The Cotton Ceiling Is Real and It’s Time for All Queer and Trans People to Fight Back

The blogosphere is fired up over the cotton ceiling today, a term porn actress Drew DeVaux and other queer trans women are using to challenge cis lesbians’ tendency to support trans causes generally but draw the line at sleeping with trans women or including trans lesbians in their sexual communities.  Some cis lesbians have responded in outrage to the term (trigger warning on link for heavy transphobia), claiming that it implies sex with cis women without their consent, perpetuates rape culture, and reveals trans women’s patriarchal motives to break into their bedrooms as they presumably have broken into their bathrooms.

This spectre of rape that cis lesbian “radfems” habitually raise, centered around the supposed inherent threat of the phallus, minimizes the appalling rates of physical and sexual violence committed against trans women, particularly trans women of color and sex workers.  It also twists the picture of systemic violence to make it look like trans women are a huge, systemic threat to cis lesbians when in fact trans women as a group face incredible systemic barriers in almost every aspect of life.

Certainly there are individual cases of interpersonal violence that one could bring up involving a perpetrator of any description.  But, although I may not be 100% comfortable with the mental image of panty-ripping, I find it ludicrous to suggest that trans women, in pointing out their exclusion from lesbian sexual communities and the relationship between common lack of cis lesbian desire for trans women and the structural problem of cissexism/transmisogyny, are threatening rape of cis lesbians or perpetuating rape culture.

At one point in my life, I identified as female and as a lesbian.  I was early to feminism and I had been through some difficult heterosexual experiences.  I’m ashamed to admit that I sympathized in some ways with the radfem position.  I want to be clear in my argument here–I’m not ashamed of the fact that at that time, I wasn’t interested in PIV sex or in touching a penis. That’s a legitimate sexual preference.  My shame comes from the way I looked at trans women at that time without examining my prejudices or educating myself, and the fact that I assumed a preference for cis women was a natural preference that I didn’t need to mention aside from identifying as “lesbian.”

I pinned a misogyny that at the time I attributed to almost all men onto trans women, as well.  I assumed that sex with a trans woman would be penetrative and violent, that I wouldn’t have the camaraderie with a trans woman that I felt at the time with many cis women, that female history was somehow very important.  I didn’t think about what a trans female experience might be like, or what a trans woman’s relationship to her body might be.  I was pretty naive about sex.  I put a lot of stake in body parts because I was fumbling with my own gender, body, and sexuality.  I said that I was against transphobia but knew no openly trans people.

To all the trans women I know, love, and respect now, and to any to whom I made casual transmisogynistic comments or whom I discounted then, I’m sorry.  I’m deeply sorry that I didn’t try harder, ask more questions, or deeply interrogate my own fears.

Please let me know if there’s anything you want me to do to support you now, or to be more explicitly inclusive of trans women in queer spaces.  Sometimes I forget just how often transmisogynistic cis women, genderqueers, and trans men exclude trans women from sexual communities.  Recently, I was very excited about a date with a trans woman who’d been chatting with me online, and a female trans friend asked me to tell her about “him.” She’d assumed I was dating a trans man, and I couldn’t figure out why she was so surprised that I date trans women when I knew I’d told her that several of my recent dates had been trans people.  When I started seeing the patterns, and noticing how trans women are strangely ignored in queer female sexual spaces (where I’m the one surprised at how welcome I am since I’m not female-identified) I realized that we have a hell of a lot of work to do.  If there are particular ways I can focus on this work, or on contributing to yours, I’d love to hear them.

To the radfems who focus so hard on the penis and on villifying trans lesbians, queer woman, and bisexual women, may you eventually come to feel the shame I do about that part of my life. Shame isn’t comfortable, but it’s necessary when you fuck up.

The narcissism in the radfem community is somewhat hilarious.  Why would a trans woman WANT to sleep with you?  How boring it must be to have sex with someone who reduces your body, your sexual creativity, and your capacity to a penis.  How hurtful to engage sexually with someone who denies your humanity.  No, thanks.

I’ve made my own decision never to have sex with someone who views sex with me as a favor or a concession, with someone who thinks they can describe my body without asking, with someone who assumes the paths to my pleasure.  I’m constantly rolling my eyes at straight cis men who message me on OKCupid (where I list as bisexual woman because there is no “genderqueer who prefers queer/trans men, women, both, or neither” option).  These messages typically reassure me that there is no problem with my trans identity, that my body is sexy anyway, that they’re fine with it.  Gee!  So flattered!

I’ve had good sex lately with cis women, trans women, trans men, and genderqueer/genderfluid people.  The most obvious common denominator has been the respect, desire, and curiosity with which we’ve approached each others’ bodies and sexualities.  I’m not talking about fetishistic curiosity here, but about curiosity around what makes pleasure happen in another individual. I love conducting sexual chemistry experiments, going in blind and experiencing the nerves and adrenaline as we tell each other how to name our bodies, what makes us hot, what makes us vulnerable, and how to care for one another.

