and lesbian movements) intersection with nationalism. ‘Trans*nationalism’, thus, is meant to reference the intersection of trans* movements and politics with nationalism.

As such, the asterisk is actually an important indicator for demarcating trans movements and methods of organizing from trans(asterisk) movements and methods, such that — as in my previous criticisms — the asterisk, as wildcard, not only can represent things like ‘transgender’ or ‘transsexual’ but also necessarily must allow for ‘transmisogyny’ as one its proper permutations. First and foremost, what demarcates and indicates that a trans related movement is a trans*nationalist one is transmisogyny as its proper foundation. This isn’t to say that just because an organization, movement, or term is transmisogynist it is also trans*nationalist, but rather to say that trans*nationalism _requires_ transmisogyny for its coherence and articulation.

In this, we see an important commonality between homonationalism and trans*nationalism, as both depend on transmisogyny for their articulation. Gay Inc and homonationalism distinguished itself in its early days by the swift and deliberate expulsion of trans women of colour from the movement we started. The (racialized) transmisogyny of trans*nationalism, however, is somewhat more subtle but still just as exclusionary. Rather than attempting to claim that twoc are not trans (which not even trans*nationalism can claim with a straight face), instead twoc (and other racialized ppl who experience transmisogyny) are only included as ghosts and statistics. Our lives, deaths, and everything in between are kept at a distance and only used when they legitimize trans*nationalist claims and goals.

Indeed, this is the first and most important characteristic of trans*nationalism: that it exploits the deaths and lives of twoc (and other iaopoc who experience transmisogyny) while never actually and meaningfully including us. Our entry into the movement is a body bag or a faceless number via statistics.

And in this way, we see how trans*nationalism is already aligned with the (settler) state and its imperial goals.

Of course, the relationship between various trans* movements and organizations and the state is key to how/why they are nationalist. We can see that many of these movements and organizations not only collude with the state, but seek to strengthen it and expand its territory.

What does trans*nationalism look like in practice?

  • it is inviting the police to attend trans marches
  • it is reifying and supporting the medical model of transness (via transsexual separatists, True Transsexuals(tm), or Truscum(tm).
  • it is doing little to nothing to support incarcerated trans ppl (much less getting involved with prison abolitionism itself)
  • it is hyperfocusing on (the very real problem) of state recognized identify via documentation
  • it is the general disregard and ignorance surrounding the issues of sex work
  • it is the ignorance and lack of concern for trans refugees and immigrants
  • Etc and so on

Anyway. As noted in the title, this is mean to be just initial thoughts on trans*nationalism, rather than a comprehensive list, since it occurred to me the other day that I don’t think I’ve seen much or anything specifically framing current trans* organizations and movements in this way.

on social constructionism as a white hegemonic framework

After elluding to wanting to talk about social constructionism as a white hegemonic discursive framework on twitter, I figure I should make good on that claim/discussion.

The problems and ills with biological essentialism as a discursive framework are generally well-known and mostly opposed within most anti-oppressive discourse1. And this post isn’t about that. Instead, it is about what usually supplants biological essentialism within our discourse — social constructionism. Broadly speaking, social constructionism asserts that human properties like race, gender, disability, etc aren’t inherent to specific kinds of bodies. Rather, the perception of a racialized body depends on the context (society, in other words) in which that body is viewed. That things like race, gender, disability, are socially mediated rather than inherent qualities to individuals. Note, this isn’t an ontological discussion about whether or not these properties exist but an explanation for why/how these properties exist. It is a description.

There is great liberatory value in understanding human properties in this way. Chief amongst them is the idea that if these properties aren’t inherent to the person but rather about contextual perceptions, these perceptions are significantly easier to change than something inherent. For example, much easier to change with the social construction of race than attempt to rewrite a person’s DNA to change the amount of melanin they have. Basically, if it is human society/culture that assigns value to certain properties and oppresses people with different properties, this is something that can be changed (and, in fact, is almost always already changing). The changeability of the valuation of human properties seemsto confirm how we understand history and the ways that meanings assigned to properties aren’t constant over time, as is suggested by a biologically essentialist model.

At present, all I’m really asserting is that social constructionism is also a white created theory for explaining how things work and that this whiteness — like all whiteness — comes with dangers and problems. Chief of amongst them is the hegemonic nature of the theory and the continual expansion of its territory within discourse.

The question, to a certain extent, is “is everything socially constructed?”. It often seems, at times, that many people’s response (if they are familiar with the theory) is ‘yes’. But the answer cannot be and should not be ‘yes’. If they answer is ‘no’, however, where are all the discussions about the limits and boundaries of social constructionism? What are the boundaries?

One problem is that it is far too easy to assert ‘yes’ and talk about how all things are socially constructed, even when the people holding the beliefs do not believe this is so. Perhaps the easiest limit to social constructionism is religion or spirituality. Social constructionism is a secular system of thought. Fundamentally, it cannot really allow entities like gods, spirits, ancestors, etc to actually exist. Such beings must also be socially constructed (even if this is only asserted by people outside of the tradition). Why? Because socially constructionism doesn’t only oppose biological essentialism but other kinds as well.

