Anonymous asked: do you know of any trans* people who have discussed otherkin? i have seen people compare otherkin-ness to being trans* and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but i can’t really articulate why. :/
I have known otherkin, both sane and less so, and I have come to a very simple comparison between the two and why I don’t think they should be compared. Allow me to use an analogy to explain this:
Otherkin is to transgender as religion/creation science is to evolution.
Now, there are a lot of people who look at that and go, “ok, so why aren’t they both in the same conversation then? Religion and Evolution both explain where we come from, so otherkin and transgender are clearly related.” They don’t deserve to be in the same conversation (at least in the beginning) because one is a belief, one is backed by science, and if you don’t understand that before you move forward you’re going to think that they’re interchangeable.
Otherkin is a religion. It’s fine to believe that you are supposed to be a wolf or a dragon or an elf or whatever “kin” you believe yourself to be. And I’ve known a few otherkin who are certainly great human beings. But you have to recognize that it’s just that - a belief. There is no scientific proof or backing that you are that, you cannot explain or prove that to anyone. And that’s fine. It doesn’t hurt anyone else, and believing as such won’t make you a target for abuse, make you lose jobs, housing, loved ones or friends.
When you say “it’s just like being trans*,” you’re saying your religion is the same as my science. And we have a problem. Because there IS proof that trans* folks are this way - brain scans have shown that trans* folks aren’t just choosing to be their gender, or that they have an unfounded beliefe that they are their gender, their brains are wired for their gender and not transitioning can lead to serious health complications because you’re starving a brain of the hormones it needs and stuffing it with hormones it doesn’t.
Now, imagine you’re a child who doesn’t know about evolution. Someone explains it to you, but says it’s just as viable as the concept that we were all born 6000 years ago, we walked with dinosaurs, and that all of science could just be god testing us. That child won’t understand that, no, it’s not “just as likely” that the universe started 6000 years ago, because there is absolutely no proof of it. They’ll think they are evenly weighted concepts. And their concept of the scientific process - that you have to test and prove things - will be forever hampered.
People who are uneducated in trans* issues, when they are explained that being otherkin is just like being transgender, will think that the science (trans*) is religion (otherkin) and you shouldn’t be able to have others “believe in it.” They can invalidate who trans folks are because “they don’t believe in that,” because they were taught that science is religion. And that’s not just annoying, that’s dangerous.
I’m not saying otherkin is bad in any way. It’s a belief, and all non-inflating self beliefs are not intrinsically good or bad. It’s just not the same thing as being transgender.
I hope that’s clear.
I’m not familiar with the otherkin community so I can’t comment on that, but I’m not totally comfortable with the way this response was handled. There are a couple things I think can be harmful with the idea that trans* identities are valid because of these brain scans:
This gives the doctor, rather than the trans* person themself, the right to determine whether their identity is valid or not. What does that say for a trans* person whose brain doesn’t match their gender (real, not assigned) for whatever reason (if I’m reading it correctly, the second study you cited stated that there was an 83% probability that the results of the study were random chance — so it’s possible there are trans* people who don’t fit the supposed pattern). What then? Are their identities — their experiences, their dysphoria — not real, because some doctor says so?
Also, what do you do with non-binary trans* people? There’s no “right” brain to compare our scans to, no cis non-binary people whose brains we could match. So it’ll throw our experiences out the window, too.
I’ve also read a pretty convincing argument (in Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine) that the supposed gender differences found in brain scans might actually be completely meaningless. Currently we have very little proof for the connection between brain structure and brain function. Some have proposed that the differences between “male” and “female” brains may actually just be two different ways of performing the exact same brain functions.
The same brain scan technology has been used to justify sexist stereotypes (women are bad at math and men are bad at empathy, for example).
Most importantly, to me, is this: If trans* people know, ourselves, that we feel pain when people use the wrong pronouns, and when we look down at our body and see parts that shouldn’t be there, AND that this pain goes away when we take hormones/get surgery/ask people to adjust their language, who is it hurting, for us to live the way that makes us comfortable, and what exactly do we need to prove?
I don’t mean to come across as combative. If I’ve missed a major point, or I’m not getting something, please let me know! I’m just a little nervous around the idea of justifying one’s identity.
I get what you’re saying.