It’s not always perfect, of course. CN Lester writes about the way non-binary identities can mess with binary folks’ understandings of their own sexuality. Though I haven’t often heard “no,” I have sometimes doubted the extent to which a sex partner understands my gender and relationship with my body.  There is sometimes a sense of “what you’re doing with gender is really cool, let’s talk social justice, but I love that your parts are still traditional, that you haven’t had surgery.”  I have not always been fully respected when I explained that touching a particular area gives me dysphoria, since I don’t physically mimimize it or seek medical intervention.  Occasionally my preferences, which fall outside many common sex narratives, have been criticized as boring.  It is important to me that a partner understands I can’t have gay, lesbian, or straight sex, and it’s not always evident whether this is the case.  That said, my refusal to sleep with someone who thinks they’re doing me a favor or refers to me as either binary gender with their friends has improved my sex life.

Radfems, you’re not just missing out on great sex.  You’re confused about what it means to be a lesbian, or a woman.  I don’t care what your physical preferences are or what gender identity you prefer. I do care that you confuse those two things, and thereby insult trans women.  I care that you don’t bother to interrogate the origins of your phallus-based distaste for trans women, and think about whether it’s actually a dislike of the organ that’s happening here or whether transphobia and a refusal to view trans women as women is involved.  I care that you assume describing yourself as a lesbian tells others that you prefer what you call a pussy, as if everyone has the same definition of lesbian, woman, or pussy.

THAT is privilege.  Assuming that you speak the same language, rather than consensually sharing vocabulary.  Using lesbian as a proxy term that tells a whole group of women that they are not real, and not seeing anything wrong with that.  I find your appropriation of the language of oppression disgusting.

Sit down, shut up, and read a book (or a blog). We will be over here, having fabulous queer sex without you.

To learn more about sexual preferences and building an understanding of your own complex sexual orientation beyond the one-word proxy terms like “lesbian,” join me for Workshopping Your Sexual Orientation, Sunday at 9 am at Momentum.  If you’re not in the DC area, you can workshop your orientation independently when you grab the Momemtum anthology ebook.  I don’t ask you to drop your orientation labels, but I do suggest that you expand your understanding of orientation for a fuller and more satisfying sex life.

Avory Faucette is a genderqueer radical feminist activist and writer.  Zie writes at the blog Radically Queer and works at the National Center for Transgender Equality.  Hir work focuses on intersections of gender, sexuality, and other identities.  Zie is particularly interested in non-binary gender and sexuality.  Zie is also an award-winning international human rights legal activist with a law degree from the University of Iowa.  Hir views stated here do not reflect those of any organization or entity.

298 thoughts on “The Cotton Ceiling Is Real and It’s Time for All Queer and Trans People to Fight Back

  1. Thank you for this. Your honesty and sincerity in these comments was really moving. It’s reassuring to hear these words from an ally, and it could hardly come at a better moment. xo

      • You know, I’m a straight cis guy, not by any means a ‘feminist’ and even I get it. You’d like for lesbians and women to stop assuming that ‘woman’ means ‘person born with a vagina’ and that ‘lesbian’ means ‘person attracted only to people WHO WERE BORN WITH VAGINAS (and still have vaginas b/c I’m pretty sure those lesbians wouldn’t be attracted to female to male transexuals)’.

        Not hard people. Just stop being hypocrites and practice the open minded tolerance and understanding you preach and you’re practically there.

        • Joe, that is soo open-minded of you. Are you open to having sex with a’women with a dick or” lady stick”? & still consider yourself straight?

    • For a group that is so fiercely protective of their right to identify however they feel like it, to have the audacity to not only label and identify women but to re-name women in terms of themselves is outrageously hypocritical and not to mention misogynistic. As women we now have to contrast ourselves to biologically male trans-women to define ourselves? We’re no longer women or lesbians, we’re cis women and cis lesbians and if we don’t do what the trans-women tell us to do we’re bigoted cissexist transphobes? As if transgender women are the standard? The majority? Half of the human race has to identify ourselves with labels a miniscule group of biologically male trans-women gave us? With slurs they’ve slapped on us and we have to pretend they’re not slurs? Have you lost your minds?

      http://www.thelesbianmafia.com/home/cis-doesnt-just-mean-the-opposite-of-trans/

      • Keep in mind that folks have been using the trans-/cis- dichotomy in reference to gender for the last 100 years. I understand that this is new to you, but it’s not. If you believe that this is a lexical conspiracy against you, then the folks who use these terms have been at it for a very, very long time.

        Even if cis- were a true retronym, there would be nothing conspiratorial; it would merely be the English language doing what it does. You might as well claim that smail is a conspiracy by people who hate the US postal service since there can only be one type of true mail and email isn’t it. Cis- as a retronym would merely a function of the English language, not some epic conspiracy on the part of a trans language cabal who are driven to erase the concept of “woman.”

        I get that TERFs resent cis-. There’s a reason the non-trans feminist community popularized the term TERF several years ago. They did it to distance themselves from people who A.) claim to speak for women as a group, and B.) assert conspiracy theories which always seem to feature trans people as being the harbingers of doom.

        • Cis references our genitals whereas transgender does not. Trans does not expose trans people’s genitals. The term trans still means we have no idea what is going on down there. Even when they say they’ve medically “transitioned” it still doesn’t mean anything. We have no idea what is going on downtown. And it’s a sin to ask, so no one asks and no one knows.

