MEMBERS of the Indigenous and trans* communities have slammed bizarre comments by a leading feminist academic comparing trans women to racist entertainers who only “pretend” to be female.
University of Melbourne Professor Sheila Jeffreys, who is a lecturer in sexual politics and international feminist politics, made the claims during a feature interview on ABC Radio’s Sunday Night Safran with hosts John Safran and Father Bob Maguire last month.
An influential figure in the second wave of feminism of the 1970s, during the interview Jeffreys suggested trans women were no better than the racist entertainers of the early to mid-20th century in the USA who engaged in blackface.
“In the States for instance they (trans people) were often compared to the black and white minstrels. The black and white minstrels were white men who dressed up with blackface to imitate what they thought were the behaviours of black singers and entertainers. That was seen as very insulting by the black community,” Jeffreys said.
“Transgenderism for men is about the right to imitate and pretend to be members of the subordinate class even though they are members of – biologically and were brought up in – the superior class. That was problematic for the black and white minstrels. It’s problematic generally when a group of people claim to be another group of subordinate people.”
Jeffreys also suggested that all trans women fell into one binary: “homosexual men who don’t feel they can be homosexual in the bodies of men”; as well as cross-dressing fetishists whom women were afraid of sharing space with such as in domestic violence refuges.
“The vast majority though are heterosexual men who have a sexual interest in wearing women’s clothes and having the appearance of women. So it’s about sexism and homophobia,” Jeffreys said.
“But we’re not allowed to talk about the politics of it really, we’re only allowed to talk about the stories of individuals and feel sorry as I genuinely do for the life experience of those men who have this form of very serious mental distress.”
Indigenous queer sistergirl, Andrew Farrell, who was brought up on the NSW South Coast and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies at the University of Wollongong told the Star Observer that Jeffreys’s understanding of gender/sex categories was in many ways an anachronism of essentialist radical feminism which has not carried well into a progressive period of race and queer politics.
“There is a fear that racist, mysoginistic, queerphobic and transphobic people will take her message as truth and enact these prejudices against trans identified Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
“By reducing transgender identities to that of histrionic mimicry is more reflective of her prejudice than it is of my understanding and practice of gender as a genderqueer Indigenous person,” Farrell said.
“I argue that Jeffreys opinion is reductive and reinforces the divisive lines of a binary that is not of valid use in various cultures worldwide including some Aboriginal cultures here in Australia. Genderqueer sistergirls, such as myself, do experience overlapping dimensions of oppression highlighted by Jeffreys hypothetical.
“I cannot change my racial configuration. I can however mould and express my gender identity as unique and valid to my culture.”
LGBTI community activist and Transgender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner admitted to the Star Observer that listening to Jeffries’ theories were difficult to stomach.
“Denial that a group even exists is the first and most intense form of prejudice/vilification. The next most intense form is hugely inaccurate representation re trans women being lumped into one of two categories as either homosexual men or fetishists,” Goldner said.
“This shows no awareness of the truth re the infinite possibilities for trans and gender diverse experiences and confuses gender identity, sexual orientation and other factors.
“The idea that trans women – or anyone in the trans and gender diverse kaleidoscope – are pretending in any way gets close to the deception idea portrayed by offensive fictional media such as There’s Something About Miriam and Bamboozled. All of these sort of comments are the equivalent in degree of inaccuracy to the religious supremacists saying being gay is more dangerous than smoking.”
*PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST*
Why are we fundraising? To support femmes across race, class, gender, ability & region finding space at FemmeCon 2014. If you have the means, please consider donating!
HELP MAKE FEMMECON 2014 HAPPEN!
The Femme Conference is coming! After careful planning and deliberation, the steering committee is proud to announce that we will be heading to ATLANTA (October 24-26) for the 2014 Conference. Now we need your help to get the ball rolling! Donate now to help femmeifest Femme Con 2014!
We need this seed money first to guarantee that the conference can happen: this means first and foremost accessibility (booking affordable and accessible spaces, hiring interpreters, accessible shuttle service, travel and registration scholarships to ensure that everyone including rural, working-class, trans*, Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard-of-Hearing Signing femmes, femmes with disabilities, and femmes of color can attend!).
But to make this a reality we need lots of people to pitch in: please donate to support a truly transformative FemmeCon this year!