I come from a people with strong roots in Catholicism. And it is common enough for some bakla people to think that we are this way because God made us this way. This is an essentialist belief. But it is an essentialist belief not based on biology. It is what could be called ‘theological essentialism’. Most people would assert that you cannot believe both that gender is a social construction AND that God created you to have a specific gender at the same time. Within white discourse such a position is untenable. And part of the problem lies within social constructionism itself, since most of its adherents strictly oppose all essentialist frameworks.

Of course, this example might not be convincing for a lot of people, since who cares if a colonial religion’s perspective on gender is incommesurable with constructionism? Well…

This was just an easy example that didn’t require me to reference any indigenous belief systems. But I also come from a people where my gender has a spiritual dimension within the indigenous worldview (something I’m also not getting into bc it is besides the point). And while I can, within my own worldview, reconcile a general commitment to constructionism and theologically essentialist aspects of my own gender the only way this is possible, as far as I’ve been able to tell, is to understand that there are limits to social constructionism. But also understanding it as a white created theory that also seeks to dislocate my Tagalog worldview because it is still a white created explanatory system. It has no more vested interest in affirming my worldview (or even allowing it to exist) than the medical or scientific strains of biological essentialism favoured by many.

Moreover, you can percieve the whiteness within the theory when you look at its expansionist tendencies. Social constructionism (and its strongest adherents) rarely sketch out any limits to its territory, rather seeking only to furter expand with an aim to bring all phenomena within its borders. It is this prescriptive angle I find most troubling and the way that, in many spaces, there isn’t any room for someone like me to articulate an essentialist/spiritual dimension to my gender without being branded a heretic or reactionary.

(and i have no real idea how to conclude this but i think i’m done writing on this topic for now…)

asians and visibility

It isn’t uncommon to see Asian diaspora discourse focus on ‘visibility’. Recently, this was the apparently the impetus behind #asian invasion on tumblr…. a selfie movement feeding off of #blackout. There are many things wrong with this…

I’m not going to talk too much about the anti-Blackness inherent in yet again co-opting Black leadership and creativity by doing something like asian invasion with little thought. There is already great critiques of this on tumblr.

I will talk, however, about the notion of visibility. And the inherent anti-Blackness of Asians either misconstruing the #blackout movement as being about visibility OR in asserting the need for Asian visibility at this precise moment…

From all indications, #blackout was not about visibility. To say that Black people aren’t ‘seen’ is to misunderstand and erase the ways that they are hyper_visible. The problem isn’t whether or not Blackness is _seen but how it is seen (and by whom). In one sense, #blackout was a great way for non-Black people to see Black ppl how they (might) see themselves: as a group of diverse, complex individuals with each their own stories and lives1.

So what does it mean that Asians would create a parasitic movement based on #blackout that is about visibility? To me, it sounds like more of the (seemingly endless) Asian whining that racial politics (esp. in America) exist on a primarily Black-White binary, the exclusion of all other races. Now… this binary is not only false and non-existent, but organising around the belief that it is real is anti-Black. It ends up asserting that Black people ought not to be centered in movements for racial justice/decolonization/dismantling white supremacy. Or it ends up asserting that Black ppl take up too much space in these movements or discourse. Or something to that effect. Thus… we end up with the endless worry of (some) Asians about ~visibility~.

But visibility is such a nebulous term…. Who do we want to see us, exactly? And who are we erasing in this quest for visibility?

I ask this because if you are a non-Black Asian and during #blackout you either did not see or did not notice the fact that BLACK ASIANS were participating and, thus, ‘visible’, you are either following the wrong people OR operating with the notion that there are no Black Asians. Either is anti-Black. If visibility is truly your concern, then it should begin with us seeing all the peoples and Asians who tend to get erased and forgotten whenever we talk about ‘Asians’. Chief amongst this group would be… Black Asians. See also Indigenous Asians. But also disabled Asians, Fat Asians, etc. and so on. Again… I saw all the above during #blackout. Bc. You know. Asians (of any kind) are not mutually exclusive with Blackness.

But I also have to say that if ‘visibility’ is the greatest issue you think Asians face, then you are 1) wrong and 2) probably in the group of relatively privileged Asians2.

One note: asking for ‘visibility’ is not the same as critiqueing or discussing erasure.

femme resistance and compliance

I don’t often touch this topic since I find that there are many twoc who already aptly discuss the politics of femme resistance (like Morgan — labrujamorgan). But I’m finding rubato’s experiences and comments on femme intriguing and frustrating (not rubato’s writing but the ideas it is responding to).

