Trans Identity

By | November 7, 2019
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

This post is a departure from my usual fare.  It may upset some, potentially alienate others.  Quite likely I will receive flak, perhaps abuse.  Probably lose followers, too.

When all is said and done I’m of an older generation that grew up in a very different world.  As such I have a big beef with the conformity of group-think that tries to apply uniform thought patterns and control the Overton Window of acceptable dialogue.

To be specific for this post, I am heartily sick and tired of what I’m told that I’m supposed to think and subscribe to based on the fact that I am transgendered.

  • You’re transgendered, you must believe in our definition of trans rights
  • You’re transgendered, these are your politics
    • if you don’t have these politics, then you can’t be transgendered – you’re not “one of us”
  • You’re transgendered, you’re oppressed
  • You’re transgendered, you’re a woman if you say you are

The list goes on.  And it’s not just about trans identity, it applies to every form of identity politics.  The aim is to own and control you, to make you frightened of looking outside the box they want to keep you in.  Restricting your language in order to restrict your thoughts and ability to be a free thinking individual.

 

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I’ll now get generally contentious.  There’s no such thing as trans rights.  Indeed, there’s no such thing as human rights.

This extract is taken from the Amnesty International site:

Human rights are the fundamental rights and freedoms that belong to every single one of us, anywhere in the world. Human rights apply no matter where you are from, what you believe in, or how you choose to live your life.

Human rights can never be taken away, but they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security. These rights and freedoms are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. But human rights are not just abstract concepts – they are defined and protected by law.

‘Defined and protected by law’ – that’s a good belly laugh.  Go to Idlib, Pyongyang, Tehran, Xinjiang Province and many other places in the world to see how fundamental these rights actually are – they also have laws in those places, in case you didn’t know.  Also, consider most of Europe for large parts of the 20th century (and for most of recorded history).  Anything enshrined in law requires the mechanisms to enforce it.  With enough force behind them the law makers can give or take whatever rights they want.  You, the seeker of ‘fundamental’ rights can be left naked, oppressed and in slavery or dead.  And there’s not a thing you can do about it.  There’s no higher authority that will come and intervene on your behalf (they tried that in Syria and Iraq and got bombs dropped on them for their own freedom).

Throughout human history civilisation has been on a knife edge and often collapsed.  We’re no different now.  If you think the happy ending of ‘V for Vendetta’ is a template for overthrowing oppression – think again.

Our civilisations are based on people coming together and forming a consensus on how to more or less peacefully co-exist with our neighbours.  This does not necessarily mean treating your neighbour with respect, merely keeping your hatred and disapproval to yourself.

Turning that consensus into laws and rights is not a march of history towards utopia.  It’s a temporary thing of our times.

The current movement of identity politics is one that eats itself by constantly fracturing into ever smaller identity groups seeking to promote their own rights.  It’s increasingly vicious in playing a zero sum game as groups find their aims to be at odds with other groups that were once allies.

When it comes to trans rights, the only one I’ll demand is to be treated with respect.  In fact I demand it for every single person, whatever your gender, creed, colour or sexual orientation.  As an individual I have active participation in generating and giving respect to anyone and everyone.  That’s the essence of freedom, not a set of holier than thou demagogues showing little or no respect out of their echo chamber pretending to be my saviours.

Trans identity rights have degenerated into pissing off large swathes of the rest of the population, especially women.  In fact it looks more that they are radicalising that population against transgendered people.  People who by nature are caring, compassionate and follow live and let live find themselves cast as extremist transphobes for not drinking the Kool Aid.

As ever, Monty Python’s Life of Brian was all too prophetic:

REG: Why don’t you shut up about women, Stan. You’re putting us off.
STAN: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
STAN: I want to be one.
REG: What?
STAN: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me ‘Loretta’.
REG: What?!
LORETTA: It’s my right as a man.
JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
LORETTA: I want to have babies.
REG: You want to have babies?!
LORETTA: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
REG: But… you can’t have babies.
LORETTA: Don’t you oppress me.
REG: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the foetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!
LORETTA: crying
JUDITH: Here! I– I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’, but that he can have the right to have babies.
FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.
REG: What’s the point?

We all laughed in 1979 at how ludicrous this scene was.  Most of us still do.  Forty years later we can shake our heads that it’s on the mild end of the trans induced dystopia that’s now for real.

Female friends I’ve spoken with in private settings feel helpless in confronting the new orthodoxy.  These are people who readily provide support and compassion to me in my transgendered journey.  To be told that a man can become a woman at the stroke of a pen and from thereon in invade their spaces fills them with horror.  If you think that’s transphobic, try finding out how many women have had #MeToo experiences ?

