Our culture expects women’s – and men’s – bodies to be a certain way. People are very invested in the idea that Men Look Like This and Women Look Like That and Never the Twain Shall Meet. Well, guess what? Nature doesn’t give a fuck about your sexual binary. Nature puts us together in a million different ways – actually, about seven billion, give or take a few hundred thousand – and a lot of us are going to walk that imaginary line. There are going to be short, hairless men with high voices and tall women with deep voices and people who are intersexed in a bunch of different ways, and here’s the great thing – it’s all okay. Every single one of us. There’s not a thing wrong with any of us.
Brittney Griner, for those who don’t recognize her name, is a NCAA (collegiate-level) basketball player frequently subjected to verbal abuse based on her physical appearance, which some bigots and ignoramuses consider to be insufficiently feminine.
Caitlin, the blogger behind Fit and Feminist, also stated in her post that “I’m not going to repeat the things I saw [on Twitter] about Brittney Griner,” and, indeed, she did not quote or paraphrase any such verbal attacks — though she does refer to a few general categories of insult, specifically accusations of steroid abuse and language that can be bundled under the heading of calling Griner a freak. Griner is a Black woman, and there is some mention of how this intersects with her participation in sports and people’s perceptions of her looks.
TW: transphobic, anti-intersex, and sexist comments… but you should be fine if you can stop at the end of the article proper.
Most of the comments are not offensive; and, after the first day, Caitlin began moderating comments and is no longer allowing through “comments that either attack me or are hateful/transphobic/crude.”
Note, however, that “hermaphrodite” — a word derived from the name Hermaphroditus — is an outdated medical term which is considered offensive by most people with intersex conditions.
Some Common Sense About Trans*-Inclusiveness
“…in light of this knowledge of the tenets of radical lesbian feminism, you can see that in their day, these women of their own volition and accord chose a definition of “femaleness” which was absent any real scientific basis in fact, a definition which rejected science, actually, on the grounds that science is corrupted by patriarchy, and therefore “women’s mysteries” are the only trustable source of knowledge.
In this system of quasi-religious belief, there is an ineffable mysticism about femaleness that cannot under any circumstances be acquired by anyone not “born woman”, and thus the claims of trans women to womanhood are inherently invalid, appropriative, false, and oppressive to “real women”. And because it is their central belief that oppression of women by men via patriarchy is the most fundamental oppression that exists, their resistance to comprehending our reality rests upon the fact that they do not acknowledge that we are, in fact, women.
You can see the natural outgrowth of this fervent belief in the mystical feminine in such areas as the wholesale construction of such anachronistic religious practices as Wicca, Dianic Paganism, and the Cybeline cults which have grown up around radical feminism, using the flimsiest of historical evidence as the basis for modern practice, and rejecting the dominant academic and intellectual tendency toward Atheism, which they regard as patriarchal (not entirely without cause, of course).”
— Gemma Seymour-Amper, Comments on Facebook in the aftermath of the death of Adrienne Rich, 30 March 2012 (via gcvsa)
When I attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for the first time, over a decade ago, I was aware of their policy that MWMF was open to what they refer to as “womyn-born womyn” only. I didn’t have a problem with the policy, at first, because trans* women are born women (well, girls); they’re just born with a condition that makes their bodies appear male.
That’s just common fucking sense.
It wasn’t until I heard about, and investigated for myself, Camp Trans (across the road from the MWMF main entrance, and so not on ‘the Land’) that I discovered what the founding members and property owners meant by “womyn-born womyn” — that the term was intended to exclude both trans women and trans men. (The existence of any other possible genders was, and is, not considered by the MWMF.) I wound up spending much of my time out with Camp Trans, or attending workshops with and about trans women and trans men, as well as participating in one of the meetings held to discuss the past, present and future of trans inclusion at the festival.
During the latter meeting, which was held at the dining tent several hours after dinner ended, and for which Camp Trans participants had been specifically and officially invited onto the Land by festival organizers, and which was open to anyone attending the Festival that year as well, a woman approached the tent, stood across the dirt road in the dark, and repeatedly screamed, “You’re raping me! You’re raping me!” at all of us under the dining tent pavillion. She equated our being allowed to participate in a conversation with a direct, violent and violating physical assault against her body — whoever she was, hiding in the shadows out there. And honestly, I think that woman more accurately represented the feelings of MWMF’s organizers better than their grudging dialogue that year did.
The problem is, of course, that that attitude is completely wrong. It’s rooted in extreme prejudice, willful ignorance, and tremendous cis privilege. One of the women I met at Camp Trans that year had been born with an intersex condition. I didn’t quiz her about her medical or surgery history (because I’m not a cis asshole who thinks I’m entitled to that information) but she did disclose to me that she had had surgery which brought her genitals in line with the ‘expected’ appearance of female anatomy, and that she was pretty insecure about how she looked there. By MWMF’s official definition of the term “womyn-born womyn,” she never was and never can be a ‘real’ woman (or ‘womon’). But of course she was — and presumably still is — a woman.
That’s just common fucking sense.
Neopagans, particularly (but by no means exclusively) those who identify as Wiccan, Dianic and Cybeline, are also wont to define women artificially-narrowly as only the people born with fully-female anatomy and fully-female gender identity. (Is gender identity even present at birth, when self-awareness is generally considered not to develop until some months later? I’m not sure, but I am 100% certain gender-‘essentialists’ don’t know either — regardless of what they may claim.) They exclude trans women, trans men, intersex-identifying people and genderqueer people and those who identify with no gender at all, and make otherwise-‘acceptable’ women who have never menstruated and those who no longer menstruate feel excluded. But… surely their creation goddesses created all of us, including those of us who according to the ‘essentialist’ definition are neither men nor women.