In the Grand Canyon state, “walking while trans” may very well be a criminal act.
That was the message sent last Friday by the Phoenix judge who convicted transwoman Monica Jones of “manifesting prostitution” following her arrest by undercover police officers in May of 2013.
Hello friends! Many of you have felt very upset lately. This is a list of resources you can keep track of to try to cheer up. I hope it helps!
- Anxiety Self Help Masterpost
- Calming Manatee
- Cute yahoo answers
- Guided relaxation
- The thoughts room
- The quiet place
- Have a hug!
- Healthy alternatives masterpost
- Learn a new hobby masterpost
- Play Tetris
- Breathing exercises
- Go somewhere new
- Emergency compliment
- Having a bad night
- Talking about mental health
- Relax playlist
- Another relaxing playlist
- Reward yourself with kittens while you write!
- Stress analyst
- Coffee shop sounds (Help corgi found this most effective with calm music in the background!)
- Nature sounds
- More nature sounds
- Drown out other noises (more sounds!)
- If you like the sound of rain
- Draw something silky!
- Cut something (blood tw, woof!)
- Play some more cute games
- Break something (loud noise)
- Paint a nebula
- Self injury recovery
- Vent online here or here.
- Have an mobile application for anxiety!
If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide:
BorgBaby’s Binder Giveaway~!
This giveaway ends: May 5
Hi! I’m BorgBaby and this is my giveaway.
Are you a transman, FtM, third gender, gender-neutral, or nonbinary in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable with having biologically female breasts? Are you unable to purchase a compression chest binder due to lack of funds, lack of family support, or any other reason?
Then I want to help!
* You do NOT have to follow me to be considered. This isn’t about me! Of course, you’re welcome to follow if you want to, but ONLY if you want to.
* You may only enter ONCE! One like OR one reblog only will count. I just want to be sure it’s completely fair and that everyone has an equal chance! However, please reblog as much as you like to help spread the word!
* Please only enter if you NEED a binder. If you are not nonbinary, or if you can afford your own binder, please do not enter this giveaway. Of course, I have no way of enforcing this rule, but I humbly ask that you all be honest when entering!
* The winner is welcome to specify the supplier and binder desired as long as a.) I can pay for it via Paypal, and b.) the price BEFORE shipping does not exceed $30 USD. I’m sorry to have to put a price cap on it! (I know Underworks has some options in this price range, and I imagine other sites do, too!)
* On May 5, a winner will be chosen impartially, by use of a random number generator.
* I will contact the winner immediately on May 5. If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner, so please be sure to check your messages on this date!
* You must be willing to provide me with your mailing address and your compression shirt size (but ONLY if you win)!
* I am located in the US, but feel free to enter if you are located in the US or not!
The “fine print:”
While I personally do not need a binder, I want to support and assist someone who does.
If any terminology used in this giveaway is incorrect, please let me know and I will be happy to change it appropriately.
I am not responsible for errors in size (as you will need to size yourself appropriately for the supplier you choose) or in damaged or lost shipments after they leave the supplier.
After placing the order, I will gladly provide to the winner screenshots of receipts and, if provided by the supplier, tracking numbers.
Feel free to send me a message with any questions!
Biscuits & Gravy Zine
Volume 1: Love, Resilience, Possibilities
Biscuits & Gravy is a zine seeking to uplift and centralize the unique experiences of Southern Black and Brown Femmes in Queer culture. This zine aims to envision what community can look like when Black and Brown Femmes have the space to share our stories, lives, pain, love, and bodies on our own terms.
Biscuits & Gravy is a project grounded in anti-oppression, intentional solidarity, and authentic accountability in recognition of the institutional systems of power and global dominance that furthers white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, classism, ableism, anti-blackness, transmisogyny, cultural genocide, and various other forms of marginalization and violence.
The theme of our first issue will be “Love, Resilience, and Possibilities.” In a November 2012 interview, poet, writer, editor and educator Warsan Shire stated, “At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.”
Let’s envision what home can be. How will we love? How will we persevere? How do we reach a place, a love, a world, for which we have no blueprint. Biscuits & Gravy seeks submissions from Black and Brown Queer Femmes grappling with these questions, desiring transformation. Please submit works up to 1000 words. Submissions can be, but are not limited to:
- poetry, fiction, personal stories
Please send your submissions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is May 30th, 2014.