A great conversation was recently started by piny over at Feministe. Piny’s post, Nobody is begrudging him his dick, provided a great sigh of relief for me. Finally, I found a funny, sarcastic and yet provocative analysis written about trans issues by a trans persyn. I’ve found a few trans blogs but none of them seemed to provide any political analysis, mostly just dress and make-up tips. Not that I’m moking that, its great, just not what I was looking for.
Its great to find other critical and political trannies out there that are active in the blogosphere. But lets get on to the post. Piny sets out breaking down (or fisking as this particular practice has come to be known) a letter to the editor in response to an article that called for transmale inclusion in gay sexual spaces (or gay spaces, in general, really). I’m not going to try to sum it all up, you’ll have to go check out Piny’s post. But the brief brief is that the letter to the editor to which Piny is responding is written by an incredible misogynistic, transphobic gay guy who wants nothing to do with trannies and certainly doesn’t want them hanging out in HIS scene. My first response was “I wonder what this guy thinks of intersexuals entering HIS scene.” I’m sure they’re just as not welcome. I’ll explain more in a bit.
What was really interesting were all the comments. Seems one or two other radical trannies popped up in there, too. I really appreciated reading the discussion. I only wish the comments weren’t closed. Oh well, I’ll comment here.
One post in particular stated (and at least one persyn conferred) that who has access to the gay clubs and parties is ultimately up to the property owner. While legally this is true, I couldn’t help but think of Whites-only spaces. Then I got to thinking of a paper I wrote when I was in school. I argued that in a Patriarchal society there are only two genders: male and other. Maleness is a category that has changed over the years, but must, in order to uphold hierarchical power relationships, remain very strict in its enforcement. I talked about an essay that was written (I can’t remember the title or author at this point) that discussed how men of color were (and often still are) left out of the Male category and are, instead, placed in the ‘other’. Without getting in to it too much, you may remember imagery from the civil rights movement in the US where Black men would march holding signs that read “I AM a man”. This was direct resistance to the emasculation that these men felt as a result of White Supremacy. In time, Black men (and gradually other men of color) have gained a larger piece of the Male Privilege Pie by fighting for their right into the Real Men category.
Now this gets complicated. Are those arguing for the exclusion of transmen from men’s spaces or transwimmin from wimmin’s spaces willing to argue that we can go back to the days of White-only soda shops? Cuz I live in North Carolina and we don’t stand for such blasphemy. On the other hand, how far are transmen willing to go to get their full piece of male privilege pie? While I think that transmen should be accepted as men if that’s what they want and transwimmin should be accepted as wimmin if that’s what they want, I also think that as transpeople we have a special place in the fight against patriarchy. And unless we are explicitly fighting the system of Male Supremacy, then in the end, we’ll be no better off. We’ll just be able to give blow jobs in different bathrooms.
By the way, once you are done checking out piny’s post, be sure to check out the wonderful post-analysis analysis, titled The Sexism of Transphobia, by Andrea over at Shrub.com.