That’s just common fucking sense.
I have a thing I say about the notion of common sense, though:
“I don’t know why they call it common sense, when it’s the rarest thing in the world.”
- I do take issue with the othering description of neopagan beliefs or practices as “anachronistic” in the quotation at the top of the post. Virtually every feature found in such belief systems can also be found in the practices of at least one of the indigenous peoples in numerous parts of the world who managed to preserve non-monotheistic spiritual beliefs and/or religious practices into the 20th or even 21st centuries. This is not to say that the cultural appropriation sometimes committed by (usually White and Western, often wealthy) women eager to ‘reconstruct’ their own ancestors’ religions is acceptable or excusable. But it’s possible to condemn those women’s prejudices without at the same time casting anyone in the developing world as backward, primitive or “anachronistic” simply because they don’t subscribe to Western-style monotheism or atheism.
- Holy crap did Tumblr give me fits with formatting this post. What’s with the disappearing spaces around italicized (via the em tag, not i) text? Is this yet another bug?
Great image with links to resources for male,female and intersex genital integrity…
For more current ISNA information visit: http://www.accordalliance.org/ (There is a note on the ISNA homepage that they have replaced themselves with Accord Alliance.)
I could not be any more behind everything to do with Genital Integrity Awareness Week without literally putting that info on the front of my body.
Hm. Wonder if my local copy-shop can print those desktop-publishing iron-on decal patches?
21 - genderqueer - intersex (with CAH)
really glad to see a genderqueer/intersex person is safe posting in there… hell yeah!
What fuzzyhorns said!
IIRC, before this, the only times I saw naked-genitals photos of someone with an intersex* condition (this doesn’t count the two people I’ve had sex with who’d been born with what the surgical model calls “ambiguous genitalia” because, while I got a good look — years after the then-standard “corrective” [SIC] surgeries — seeing someone up close and personal isn’t quite the same thing as looking at a photo of them) they were photos taken by doctors, usually of minors who had no idea they could even try to refuse consent to be photographed.
The fact that someone is now comfortable enough to say to the internet “here is what’s between my legs, and I’m cool with you seeing it” is one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen all year. (I’m kinda old, old enough that I was born during the apex of the John-Money we-must-cut-up-all-nonconforming-genitals school of thought, so this is really amazing to me.) It never should have taken decades of unceasing activism on the part of the ISNA to get to this point. The early-surgical-intervention theory never should have gone any farther than theory; and it probably wouldn’t have, if John Money hadn’t flat-out lied, and then shamelessly self-promoted his continuing lies for years afterward. And the fight against that terrible, destructive model isn’t yet completely won, there still being only too many doctors who will suggest, push for and in some cases even threaten parents in order to secure the parents’ “consent” to having their children’s genitals mutilated… so that the surgeon can then publish a self-congratulatory paper.
But enough of that. Today, I’m going to focus on being delighted that “21 - genderqueer - intersex (with CAH)” felt comfortable enough with their** body and other people’s potential responses to that body to share this photo. And, while I know there are people with intersex conditions who do identify mostly or entirely as male or female, it’s good to see that the availability of the term genderqueer works for at least this person, as well.
- *I know a lot of people (whom it’s used to describe) take issue with the word “intersex” itself, and it is not my intention to ignore or deprecate their concerns. I use that term anyway for two main reasons:
- Activists waged an eventually-successful decades-long campaign to replace the previous medical term, “hermaphrodism,” with “intersex.” (And while it’s true that there often is, and often should be, a continuing evolution towards self-chosen demographic terms especially for minority groups, the best-known such changes probably being, in North America, Colored > Negro > Black > African-American, that explicitly does not mean that once the worst term — hermaphrodism, in this case — has been replaced, the replacement — intersex — must remain the preferred term forever.)
- While there are indeed many who today dislike the term “intersex” and do not self-identify with it, there is nothing even close to a consensus as to what new term would be best, with the proponents of the leading contenders frequently finding each others’ proposed terms themselves as offensive as “intersex” is to them, or more so. I therefore use “intersex,” literally, for lack of a better term.
- **As always, if anyone knows this person’s preferred pronouns and/or gender identity, please let me know and I will edit the post as necessary to correct any mistakes I’ve made.
In honor of International Women’s Day, please remember:
- not all women have vaginas
- not all people with vaginas are women
- not all people who identify as women id as women all the time.
Bolded for emphasis.
…So, not to take away from IWD — or the importance of respecting the identity of trans women and trans men — but when are genderqueer / third-gender / non-binary people gonna get a day? I mean, as of now, we don’t even get, like, an hour.
found at gay sex is the answer & converted to a static image less likely to induce seizures or migraines:
REBLOG IF YOU HAVE MASTURBATED TODAY
Because masturbation is normal and healthy, and something Western culture all too often imposes negativity on. This journal is masturbation-positive.
(Which should not be taken as meaning that people who are asexual, or choose not to masturbate for other reasons, are either abnormal or unhealthy; merely that it is normal and healthy for those who do masturbate. For others, not masturbating is normal and healthy.)
found at sex is not the enemy which is one of my favorite tumblrs:
(in no particular order)
this journal is bisexual positive
this journal is pansexual positive
this journal is transgender positive
this journal is intersex positive
this journal is genderqueer positive
this journal is asexual positive
this journal is queer/questioning positive
this journal is gay / lesbian positive
this journal is positive. it fits here too.