          Cis references our genitals and when applied to women is dangerous because it frames women as “privileged” based on our genitals. Cis is referencing A. Our genitals. B. that we’re fine with them. C. they match our supposed “identity”. and D. assigns privilege. It is an invented term and puts a bunch of bullshit on us and then transgender activists just say Oh it simply means the opposite of trans. Then they regurgiate what it’s technical meaning is supposed to be even though that is not at all how it is used.

          First of all, why do we need to frame ourselves as the opposite of trans people? You can’t have it both ways, if transgendered people don’t want people inventing terms for them then why are they inventing inaccurate terms for us? And then they assign whatever meaning they want to it.

          Cis can’t be divorced from the “privileged” meme because privilege is it’s entire point. Which when applied to women and especially lesbians is preposterous. They wanted a label so they could contrast the imagined privilege women have to trans oppression. There is no need for a popularized term for the masses, there is no need for women to start identifying themselves as “cis women”. Men never will go along with that bullshit, it only affects idiot women. But it is used as a slur, it is used as a hate word, it is used to assign privilege to women, a marginalized class BASED on our genitals. So, we reject cis.

          You can’t ignore how “cis” is used. When the words tranny or transexual are used as derogatory words you can’t divorce the word from how it’s being used so trans people are trying to take it back. But transgender activists can’t have this innocent little game like “No, I’m just identifying you as cis because you’re the opposite of trans” … well, actually no, you don’t have to identify us, we’re not trans. We’re women. We’re lesbians. Period. End of story.

          And by the by, how many bitches in this culture of pussy-hatred do you know who are hunky-dory, A-ok, no issues with their pussies anyway? Lesbians sometimes do a lil better with this but if you knew a fucking THING about being a “woman” you’d know this. A huge part of the sex positive movement before it became about hawking porno was to get women to not be disgusted by and ashamed of their own vaginas and to be ok with receiving oral sex, wtf are you even talking about us being ok with and matching our gentials to our identity? Please gfys.

          Cis and trans are not equal terms. We’re not gonna pretend that the word is just the opposite of trans when it’s not. They invented it for a reason, they use it to assign privilege. We’re not going to go along with some game pretending that it is just the opposite. Male and Female are equal oposites. It exposes both sexes’ genitals. Cis and trans does not. Cis exposes only our genitals and keeps trans people’s genitals hidden and unknown. Cis is specifically used to assign the privilege meme, this is not an academic paper discussing the sociological or biological difference between trans women and cis women. Strictly under those specific circumstances we wouldn’t really take umbrage with it even though many use the less offensive non-trans, but that is NOT how cis is used. You don’t get to take something out of it’s context of use, apply something like privilege to it and pretend you’re still using it in it’s original context. Sorry. You don’t get to use it as a slur mainly at lesbians the way trans-women activists do and pretend you’re using it in some innocent innocuous context when you’re not.

          • Wow, what a convoluted way of saying that cis is the antonym of trans.

            The whole “dangerous” thing is a red herring based on the fallacious notion that having a word for “not trans” translates onto violence. I note that you failed to substantiate your assertion with any objective fact.

            At the very least, please explain how erasing a word for “not-trans” also erases the concept, “not-trans.”

  2. The term “Cotton Ceiling” is an offensive term that was first coined by a trans porn star. Moreover, I refuse to have cis attached to my identity. I’m a genetic female, not cis this or cis that. God, all mighty, I’m so tired of gender queer, nonsense speech. By the way, what exactly is Queer Feminism? What have queers ever done for women? Queers had nothing to do with women gaining the right to vote. These brave women were called Suffragettes not queer women. Sappho wasn’t queer. Sappho didn’t live on the Island of Queersbo. Susan B. Anthony wasn’t queer. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wasn’t queer. Rosie the Rivetor wasn’t queer. Del Martin wasn’t queer. I wish to hell you queer women would stop trampling over the graves and bones of real feminists. Queers haven’t done diddly squat for women except invent demeaning sexist terms such as “Cotton Ceiling” which refers to biological transsexual male’s access to genetic women’s under panties. Glass ceiling which refers to employment discrimination is a real issue for all women. The term “cotton ceiling” in reference to women’s panties and sexual access to women is repugnant to all women. Lesbians should feel shame and guilt for not having sex with male to female transsexuals. Men must have access to women’s bodies becasue it’s an entitlement. MTF transwomen must break through the “Cotton Ceiling” (access to women’s panties). If lesbians just tried hard enough, they would learn to love dick, or genetic males who used to have dicks, but now have fake vaginas. Because you are totally blinded by queer speak, you can’t see how utterly dehumanizing it is to lesbians. Any woman has a right to refuse sex for any reason. Lesbians find sex with males unappealing. I can actually feel the male energy from MTF transsexuals. I instictively know the difference between a genetic female and a genetic male. I hate to tell you this, but this is how many lesbians feel. It doesn’t have one damn thing to do with transphobia. It’s a sexual preference. I am simply not attracted physically to males. Now, I’m made to feel as if there is something wrong with me if I don’t find transwomen sexaully attractive. Although I was raised to respect all human kind, I’m so sick and tired of queer speak and queer thought. Despite all the gender queer Orwellian propaganda, I refuse to be mind raped by a queer culture. Never call me cis because I’m proud to be a female and I’m proud to be a lesbian.