One crazy thing here is that there are a myriad of identities and yet the point of confrontation is about something so binary as being defined as a man or a woman.

These female friends fear that they are being erased.  The militant trans rights movement are vociferous in telling women how to behave, they are controlling and competitive.  They gravitate to positions of power.  You know what that sounds like ?  It sounds like the patriarchy in disguise, putting women in their box to do as they’re told !  To make way for the new womanhood.

The whole debate about trans women competing in sport is one I’m not going to go into here.  Most people, men and women see the issues of unfairness here – except for those trans women crushing the competition.  Epitomised recently with an interview of a women’s world champion who called cis women who can’t beat her, losers.

Then there are weird activists such as Jessica Yaniv.  Fortunately she lost her human rights case against women run small businesses that refused service to perform a brazilian wax because they didn’t want to handle a penis.  Yaniv gets weirder and it’s an echo of that Life of Brian scene above.  She believes it’s her right to have a period.  She’s not the only one, there are various online groups dedicated to trans identifying people that believe they have monthly periods.

My female friends react to this kind of thing with a loud WTF !!

As with most things, the vocal extremes of publicity seekers obscure the rest of us quietly going about our lives and dealing with being trans and transitioning in our own way.  There are trans people who are prepared to stand up to the identity bullies and it was from one of those that I saw what I think is the best common sense description of the trans identity debate:

  • Women are women
  • Men are men
  • Trans men are trans men
  • Trans women are trans women

This speaks to my personal view that I could have full SRS, present fully as female and be generally treated as female and yet I will never have the hinterland of experiences to claim to be a woman (nor the biology).  My experiences would be male and trans woman.  That doesn’t make me less or more than anyone else, it makes me uniquely me.

To summarise before this really starts waffling, I will always resent anyone telling me who I am because they want to own my identity and take it away from me for their own agenda.  The old cliche that respect is earned, not taken, is fundamentally more important than any transient rights that people often claim as universal.

26 thoughts on “Trans Identity

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  3. everay2013

    I found this interesting. I am a transwoman myself, and have to say I have never come across trans rights activists demanding all manner of ludicrous things other than in polemics by various rad fems. Where do I find them? Do they even exist outside Julie Bindel’s fevered imagination? The transwomen i know are all just quietly getting in with their lives, all (as I am) grateful for the love and support they receive from their female friends. These acrimonious discussions I see online bear no relation to my lived experience.

    On another point I consider the introduction of self certification for gender to be a long overdue reform. The rad fem campaign against it has been marked by a level of dishonesty that would make Boris Johnson blush. The Republic of Ireland has had self certification since 2015 and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Do read this post from an Irish feminist blog.

    . https://feministire.com/2018/01/22/an-open-letter-to-the-organisers-of-the-we-need-to-talk-tour-from-a-group-of-feminists-in-ireland/

    Reply
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  5. Posy Churchgate

    This is a great, well reasoned post. I imagine your trepidation over pressing publish, but responses so far seem to agree with its core message of each having our own identity and treating each other with tolerance and respect.

    Like May, I might not always get the pronouns right, but I do want to understand and let people go with their own ‘flow’.

    People shouldn’t judge and neither should they have to ask for permission to be themselves. I know this hasn’t always been true and tough battles have been fought, but I am optimistic that things are improving. I welcome greater tolerance and freedoms.

    Well said melody xx

    Reply
  6. Marie Rebelle

    “… the only one I’ll demand is to be treated with respect. In fact I demand it for every single person, whatever your gender, creed, colour or sexual orientation. As an individual I have active participation in generating and giving respect to anyone and everyone. That’s the essence of freedom…”

    This! This totally taps into what I always preach: respect! Treat others with the same respect you want to be treated with, and when there’s more respect, there will be more peace. I know labels help for us to describe how we identify, but the labels shouldn’t identify us. Thank you for a very thoughtful article, Melody.

    Rebel xox

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you, Marie. Always love and appreciate your feedback 🌹🌹

      Reply
  7. MLSlavePuppet

    This is a really interesting post and you expressed your thoughts very well, which spark my own thoughts. I find it very strange that people would tell you who you are. I believe it doesn’t really matter what you are? You’re just a person, really. The only thing labels are convenient for, in my opinion is, well, in my case as a lesbian to tell people that I don’t want to engage in relationships with men. And labels can help identify things for yourself, but no one else should have a say about that in regards to you!