The MRI, for example, is not a real-world test. I didn’t mean to say that trans* folks should have to get brain scans in order to prove their identity. That would be prohibitively expensive and potentially have other complications (MRI’s, done repeatedly, have health concerns for the patient, and things like grey-matter displacement requires an autopsy). I was merely pointing out that there is biological research that shows trans* folks are trans* because of the dirty, imprecise business that is reproduction.
Considering the many different varieties of why people would have one gender or the other, mixing the variances together would generate non-binary people.
But all of this is explaining around your main point that I can’t really avoid. The whole concept (which I still hold as valid) can back-fire, as its easy for someone to demand that you “prove your identity” and that’s not something you want to do to trans* folks, or anyone for that matter.
But the matter of other-kin still arises. Other-kin, if you don’t know, are those who describe themselves as trans-species. They say they are born in the wrong species.
My point was this: there are a variety of reasons why someone could, based on the biology currently accepted by the scientific community, develop in the womb with the wrong chromosomes or with an anomaly that mixes the traits of the two genders together. This explains non-binary folk, trans* folk, and why gender is a spectrum.
But their is no possible scientific explanation for being born as the wrong species short of a religious argument (the soul of the wrong species, which has a whole range of other theological implications). So saying the two are the same thing is dangerous because they’re mixing science and religion.
It’s almost 6am here in New York City. I just got back from a long night of partying post-Dyke March, my very first Dyke March ever. I was honored to lead the march with the banner, touched to see so many of our allies cheering us on, and just proud to be able to celebrate being who I am. Now, as I sit in my kitchen, decompressing, I have time to reflect on an incident that occurred during Dyke March that will surely make its rounds on the feminist blogosphere. I’m choosing to address this now, before the video is published, because I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
Cathy “Bug” Brennan, a woman who spends much of her life fosteringhatred toward trans women (trigger warning for transmisogyny on those links, her entire blog, basically her entire existence), has posted on her Twitter, Tumblr, and I’m sure every other venue she can access, about trans activists “assaulting” her at Dyke March. Well, folks, I have no problem saying it - I, Holly Renee Reinhardt, am one of the people who “assaulted” her.
For those of you who don’t know, Cathy pretty much spends every waking moment doing something to alienate trans women from women-oriented spaces. She has this asinine theory that trans women want to be included in these spaces because they have a desire to sexually harass lesbians. She has written quite a few nasty things about people that I know personally, for no other reason than being who they are. Basically, Cathy Brennan is the type of person that I went in to activism to fight against.
After the march had completed at Washington Square Park, my dear friend approached me saying that she wanted to talk to Cathy, who happened to be at the Dyke March, but wanted folks standing with her in solidarity so that Cathy would see that she wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
My initial reaction to Cathy when she greeted my friend was that, perhaps, she was going to sincerely apologize for the horrible things she had done, and truly have an open discussion. But the tone from Cathy changed, and my friend kept trying to speak up, only to be interrupted time and time and time again by Cathy Brennan and her ignorance. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut anymore.
I spoke up and, quite powerfully, told her to give my friend a voice, because trans women are always silenced. This was met with Cathy repeatedly interrupting me. I tried to start the conversation with a simple “Look, we’re both cis women, let’s level here”, but Cathy freaked out and insisted that she doesn’t identify that way. Being the person I am, I immediately apologized for misgendering her, not realizing that she meant that she actually doesn’t believe in the word “cisgender”. She asked if we could talk, we walked over to the edge of the park, and the group followed us. That’s where shit, as they say, hit the fan.
Cathy sat down on a bench, immediately asking if anyone would like to sit in her lap. When someone called her out for sexually harassing us, she dismissed us like we were too insensitive, that it was a joke. It definitely was her idea of a joke, but at the same time, she insists that trans women are “bullying” lesbians in to sleeping with them. The failing logic only escalated.
At this point, I can’t even recall all of exactly what was said, but it ended up being about a dozen folks being mostly silent while myself and another person were the folks that were mainly talking to her. She kept interrupting us when we had valid points to make, she deliberately misgendered the other person in the argument, she consistently played the victim while denying that she did anything to deserve having folks call her out. My favorite part was that, when I brought up the fact that trans women are dying every single day because folks like her perpetuate transphobia, she harped on the fact that women are killed all the time because of systematic oppression. I wasn’t arguing with her on that, but the point is this - nothing I have done or said has intentionally contributed to the bullying and harassment of a marginalized group. I most certainly have not written an open letter to her parents, condemning her for being a dyke, or any of the countless amount of things she’s done to bully trans women.