          • I’m merely pointing out the word ‘genetic female’ is utterly vacuous. I can offhand think off three ways in which a person whose karyotype is XY ends up with breasts, vulva, vagina. You wouldn’t know from seeing that person. Is this a man or a woman?

            I can think of two ways in which a character with two X chromosomes ends up with a penis. Is this a man or a woman?

            You are making distinctions that do not exist and ignoring those that do. You are using words you do not understand to make assertions that anyone who does know about them could demolish in 30 seconds.

            I may not know gender theory or queer theory, but I have studied genetics. I have worked in a lab. I have isolated, cloned and sequenced genes (well, one gene). I am published in the scientific literature. And I can tell when someone writes shit she does not understand. And that is what I see from the radical feminists in this thread.

            Sorry to butt in, avory. It’s really your show.

          • A friend suggested this just for you Anders!

            “genetic women = all the women he (as a cis het male) would fuck BEFORE he would fuck a trans woman”

          • That’s a very odd genetic trait. What chromosome is it on?

            If you use words inappropriately, don’t blame the guy who points that out. Blame yourselves.

            As for that crack… it just shows you’ve run out of arguments. If you don’t have anything clever to say, at least preserve your dignity by shutting up. Go read a book on genetics – it’s a fascinating field.

          • Anders, your ladystick is showing.

            Look up In Re Helig for indicia of what female might be. Or, as your girlfriend when she has her period. Oh, wait. You probably don’t have a girlfriend, huh?

            Sorry, my bad.

          • Congratulations, Brennan, that’s a new low even for you. Defining womanhood by fuckability – I mean I knew you already did that, but doing so as openly as you just did? Wow. You’ve successfully managed to make me ashamed to call myself a feminist if I have to be associated with the likes of you.

          • If Cathy is representative of radical feminists, it seems they are the Westboro Baptist Church of Feminism. And with about as much connection to reality.

        • Why use the word “genetic” if you don’t mean genetic? Why not say “women I consider to be women” because you completely backed off on the “genetic” element to the point you can’t even define it xD

    • Sharon, I would refer you to these two lines above:

      I don’t care what your physical preferences are or what gender identity you prefer. I do care that you confuse those two things, and thereby insult trans women.

      The “cotton ceiling” isn’t about literally trying to gain access to cis women’s panties, but about a structural issue. I have no problem whatsoever with a cis lesbian preferring women with vulvas as a sexual preference. That’s perfectly fine. What do have a problem with is the assumption that “lesbian” means “prefers vulvas.” There is no word for that, as far as I’m aware. It’s a legitimate preference, but when lesbian is used as a proxy for that preference, it makes trans women invisible, or suggests that they are not women. My guess is that you hold that belief, since you use the term “transsexual male” to (presumably) refer to trans women. I’m sorry to hear that.

      Queer feminism, in the parlance of this website, is defined as “radical opposition to patriarchy.” Some of the results of patriarchy include employment discrimination against all women and strict construction of all gender roles. I certainly oppose the glass ceiling, just as you do, but I believe that feminism is wider than that.

      Finally, cis is a neutral term, not an insult. Its definition is simply “not trans.”

      • I don’t care what your physical preferences are or what gender identity you prefer. I do care that you confuse those two things, and thereby insult trans women.

        avory, this is precisely the disagreement. Radical feminists do not believe that another person’s subjectively asserted “gender identity” can (or should be expected to!) override lesbians’ deeply felt physical preferences. Sorry if that “insults” some people. Lesbians are allowed to have sexual boundaries, are we not?

        It is not lesbians’ ethical or political obligation or responsibility to prioritize other people’s self-selected “gender identities” over our sexual reality and desires!

        I also want to reference something you said below:

        I have no problem with lesbians who don’t like intercourse, lesbians who like natural breasts, etc. My problem isn’t with a sexual preference, it’s with the use of the term “lesbian” as a proxy for a particular set of preferences.

        Ha! Lesbian MEANS something. It is a word with a meaning. It refers to a particular set of sexual preferences (for the female body) held by certain kinds of people (with female bodies). Lesbians, by definition, are not attracted to MALE bodies. A ‘ladystick’ is a PENIS and it is male no matter what “gender identity” you lay over it. A cow is still a cow even if you call him a horse. You cannot enforce your special meanings on us under shame of bigotry and ‘transphobia!’ I simply will not play along with these semantic reindeer games. It is insulting to my intelligence. ‘Lesbian’ is not yours to redefine, colonize, or water down. It is ours to live, to expereince, and to define. Please step off.

        Queer “feminism” demands that women adopt new, special interpretations of some of radical feminism’s most sacred concepts. It is not my political responsibility to agree with this aggressive re-writing of our core values, but to oppose it.

        Radical feminism is opposed to sex stereotyping. We therefore do not believe that consensual gender performances have any relationship to physical reality. We seek to separate bodies and behavior, not reconnect them. A male bodied individual’s “gender identity” and performance thereof simply does NOT change or influence that person’s SEX such that the person magically becomes a physically appropriate sexual partner for a lesbian!! The “Cotton Ceiling” is simply ridiculous.

