Trans* Women in My PTSD Group and Performing Femininity

Originally posted on loving lily:

Recently I was trying to get help for my PTSD. After a long wait, I was finally admitted to a publicly funded PTSD therapy group in Toronto, the WRAP group at Women’s College Hospital. I was elated to have gotten in and hopeful. It seemed very intensive, well funded and like there was a lot of helpful information I could learn. The intake coordinator also told me that it was also based on the work of a feminist researcher who I admired. They were not following her trauma model exactly, they had simply switched around several of the steps. Nevertheless the intake coordinator assured me that they held her in high esteem and her book on PTSD and Complex PTSD was a masterpiece. The group marketed itself as a feminist therapy group that was focused on empowering women. I’m sure that over 90% of women there had been victims…

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The Great Bathroom Debate

Introduction
I have been railing against transwomen and men using women’s bathrooms and locker rooms for quite some time now. I have mentioned the negative or potentially harmful effects of just letting anyone into a woman’s bathroom who says they are female in several posts and tweets. What I haven’t done before is really talk about a possible solution for this problem or what I would like to see instead.

A little history
I can’t speak for the United States, but in my country, The Netherlands, women didn’t always have public bathrooms. A feminist group called Dolle Mina protested the lack of women’s public bathrooms in Amsterdam in 1970 by tying the men’s rooms shut with pink ribbons. This would of course not prevent men from using them, but was designed to make them aware that they should consider themselves lucky to have a place to pee outside of their own homes. They called this phenomenon fighting for “peeing rights”.

Current situation
In my country we still don’t have equality between the sexes in a lot of areas, including bathrooms. Many men’s rooms are larger than women’s rooms; sometimes up to twice the size of a woman’s bathroom. Even when men’s rooms and women’s rooms are the same size, a men’s room often contains double the amount of stalls and at least as many urinals as stalls. Why? Because women’s rooms often double as baby changing rooms and handicap rooms. In many gas stations this means a woman’s room is a single occupancy room with only one toilet, handle bars for wheelchair users and a baby changing table. If any person with a baby or a wheelchair uses the women’s room you’ll often see a line of women waiting outside the bathroom because they can’t even go inside. The most outrageous example I have seen of this practice is in a ferry terminal, where the men’s room was literally double the size of the women’s room. The women’s room, had two stalls. The men’s room had four stalls and five urinals. Only the number of sinks were the same in both. I am guessing this is because men don’t always wash up after handling their dicks, which is kind of gross. Considering the difference in anatomy between men and women, the fact that women menstruate for most of their lives and that they often do the lion-share of childrearing duties, including taking young children to the bathroom, it makes no sense to make women’s rooms smaller than men’s. The line in front of a women’s room is often needlessly long, because the designers of the building added a women’s bathroom as an afterthought and often make them share with handicap men as well.

Gender is a bullshit distinction
The standards for any gender are completely arbitrary, vary from country to country and change over time. Gender is often touted as innate, fixed and immutable. Trans-people say they were born with either a female or a male brain. I don’t even believe in gendered brains and I have yet to see a shred of credible scientific proof that such a thing even exists. Furthermore, the very physical structure of our brains change with age, with learning, with practising, with our thought patterns and with the input from our senses. This has been proven in several studies. We are very much products of our environments. We may not be able to control everything in our psyches or even most of it, but the structure of our brains are not fixed and we can learn and grow. These pseudo-scientific arguments of fixed, gendered brains have always been used to prevent women from acquiring the same civil rights as men and we are still fighting for our fair share of the pie centuries later. Gender is the main tool of the patriarchy to keep women down.

You can’t always tell someone’s sex or gender
Like most people, I have met and known a lot of people through my relatively short period on this planet. With some people it is easy to tell if they are male or female and with some people it is not. Extreme performances of gender make it easier to tell men from women at a distance, but it is by no means a guarantee. I have talked to many gender non-conforming men and women we got shooed out of a bathroom that was designated for their sex, despite the fact that they do not even identify as trans. Bathrooms for men and women are all based on outwards appearances. People don’t seem to care how someone identifies and most of the time won’t even ask. They judge people based on what they think they can see. We live in a society that is obsessed with gendered appearances. We often place an actual value of someone’s existence based entirely on how well they perform their gender. We elevate the best performers of gender above everyone else and shower them with praise. The worst performers of gender are at best invisible and at worst get harassed or even attacked.

