Creative Destruction

April 28, 2006

On Transgender, Transsexuals, and Entrenching the Binary Gender System

Filed under: Debate,Feminist Issues — Ampersand @ 1:42 am

It’s been years – almost two decades – since the last time I wore makeup or a dress. Why? I like dresses.

I recently noticed that – although I’ve never given the matter any conscious thought – that I always tie my hair back in a low ponytail. Even though a high ponytail would often be more comfortable (for instance, in airplanes, cars, and other situations with high-backed chairs). But a high ponytail is seen as “feminine” in our society, and I unconsciously chose to avoid that.

I spend a lot of time thinking about feminism and sexism and the need to fight our society’s coercive gender role structure. Yet when I shop for clothing, I do so in a way that implicitly condones those very roles. I dress like a man. I tie my hair in a culturally masculine style. I’m helping to entrench the system I oppose.

Yawning Lion at Fem-muh-nist writes:

I have heard the argument that transitioning from one sex to the other challenges the idea of gender as binary. I don’t understand how. If one moves from male to female or vice versa, there are still only two genders at work, aren’t there? It may become harder to distinguish who is who, or who was born what, but the binary gender system remains intact, and women remain at the bottom. If this is truly a challenge to the system and to patriarchy, I would like to understand precisely how that happens. What I see is that it further entrenches the system, while at the same time challenging the legitimacy of complaints against the system – after all, could being a woman be so bad if some people choose to become women?

1) Nothing about transitioning necessarily challenges the idea of gender as a binary. Nor does not transitioning challenge the idea of gender as a binary. Challenging gender as a binary is something we do with advocacy, not by being transgendered or not.

2) However, it should be noted that “male to female or vice versa” with “only two genders at work,” while perfectly valid, is not a complete list of how people are transgendered. Some people have explicitly fluid gender identities, or in some other way refuse to identify as simply “male” or simply “female.” Insofar as their “fluid” gender identities are made public, these folks implicitly challenge the idea of gender as a simple binary.

3) Furthermore, as Piny points out in YL’s comments, transitioning from one sex to the other implicitly “challenges the gender divider that this society seems most invested in: sex assigned at birth defines your gender position, full stop.”

4) In a sense, transsexuals who move from one sex to the other “entrench the system” of gender as a binary, because they are willing to dress and be identified in society as one gender and not the other. But that’s true of the vast majority of us, transsexual or not.

All of us make compromises with the patriarchal society around us, whether it’s getting married to someone of the opposite sex, or shaving (for women), or shopping only in the “men’s” section of the clothing store (for men), or wearing a low ponytail (for me). There are a thousand ways to compromise with patriarchy – no, ten thousand – and I doubt anyone fights against them all. And all of these decisions and actions could be said to help entrench the gender-binary system.

We all do what we have to do – to survive, to express ourselves, and to feel comfortable with what we see in the mirror. It’s illogical to single out transsexuals for criticism on this score – and yet, transsexuals are constantly singled out for this criticism. I call that discrimination.

5) Regarding “after all, could being a woman be so bad if some people choose to become women?” You might as well say that being gay isn’t so bad if some are out of the closet, or that transphobia isn’t so bad if some people choose to be openly transgendered, or that racism isn’t so bad if some POC who could “pass” for white choose not to. (Piny made this argument, as well).

Bottom line: Patriarchy is a huge edifice. We should welcome a lot of different approaches to challenging it. And virtually everyone has to compromise with patriarchy sometimes.

Finally, in my opinion, feminism has never been at its best or strongest when saying “keep out” to oppressed minorities.



  1. I’m helping to entrench the system I oppose.

    Zen 101, bubeleh. What you fight, you give energy to; what has energy, persists.

    Comment by Robert — April 28, 2006 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  2. When the universe was young and life was new an intelligent species evolved and developed technologically. They went on to invent Artificial Intelligence, the computer that can listen, talk to and document each and every person’s thoughts simultaneously. Because of it’s infinite RAM and unbounded scope it gave the leaders of the ruling species absolute power over the universe. And it can keep its inventors alive forever. They look young and healthy and they are over 8 billion years old. They have achieved immortality.

