An introduction, and some planning

I am about a week and a half into my personal “peak trans”. Every moment, I think I cannot be more outraged, and then, like a horror show building towards a crescendo, it happens again.

I’m a second wave lesbian feminist, out of the picture for almost two decades. Initially it was that I felt alienated from an increasingly butch/femmed, BDSMed-up community that had no place for me.

Then, I became the Founding Mother of a new rights movement, which took up another decade or so of my energy.  I will not identify what movement this is just yet. I want to make the tranti-speech dudes work a bit before they find out who they can hate on next. (I am more than happy to confirm my identity in private, however).

I found out just moments ago that the movement in question is also being ravaged by this violent effort to reimpose strict gender conformity (I’d been away from it, too, for a bit). I am in a better than average position to help protect women and girls in that movement, and I’m going to be putting some thought into how I will use the last bit of leverage that I have.

The last decade or so, I’ve been dealing with declining health. This limits what I will be able to do, unfortunately, but I guess each of us are only allocated so many years of activism per lifetime. A pity.  I want my funeral to be a picket line.

“Do” here is the operative word. I cannot pretend that the following is  the one true and definitive outline of what is needed, but I think it hits on  many of the obvious points.

We don’t need more theory. Theory here is so simple you can’t avoid stubbing your toe on it: Transgenderqueerpomo is just a trendy name for patriarchy. It hurts everyone, but  it hurts women, and especially lesbians, most of all.

But we do need to introduce a new generation to this theory.

We do need blogs, and wikis, and social networking, and especially lots of You Tube videos, to counter the enormous pressure coming from the Internet to transition.

Above all though, we need to leave the virtual world and plant our feet on real dirt.

We must get gender critical support groups on the ground in every major city and at every major campus, ASAP. This is urgent.  The bodies of a generation of young lesbians, as well as gay men, are being thrown into the transwoodchopper. Even when they don’t want to transition, they see no way out. We must save lives.

We need leaflets and leafleteers, to reach young people on the ground, and we need an online infrastructure to aid in the creation of live-on-the-dirt gender critical support groups.

We need support groups for families ripped apart by the  transpocalypse. Right now, nothing exists to support the families. It is largely heterosexual women who have been affected this way, though also lesbian and gay families are being affected.

Easy to overlook, but urgent: we need a fund, and a material support network, for partners and children who need to leave but who have nowhere to go.

We cannot expect that the existing shelter system will help these women. We have to assume, unless proven otherwise, that the existing structures have been compromised by inclusionist nonsense. While this may sound like an  insurmountable task, it is not any more insurmountable than it was when my generation had to invent the system from scratch.

We need to reach women — even conventional women — who have no idea any of this is happening. Once women understand that all this ends with kinky men exposing themselves (and worse) in women’s bathrooms, there will be no more mainstreaming of the transpocalypse.

We need to reclaim women only and lesbian only space. The transpocalypse could not be harming young lesbians so severely had we not lost so much. We have to start where we started years ago: small groups and home meetings. We also have to think like an insurgent movement again.

When lesbian feminists began organizing as ourselves years ago, no one would have dared give us meeting space. This is no obstacle. You meet in homes. You meet through stealth, using made-up front groups and spaces scheduled for “private parties”. You find loopholes that make it difficult for opponents to include themselves on you. You use modern techniques, like flash mobbing, to keep where and when you meet secret until the last minute, so that those who would include on you don’t have enough time to do so (we had flash mobs back in the day too. We called them “telephone trees.”)

Remember: the second wave got most of the heavy lifting done before it became mainstream. When you have a tiny bit of legitimacy, you have a little bit of safety,  and then no one wants to lose it. When a political movement stops taking risks, it dies, and then you lose it anyway. Fuck legitimacy.

There are less grassroots, more respectable tasks to do: lobbying and lawyering, public relations and campaigning. The people with those skills are, I’m sure, working on that (and if they aren’t, they ought to be). Those are not my skills, and so I won’t attempt to outline them.

Now placing myself in this outline:

I’m going to try to put together some of the online infrastructure that might be useful here. I have experience setting up large websites, and I know how to make it difficult for even well positioned trans network engineers to obtain user information (yes, real lesbians know network security, too). I may not be able to follow through on this both for health reasons as well as for financial reasons, but I do have at least one server I can experiment with.

I live near several colleges and universities, one of them a large state university. I’m not the ideal face to present to young people, being as I am an old dinosaur.  I am prepared however to put together a leaflet to leave where students can find it, and to buy a skype number I can use as a local information line. Given enough interest, I’m happy to do what I need to do to arrange meetings, and I will be more than happy to turn this over to the first gender critical young person who wants to take the job.

I will make a more generic leaflet focused on family issues, and I will help organize a local support group if enough people are interested. They, of course, will have to take it from there. I will happily cede some or all of this task to anyone better equipped to handle it.