The notion that femininity and such is reactionary and compliance to partriarchy is a thorn in everyone side pretty much placed there by radfems (who’ve taken to whining endlessly about ‘butch flight’ and the disappearance of the masculinity they love to worship in their own communities). Honestly, I do blame radfems for the popular notion that femmes are necessarily counter-revolutionary bc we uphold the patriarchy…

For me. Remembering this important bit of historical context for where the figure of the counter-revolutionary femme helps a lot in just not really feeling like I have to pay attention to most people’s critiques of femmes or the (stereotypical) accroutements of being femme. Ppl want to buy into bullshit radfem ideas about femininity and shit? They get put on my ‘dupes of radfems and probably transmisogynists’ list.

So many discussions of the problems with being femme fail to take into account race (something I know that many femmes of colour have talked about). They fail to take into account any number of overlapping and non-trivial oppressions (weight, class, etc and so on).

What interests me more is this… desire (and this def. comes from radfems) to frame femmes as necessarily conservative/reactionary/counter-revolutionary to the radical/revolutionary/subversive butch. Now. Of course on the surface this just seems like more patriarchy vis a vis the worship and adulation of masculinity and all things related to men. And, sure, this is an important factor (I mean, we all know that radfems fucking suck at patriarchy’s tit right?).

But it is this notion, which sadly Julia Serano has also noted in her book, that for whatever reason some identities are inherently more radical than others that interests me because… really? REALLY?

Like beyond the fact that I’ve had my FILL of white impossed binaries re: gender and shit, ppl really need to move beyond this really fucking simplistic idea that identity in and of itself is somehow ~radical~.

Look.

My dad is a SE Asian man. He is super duper anti-Black, fat-phobic, anti-Semetic, and literally votes conservative (I’m not joking. He votes conservative).

Are you telling me that just because he is an SE Asian man, that he is more radical than my white bf?

(Yeah, my bf is white and all that implies. Meaning, at the very least, that he is racist. But unlike my dad, at least he tries to do something about his position of power and privilege. At the very very least, he doesn’t vote for the party that is literally trying to prevent me from having equal rights. But my dad is more radical just for being Asian? NOPE.)

Radical is shit you do not what you are. Compliance and resistance are what you do not what you are by dint of simply existing in a certain way.

And don’t get at me about internalized whatever the fuck. We all internalize shit that we have to unlearn. ALL OF US.

This, in part, why it is so irritating when white ppl on tumblr will list ‘anarchist’ in their bios but not ‘white’. You are white but you aren’t ‘anarchism’ however much you believe in and subscribe to the ideology. One of those is an identity and the other is just a word to describe you.

But I expect to see yet another thing castigating femmes for wearing makeup (like each and everyone of us does, of course).

Anyway. Fuck ur frameworks.

the parallels and intersections between anti-Black misogyny and transmisogyny

This post won’t leave me be to play Super Mario RPG, so I’m writing it and moving on.

Not too long ago, on tumblr, I saw that someone described the denial of a cis Black woman’s womanhood as ‘transmisogyny’ (could’ve even been ‘misdirected transmisogyny’). If memory serves, it was in the context of saying that some cis Black woman looked like or appeared to be ‘a man’. I can see why someone would make this error given that many ppl on tumblr and around will say that whenever you say a cis woman looks manly (like a man) you are being transmisogynist. And in casses where we aren’t talking about Black women, I’d maybe agree…

However, when we are talking about Black women, it isn’t ‘transmisogyny’ that enforces a regular, systemic denial of Black womanhood. It is anti-Black misogyny. And saying that a cis Black woman being denied her womanhood is ‘transmisogynist’ (misdirected or otherwise) manages to be both anti-Black misogynist and transmisogynist at the same time.

It might seem, on the surface, confusing to assert that there exists two subsets of women who are regularly and systematically denied womanhood but whose experience of this denial is not the same despite the impact being the same (ie, ‘being denied womanhood’).

And yet… here we are. The reality is, is that while both trans women and Black women (cis and trans) are regularly and systematically denied womanhood, the source and cause of this denial are distinct.

Trans woman are denied womanhood bc of transmisogyny.

All Black women are denied womanhood bc of anti-Black misogyny.1

To assert that it is transmisogynist to say a cis Black woman looks like a man is to completely erase the individuals who exist at this intersection: trans Black women. Who are denied womanhood based on both anti-Black misogyny and transmisogyny at the same time.

Indeed, since the denial of womanhood is an act of violence, that Black trans women exist at an intersection of two different kinds of violent denial of womanhood (or personhood) is precisely why Black trans women are the targets of so much material violence in the world.

People wanting to see how this plays out in discourse, should look to Monica Roberts’ Transgriot blog. Especially interesting is her discussions of the Williams sisters and how they are treated in the media.

Denial of womanhood is a defining feature of anti-Black misogyny and it is anti-Black misogynist to suggest otherwise.

Denial of womanhood is a defining feature of transmisogyny and it is transmisogynist to suggest otherwise.

And no one else experiences the unique denial of womanhood that Black trans women do but Black trans women.


  1. I could get into why I think this is, but Black women have aptly spoken about anti-Black misogyny and you can read their writing on it.