Special cis lady talks rubbish

October 29, 2009

Cis woman bigot and celebrity transphobic journalist, Julie Bindel, has finally managed to find a publication willing to post her most recent piece of hate speech.

In all honesty, I can’t be bothered even to pick up the famed pink sparklehammer of deconstruction; as far as I’m concerned, she’s one cis woman who truly isn’t worth it, even though (or maybe because) she is a particularly soft target. She holds to an outmoded and discredited ideology and the sooner she fades away, the better. I was in two minds about whether even to write this post because in its small own way it’s giving her the attention she craves.

However, I feel almost duty-bound to report that a cis woman blogger known as steerpikelet has announced her intention to write and publish a response in support of trans people, even though I don’t know any trans people who asked her to do this. Anyway, in her own words (and I have to say her use of cissexist/othering portmanteau terms like ‘transpeople’ fills me with foreboding):

For FUCK’S SAKE – Feminist transfail, again.

Okay, THIS calls for a fucking expose. A proper one this time, not a stream of invective. Stats, quotes, reasoned debate, no swearing, the whole works.

I’ve pitched to the Graun and am about to pitch elsewhere for a piece along the lines of ‘why feminists should support transpeople’ and ‘why surgery doesn’t ruin lives’. At the moment, the time I have to write and research this vital piece is very small. So I need all the help you wonderful people can give me to make this as good as possible.

So, please -message me, comment here if you’re comfortable, and tell me what needs to go in this article.


Please, give any help you can and direct people to this post. THANK YOU.

I have a couple of reservations: (1) listening to a cis woman speaking to other cis people on behalf of us is always an uncomfortable reminder of how marginalised and powerless we are, and (2) asking us to, in effect, write the piece for her makes me wonder if she’s really the right person for the job (assuming there’s even a job to be done in the first place).

But hey, if two cis women want to get into a slanging match about such a laughably poor quality piece of journalism, then who am I to spoil their fun? It won’t change a damned thing for the better, and may possibly even make matters worse for us, but as ever, we have no say in the matter.

Anyway. If anyone wants to find out more, the full story (including a link to the hate speech in question) is over at steerpikelet’s LJ which you can read by clicking here.


ETA, Friday 30 October: Y’know, when a cis woman calls a trans woman “dear“, well, let me just say it doesn’t do much to ease my sense of foreboding:

Yes dear

Another facepalm moment brought to you by…

(Screengrab for the record, via)


ETA, Saturday 31 October: My sense of foreboding was tipped over the edge into a state of full-on pessimism following the appearance of the following Tweet from Penny Red (the Twitter ID of steerpikelet):

Twitter screengrab

The subsequent exchange between her, @genderbitch, @kasperobscene and I has left me feeling deeply pessimistic about steerpikelet’s proposed article; she seems happy to appease the oppressor and it’s hard to see how her post can be anything other than another platform for the transphobic bigot. Free publicity, another opportunity for a public outpouring of her relentlessly transphobic hate speech – and I don’t know how much more of this I can bear…


Further ETA, Saturday 31 October: Selected quotes from the original article:

  • “Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease.”
  • “the Gender Recognition Act […] will have a profoundly negative effect on the human rights of women and children.”
  • “a girl who plays football is trans-sexual.”
  • “I would describe preventing puberty as a modern form of child abuse.”
  • “A trans-sexual ‘woman’ will always be a biological male.”
  • “In a world where equality between men and women was reality, transsexualism would not exist.”
  • “Sex-change surgery is unnecessary mutilation.”
  • “Using human rights laws to normalise trans-sexualism has resulted in a backward step in the feminist campaign for gender equality.”

Well, if it makes any of my cis women haters feel any better, there are times when even I wish I hadn’t been born, too.


