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Monday, May 17, 2010

Beyond the T

When I got up this morning, I was quickly alerted to the fact that today was International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia. I was a little ashamed I didn't already know this! What kind of political activist am I, anyway?

It was only after surviving this brief bout of transpolitical guilt that I realized where this information was coming from. Not from any of the myriad trans themed blogs out there; not from Pam's House Blend, or the IFGE, or any of the personal blogs I follow. Not even Bilerico or other sites more generally dedicated to LGBTQA issues.

In fact, the first three sites in my Google reader to mention IDAHO (as it's known, I guess) were Shakesville, Feministe, and Feministing. I think Shakesville offered up my favorite quote:

Support for sex, gender, and sexual orientation equality is and has always been central to my feminism. It's not just because lesbians, bisexual women, and trans women are my sisters, but because the rights of gay men, bisexual men, trans men, and cis, trans, and intersex androgynes to live a life on their own terms, too, to define themselves and express their sexualities and do with their bodies whatever they want, is inextricable from my ideal of a fluid sex, gender, and sexuality spectrum along which all people might exist free from harassment, marginalization, and violence.

It's because ladies wearing trousers in my country was once a scandal, and still is in other places in the world. (Not to knock ladies who don't want to wear trousers, but damn it if every lady shouldn't have the right.) How one dresses one's body, or wears one's hair, or decorates one's skin, is intimately related to issues of equality, to freedoms denied, to lives lost, because of deeply entrenched prejudices about nonconformity.
Amen. (and did you see how she used "cis"? See, not everyone who isn't trans hates it.)

Of course, the reason I started following these blogs, and others like them, was because somewhere along the way I discovered something. I discovered we are not as alone out there as we sometimes think. A lot of cis women have come to realize that our struggle is their struggle, and theirs ours. It is not us and them. It's we.

That the three blogs mentioned above are decidedly feminist is almost ironic, since once upon a time, trans women were considered a threat to feminism (and no doubt still are by some old-schoolers...Michigan Womyn's Festival, anyone?). But new feminism looks different than old feminism; it embraces lipstick and heels as much as bra burning and slacks. Like Julie Serrano claims in Whipping Girl, new feminism says you don't have to give up femininity to be seen as strong and good and valuable, but nor do you have to embrace it. You are strong and good and valuable regardless of what chromosomes you were born with, or what color of skin you have, or what your sexual orientation is. Or whether you are large or small, sighted or unsighted, abled or disabled. You are amazing however you are, and how you are is up to you.

So we always talk about our fellow trans bloggers here, but on this Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I'd like to celebrate a few of the non trans bloggers who are nonetheless blogging about trans issues...and a whole lot of other issues that we too should be concerned about.

Robot Heart Politics
Kat O'Leary
Cara O'Brien

(These are all on Tumblr, and if you're not used to it, it can be a bit bewildering at's a Frankenstein's Monster of blogging mixed with social networking. Still, some of the smartest people I know are over there talking about privilege and politics with each other).

More as I think of them!


  1. Amen, sister!

    The first posting on IDAHO I saw this morning was the one on Feministing, and I posted a link on Facebook. I know Feministing is trans-friendly, but I didn't expect that to the first one I saw! But it was good.

    I still I'll stick with my simple, non-monstrous Blogger blog. :)

  2. Can't say as I blame you. Tumblr can be a bit of a circus...which is fun if like that sort of thing.


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