        • E,

          You are absolutely allowed to have sexual boundaries. Again, I am absolutely fine with folks preferring vulvas to penises (physical preference) and women to men (gender identity preference). I have no problem with that combination of preferences. My argument is that one should not assume those two things go together automatically, or assume that if one lists a preference for one, the other follows. If a lesbian prefers to sleep with cis women, then she should state that, rather than saying that as a lesbian, she obviously doesn’t like trans women. Because the term “lesbian” is generally understood to mean “prefers women,” in order to be respectful of trans women’s identities it’s important to be specific–not to sleep with trans women if you don’t want to do so, but to be specific about your preferences.

          Again, I agree that lesbian has a meaning, and that it’s useful for the word to have a meaning, but we disagree on what the word means. You’re right that I am not a lesbian, and so it’s not my job to define it. However, I doubt that if you polled everyone in the world who self-defines as a lesbian, that you’d come up with a definition other than “women who prefer women.”

          I also oppose stereotyping, and I don’t believe that gender is based on physical characteristics. However, my conclusion is not that physical characteristics create a meaningful, immutable sex category, but rather that gender is the significant variable and is to be respected. Again, I am NOT saying here that all lesbians need to be interested in all members of their gender–that would be ludicrous, as sexual preference is far more varied than that for any orientation–but simply that women should be respected as women, men as men, and non-binary people as non-binary people.

          • I am absolutely fine with folks preferring vulvas to penises (physical preference) and women to men (gender identity preference). . . . My argument is that one should not assume those two things go together automatically, or assume that if one lists a preference for one, the other follows. If a lesbian prefers to sleep with cis women, then she should state that, rather than saying that as a lesbian, she obviously doesn’t like trans women.

            When Lesbians define Lesbian(!), we have a shared understanding that NO PENIS is involved. “No penis” goes without saying because attraction to physical traits (not gender presentation) is inherent to Lesbians’ definition of Lesbian. I can easily prove this by reference to the Lesbian tradition of butch/femme. Lesbians, as a class, do not have a problem accepting gender non-conformity in our ranks, thank you very much. You might even say that Butch Lesbians wrote the book on gender non-conformity. So this queer misinterpretation of ‘Lesbian’ as a GENDER preference belies one’s ignorance of Lesbian history, community, and our relationship to gender. Lesbians are attracted to female bodies, not the feminine gender.

            Further, in addition to suggesting that we are confused about what our own sexuality means, you demand that Lesbians change the way we talk so as not to “insult” any male bodied persons with penises who believe that their subjectively asserted “gender identity” gives them license to claim entry to our Lesbian community and identity. This is not Lesbians’ responsibility. This is not Lesbians’ error. It is “queer feminism”‘s error. It is not millions of Lesbians with decades– even centuries– of history who should change our knowledge of each other in order to avoid insulting the “gender identities” of penised people who want access to us. It is penised people who must stop arrogantly colonizing “Lesbian.” We are not bigots, transphobic, or politically regressive for maintaining CONCEPTUAL boundaries around our Lesbian identity. It is our RIGHT.

            I don’t believe that gender is based on physical characteristics

            Let’s talk causation, ok? Physical characteristics (sex) do not dictate, or cause, gendered expression. By the same token, and this is MY point: gendered expression does not dictate, or cause, which physical characteristics/sex (I should pretend) someone has. So WHY are you insisting that lesbians accept penised people AS Lesbians based on nothing more than their subjectively asserted “gender identity”?

            my conclusion is not that physical characteristics create a meaningful, immutable sex category, but rather that gender is the significant variable and is to be respected

            Again, no one has an ethical or political responsibility to prioritize “gender identity” over and above everything else. No, it is not our obligation to agree that “gender” is more significant than sex. This fantastical sense of unconditional “gender” entitlement is completely out of hand. Telling me that a cow’s “gender identity” is rabbit does not make said cow, actually, a rabbit. Placing a new WORD on something does not change its essential characteristics. I’m sorry, I know this might hurt the cow’s feelings (awwww), but facts are facts. Enough with the semantic reindeer games of “gender.” Seriously. It is unreasonable to demand that lesbians prize penised people’s “gender identity” over physical reality. In fact, I am insulted!

            Lastly, I want to address this:

            my conclusion is not that physical characteristics create a meaningful, immutable sex category

            As a person formally trained in the law, avory, please consider the distinct legal protections required to address Female reproductive functions and vulnerabilities. The physical consequences of female reproductive systems cannot be “gender identified” away (come on already!! this is tiring). Feminists have fought VERY HARD for these legal protections, including but not limited to: contraception, abortion, breast feeding laws, insurance coverage of pregnancy, job protections (the FMLA), short term disability for pregnancy, see here for more. Female “physical characteristics” and corresponding reproductive systems most certainly DO make up a “meaningful, immutable sex category.” Maintaining the LEGAL class “sex” is a necessary conceptual underpinning to the protection of female reproductive rights. We will defend the legal class “sex” until the tyranny of “gender identity” stops. Enough is enough. Sex matters because reproduction matters. Please read this. You are welcome to email me your legal thoughts on this problem.