11 Responses to “Special cis lady talks rubbish”

  1. Anji Says:

    Steerpikelet is better known as Penny Red. I hadn’t looked at her post from this perspective, I have to admit. Now you mention it, it does seem a little off. :/

  2. Helen G Says:

    hi Anji

    Thanks for clearing that up – I had a hunch that the two were (are) the same writer but I’m glad of the confirmation. Although I’m not sure if the knowledge eases my skepticism about her proposal or makes it worse.

  3. Xayide Says:

    I don’t think it’ll do much to ease the foreboding, but I don’t think the “dear” is cause for alarm. I know a lot of people who use that in an attempt to be conciliatory and just don’t realize it can sound condescending (especially in text form).

    I have one friend that uses “dear” only when she apologizes for something, but at least she does it to all her cis friends, too. ;)

  4. Helen G Says:

    Not so much ‘alarm’, I think, as ‘whaaat?’

    I just would have hoped for a little more attention to detail from a cis woman who is obviously otherwise working hard to be a good ally to trans people.

    It’s things like this that make it hard for me not to be wary of even the most solid of allies, and just reminded me that I should never take any of them for granted.

  5. queenemily Says:

    From now on, I’m going to run all my suspicions of feminist transphobia past cissexuals.

    Janice Raymond – misunderstood
    Sheila Jeffreys – meant it in a nice way
    Julie Bindel – really very supportive, norly

  6. queenemily Says:

    Dear cis feminists,

    I was on the train today, and a teenager spat at me and called me a tranny. Is this transphobia? Maybe you could have a cup of tea and a nice sit down with them first before you decide.

    Perplexed Wee Trans Girl

  7. queenemily Says:

    PS I forgot to mention, they quoted Germaine Greer at me and said I shouldn’t have any rights or hormones. Does this change things?

  8. queenemily Says:

    PPS No sorry they quoted the Bible at me. The bit about no rights or hormones was the same, though.

  9. Helen G Says:

    Please stay seated and remain calm.

    The Tactical Response Unit of the Moral Mandate Trans Eradication Squad (Janice Raymond Division) will be with you shortly.

  10. Roz Kaveney Says:

    I think you’re being a bit harsh here – Steerpikelet is young and enthusiastic, and I am told she has been a good and supportive friend to people I admire and respect. She’s not, let’s face it, the only person whom Julie Bindel has managed to charm into thinking her not as bad as all that – Christine Burns for a while thought she was someone with whom we could do business.

    I’m all for taking a tough line in defense of the community, but let’s not bite people’s heads off. Half the community hasn’t made up its mind about the space between ‘trans’ and ‘other word’ yet, so let’s not make it more important than it is.

  11. Helen G Says:

    Roz: It’s true I’m not a fan of steerpikelet’s writing – too often I think she misses things – and in this instance I have reservations about her approach, which seems to be along the lines of “Tell me your stories so I can turn them into something worth publishing; I have the links to make this happen and am already selling it to people”. To me, the subtext of “Tell me your stories…” is “…because I plan to take the credit for it”.

    Yes, I’d like to feel less adversarial about it and yes, I hope she can persuade me that it is possible to build more bridges between cis women feminists and trans women. But I think the problem is that she’s writing about the cis women’s feminist movement of which she’s a part. So the tendency – which we’ve already seen in her LJ and elsewhere – is to centre the cis perspective, thereby silencing trans voices, whether she intends to or not. I wish Ms Bindel had had the discussion with a trans woman directly. I think Aunty Sarah would have made a good interviewer. Having previously been a direct target of Ms Bindel’s transphobic bigotry, it would have been interesting to see how she (Ms Bindel) justified her comments when faced with one of her targets instead of someone who seems worryingly close to being an(other) apologist for her.

    That being said, I’m very interested to see what steerpikelet will come up with. I hope it’s nothing less than amazing.

    Regarding the the space between ‘trans’ and ‘other word’ as far as I’m concerned, in this context its use is adjectival. Just as I don’t say lesbianwoman or Klinefeltersyndromewoman or whitewoman or Jewishwoman, neither do I say transwoman.

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