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Gender politics

From: Taylan Ulrich Bayırlı/Kammer
Subject: Gender politics
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 21:18:32 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1 (gnu/linux)

Catonano <address@hidden> writes:

> [...]
> In this regard, I'd like to point out that you observed how these
> gender based objections are often raised by male cisgender people
> about mislabeling transgender women but not as often by cisgender
> women about mislabeling transgender men.
> [...]

I've only very briefly skimmed some parts of the original thread and am
not interested in it per se, but since the word "cisgender" has come up
I'd like to raise a certain concern.

Many ideals put forth in contemporary mainstream leftist discourse in
relation to transgender politics, such as the concept of "gender
identity" and in particular "cisgender" (or at least, particular
interpretations of these words) are in fact found to be regressive and
harmful by many women (and some men) who feel strongly about liberation
from systems of male supremacy.

It is a relatively involved topic, in which some extreme emotions and
enmity tend to surface, so I'll try to avoid talking about it as much as
possible on this ML.  I will give a brief explanation of the problem
with "cisgender" as a concrete example, name a few authors and activists
who have elaborated on the perspective I'm speaking of so anyone
interested can read up, and provide a trivial data point on the topic.

The concept of "cisgender" normalizes male people's identification with
maleness.  In fact, a male person actively identifying with maleness
(rather than merely acknowledging their sexual anatomy as an arbitrary
medical aspect of their body, which grants them privileges in society
due to a system of sexism) is likely to be doing so as part of a male
supremacist mindset, akin to how a white person actively identifying
with whiteness (rather than merely acknowledging their skin pigmentation
as an arbitrary medical aspect of their body, which grants them
privileges in society due to a system of racism) is likely to be doing
so as part of a white supremacist mindset.

Authors and activists who have criticized recent turns in mainstream
leftist politics with regard to transgender politics, whose works will
help understand this position, include: Julie Bindel, Meghan E. Murphy,
Penny White, Sarah Ditum, Glosswitch, Claire Heuchan (Sister Outrider),
Miranda Yardley, Lierre Keith, Sheila Jeffreys, Magdalen Berns, and in
part Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Also, the Women's Liberation Front.

Understanding basic (radical) feminist social analysis and ideology
should be a great help in understanding the position as well, if not in
fact being a prerequisite to understanding the on-topic works of the
above listed people.  Standard, classical literature on radical feminism
can be found at  I can vouch for the works of Andrea
Dworkin in particular, all of which are available for free in PDF format
at the linked website.  (Side-note: "radical feminism" does not mean
"extremist feminism" or "militant feminism", it refers to a specific
group of feminist ideologies which are more radical [as in "going to the
roots"] in their analysis and ideals than some others.)

Lastly, a trivial data point about possible effects of inclusivity or
exclusivity, should our Code of Conduct mandate obeying a certain
position on this ideological split: using a social media account with a
few hundred followers consisting primarily of women who feel strongly
about women's liberation including the mentioned topic, I've run a poll
asking women how willing they would be to contribute to a project whose
code of conduct disallows the use of sex-based pronouns for people who
disidentify with them (i.e. they may use "she" or "they", but not "he",
for a male person who does not identify as a man); the outcome was as

Votes: 61

- 48% Would "never" contribute to such a project
- 37% "Depends but rather not"
- 8% "Depends but probably yes"
- 7% "Sure"

I can provide a link to the poll in private upon request, as I've
preemptively began dissociating the social media account in question
from my personal identity after some minor e-stalking incidents.

I'm also happy to provide further elaborations on the topic in private.
However, I will not debate it in private and especially not on the ML.
("Debate" meaning an exchange with a party that already has their mind
made up on the topic and wishes to change others'.  I wish to debate it
only on public forums dedicated to the topic.)

- - -

As for what my concrete proposal is in dealing with this issue: force
neutrality.  If you ban language that invalidates male-born people's
self-identification as women (such as through use of 'he'), also ban
language that validates it, forcing use of gender agnostic language
instead (such as singular 'they').

It's far from perfect, but I think it's the least bad thing that can be
done if you wish to be inclusive of all women and other people who feel
strongly about liberation from male supremacy.

Sorry about touching such a difficult topic,

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