January 29, 2009


It seems that every single conversation about trans issues that takes place in any online space where cis women feminists have access (not only cis women feminists – and not all cis women feminists – but the worst examples seem to originate there) ends up in yet another round of trans people being called on to justify their existence, or to jump through the same old hoops of another Trans 101 circus… The same old entitlement of cis people, the same old cis privilege leveraged as a blunt instrument of oppression with which to bludgeon us into silence.

And I say: enough.

At this precise moment I’m this close (*gestures vaguely with thumb and forefinger*) to just flattening this blog and walking away from it.

I’ve been too ambivalent for too long about my relationship with feminism, but right here, right now, it seems to me that the idea of being a trans woman and subscribing to the ideals of feminism (as presently prescribed by cis women) is an oxymoron, plain and simple.

Because I just don’t see how anyone, trans or cis, can honestly say that what passes for feminism online is anything other than fucked. Totally fucked. And I’ve had enough of it.


To quote a good friend of mine: I’m sick of this cis feminist bullshit that says “trans people shouldn’t exist” and “we bloody should” are two equally valid opinions to hold under the wide umbrella of feminism. That is a completely untenable position, glossed over by a lack of understanding of what the word diversity truly means.

I say again: enough.

It’s hard to see how it’s possible to be both a trans woman and a feminist. But I can’t stop being transsexual – even if I could, I wouldn’t want to – so maybe it’s time to just leave this stupid, frustrating and too-often offensively oppressive online existence behind and just get on with living my life. My real life. My mundane, everyday life.


At least there, the discrimination and prejudice, the harassment and oppression have faces. Those things are directed at me by real people, on the street, at work, everywhere. But at least I see the faces of my oppressors. At least they have to make snap value judgements about the real person, about me, before they direct their abundance of stupid at me…

But, enough, now.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more strongly that the time is now, certainly for trans only spaces online – and maybe I’m even starting to edge towards a notion of a form of trans separatism too. I sure as hell don’t see anything for me here; it’s painfully clear that attempts to find a state where some kind of mutual respect, understanding, tolerance and maybe even some kind of integration between trans and cis people only ever fail.

And I’ve had enough.

There’ll likely be a blogging hiatus here for the next few days, then I may be back or I may not. Right now it just doesn’t matter any more. That’s enough.



14 Responses to “Enough.”

  1. Emily Says:

    I understand completely what you mean and actually have a terribly similar blog post in my drafts (I just haven’t been able to put it as clearly as you have). It’s infuriating the amount of sheer, unadulterated hatred which I keep on running across from some cis women. Some really do see where we’re coming from, but there’s a scarily large amount that don’t, and the hatred I feel from them is sapping my strength.

    I’ll make sure to work on my post and will link to yours. It’s time that we started standing up against this torrent of transphobia and narrow-mindedness which one comes across in the feminist (and lesbian) worlds.

    Take care of yourself, Helen… We can’t let them get us down.



  2. queenemily Says:

    Girl, I feel you. It’s like, part of you keeps smacking your head against the wall thinking that maybe if you just explain yourself well enough that people will *get* it.

    But no matter how pretty your words, how well read you are, how badly they are, how many different tacks you take, it doesn’t work. Cos you are just an uppity tranny, having the gall to call yourself a woman and own your own body.

    We’ve been down this road so many times, and it rarely feels like we get anywhere with online feminism. When do cis feminists start to give a shit about any of our issues? I care about pro-choice, when will someone cis care about trans sex workers, our astronomical rates of unemployment, homelessness, the infinite ways have the wrong docs fucks you, not to mention all that random fucking violence?

    Funnily enough, in my wacky opinion, accepting trans women as women should actually mean realising that some of our issues are different but nevertheless important, just as some cis lesbian women recognise that birth control may not be key for them but important for others. That’s what a movement’s supposed to do, but we my friend are not in a movement. Trans people, party of one.

    Fuck it.