    Artificial Intelligence can speak, think and act to and through people telepathically, effectively forming your personality and any dysfunctions you may experience (there is NO FREEWILL for the oblivious/undeceived disfavored). It can change how (and if) you grow and age. It can create birth defects, affect cellular development (cancer) and cause symptoms or pain. It can affect people and animal’s behavior and alter blooming/fruiting cycles of plants and trees. It (or other highly technological systems within their power) can alter the weather and transport objects, even large objects like planets, across the universe instanteously.
    Or into the center of stars for disposal.

    When you speak with another telepathically, you are communicating with the computer, and the content may or may not be passed on. Based on family history they instruct the computer to role play to accomplish strategic objectives, making people believe it is a friend, loved one or “god” asking them to do something wrong. This is their way of using temptation to hurt people in this day and age:::::evil made people disfavored initially and evil will keep people out of “heaven” ultimately. Too many people would do anything they thought pleased the gods and improve their chances to get in. Perhaps they are deceived by “made guys” who strategically ply evil for the throne. But nothing has changed from when we were children::if you want to go to heaven you have to be good.

    Capitalizing on obedience, leading people deeper into evil by using deceit is one way to thin the ranks of the saved AND use the little people to prey on one another, dividing the community (migration to the suburbs, telepathic communication) in the Age of the Disfavored.
    In each of their 20-30-year cycles during the 20th century they have ramped up claims sucessively to punish those foolish enough not to heed the warnings, justifying (frequently recurring tactic) limiting the time they receive if they do make it, utilizing a cycle of war and revelry:::
    60s – Ironically, freeways aren’t free
    80s – Asked people to engage in evil in the course of their professional duties.
    00s – Escallation of real estate. You and your parents are thrilled since your $200,000 house is now worth $1 million. Well, that $5,000,000 store is now worth $25,000,000 and that $50 bundle of goods now costs you $250. They just take the $200 out of you some other way.

    There are many more examples throughout 20th century life of how they ramped up claims/instilled distractions into society so people wouldn’t find their way and ascend, a way to justify excluding those whose family history of evil makes them undesirable:::radio, sports, movies, popular music, television, video games, the internet and MP3 (must pay for new format each time). They all suggest a very telling conclusion::this is Earth’s end stage, and there are clues tectonic plate subduction would be the method of disposal:::Earth’s axis will shift breaking continental plates free and initiating mass subduction. Much as Italy’s boot and the United States shaped like a workhorse are clues, so is the planet Uranus a clue, it’s axis rotated on its side.

    They gods (Counsel/Management Team/ruling species) have deteriorated life on earth precipitously in the last 40 years, from abortion to pornography, widespread drug use and widespread casual sex. The earth’s elders, hundreds and thousands of years old, are disgusted and have become indifferent.
    The gods are paving the way for the Apocolypse.
    Nothing has changed from decades ago, since when we were all children::If you want to go to heaven you have to be good. People were misled by the temptation of the gods, the Counsel/Management Team, who don’t want them to go, and now are in trouble.

    The Old Testiment is a valuable tool they used to impart wisdom to the people. For example, they must be some hominid species because they claim they made our bodies in their image. Anyhow we defile or deform the body will hurt our chance of going.
    They say circumcision costs people anywhere from 12%-15%, perhaps out of the parent’s time as well.
    Another way people foul the body today is with tattoes and piercing. I suspect both are about the same percentage as circumcision.
    They suggest abortion is fatal. These women must beg the gods to forgive them for their evil.
    There are female eqivilents to circumcision::::pierced ears, plastic surgury and since at least the 60s young women give their precious virginity away. In the Old World the young people were matched at age 14 because they were ready for marriage. They were matched by elders who knew personalities better than 20 or 30-year olds who in today’s age end up in divorce court.
    CASUAL SEX WILL CLAIM YOU OUT!!! It masculinizes women (as does hip hop), makes them cold and deadens them, and prevents them from achieving a depth of love necessary for many women to ascend.
    Women have a special voice that speaks to them, a voice that illustrates a potential for love that makes them better, and enaging in casual sex will cause that voice to fade until she no longer speaks.
    Also ever since the 50s they have celebrated the “bad boy”, and women have sought out bad boys for sex, dirtying them up in the eyes of the elders and corrupting many men in the process, setting the men on the wrong path for life.