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you so much. This post seems to have cut across a few divides and I really appreciate different perspectives. 🌹

      Reply
  8. InigoMore

    First-class stuff, Melody. Several very well-aimed arrows in this piece. Nothing impresses me more than the voice of sanity. Your summary of the fantasy of ‘human rights’ had me chortling aloud. I expect your observations will attract the wrath of the Intersectional sheep but they’re a toothless herd. First and last we are individuals, and all the better for declaring that out loud.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      I rather expected some immediate grief for the human rights part. It’s one of the sacred cows whose logic is not to be questioned. If I’ve got a machine gun and you haven’t, your rights are what I tell you they are.

      Glad to hear you chortled and enjoyed it as part of the message. Thank you 🌹🌹

      Reply
  9. jupitergrant

    A really thoughtful article, Melody. I agree with you that the extreme proponents of identity politics threaten the freedoms that they proclaim to pronounce. As Master Musings said, “reverse oppression is still oppression”. It seeks to homogenise the uniqueness of an individual’s experiences and beliefs, and thus ends up no better than the oppressive forces it purports to decry. Bravo on what is a brave and necessary article. 👏👏👏

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      As you might imagine, I hit the publish button with some trepidation. The responses became a bit overwhelming.

      I think you only have to look at another scene from Life of Brian to understand that homogenisation. Brian: “We’re all individuals”; The Crowd: “Yes, we’re all individuals”.

      To stand alone as an individual can be painful and lonely. Most people seek to belong to something and happily submerge into the like minded mob to oppress individualism.

      Thank you JG, your support is much appreciated 🌹🌹

      Reply
      1. jupitergrant

        I’d imagine so, yes. Daring to break from the hive-mind and assert oneself is tough. I’ve never been brave enough to do it, and I admire those who do. The “Brian” analogies are perfect, too, and they express it so well. Kudos, Melody. You are an individual, and a damn marvellous one. Xx

        Reply
  10. May

    Ok I have read the post and the comments and digested it all. As you know I hate labels – I personally do not want to be part of a “group” – I do not want to be told how I should be thinking, acting – reacting! I just want to be treated as me an individual. So I totally understand how frustrating it must be for you to be told you should subscribe to this or that just because u are trans. No – you are Melody. A unique individual – who can think any way you wish.

    On the subject of kids – personally I feel that the parents who get their child – under 16 – to apparently decide if there want to change genders suffer from munchausens by proxy or another ‘agenda’ – I can’t really say much more, as this particular issue makes my blood boil. And i do not speak without experience – a kid of a close friend transitioned at 17.

    And one other thing I do not wish to get beaten up because occasionally I get the whole gender/pronoun thing wrong – I try hard – I move and live with good intentions – get over yourself for thinking I have called you the wrong thing to “get at you” personally – and obviously that bit is not directed at u Melody ;-0

    Great post – your view – your blog – and you are allowed! x

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      I just had a funny image in my head, of being caught between two groups who both want to save my soul. One group denying that trans exists or insisting that it’s evil. And the other group enticing me with the new power inherent in being part of the trans cognoscenti.

      And like you, I’ll give them both the finger because to give either group what they want is to give up being the individual that is me.

      The pronoun thing is a minefield. It’s often a power play, an expectation that you will go out of your way to accommodate them. There’s only one time I got slightly stroppy about pronouns and that was exceptional circumstances. My normal take on it is given in my Twitter profile “Pronouns, probably she/her, but thingy/it will suffice.”

      You’re one of the people who has my back and I really appreciate it.

      melody xx

      Reply
  11. G

    One thing, to me, that shapes these discussions is the reality that the queer community is really, really small. Of those, most of bi. Social media will say things like “1 in 5 people are trans” (they aren’t) which is likely a successor to the talking point “1 in 5 people are gay.”

    It’s more like 5% of the population, total, is somewhere on the queer spectrum. Which is still a lot. But it means that transfolk are likely a large minority of an already not-huge minority. (they are, obviously, heavily overrepresented in online activist spaces)

    So when trans activists start making pronouncements on what it means to be a woman, or even a man, I start to get very worried. Because there is a huge amount of arrogance implied. (But not all women have periods! True. But its a pretty small minority. Not all women can get pregnant. Again, small minority.

    I think one of my biggest holy-shit moments came when a transwoman, online who was some sort of doctor was pontificating how cis-women were brainwashed into using certain types of painkillers for cramps. Followed by someone else trans pontificating that cramps don’t exist. But wait…hang on…no?

    I am left with the sense that we are seeing the coming of age of a new group of obscurantist elect, like the council of cardinals, who make these moral pronouncements for everyone else. The old Christian elect were those deemed, for whatever reason, most holy. The current crop of trans elect are weirdly similar, making these pronouncements for the rest of us, based on their identity and a set of shared experiences and presumptions – which don’t apply to anyone outside that circle.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you G.