          • Elizabeth Hungerford,

            Lesbian definitions of lesbianism haven’t always focused on physical traits. Almost all these definitions have focused on being womyn who love other womyn, but some focus on womyn’s oppressed status within patriarchy, some focus on relationship patterns such as female friendship, some focus on gender, and some focus on physicality.

            And there is a lot more to a womon’s body than her genitalia. So why is it so unacceptable that *some,* not all, womyn who are attracted to other womyn and other womyn’s bodies might be okay with a womon having some less-typical bits?

          • Context matters, ehungerford. The paper discusses karyotype in a scientific context. That may not be the correct definition to use in a dating context (in fact, it would be terribly unwieldy).

            The presence of a penis is neither necessary nor sufficient. Just imagine a person who has hir penis chopped off in an accident. Is that person female until a surgical term reattaches the member? Ridiculous.

          • Responding to the comments below because nesting comments are a mess.

            Yes, Ami, asking me what a “male” body is is a stupid question. I did not just fall off the turnip truck, I’m extremely well versed in trans double-speak. I can do it in my sleep. Please don’t ask me 101 questions like you want to start at Square 1 and walk me down the gardened path of Alice in Wonderland delusions. Male is PHYSICAL reality, not a subjectively asserted identity. Science knows, even if you don’t. Yes, I am bored and impatient by the repetition here.

            Anders, male is male. Objective, physical realities (such as sex) exist INDEPENDENTLY of context. Context does not CHANGE the physical properties of sex. Subjectively asserted identities do not change sex. A “dating context” does not change sex. If you would like to argue against the reality of “transsexuals” I will let you do that. Carry on.

        • Thank-you! It is important to defend the meaning of words. I was a political lesbian for all of 12 hours or so until I realized that if I don’t want to have sex with other females I am not a lesbian. Being celibate is not the definition of “lesbian”. The term “political” lesbian means something. It means being a lesbian who is political, not a straight woman who doesn’t have sex with men. They are entirely different things.

          I thank the universe that lesbians exist to prevent femaleness from being entirely consumed by trans people’s definition of what it is to be female. Even though I am straight, your sexual preference proves my existence as a discrete group that cannot be recreated through surgery. That is essential to maintaining the right to female only spaces.

          Females being sexually attracted to other females are lesbians, not just one kind of lesbian. Any sub-set of lesbian still has to carry the main meaning which is females sexually attracted to other females.

      • I know I’m showing up late to this conversation, and that your views have potentially shifted since then but here goes anyways :

        It’s interesting that you would oppose labeling genders but cling on to labeling sexual identities. In a way I feel you’re contradicting yourself very much.

        Also to claim that your own definition of a word is the right one is a bit of a stretch. Words do no “mean” anything in the sense that they hold no truth. What gives a word’s meaning is the consensus that people reach on what that word should vaguely define. Words’ definitions change with time. This should all be obvious to you yet you completely ignore that by claiming to the “one true definition”.

        Going back to labeling sexual identities, that’s still working into the very narrow vision of discrete sexual (or gender, or whatever else) identities. It seems ludicrous to me that you are either hetero-, homo- or bi-sexual, period. It would be more accurate to state that we have different levels of attraction to different types of people. If we were to let go of our polarized views on gender identity and/or the stigma associated with sensually/sexually engaging with a person of the same sex (based on external sexual organs), these words would have less of a reason for existing.

        In the end, I think that clinging to words too much and letting them take too strong a hold of our perception of things is ultimately what is stopping us from going forward. That and our inability to discuss these issues without being defensive or aggressive.

    • re:genetic

      “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      I mean, I’d like to see how you think sex determination works just to see how failtastic your grasp of biology is.

  3. Sorry about your reparative therapy, and sorry you bought the notion that fucking = revolution,

    Also, are you really that ignorant that you would write this?

    “Radfems, you’re not just missing out on great sex. You’re confused about what it means to be a lesbian, or a woman. I don’t care what your physical preferences are or what gender identity you prefer. I do care that you confuse those two things, and thereby insult trans women. I care that you don’t bother to interrogate the origins of your phallus-based distaste for trans women, and think about whether it’s actually a dislike of the organ that’s happening here or whether transphobia and a refusal to view trans women as women is involved. I care that you assume describing yourself as a lesbian tells others that you prefer what you call a pussy, as if everyone has the same definition of lesbian, woman, or pussy.”

    Yey you! You ensure there is no space for lesbians, anywhere. I wish you cared about your lesbophobia.

    • Cathy, I’m guessing that you’re defining “lesbian” here as “women with vulvas who have a sexual preference for other women with vulvas.” As I said in the quoted passage, I’m actually fine with that preference. It’s a legitimate preference. And if folks with this preference want to coin a term for it, that’s fine. But the term “lesbian,” as far as I understand it, simply means “women who sexually and romantically are attracted to women.” So as far as I see it, it’s a subset of lesbians (those who have and prefer those with vulvas) who are not making space for other lesbians in the community. I’m confused and disappointed by that.

        • Ummm… is it just me, or are “female homosexual” and “women who sexually and romantically are attracted to women” EXACTLY the same thing. The only difference is that the latter is more illustrative. Can you explain how they are not same, or are you just being antagonistic because you lack any kind of substantive argument?