What about intersex people?
Are intersex people male, female, both or neither? Or does it depend on the individual? Is a distinction of any sex or gender even useful for intersex people? Do we make them sign up for a gender with identifying documents and a gender performance they may or may not be comfortable with, before we allow them to use a bathroom? Facebook has recently created more identity options for gender and even allows people to opt out of such an identity altogether. Facebook does not exactly have the best record when it comes to diversity and social justice, but even they can see that a distinction of gender doesn’t work; at least not as a male/female binary or even as a gradient. While it might be easy for Facebook to include more options in their gender identity boxes, we can’t expect every building with a public bathroom to include bathrooms for every chosen gender identity out there.

Single occupancy and communal rooms
I propose that we stop categorising people as either male or female when it comes to bathrooms and locker rooms. Instead I think we should have single occupancy rooms that open directly into a public area and communal rooms that people can share if they wish. Not every woman or every man is comfortable with undressing or partially undressing in front of people of their own sex or gender and gendered bathrooms and locker rooms make no allowances for personal comfort levels. Stalls in bathrooms often have such big gaps between the panels that you have to be careful where you place yourself or where you look if you want to safeguard your own privacy or respect the privacy of other occupants.

No more bullseye for perverts
Furthermore, women’s bathrooms and locker rooms have not deterred creepy men who don’t identify as transwomen from hiding away in them or recording the women in various states of undress with a hidden camera. If a pervert wants to find a group of (semi-)naked women together they know exactly where to find them: Women’s locker rooms and bathrooms. I feel we would all be a lot safer if we could actually choose how and where we want to change clothes, shower and go to the bathroom. I also feel that removing gender designated rooms would go a long way to make people see gender for what it is and to place less value on it.

‘You Are Killing Me’: On Hate Speech and Feminist Silencing « Trouble and Strife

Originally posted on Stop Trans Chauvinism:

‘You Are Killing Me’: On Hate Speech and Feminist Silencing

Radical feminists are regularly accused of denying trans people’s right to exist, or even of wanting them dead. Here Jane Clare Jones takes a closer look at these charges. Where do they come from and what do they mean? Is there a way to move towards a more constructive discussion?

The claim that certain forms of feminist speech should be silenced has recently become common currency. Notable instances include the ongoing NUS no-platforming of Julie Bindel, the cancellation of a performance by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite (which prompted a letter to the Observer), and, in the last month, the demand that a progressive Canadian website end its association with the feminist writer Meghan Murphy.

The basis of this claim is the assertion that a certain strand of feminist thought is hate speech. Versions of that assertion have circulated on social…

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A moment of honesty from Everydaymisogyny.com

Feminist at Sea:

This piece articulate precisely why it is so important to debunk transgender myths about being female. If we do not stop the war transactivists are waging against us, we will cease to exist and all the gains we have made will be undone. This is already happening.

Originally posted on Hypotaxis:

TRIGGER WARNING: LONG POST, MIXED METAPHORS

Everydaymisogyny.com is a site I try to avoid/ignore/forget about because its very existence serves to remind me what a pathetic, embarrassing, whiny, narcissistic, useless cock-centric waste of time and thought liberal “feminism” is. In fact, the very bowels of liberal feminism are represented by Everydaymisogyny.com and, frankly, it’s fucking depressing – not just because it’s stupid and worthless, but because it demonstrates how completely lost young women are, how completely void of a political analysis they are, how deeply brainwashed they are by the men at the helm of the gender cult.

Let’s just be honest: feminism is dead. What the dominant culture calls feminism is a zombified version of the actual thing – a word that’s been made palatable for men, that’s been glittered over, the brains sucked out, and sold back to young women in the form of empowerment through fucking for…

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Not a “Gender Critical” Feminist

Originally posted on The Arctic Feminist:

Lately a disturbing big shift in how radical feminist politics regarding gender, transgenderism and trannsexuality has been reframed as “gender critical”. Let me be clear right now, I am NOT “gender critical”. I am against gender. I am a gender abolitionist. Gender is bad m’kay? Calling the radical feminist perspective on gender “critical” is a santized, middle-caste liberal way of trying to make what is not a respectable opinion, out to be one. It becomes a disingenuous way of getting men involved in the discussion too – just what we don’t need or even want!