      Yes, the number of people who are trans is very very small. That’s not the same as the number who say “I think I might be trans”, or as we get these days “Somone told me I was trans”.

      If there’s one attribute required to be transgendered enough to fully transition it is a single minded focus and drive that this is how to be who they want to be. It doesn’t take much for that to mean “it’s all about me”. They can be some of the most self-obsessed people in the world.

      When identity politics tells us that facts are subservient to lived experience, we’re in trouble. The concept of intersectional privilege means that groups play “Top Trumps” with their suffering (perceived or real). Trans activists have fought to the top of that hierarchy and used it remorselessly to dictate the new rules for everyone else.

      I can believe your anecdote about cramps. It works along the lines of “I’m now a woman. I don’t get cramps. Therefore, women don’t get cramps”. The various trans delusions around the biology of having a uterus and womb, or not, are mind boggling.

      Your religious analogy is a reasonable one. In this apparently secular culture we have, there’s a lot of people seeking religious impulses and fulfillment from some very strange things. Tickle those religious impulses and you don’t need guns to have power over people, when they believe they’ll freely surrender to that power.

      Thank you for reading. 🌹🌹

      Reply
  12. J. Lynn

    Very interesting post Melody. I agree with the use of ‘cis’. I refuse to use the word as I have always been a woman and identify as a woman. Quite frankly if a trans woman wants to identify as a woman without the use of the word trans that’s fine by me too, just don’t stomp on me for not using a label.

    I recently read a meme regarding part of what you addressed about biological women.

    “People don’t get periods. Women do
    People don’t get pregnant. Women do
    People don’t breastfeed. Women do

    I don’t care how people identify, or what they chose to do behind closed doors. But stop telling females that what makes us unique can apply to everyone. It can’t and it doesn’t.

    I’m sick of seeing my sex erased and trivialized to accommodate everyone else.”

    Maybe this was a bit harsh and extreme, but each group will always have the over zealous ones. What matters more to me is what my parents taught me as a child, “treat others how you want to be treated.” They never once said treat him as a him or her as a her. So I don’t, but I do treat people accordingly.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you so much J.

      I expected the response to this to be mixed. Instead, I’m finding broad agreement and support (quite humbling, really). I can demand to be treated as a pregnant wombat. In response you’re entitled to treat me as an idiot. The identity politics fanatics would insist that you take me seriously as being the pregnant wombat.

      As I said in the post, I’ve had these conversations with female friends and universally they agree with what you just said. I find the aggressive policing by trans activists to be indistinguishable from the worst control freakery of ‘the patriarchy’ and with all the same aims to belittle and erase the female experience in the name of claiming it for themselves.

      And if I look at it another way. If I ever fully transition, how can I expect respect and inclusion when this has been the example women see of trans demands ? It generates a conflict that’s totally unnecessary.

      I’m fully appreciative of your interactions with my posts, you even read and digest other people’s comments.

      No doubt this trans debate will run and run. I think I just stuck my colours to the mast as to which side of the debate I’m at. If it makes me an open target, so be it.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot when it comes to this post 🌹🌹

      Reply
  13. lipgloss tinateengirl

    Very brave melody! I totally agree with you and support your position here (with only one minor reservation and not connected with ‘Trans ideology’ — more to do with whether respect for others is always automatic or has to be earned, and can be lost — I’m wondering if respect is about what people are, or depends on what people do, or sometimes don’t do but should have — but it’s really irrelevant, and perhaps I’ve misread what you wrote there).

    I’ve quite recently had arguments (just about remaining on the friendly side, tho’ at times a bit dodgy) with two good women friends, er, I hate having to add ‘cis’ in these sorts of discussions but I’ll do it once here for clarity). I was raising the sorts of doubts you’ve raised eloquently here, but No! they wouldn’t have it — politically I’m at least as liberal/left as they are but not on this issue. And although because of my background I’ve pretty much supported most of what the Tavistock and Portman Clinics have done (London UK centres of excellence in the fields of psychotherapy and treatment of personality and sexual variation problems etc), I do not support their recent ventures in TG work with particular reference to approaches to young children. There’s currently, as I’m sure you know, a court case in which, reportedly, a mother is suing the Clinics over treatment of her child. (Allegations of undue haste under pressure of case referrals with the extraordinary increase in recent years of the incidence of TG in the nation, not just the British nation by the way.)

    It has been said that what will stop the most irrational and most socially disruptive of the worst of the Trans ideologist bullies, is when there are a few big legal cases of the above sort, probably mass legal actions.