          • Miri – in the GLBT Community, woman includes trans women. Female is biological reality. So… no. Words have meaning!

          • Oh really? What does that biological reality consist of? You’ve already shown yourself to be shockingly ignorant when it comes to genetics. Do you care to dance again?

          • Cathy, in general, “woman” includes trans women, as does female when we’re talking about gender identity. As for biological reality, look up Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and XX Male Syndrome (for a start), and come back and we can talk. “Biological reality” is that biology is a hell of a lot more grey than the black and white you seem to think it is, and the reality of “biological sex” is certainly far more than one of two variations on a theme that can be determined by looking in someone’s pants.

          • Exactly Miri.

            I would also like to point out that the trans women are using the scientific definition of ‘woman’. That is, they use the method most scientists use to determine sex. We do not draw blood samples to determine karyotype or hormone levels. Nor do we ask the study subjects to drop their pants.

            We ask.

            This is a very simple method, and yet it has an astonishing sensitivity and specificity compared to other methods. And of course, if I ask a trans woman what her sex is she will answer – woman. And mutatis mutandis for trans men. So not only are you ignorant and appropriating terms you don’t know how to use in order to lend some credibility to an inane proposition, you are also unscientific.

            I’ll go now, for realz, but if you continue to use terms you have not worked for I will be back and smack you.

      • Also, women without vulvas? What? Are you aware of female genital mutilation? Women’s vulvas are literally removed, and they are still female - its not the same as MTF transsexualism.

      • “a subset of lesbians (those who have and prefer those with vulvas) who are not making space for other lesbians in the community”
        Yeah. There are some lesbians who sometimes want womens space as they define it. Live with it. There is a subset of lesbians who don’t like dick up to them.
        There is a subset that works with the trans community and some of that overlaps. There are some not political at all who have no awareness other than their family unit and some friends. We are diverse. Very diverse.
        Transwomen are diverse too. Some subsets respect women. Some identify as lesbians and some don’t. And those that do can find partners, but not in the subset of lesbians that prefer born-women. I don’t see it as sad. Its just that some subsets don’t overlap sexually.

  4. So lesbians’ distaste for penis…er wait “lady stick” … Er strapless is evidence of our wielding our vast amounts of “born with xx + lesbian” privilege over people born male in a patriarchal society. If a lesbian doesn’t like straps I assume that means she’s exercising her cis privilege over transmen? What if she likes breasts? What if she likes *natural* breasts? So glad the end result of all this sexxxy positivity is to further shame the female born (who are subjected to a rate of sexual assault and rape *from childhood* of no fewer than 1 out of 6) for taking charge of their own sexuality. And once again, lesbians get tossed under the bus first. How DARE we act on desires that don’t include the male born? How dare we.

    • Gráinne, as stated above, I absolutely respect all sexual preferences. I have no problem with lesbians who don’t like intercourse, lesbians who like natural breasts, etc. My problem isn’t with a sexual preference, it’s with the use of the term “lesbian” as a proxy for a particular set of preferences. Because “lesbian” is culturally understood as “women who prefer women,” the narrowing of that word to a particular set of body/sexual preferences implies that trans women are not women. It excludes trans lesbians from the lesbian community at large. I don’t even have a problem with lesbians who prefer particular sex acts or bodies forming their own communities, but I think it needs to be explicit. The use of “lesbian” as a proxy is dangerous.

        • Yes, yes it absolutely is. To lesbians who don’t share your attitude, to lesbians who are attracted to women, regardless of genitalia. Your insistence that all lesbians agree with you is wrong.

          Moreover, the fact that some lesbians exist who are attracted to women regardless of genitalia means that your insistence that “lesbian” automatically entails a dislike for penises is false. So stop trying to coopt the term to mean something very specific to *you* and lesbians like *you* when other types of people exist who are lesbians. That’s the point. Say that you’re a lesbian who won’t sleep with someone who has a penis. That’s all anyone is asking.

          • Really, this is beyondparody.Why on earth do I have to specify that I am a lesbian that doesn’tlike penis. Also, makingthat distinction is NOT all anybody is asking, as the workshop and the theory behind it demonstrate. Apparently lesbians are meant to question, clarify or work throughcertain aspectsof their preferences.

          • Really, this is beyond parody.Why on earth do I have to specify that I am an employer that prefers male employees?

        • I wasn’t aware that lesbians were a hive mind o_o I thought feminism was against women being defined as a whole that thought exactly the same way, and felt exactly the same way. Isn’t that what patriarchy sees women as?

      • Avory, a couple of things… The word lesbian is *generally* culturally understood by lesbians to mean “women who are attracted exclusively to women” whereas women who “prefer women” to men would probably still identify themselves as bisexual, even if they were more attracted to women than men. Most of the time. Queer women do like to disagree. :) We’re talking about language a lot in this discussion, so I thought I’d point out that “exclusively” versus “prefers” does matter.