The term “gender critical” sounds like something out of academentia. It doesn’t actually state a position. It states one is critical of something. Well its easy to be critical about a lot of things and still maintain them as institutions. I am critical of public schooling but not public schools – you see how that works?…

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Lose weight or lose your job!

Every two years seafarers are required to get a medical check-up to see if we are physically capable of carrying out our duties on board and if we there are any immediate and serious risks to our health.

To this end we have to submit to an eye-exam, color-vision-test, hearing test , urine test, mobility test and they also measure our weight, height and blood pressure.

I had my appointment two days ago and everything checked out fine. Except my BMI, which they apparently now calculate as well. The doctor who went over my test results made a big stink about my weight and fat. I know that my 30+ BMI is mostly the result of fat and not of muscle tissue and I told the doctor this. He told me he could see it and yet he still felt the need to pinch the fat on my arm as hard as he possibly could and not to measure it, but to “proof” I should try to lose weight. His pinching hurt quite a bit even though I had never even disputed that I have quite a bit of fat on me. I don’t see why he felt the need to hurt me like that.

I told him that I just don’t have much faith in BMI as a diagnostic tool and that I find it ridiculous that such demands are made as they might as well revoke the medical certificates of fitness of practically half of all seafarers. Most don’t stay skinny past their thirties. I guess I shouldn’t have argued, because it resulted in him making a “strong recommendation to lose weight” and he told me that the next time I would come in for my physical, in two years, I would need to bring proof of my efforts. That is if I still intend to visit this particular clinic for my medicals, which I have now decided I won’t anymore.

He also talked about fire fighting duties, like I was unfamiliar with them. I told him several times that I have just graduated and that I was part of a fire team frequently when I was on board as a cadet. At this point I am fairly certain I know more about ship life and the industry than he does. I have also completed the fire fighting courses as part of my training requirements at college. I told him that I don’t have a problem with the equipment and that my oxygen consumption is normal. He still kept talking to me as though I am a walking heart attack waiting to happen and that my knees will give out any day now, because “a human body is not designed to carry all that weight”. Perhaps it is not, but my body is doing just fine and has been doing fine for years now. My father is also fat and so is my mother. Neither of them has ever had trouble with their joints because of their weight. Women in my family do have an issue with osteoporosis, but guess when that shows up? Yep, after menopause and being thin hasn’t spared any of them. All in all this guy was incredibly condescending and he eventually said that if I refused to try to lose weight he would not give me a full medical certificate anymore and such decision ends up in a national database, which means that no matter what doctor I would go to after him I would always have to show a reduction in weight to be allowed to still do my job.

I told him that I was on a diet from age 15 till 25 and that it only resulted in my having a feast or famine kind of relationship with food where if I no longer had the willpower to eat too little I would eat almost to the point of bursting. I had weight related self-esteem whereby my mood was determined by a lower of higher number on the scale than the day before. I was absolutely terrified of gaining weight or people thinking I “looked fat”. And because I had such disordered eating patterns my weight went up and down quite a bit during those years. Since I have stopped dieting I have gained quite a bit of weight, but my current weight is stable and I never eat to the point of bursting anymore. I also find it easier to say no to foods I don’t like. Food is now about satisfying hunger and occasional snacking when I feel like it. But I no longer feel guilty for eating at all or needing to eat with others as “an excuse” to eat normal portions.

After I left the doctor’s office his words kept playing around in my head. I made a list of all the things I ate on a daily basis to see how many calories I could cut out and for how long I would be able to keep it up till I would binge again. I considered joining a gym, even though I can’t afford it and I prefer to get my exercise out doors. I don’t see the point of riding a bike that doesn’t go anywhere. I also wondered if I could find my scale and whether it was still accurate. The old thought patterns I had when I was dieting came flooding back like it was second nature to me and with it immediately came the stress. This is not worth it, not even if I will never get another medical certificate.

