Beyond Feminism, Part I

Let it be known:

I am done with feminism. I’m finished participating in a movement that largely ignores anyone who is not white, middle-class and cissexual. I’m finished participating in a movement in which transgender people have to march at the back of the parade, a movement that places our needs and our lives at the bottom of the list, if it makes it to the list at all. I’m tired of being scorned by lesbian separatists and radical feminists as an impostor, a man, a freak, a living tool of the patriarchy. I’m tired of being told that women’s spaces are not my spaces. I’m tired of being defined as an evil interloper, set on ruining the lives of other women with my male privilege.

I’m tired of being defined by my past, by an accident of birth, by an errant chromosome.

I am more than my abusive childhood. I am more than my biology. I am more than the warped half-human image portrayed by the prejudices of a narrow minded, misanthropic, fucked up set of theories and dogma.

I am a woman. I have as much right to that identity as any other woman on this planet. If you can’t deal with that, I really don’t care.

I will not apologize for who I am or what I am.

Epilogue: I’m adding this epilogue a day later, while feeling a little more grounded and less angry. This post is a snap shot in time. It represents the depths that my feelings toward feminism can sink.

There’s a lot of good in feminism. There’s no denying that. Nevertheless, there are heaps of problems too… enough problems that I no longer care to wear the label of “feminist.” I wish that feminism was as truly inclusive as it purports to be. That doesn’t seem to be the case, and it saddens me.

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~ by timberwraith on March 9, 2009.

3 Responses to “Beyond Feminism, Part I”

  1. I recently realized I hate being a “woman” and I don’t like being a “man” and the idea that I could be thrown out of the communities I have belonged to for years, the feminist and queer communities, scares me terribly. These places are my home and I’ll admit I was surprised by the amount of hostility I felt when I first expressed concerns about my gender.

    I’m sorry you’ve experienced discrimination and I’m not looking forward to what I’ll face if I decide to make that leap. You’re braver than I am by a mile.

  2. Hi Kate. You know, when I was in the beginning stages of coming out to people, I was scared silly. I was afraid that I would wind up friendless and alone. I didn’t wind up alone, but at the same time, it wasn’t easy. I had to educate a lot of people (most of my friends are not trans) and it was really frustrating sometimes, but I came out of that period of my life with many life-long friendships.

    I also have to add, that in spite of the nature of my above post, I did find the deepest levels of support among young feminists back in the early 90s when I came out and transitioned.

    I have hope that you can find this kind of support, too.

    I do have to mention that I identify on a specific side of the gender binary (I identify as a woman) so in some ways it has been easier for me than someone identifying somewhere between woman and man. Nevertheless, one of those life long friends I speak of started to identify as genderqueer a few years ago. Like you, he was female assigned at birth and decided that the categories of “woman” and “man” didn’t really work for him. Years ago, he started out as a bi/lesbian woman and has been a part of feminist academia and feminist activism for years. Several years after coming out as genderqueer, He still has a vibrant circle of supportive, caring friends. As near I can tell, he has a far more vibrant circle of queer friends than I do.

    Interestingly enough, he still identifies as a feminist, whereas I’ve kind of called it quits after 22 years.

    So, there’s quite a bit of hope, Kate. A lot of hope, in fact. I promise. Maybe I can get him to drop by and join the discussion.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about the hostility that you’ve faced, Kate. There’s no denying that there are people out there—some of whom are friends and family—who really feel threatened by our identities. That hurts like crazy, especially when it comes from people you have trusted so much, and it’s pretty frightening: it leaves you with the feeling that there’s no one you can turn to. There is hope, though. There really is.

    Kate, I also should emphasize that it took 22 years of contact with feminism before I threw in the towel. That’s a long time, really. While I don’t think feminism as a whole really gets it when it comes to trans issues, it’s important to stress that I’m speaking on a macroscopic level.

    Individual feminists are another matter. Many of them are understanding and caring when it comes to trans issues—especially when someone they know comes out to them as transgender. I think that many people who identify as feminist have a rudimentary understanding of the notion that gender is indeed fluid. That understanding often comes from feminism itself and it’s a crucial first step in understanding issues that trans people face. So, it’s not all bad.

    There are lots of good cisgender folks out there. They need some intense coaxing at times—and that can be very off putting—but they do exist.

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