I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister.Against this, transsexuals assert that in fact they are women, just trapped in men's bodies, and to insist on treating them as men denies their identity.
As Goldberg chronicles, radical feminists of this stripe have been boycotted, shouted down, and threatened with violence by trans activists and their allies, and universities and others with liberal pretensions have refused to host their events. In response to this harassment,
thirty-seven radical feminists, including major figures from the second wave, such as Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathie Sarachild, and Michele Wallace, signed a statement titled “Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of ‘Gender,’ ” which described their “alarm” at “threats and attacks, some of them physical, on individuals and organizations daring to challenge the currently fashionable concept of gender.” With all this in mind, the Radfems Respond organizers had arranged the library space as a backup, but then a post on Portland Indymedia announced:Religious conservatives who read this probably collapse with laughter, especially when they get to the part in which (hypothetical) students ask, “What about women who are male?” I confess that I am uncomfortable with the normalization of transgender behavior and especially surgical transformation, but I have never gotten around to writing about it because I honestly don't care enough to wade into such a minefield. Fewer than 1 in 10,000 Americans identify as transgender, so it strikes me that to restructure our whole debate about rights, even our language of gender, around their struggles is a bit frivolous. (How about if we worried less about encyclopedic inclusionism and more about inequality, war, environmental degradation, the kidnapping of west African schoolgirls, or the oppression by gang rape of lower caste Indian women?) Plenty of societies have had cross-gender people, from the two-souled "berdache" of North American Indians to those Albanian women who live as men, and they have managed. So I won't lose sleep over the struggles of self-proclaimed radicals in Portland.
We questioned the library administration about allowing a hate group who promotes discrimination and their response is that they cannot kick them out because of freedom of speech. So we also exercise our right to free speech in public space this Saturday to drive the TERFS and Radfems out of OUR library and OUR Portland!
(TERF stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” The term can be useful for making a distinction with radical feminists who do not share the same position, but those at whom it is directed consider it a slur.)
But I note the left-wing love of being the most accepting, the most open-minded, the most determined to welcome everyone and speak up for their rights, and how easily this can turn into its opposite, and how easily it slides into incoherent absurdity.