I have decided that for my next medical I will find a different doctor. This is the second time I have done this. The first doctor in this town also told me to lose weight, but not because he feared for my heart but because I had stretch marks on my thighs. This confused me, because I didn’t think stretch marks were dangerous. He told me they are not dangerous they are “just ugly”. He was also extremely creepy in that he touched me way more than was needed and he was also the only doctor that required me to remove my bra for the exam. After hearing from other female classmates about similar episodes I decided not to go to this guy anymore.

I wonder if I should have complained about the unprofessional and condescending attitudes of both doctors. I don’t know if there is a procedure for it, but I really should look into it. The tyranny of doctors has become far less than it was a couple of decades ago, but doctors are not gods and they should be held accountable for bad behavior.

Planet Fitness will provide a “judgement free zone” unless you are a woman, in which case: Fuck you!

I must start this post with saying that I am not a member of any gym and that I am not even sure if Planet Fitness has any gyms in my country. However, yesterday I retweeted a news post about how Planet Fitness revoked the membership of one woman, because she complained about a man constantly going in and out of the women’s locker room. In the space of two hours I was tweeted at over a hundred times. I only have just under 800 followers at this point, so this indicated to me just how big the issue of transwomen (read: Men who believe they are women based on superficial and stereotypical views people in patriarchal societies have of women) demanding access to female only spaces is.

The reason women have locker rooms and bathrooms separate from men is also because we live in a patriarchal society in which women’s bodies are considered the property of men. Our bodies are judged, gawked at, defined and altered all in the service of men. In patriarchal societies our bodies funtion as sources of titillation, reproduction, cheap labor and general amusement for men. This attitude towards our bodies puts women at risk. Men believe they have a right to access our bodies at all times and we can do little about it. They will touch us without our consent, put their dicks in us whether we like it or not, imprenate us and ridicule us for failing to stop them. This is why we have spaces that should at least shield us from the worst of it.

But men don’t like it when we congretate without then. Our bodies are theirs and if they can’t check up on us, control our identities and invade our spaces they get nervous. What are women doing when men are not around? They must know, they have a right to know in our society. After all it is men who decide what women are. They determine what we should wear, how we should conduct ourselves, what life choices we should make and above all, what we should do with our bodies.

Women are doing (female) gender all wrong. They are not conforming enough to the patriarchal mandates of feminity as set by men. Why, men can do a better job of being women than women can. After all men created the standards and are more familiar with the rules. Why can’t women see how they are supposed to act and dress and defer to men in all things? This must mean that (some) men actually are women, because women sure as hell don’t seem to have a clue. As long as they shut up and bow down to men’s superior knowledge of all things female men shall tolerate them, but no more than that.

Of course not all men insert themselves into women’s lives in the same way. Some men don’t touch us without permission or rape us. Some men just talk over us or tune out when we speak. But how do we know that? How do we tell the genuinely deluded men who believe they are women from the ones who will violate our bodies? How many women have been attacked in bahtrooms and locker rooms throughout history? How many women have been secretly videotaped and had their bodies turned into porn when they thougt their privacy was garanteed? And isn’t the performance of feminity itself a slap in the face to all women? Your body is made into a walking stereotype that can be performed. Nothing about your actual body is relevant, not the fact that you can get pregnant, that you bleed every month for a large portion of your life, that boys and men start leering at you and turning you into an object before you even had a chance to experiment with your own sexuality. Your history of being made to feel inferior for being born in that female body doesn’t even matter. It is all about identity and the proper performance of (female) gender.

Planet Fitness has made it abundantly clear that they care about men feeling welcome in their facilities, but they will kick out any woman for who “violates” men’s comfort. In 2014 women have been kicked out for wearing tank tops, for being pregnant, for wearing a headscarf and for being “too pretty”. All of these things staff of Planet Fitness told the women made other patrons (read: men) “uncomfortable”. This year they have gone one step further and kicked out a woman who just wanted the same comfort level Planef Fitness offers male members. This really sends home the message that actual women don’t matter.

As I have said before, transwomen are in danger from other men. There are other men who will attack, rape or even kill transwomen. But instead of calling men out on their abuse behavior they turn around and bash women for not kissing their asses, validating their massive, narcissistic, male egos and allowing them to invade their space even further than they already have. It seems to me that their anger and outrage is entirely focussed in the wrong direction.