Dear Bev Jo,
Wow. I had to sit down and pour myself a large glass of Irish whiskey before I tried to respond to your essay, entitled, “’Transwomen’ Are Merely Castrated Men”. I always seem to forget that such hatred still exists among folks who should understand us the best.
First of all, I am glad that this essay was reposted, despite it’s initial removal. I do not believe in censorship or the suppression of ideas in any way shape or form. I am also glad to see your essay returned to this forum Bev, because of a basic rule I learned in High School journalism class. Or rather the explanation of the rule.
The rule was an admonition against editorializing unnecessarily. The explanation we were given was that, if you give enough rope to someone with a bad or hateful or simply misguided opinion, they will as sure as the sunrise hang themselves from their own words.
Fortunately for this response, I ended up not as a strict journalist, but as a columnist. I hang myself from my own words for (a tiny portion of) a living!!
The first time I came across this essay, I just skipped past it. Given the headline, I was pretty certain of the brand of hate I would find. I’ve been forcing myself to read Janice Raymond’s “The Transsexual Empire” recently out of a desire to be as fully and accurately informed about the material which has been used to support and to justify the oppression of my sisters and brothers for so very many years.
“Know thine enemy,” as it were.
You can imagine my surprise when I realized that Prof. Raymond’s book was classic Science Fiction!!! It was a familiar formula to any sci-fi nerd. She starts with ideas and examples that are pretty close to things that are actually going on in the real world of today. The male dominated medical establishment for example. An establishment that for many years forced transwomen into very heteronormative boxes and roles if they wanted to be able to transition, to receive PERMISSION to be themselves.
But then Prof. Raymond takes these examples and spins them out into pure paranoid fantasy!! She imagines an evil cabal of men and their occasional female lackey-puppets, who conspire in backrooms and high offices to infiltrate female spaces and minds through the crafty deployment of their “She-Male” shock troops!!
I’m not even trying to refute the long-held and insidious power of our overly-Patriarchal society here. I’m just saying that what Prof. Raymond suggests would be a dumb plan! If it were an episode of Star Trek, you’d accuse the writers of being cheap hacks!!
So I skipped your article Bev Jo. Daily life was beating me up pretty badly as it was this week and I had little desire to be insulted or belittled by the words of a Raymond acolyte.
But then this afternoon a friend from the local LGBT community posted the link for your essay to my facebook page with the comment that I should, “(… )get all on top of this! I couldn’t read past the 4th paragraph…… completely aghast….” So I clicked the link and began to read. And while I always try to keep an open mind, it was much as I expected. Vintage venom.
I’m left wondering about some things Bev. And yes, I’m talking to you as much as I’m talking to the other folks reading this.