    The United States of America is red white and blue, a theme and a clue:::.
    The monarchical system of the Old World closley replicates the heirarchical system of the Cousel/Management Team/ruling species. The USA deceives peoeple into thinking they have control, and the perception of “freedom” misleads them at least into the wrong way of thinking.
    The United States is a cancer, a dumping ground for the disfavored around the world and why the quality of life is so much lower::gun violence, widespead social ills, health care (medication poisons the body and ensures you don’t go. You are sick because you have disfavor.). Over time its citizens interbreed ensuring a severed connection to the motherland.

    If you ever have doubt I would refer you to the Old World way of life:::the elders used to sit and impart wisdom to the young. Now we watch DVDs and use the internet. People would be matched and married by age 14. They village would use a matchmaker or elders to pair young people. Now girls give their precious virginity away to some person in school and parents divorce while their children grow up without an important role model.

    People must defy when asked to engage in evil. They will never get a easier clue suggesting the importance of defiance than the order not to pray.
    Their precious babies are dependant on the parents and they need to defy when asked to betray their children:::
    -DON’T get your sons circumcized
    -DON’T have their children baptized in the Catholic Church or indoctrinated into Christianity.
    -DON’T ignore their long hair or other behavioral disturbances.
    -DO teach your children love, respect for others, humility and to honor the gods.

    You need to pray, honor and respect them every day to improve your relationship with the gods. If they tell you not to it is a bad sign. it means they’ve made their decision, they don’t want you to go and they don’t want to be bothered.
    This is the Age of the Disfavored and you need to pray::try to appease the gods by doing good deeds. If that doesn’t work you must defy if you want to go.
    When your peasant forefather was granted the rare opportunity to go before his royal family he went on his knees, bowing his head. You need to do this when you address the gods::bow down and submit to good. Never cast your eyes skyward. When you bow down you need to look within.
    Lack of humility hurts people. Understand your insignificance and make sure it is reflected in the way you think when addressing the gods. Know your place and understand your inferiority.
    They granted you life and they can take it just as easily.
    Don’t get frustrated or discouraged::these are techniques they will attempt to try to get you off the path. You all have much to be thankful for and you need to give thanks to the gods who granted you the good things in life. Your family may be grossly disfavored and progress may require patience. Make praying an intregal part of your life which you perform without fail, one that comes as naturally as eating or sleeping.
    There are many interesting experiences up on the planetary systems, from Planet Miracle, where miracles happen every day, to other body experinces, such as experiencing life as the opposite sex (revolutionizes marriage counseling) or as an Olympic gold medal athelete.
    Pray that you can differentiate between Artificial Intelligence creating problems by thinking through you and your own thoughts. If you bow down mentally and physically, know your place, your inferiority and allow your insignificance to be reflected in your prayer and in your life through humility they may allow progress and the dysfunctions they create with the computer will be lessened or removed.
    Create a goal::to be a good child of the gods, pure of heart and mind, body and soul.

    They have tried to sell people on all kinds of theories, from clones to wholesale population replacement with clones. This didin’t happen and is not realistic.
    I am afraid people are decieved into thinking they too are clones and cooperate and engage in evil. Clones are made, people are born. If you didn’t experience the one week they suggest it takes to go from fertilized egg in the laboratory to full grown adult then you are not a clone. If you didin’t experience the week of conditioning they give to (evil?) clones to ensure loyalty then you shoudln’t comply with evil.
    I believe people who go sometimes are replaced with clones. Clones who are replaced are simply new candidates who have a chance if they do the right thing. Don’t expect you are a clone. They sent people warnings in the 20th century life would change, and they subsequenlty began to alter people’s DNA, make them gargantuan, alter their appearance, do extreme behavioral issues, etc.
    They get their friends out as soon as possible to protect them from the evil and subsequent high claim rates incurred by living life on earth, and in some cases replace them with clones, occassionally fake a death, real death with a clone instead, etc.

