What do you think about 'gender critical' trans people?

I have... a lot of thoughts on this. Way too many thoughts.

I mean, I currently live at Ground Zero of the "New Narratives" cult, which has less than ten people (none of which I know personally) but is supposedly enough of a political force they were worth mentioning in the New York Times.

It literally reminds me of when folks started organizing an "Ex-Gay Pride Month" in Washington DC, promising "tens of thousands" of supporters when in reality only ten people showed up. Exactly the same mentality.

Like, my knee-jerk reaction is to call them insecure and accuse them of being plagued by rampant mommy issues that drive them to seek approval from women that hate them. Sad and pathetic and transparent. But there's more to it than that.

In any community of individuals that, by nature of identity or orientation, do not conform to heteronormative social expectations that are enforced through disenfranchisement and sexualized violence since childhood, there's always gonna be that one clique. The one that's like "naw, y'all we're different from all those other freaks, we're more authentic LGBT folks for x reason".

It's assimilationist, and completely unsurprising that older separatists like Andrea James and the Cummings couple and a certain unnamed academic are all jumping on the "gender critical" bandwagon to embrace rhetoric and theory over lived experience. I've seen their jump more than once compared to "White Flight Syndrome", and it's been suggested that it's an attempt to destabilize the presence trans women of color currently have in shaping the media narrative. It's no secret all of the above named individuals have an axe (labrys?) to grind about Laverne Cox and Janet Mock.

And it's like shamefully reductive. Attempting to rhetorically reintegrate all trans women into the social class of hegemonic men is a direct appeal towards homophobic and misogynist violence, not a privilege check. They intentionally disregard the prerequisite of heteronormative presentation and embracement of toxic masculinity in order to get full access to male privilege. They act like when a trans woman is outed, she receives a pay raise instead of, you know, getting assaulted, sexually violated and/or socially ostracised, or some combination of the three.

I mean, I'll just flat out say it: I frankly don't buy a significant amount of transfeminist narrative, and I think aspects of my existence are left inadequately addressed by it's frequent glaring gaps. A good portion of my social perspective was originally framed through the lens of radical feminist critique, and still is. I definitely wish there was a lot more breathing room between "all trans women are women" and "all trans women are men" (although I have no interest or inclination to challenge anyone's self-identity) so we could figure ourselves out more robustly. But there's a limit to how much I hate myself, and embracing gender-crit theory is on the other side of that line.

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About Rani Baker:

Experimental Musician/Freelance Writer/Aspiring Gamedev. Fronts hacker punk Band Destroyed For Comfort, writes for Harlot Magazine, created game Never Go To Work. Maybe you've heard of me.

http://destroyedforcomfort.com