Thursday, 23 February 2012

Transphobic tripe, again

I want to write on some related issues to this piece of bigotry by Rosemary McLeod, which I shall try and do later, but in the meantime:
  1. Referring to a known person (particularly one with a clearly stated gender identity) as he/she questions that identity, and is not acceptable.
  2. I assume by "surgically created penis thingy" you mean a penis. If so, say so.
  3. I have no idea why the man in question has not had 'bottom surgery', but there are a lot of reasons (medical risks, cost, the fact that the results are often not that great) why he may not have done so (DOES NOT NEED A PENIS TO BE A MAN is another option).  If you don't know the reasoning, don't draw any conclusions from what you think it might be.
  4. As a queer woman with short hair, a little facial hair and who sometimes wears men's clothes, I'm actually not like Thomas Beattie when it comes to gender. THAT IS BECAUSE I'M NOT A MAN. He is, I'm not. Therefore, none of the above are determining factors.
  5. Plainness = so utterly irrelevant.
  7. Have you ever considered the fact that maybe the couple are modelling pride in who they are, openness and the fact everyone is entitled to respect for their children?
  8. Have you ever considered that maybe it would be hard for them to keep this secret and they are trying to reveal it on their terms.
  9. If all the people (disabled, non-white, unmarried, low income...) who some obnoxious bigot thought shouldn't have children acted on that advice, the world would have a lot less kids and be a far worse place.
  10. I've never heard of a child with a trans* parent being made homeless by that parent because of their gender identity. Maybe that needs to be considered when we're thinking of the children.
  11. When you start talking about BIRTHING LIVE GOLDFISH, OF ALL THINGS you make this sound like a freak show. It isn't. Shut up.
  12. If you're concerned about the children, oh the children, why won't someone think of the children, why don't you stop worrying about what may or may not have been between their parents' legs at whatever times in their life, and make the world a bit easier for them by showing some respect.
Got it? Awesome.


Craig Ranapia said...

"I assume by "surgically created penis thingy" you mean a penis."

Couldn't help but wonder if Ms. McLeod was in habit of complimenting cancer survivors on their "surgically created boob thingy" after post-mastectomy reconstruction? The answer, of course, is no - because breast cancer affects "real" women who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Wen Baragrey said...

Here is a classic example of self-hatred if I ever read it: "I dislike ego trippers bent on being famous, especially at other people's expense." It's pretty hard to find a more accurate description of her!

And this: "Why should I care? Because if it's happening today in California, it'll be happening here next week. We pick up on all extreme trends, and then defend them heatedly as if we invented them"

Trends??? So according to her, being transgender is a trend? Therefore, because this one guy is having babies, we're all going to face the prejudice and misery he has undoubtedly suffered because it's...trendy? He's had three babies now, and I haven't heard of anyone else doing it yet. It sure must be a slow trend.

Wow. Just, wow.

Craig Ranapia said...


Trends??? So according to her, being transgender is a trend?

Of course. GLBT people don't have "lives" they have "lifestyles", why shouldn't their parenting be dismissed as a "trend" no different to buying an IPad or signing up for Pinterest?

simon said...

I am wondering how a man can give birth? Im have never come across a man who has the necessary plumbing to get pregnant & give birth.

Wen Baragrey said...

Craig, exactly!

I.M Fletcher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wen Baragrey said...

I think that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what "Born this Way" actually means.

Thankfully, no one let "where will it end" get in the way before or we'd all still be riding velocipedes.

Psycho Milt said...

You can stamp your foot all you want, but most people aren't going to accept that "men" gave birth in these stories, for fairly obvious reasons. If people identify as men and look enough like an example of the male gender to tip us off as to what pronouns they'll be expecting us to use, it's only polite to use those pronouns and treat them like you would any other example of the male gender that turns up in front of you. Ask us to accept that a man gave birth though, and you're actually asking us to render the term "man" meaningless. I've yet to see a good argument for doing that.