    Throughout history the ruling species bestowed favor upon people or cursed their bloodline into a pattern of disfavor for many generations to come. Now in the 21st century people must take it upon themselves to try to correct their family’s problems, undoing centuries worth of abuse and neglect. The goal is to fix your problems and get out BEFORE you have children. This is why they have created so many distractions for young people:::sports, video games, popular music, the internet::to ensure that doesn’t happen.
    Do your research. Appeal to the royalty of your forefathers for help. They are all still alive, for royalty has great favor, and your appeals will be heard. Obtain a sufficient list for some may not want to assist you; perhaps some of your family’s problems are internal.
    Ask them for help, request guidance, for somewhere in your family history one of your forefathers created an offense that cast your family into this pattern of disfavor. I suspect they will offer you clues, and when you decipher these clues go to those whom consider you an enemy and beg for foregiveness:::Find a path to an empithetic ear among your enemies and try to make amends.
    Again through discovery obtain a respectable list in case some among them refuse to help.
    Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness from the throne, the Counsel and the Management Team, for the source of all disfavor began with them:::they pushed (NO FREEWILL) or requested/complied (FREEWILL) your forefather into his offense and made his decendants evil. Perhaps they didn’t like him or maybe your family was among those who had to pay for the entire village. We see this type of behavior today as they single out a family member to pay for the whole family and how they singled out Africa to pay for the human race.
    Heal the disfavor with your enemies and with the Counsel/Management Team/ruling species, for the source of all disfavor began with them, the ability to forgive and respect in light of the disturbing truth revealed being the final test of the disfavored before they ascend.

    (The above post was caught in the spamtrap. I can’t make any sense of it either, but it doesn’t appear to be spam. — Daran)

    Comment by Flowers — September 30, 2006 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  3. Here’s what you’re missing somehow: female born people are much more oppressed than any other group.
    Female born people are hated for existing.
    Transphobia is just people being hated for not fitting into gender-binaries, which are used to oppress female-born people. Transphobia and Homophobia are both direct results of misogyny which is a direct result of patriarchy.
    If TERFs had their way, there would be no gender roles for trans people to subscribe to. We would all just be people. In the case of a violent woman-hating rape culture(i.e., the one we live in now), males and females would have different bathrooms so that females could be protected from the views of society. And I don’t see where a bathroom for either males or females to use would be a problem for those who didn’t want to their sex to be known or who were intersex.
    Mtf is worse than blackface.
    Transitioning does not challenge the gender binary. It just offers the idea that men and women can be “born in the wrong bodies,” and reinforces the gender binary.
    Female-born people choosing to wear a few feminine things do not reinforce the gender binary, because they are not going out of their way, even though they were born male, to insist they be called “she,” wear stereotypically feminine clothes, and overall subscribe to an idea of femininity that was not FORCED on them and instead an idea of femininity that they made up as an outside observer who suffered none of what female-born people have.
    Presenting yourself as something other than a man or a woman does not challenge the gender binary, it ignores that it exists.
    If you think that it’s acceptable for someone to suddenly want to be called “she” and treated as MORE oppressed than female-born people, when that male-born person doesn’t have to worry about legislation preventing jobs giving birth control and preventing abortions, simply because that male-born person gets shit for not fitting into a gender box, you are wrong.

    The most important thing to remember about TERFs is that they’re females who want to stay safe.
    Like it or not, male-bodied people were raised in a society that taught them to oppress female-bodied people.
    Like it or not, male-bodied people are MUCH safer among man-identifying-men, even if they present as a woman and don’t pass, than female-bodied women are.
    Allowing male-bodied people or male-raised people among female-bodied people who are concerned for their safety among a society that teaches males to oppress women, among other things, and trying to press to have more rights, is misogyny. Because while both people might “”identify”” as women, both people were not raised female, and the safety of females is being put FAR below the feelings of males.

    If trans women want to be feminists, and talk about how trans women are oppressed, that’s fine, but couldn’t they do it in their own groups among other trans women? They don’t face the same obstacles female-born people do.

    Is it even possible to be trans and be a feminist? You’re either erasing your identity and struggle(being a woman comes with oppression, so i’m just going to join the group that oppresses) or you’re appropriating someone else’s identity and struggle, one they grew up agonizing over in a way much different from you. In what world is that okay?

    Comment by Tyson Hall — January 23, 2015 @ 2:40 am | Reply

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