    The author Douglas Murray, as you’ll know, has written about this very logically in his new book aptly titled ‘The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity’. One can take issue with some of his discussion in the different sections (I did) but there’s much wisdom and sheer common sense in the substantial last and 4th section, Trans (the others are Gay, Women and Race).

    I’ve just been reading a 2013 book by a self-declared autogynephile medically qualified and academic doctor, who transitioned with SRS. The book is now out of print but can be downloaded free from various places around the internet, including, I think, from the author’s own website. Check out Anne A Lawrence. Her book’s title was provocatively and thought-provokingly titled, ‘Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies’. The concept of ‘autogynephilia’ as you will also know is also controversial, but for personal subjective as well as objective reasons I am certain that it is a real clinical entity — although I am far from sure that its originator, Dr Ray Blanchard, is correct in saying that it lies behind as much of transsexualism as he does. But that’s a whole other matter, and a considerable controversy in itself.

    Anyway I wont hog any more space than I’ve already done. Thanks so much melody for raising this hugely important topic. Would you mind if I mention one particular website where I’ve found some extremely interesting discussions (and links)? I wont hotlink to it, but readers interested in following up the discussion in more detail may like to search — it’s called Peak Trans (‘Challenging Transgenderism from a Feminist Perspective). The founder writes: “For those who don’t understand the name of this website, ‘peak trans’ – a term originally coined by a radical feminist named Jane Crafts – is the moment when you realise that much of your sympathy and support for transgenderism has evaporated.”

    All best, and with admiration — and respect
    tina

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you Tina. I didn’t expect anyone to agree 100%, so I don’t mind a minor quibble 😜

      I also hate the word ‘cis’ even though I had to use it in the post. It’s another of those newly introduced words used to control language and hence thoughts. It’s usage is horrible, too. As some trans women insist that they should just be ‘women’, they still have a need to differentiate from biological women and give them a label instead. So we end up swapping the label ‘trans’ applied to a very small group to the label ‘cis’ applied to the overwhelming majority. I find little offensive in the word trans, but see stigma and offence in the use of cis.

      I’m aware of the court cases and dialogue around them and find them difficult to comment on, partly because I’m not a parent. I think it’s possible to see that some children are clear cut cases, but the vast majority are not. There is undoubtedly parental posturing going on here that is about the parent’s beliefs and ego that has little to do with the interests of the child. Probably the best analogy I’ve seen was someone saying that when we see someone saying their cat is vegan, we know who made that choice.

      There’s also the current case du jour in the US of the father fighting the mother’s insistence that the boy is a girl. This is so obviously a case of parents using the child for their own fight. Indeed, I noticed today a news item that the boy had started school and is dressed as a boy.

      Murray’s book is a fascinating read. Obviously it’s denounced in many circles because he’s perceived as alt-right or far right. I’d recommend that people read it with an open mind and get out of their comfortable echo chamber.

      Anne Lawrence’s work is interesting – thank you for pointing me at it. I agree with you that autogynephilia is a clinical reality, and that Blanchard’s definitions are consistent, even if they don’t relate to my own experiences. My problem with Lawrence (I’ve only read the abstract) is that she seems to be using her own autogynephilia to say that it is the only clinical reality. She makes the definition so broad that to disagree I can see her claiming that I would be suffering from denial and false consciousness.

      Peak Trans sounds interesting. If you’d told me 20 years ago that I would end up finding some common ground with likes of Greer, Burchill, Sommers, et al I’d have thought you were crazy.

      Thanks for this comment and the information in it that I hope will be of use to people chancing on this post.

      Take care 🌹🌹

      Reply
      1. tina lipgloss

        I don’t have a WordPress account so I can’t click ‘Like’, but I like very much. Thanks melody.

        Reply
  14. mastersmusings

    Excellent post! Reverse oppression is still oppression, reverse racism is still racism, reverse sexism is still sexism. No movement or group automatically has a moral high ground just by its virtue of being one. Someone telling you how you should fee, think identify and behave, be they the proverbial old white cis men, or feminists, or LGBTQ activists, are still trying to control you and to make you conform to their views, norms and morals. Sadly, we often don’t notice our own hypocrisy when trying to force our norms on others. That’s just one of those human failings that is really hard to overcome.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you very much for sticking your head above the parapet. I’m expecting a generational divide in how people respond to this.

      It’s so easy to go from a small group asking to be respected for who they are to a howling mob terrorising the majority. I fear it won’t end well.

      Thanks for reading/commenting 🌹🌹

      Reply

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