A Nonny Moose said...

"In the future maybe there won't even be such a thing as being solely male and female"

It's not the future. If you weren't so damn ignorant you might know something about genderqueer people, and how there is more to gender than just the binary. But as you've broken out the old "animals" derail, you lose the internet.

"Ask us to accept that a man gave birth though, and you're actually asking us to render the term "man" meaningless."

Oh boo hoo to you too. A little scared of changing gender roles there are we?

Anybody who doesn't know, or doesn't care to know, genderqueer or even trans* people exist (Geez Simon, what rock do you live under?) lives a very tiny and narrow existence.

LudditeJourno said...

Psycho Milt the good argument is that it's simply respectful to allow people to describe their own gender. Judging by what someone looks like often results in getting it wrong, as anyone who breaks any gender rules knows.
Everyone: please try and keep the comments here respectful - I'm not the most delete-y of bloggers, but some of these questions have me itching to be honest. This article was nothing less than hate speech, and if you don't understand why, please go and do some reading on trans people's experiences.

anthea said...

Mod note: have deleted a comment (sorry Wen, it does mean your response won't make much sense) and a couple of others are really pushing it but given that others have refuted them well I'm leaving them for the moment at least.

IBeIrie said...

I understand that you had to link to the article that prompted your post. But I really wish that I'd not clicked on that link, and that I'd not actually read it.

I want my time back.

I guess it'll be a long time coming before we can expect mainstream media to take trans people's experiences seriously. And with any degree of sensitivity and honesty.

Psycho Milt said...

Psycho Milt the good argument is that it's simply respectful to allow people to describe their own gender.

Absolutely, and no complaints from me. Sex isn't gender though, and childbirth is a matter of sex rather than gender.

LudditeJourno said...

No, childbirth is a matter of having the right bits to give birth. Which you might have, and identify as male. Many, many people only find out they have bodies which don't fit the gender binary when they try to conceive - and sometimes that means a realigning of gender identity. Come on Psycho Milt, this isn't rocket science, if you accept people's right to self-define, you're there already, surely?

Craig Ranapia said...

It's the kids I worry about. It would be all very well if their mother/father had kept his/her unusual situation private, but he/she has boasted about it publicly, and that stands a good chance of rebounding against the kids, which hardly seems fair.

FFS, Rosemary. I could just picture her writing a similar column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution fifty years ago. You know, I don't care about what people do in the privacy of their own bedroom but why do Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt have to be so public - nay, BOAST - about their miscegenation? And have they thought about the children?

Something else that really bugs me about MacLeod's column is that "he/she" crap - which a sub-editor could have easily re-cast or told her to do it herself.

I know the DomPost covered the death of Carmen - who identified as a transgendered woman but was typically candid about never getting what I'm sure Rosie would call a "surgically created vagina thingy".

(Yes, Rosemary, unpacking your cis-gender privilege baggage will require you to wrap your head around the notion that being a trans-person is a wee bit more complicated that what you've got between your legs.)

Don't recall there any problem with the consistent use of feminine pronouns for Miss Rupe. Ditto for Georgina Beyer - even when writing about her pre-op life.

Wen Baragrey said...

No problem on the delete, Anthea. I totally agree with you. This is the first time in a long time I've let myself comment on something like this, but there are times when being quiet makes you feel like an accomplice. This is one of them.

Beerbaron said...

If you are going to quibble about certain terms then address the mote in your own eyes re "Transphobia"....meaning one assumes the fear of transgender people.

I don't think Rosemary McCleod or near anyone else "fears" them...its more a bemused "oh what the hell now have they cooked up" kind of feeling as yet more strangeness is served up as being normal and beyond question.

People do have a right to question the new and strange...its how we eventually understand and accept after all.

The "differing opinion-phobia" on this blog could use some adjustment too....

(Heh...the word verification for my post is "eatmen".....irony has no shame.)