She continued to pile on hate-filled rant after hate-filled rant, to the point that, after I decided to leave before it escalated any worse than it already had, I went to my friends and immediately broke down, sobbing hysterically, dealing with a panic attack. If anyone was harassing anyone, it was Cathy Brennan and her delusional diatribes in which she invalidated the existence of the people I love, triggered several other people to the point of tears, and played the victim while doing it. Not to mention that she had her (ignorant, delusional) posse stand beside her, filming the entire thing with smug looks on their faces. If Cathy felt she were being harassed, she could have left, but instead, she continued stoking the fire so that she would get a rise out of us to show to her followers who have, without ANY details whatsoever, come to the conclusion that we are worse than religious activists, that we are horrible people, etc.
I lost my temper, I’m not going to skate around that. Folks who know me know that it takes a lot to get me truly angry. I blow off steam sometimes, but this was pure anger coming out of me, something I can’t ever remember feeling. I was angry because I am so tired of trans women not having voices in the feminist and queer communities. I am tired of these women being shut down when they finally DO have the chance to speak. I am tired of people claiming to be feminists, then giving the movement a bad name, to the point where I can no longer feel comfortable identifying as such. I was tired of my dear friend, time after time, being told that her feelings were invalid in activist spaces. I felt that I, as an ally, had the responsibility of speaking up, and I did.
My trans sisters are dying every single day because people like Cathy Brennan foster such hatred and bigotry. So do I regret losing my temper? No. Am I sorry that she felt uncomfortable because she had to deal with a couple of trans folks and their allies calling her out on her bullshit? Hell no.
I’m not going to kiss anyone’s ass or apologize for losing my cool with someone so delusional, who treats my sisters like they are sub-human. You reap what you sow.
You know you’re a transmisogynst when…
Your existence is a trigger warning
I don’t know if I would have had the courage to engage with her at all in that situation.
Her calling it “assault” is not surprising in the least. Hell, half of her reasoning for the shit she does is this overblown idea of how victimized she is by the trans community.
It’s been two days now since I basked in the glory. I still find myself floating above the ground. I can still feel the weight of the heavy gown and the velvet tam. I can feel the tickle of the tassel on my ear. My eyes fill with tears at the thought of my classmates – those who toiled alongside me – experiencing the same emotions. The reminders of our newfound responsibility echo in my ears, peppered with compliments from family and friends about the noble, giving, altruistic profession I’ve joined.
As young physicians we proudly take our place on the pedestal that society presents us. How could we not? We’ve worked hard for what we know and, with the help of others in our clinics and hospitals, we can actually save lives. We hear it so often, “I’m so glad there are folks like you who are willing to help others,” or “You are such a selfless person, you’ll be a wonderful doctor.”
The truth is, I am as selfish as they come.
Every time I pick up a book or a journal, every time I catch a baby, every time I hold a scalpel or a pair of Metzenbaum scissors, I steal time from those who love me – my wife, my parents, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, and my friends. I repeatedly send the message that I care more about a complete stranger than I care about my own flesh and blood.
And they’ve yet to make a sound. They just sit there, waiting patiently, until my next text message, email or phone call. They wait until my next vacation, then they tell me how proud they are of the work I do. They tell me how lucky my patients must be.
The truth is, I’m the lucky one. People entrust me with their deepest secrets, their doubts and fears, their health. They allow me to take care of their unborn children, and they allow me to meet their children even before they do. I have the pleasure of placing my stethoscope on my patients’ chests, closing my eyes, and being present with them – in awe of the beauty that is the human body. I experience the joy of hearing a patient say “thank you” even when all I did was listen. I receive far more than I give.
The selfless people in medicine are the people a patient never sees. They are the husbands and wives, the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They are the nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. They give far more than I could even imagine, never complaining, only waiting, for the next text message, phone call or email. They selflessly wait for the next vacation.
And I just stand there, gowned and gloved, waiting for the next incredible experience.
Reblogging primarily to remind myself to read this to Mrs. Cranquis tonight, followed by a big ol’ kiss of appreciation.
Rick Santorum has launched a new “campaign” to help get Obama out of office. This is the official website. It features a poll asking people what they think about Obama. I think it would be hilarious if we got it to read “very favorable”.
Come on tumblr! Bomb this poll!!
could pretend to be above things like this and be a mature human being