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Bigotry Disguised as Feminism

treating transphobia in isolation misses the point

Forum: trans-academic ML
Date: 04/11/2002

In response to the discussion about Sheila Jeffrey's anti-transsexual article...

Hi everyone,

I agree with Jill and Reid that Sheila Jeffrey's politics, including her transphobic politcs, are most likely to have derived not from a sophisticated analysis of social realities but from an existential need - but locating the roots of her transphobia in some trans-specific incident or history (a la Sam's suggestion) misses the point. Her anti-trans politics needs to be understood within the context of lesbian-feminism and its politics around other issues, such as pornography, prostitution, reproductive choice (many lesbian-feminists are anti-choice; see Janice Raymond's "Women as Womb"), and sexuality.

"Dialogues" are not likely to bring about reconciliation, as she would have to give up her fundamental beliefs in lesbian-feminist positions in other areas before she can give up transphobia. If we were to address anti-trans politics within lesbian-feminism, we need to fundamentally critique lesbian-feminism for its paternalism, false universalism, ranking of oppressions, and sexual hierarchies, rather than treating its transphobia in isolation.

On 4/10/02 8:01 PM, "Ben Singer" wrote:

Actually, I would argue she might be lesbian, but she's hardly feminist. Her actions are not based on any feminst principles I have heard of.

Her actions are based on radical lesbian feminism - in fact, she is pretty predictable once you know where she's coming from.

They seem more in line with religious fundamentalists and other hate-mongers.

Who said feminists can't be also religious fundamentalists or hate- mongers?

Full disclosure: As some of you may know, I'm currently involved in a debate w/ Shiela Jeffreys on another academic list re prostitution.

Emi K.

----- * Putting the Emi back in Feminism since 1975.