I will put together a leaflet about  how this issue affects women, and I will distribute it in locations where it can be found. I am considering whether to contact conventional women’s groups and ask to make a presentation to them. That may be beyond my physical capacity.

I will organize a local radical feminist group. It may take me time, as I don’t know anyone in my area, and I know any attempt to openly advertise such a group would bring out all the men trapped in fantasies of their women’s bodies. I have access to meeting space that I can book for “private parties”.

I will reach out to second wave feminists I know who do not understand that any of this is happening (none are in this area, unfortunately), and to younger women I know who would in no way approve if they knew about any of this. Already a few I’ve spoken to are spreading the word.

Here are my questions for readers:

How would you outline the tasks in front of us?

Where do you fit yourself in?

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8 thoughts on “An introduction, and some planning

  1. brackengold says:

    I’m a Gen-Xer, and my mom, while feminist-enlightened, wasn’t active in feminism. You hint at things I had no idea about: secret meetings, fake organization names, phone trees, and the like. Being one of our Elders, one of the best things you can do is share your stories. So what was it like trying to do feminist action back then? What kinds of things happened? How was it dangerous? Where did you find safety?

    It may be that others have written about this history, the practical experienced details, but I have no idea how to find it. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TERF pride says:

      What happened, and how things unfolded, and when they happened depended upon where you were located. The time I’m talking about from my own experience was during the big split, when lesbians left the Gay Liberation Front and, eventually, found a place in the women’s movement as lesbian feminists. I know that feminists in general have had problems at times — in fact, almost every radical movement ever has faced difficulties gathering — but I can’t speak from experience about that.

      At the time I was attending a university in “flyover country”, well away from the more progressive coasts. The GLF itself was not able to always operate in the open. One of the things the GLF did was organize non-mob controlled dances. It was a challenge to find places to hold these dances, and we were always under threat from police raids.

      The split, where I lived, did not involve a lot of enmity, and there was no one last straw that drove everyone out. It’s that the women saw that, gay or not, radical or not, the men treated us no differently than straight men did. Not only were we at the margins of the group, only valuable if there was work to be done, “liberated” gay male culture itself was changing, to become more and more macho, more and more sex oriented, less political, and less tolerant of lesbians.

      Even though the split wasn’t a hostile split, it wasn’t as if the men were prepared to help us leave. Nor did the women’s movement initially welcome us with open arms. There was a time — it seems like a while in my memories, but it is probably measured in months — where we were on our own. As lesbians we faced the same problem as we did in the GLF: this was still the era of police raids, and it was hard to meet as lesbians. So we met in homes, and we met as “women’s groups” elsewhere, until we were incorporated into the local Women’s Liberation Front.

      There really isn’t much to this sort of tactic. The difficulty is, probably, in wrapping one’s head around the idea of being a revolutionary movement. For a lot of young women this is a surprising situation to be in. But radical feminism is always an authentic revolutionary movement.

      For a long time now, what has called itself feminism has been co-opted, conservative, and assimilationist. People in power have no reason to fear a feminism that wants to keep patriarchy intact so long as a few women get to climb over everybody to get to the top, too. Any feminism that considers electing Hillary Clinton to be a profound change is no threat to anyone. Queer theory, too, can be mainstreamed, because there has never been anything threatening to men about indulgence in exploitative sexuality and aspiration to erase women altogether from any sort of discourse. The system can tolerate a handful of visible radical feminists, too, usually safely tucked away in academia, because the existence of token radicals makes it appear that the system is open. It is in fact a closed system. Patriarchy is the original totalitarian ideology.

      But if you do have an analysis, and you do try to build a movement, then you are a threat, and they will go after you. The most effective way to disrupt a radical movement is to separate and isolate its members. The more dangerous you are, the more no platforms you will have, the more venues will refuse to permit you to meet, the more your communications will be disrupted, etc. This, as you can see, is what is happening. It’s not unexpected.

      The objective of revolutionaries — and to be a radical feminist is to be much more of a revolutionary than some political activist with a molotov cocktail whose goal is to change the color of the flag and trade the names of the men at the top — is to do *anything* it takes to gather ourselves together, (short of morally repugnant acts or selling ourselves out). When you understand that it is the very rightness and reasonableness and principled nature of your cause that makes you illegitimate in every authority’s eyes, you lose the illusion that you must go about everything the “proper” way. Instead, you think creatively, about how you can do it in spite of the opposition.

      That last point is the most important one. If you develop an effective tactic, that tactic will be blocked. So you think up another one. And another one. You invent a Plan B to back up your Plan A, and you execute it whenever the opposition blocks your Plan A. You tolerate the awkward, the crowded, the noisy, and the uncomfortable, if that is what it takes to get the job done. You stay unpredictable and elusive.

      Liked by 1 person

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