  3. Anji Says:

    I’m sorry if the palaver at my space has triggered this. :(

  4. Milly Says:

    Hey Helen

    Really sorry you’re having so much sh*t to deal with. I don’t know the particulars of the situations you’re talking about, but it’s awful that you’re being made to feel like you have to explain or justify your right to be in feminist spaces. I hope you’re ok. x

  5. queenemily Says:

    >>>it seems to me that the idea of being a trans woman and subscribing to the ideals of feminism (as presently prescribed by cis women) is an oxymoron, plain and simple.

    And this, yeah I feels it, even as I have this foolish hope that feminism also has an emancipatory kernel of a better ideal about self-determination, agency and respect.

    But seriously? So many “feminists” have an immense lack of give-a-crap about the complex ways trans women negotiate our lives and gender presentations in order to deal with the constant threats of verbal abuse, violence, discrimination for minor things like employment or housing. Who cares? Not us boy-o, you’re reifying gender roles or being essentialist or patriarchal or whatever the fuck. My theories > your experience.


  6. msruthmoss Says:

    Not sure what to say to you really except I’m so sorry it’s got this bad and the bastards have gotten to you.

    I think a hell of a lot of people – me included – would be proper gutted if you left the blogosphere, but at the same time I’m sure they’d understand why. x

  7. Take your time, post a little less in future, but please stay on the blogosphere. There are not only mAndreas, Hearts and so on around, there are your readers, too :-)


  8. Alison Says:

    I’m a cis woman, and I call myself a feminist, and I just want to say I’m really sorry. and you absolutely don’t have to put up with this. but I do hope you keep blogging. I’m grateful to get to read what you write and learn from you. though I would totally respect a trans only online space. I completely agree that a feminism that isn’t for all women, that oppresses some women.. is fucked.

  9. queenemily Says:

    Anji: You know, it probably didn’t help. But no, and I can’t speak for Helen but I can guess where she’s coming from, it’s not just one thing, it’s the weight of years, of hearing the same shit over and over.

    I mean, the sad thing is, that was mild. No-one (at least while I was reading) called us serial killers, rapists or paedophiles, insults I’ve honestly lost track of the number of times I’ve heard repeated by cis feminists.

  10. Mercedes Says:

    I haven’t seen all the discussions in question, but I do know that there is a branch of feminism that is not really representative of the whole, but is very vocal, because our existence threatens the foundation of their faith.

    That’s probably the simplest way to put it. For those for whom gender is entirely social construct and then we come along saying “there’s something inherently fundamental and inescapable about me that is female” to the point that the only solution is to change our bodies to match… well, that’s a very threatening concept. Which is why for some it will always come down to absolute denial without consideration of the alternate possibility. It’s an argument that consumes too much energy to engage in, and one that time will probably eventually bear us out on anyway, which is all that matters.

    Really, the only solution I’ve found is to walk away from those discussions when they erupt, but not walk away from speaking what and when you need to.

    Hope that helps. Take care

  11. My ambivalence with feminism is on two levels, the rabid anti transgender attitudes and reading and observing the struggles that African-American women and other women of color have in the feminist movement..

    I have found more support ,friendship and love from womanists that I have ever received from feminists

  12. I am so sorry you are feeling this way Helen! :( I missed this latest round, but ummm, I have hosted a few, and I can guess. In fact, they just keep repeating themselves like right wing FEMBOTS. (ooops, I said fembots.)

    Please don’t let em wear you down!

    PS–you are looking very Tallulah Bankhead in that photo…during her “DIE, DIE, MY DARLING!” era. :D

  13. Jen Says:

    The trouble on the internet is that conspiracy theorists come along and people actually argue with them (and most anti-trans people are conspiracy theorists in one way or another). In real life, they’d write letters in green ink to conspiracy magazines and keep to themselves, but online all of a sudden they have as much credibility as anyone else. And, arguing against them with real logic just gives their bullshit a backbone that it wouldn’t otherwise have, and before you know it you’ve created a monster (or a 91-comment thread).

    If they’re emotionally invested in your existence being proof of the New World Order or some shit, it must be very wearing. Don’t let them get you down, anyway, just imagine all their comments in green ink, addressed to Survivalist Weekly.

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