Psycho Milt said...

No, childbirth is a matter of having the right bits to give birth. Which you might have, and identify as male.

"Male" and "female" aren't just terms that reflect what other people are going to treat you as, ie gender, they're also terms that reflect physical properties of sexual reproduction, ie sex. And being pregnant is about as female as it gets for that second category.

Treating someone pregnant as male because they identify as male is the proper thing to do because what sex you treat other people as being is a matter of gender, and that's whatever they say it is - so yes, McLeod is a graceless, offensive pos for this column. But: demanding that we all believe someone pregnant actually is male simply because they so? Only if we reject the concept that the words male and female have meanings.

anthea said...

Okay, this is not the place to be questioning people's identity (nowhere is really, but alas I don't control the world). Future comments on those lines will be deleted. Thanks.

Psycho Milt said...

Sure. But in light of the post immediately below yours, "Abuse is not an argument," consider the concept "Deleting comments is not an argument."

anthea said...

Nope Psycho Milt, it isn't - I've already made my argument - it's a way of making this space a little safer for marginalised people. Issues with comment moderation to email please.

I.M Fletcher said...
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Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I.M Fletcher said...
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I.M Fletcher said...
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Julie said...

What does it matter what gender someone else identifies as? Why do people feel this insatiable need to know whether someone is a man or a woman? It seems to be just for the sake of knowing which pronoun to use, which doesn't seem to me a good enough reason to deny people their identity.

Simon said...

When at least there is always Monty Python, this from Life of Brian.

Anonymous said...

@ Phsycho Milt

Is your point that only chromosonally XX people can become pregnant? Obviously this is true for now, though who knows how the medical science will develop.

The problem is not with that point, it's with your association of chromosonally XX = female = woman. If you accept that gender identity is distinct from chromosomes (which it seems you do), then "female" becomes a really problematic term. It is the bridge between "chromosonally XX" and "woman". Some people use it to mean the former, some people use it to mean the latter. Many trans people want to use "female" and "male" as words which describe gender identity rather than a feature of ones DNA. I think as we move towards a fully trans inclusive language, we need to accept this useage, because saying someone is a woman but "actually male" or a man but "actually female" creates associations which minimise or denigrate that person's gender identiy. Whereas on the other hand, saying that "chromosomes have nothing to do with gender" affirms gender as a matter of self-identification, rather than DNA, without ignoring the fact that for some purposes (i.e. child bearing), chromosonal difference do matter (for now...).

- Elley

Psycho Milt said...

I'm barred from answering your question in any meaningful way on this thread. Anyone prepared to actually make an argument for their view is welcome to do it here: http://

Also: those deleted comments further up the thread make it look like I'm the kind of asshole who won't take the moderator's word for it - just for the record, they weren't my comments.

anarkaytie said...

having another go at posting the comment that failed due to router timing out *sigh*

Good on the mod's for deleting hard. I've only just come across this post, so I'll just take your word for it that various comments weren't worth keeping up.

I'd like to bring the attention of the lurkers and commenters here to some relevant NZ-based Human Rights frameworks. See

Also, here's a reasonably good definition of hate speech, just in case you weren't up on the parameters. Rosemary McLeod definitely broke the rules there.
Loth as I am to quote Wikipedia, it turned out to be about the only definition I could find that wasn't deeply mired in US law and the Constituion of the USA, neither of which outlaw hate speech. Most of the ROTW does, which just goes to show that 'the land of the free' it ain't.

Shame that Fairfax Media seem to think they're running their show by US law in NZ. That would be usurping legal sovereignty from the nation that we live in, not a very bright idea for a newspaper corporation, but then again, they don't seem to be very bright, do they? Interesting that they just don't seem to realise that NZ law is what matters in stories written by NZ writers, published in NZ.

Same problem they had when they committed Contempt of Court back in November 2007, and got hauled in front of the High Court by the Solicitor-General.

Don't seem to learn, do they?