        As a cis lesbian, For me personally, I am turned on by persons with the physical genitalia and secondary sex characteristics of the majority of cis women. I’m not sexually turned on by persons with physical genitalia and secondary sex characteristics of the majority of cis men. I don’t know why that distinction exists for me, but it’s there. I’ve tried talking to my clitoris about it, but it’s remarkably single-minded. :)

        That does mean that there are trans women who don’t turn me on because they transitioned post-puberty and didn’t have the opportunity – if they so desired – to suppress the expression of secondary sex characteristics like broader shoulders, stronger jaw lines, adam’s apple, height, bone structure and musculature development.

        I know some of my trans friends have noted that they would have taken advantage of such an opportunity to suppress those characteristics if they had been able to (as some young trans kids are today) and I know some trans women and men undergo surgeries to change some of their secondary sexual characteristics as well as their genitals.

        Obviously, we’re all taking about more than just genitals and gender presentation here when we’re talking about what it means to be male or female, and ignoring secondary sex characteristics as a factor in this “why aren’t you considering us as sexual partners” discussion isn’t going to help.

        I dislike the way some of this discussion has been framed on both sides of the issue (not just here but around the interwebs). Some of the discussion on the trans side has indeed sounded like entitlement to having sexual relationships with lesbian women. Many lesbians have experienced homophobia in the form of sexual violence. Most lesbians have experienced homophobia in the form of threats of sexual violence. So we have a built-in reaction to resist what sound like threats to our sexual autonomy, and for many of us that can be triggering of PTSD.

        And most women have been raised to “be nice” and to be polite even in the face of discrimination or inequality, or poor treatment at the hands of others. So faced with what sounds like a threat to our sexual autonomy, some are be resistant to being empathetic in responding. That’s not an excuse, but it is a reasonable explanation for some of the poor behavior I’m seeing in this thread from rad fems.

        • Steph,

          I really appreciate your response, and thank you for the reminder on the term “prefer.” You’re right; that wasn’t the best term. For some reason, in my head, I always think of “prefer” with reference to sexuality as meaning “exclusively,” but that’s not what the word means! I should’ve used different terminology.

          I also understand the argument regarding PTSD/triggering/legitimate threats of sexual violence. I don’t want to question those experiences, and I understand that sometimes language can be triggering whether or not the speaker intended it. In addition, I completely understand that not everyone is attracted to all secondary sex characteristics, and that is something that doesn’t get brought up as much as genitalia in this discussion. Again, I completely understand that not everyone has the same preferences (argh! that word again! tastes, maybe?) I’m not really concerned about folks not thinking trans women are attractive, generally. It’s sort of like how I feel about fat sexuality–I don’t think any individual *should* be attracted to fat people, but I think that the systemic exclusion of fat bodies in depictions of “normal” sexuality is problematic. Similarly, the exclusion by some cis lesbians of trans bodies in discussions of lesbianism is problematic. It doesn’t matter what any individual prefers, but it does matter when a group of people is completely, or almost completely, left out of the picture.

          • Attractions? Turn ons? Sexual arousals?

            I think for me, and possibly for many empathetic cis queers, bringing up secondary sex characteristics is a worry, because for trans folks who transitioned post-puberty – well there are some things you can’t change even if you want to, once you’re past puberty. And why would I want to call attention to something my friend might not be comfortable with about themselves as something that doesn’t turn me on? Talk about making someone self-conscious about themselves for something they have no control over.

            I found very cathartic the New York Times article on the twins, where one of the twins is trans. I had no idea that there are very progressive folks out there making it possible for trans kids to suppress secondary-sex characteristics until they’re older and can chose how they want their body to grow. That’s amazing, and wonderful, and it means we as a queer community have a long way to go to make it possible for all trans kids to have those choices, because it’s only available to a handful of them now.

  5. On a more serious note, and I really mean this, you really need to preface this post with a TW for WBW and dykes. The amount of hatred you’ve put forth in these words can be triggering for women who’ve struggled to own their bodies in a society that abuses them and to own being lesbians in a society that hates them. By all means, you have the right to say what you will, as hateful as it is, but forewarned is fair warned. The hatred here for lesbian women is …sad and a little scary.

  6. As a cis hetero male I have decided to a) support trans women but b) stay the hell away from the debate as much as possible. I don’t think there’s much I can add to the discussion… :)

  7. Thank you, Sharon. It’s odd, isn’t it, that the people who know VERY WELL that most females find the prefix “cis” to be an insult, and have been told time and time again why this is so still refuse to stop using it–but goddess forbid any feminist/lesbian not know the very latest fantasy in the queer world, regardless of how fantastic and strange it may be–because that makes us transphobic. Or whatever term others decide to use for ANY CRITIQUE WHATSOEVER of the genderist community. No, no one but they may be critical. Well, you’ve been called out on your B.S. now, Avery. When will your queerness and your ilk decide to go after the people who REALLY oppress you, and not just the easiest targets to hit?
    P.S. If you are a ‘genderqueer’ you cannot also be a feminist. The two are logically incompatible. And mutually exclusive.

    • “If you are a ‘genderqueer’ you cannot also be a feminist. The two are logically incompatible. And mutually exclusive.”
      Nonsense. How so? Feminism is not an identity, it’s a socio-political movement that aims to dismantle the patriarchal structures of our society and strive for absolute equality for women. Hence, anyone who holds those views and supports those aims is a feminist, be they female, male, genderqueer, agender, or unicorn. There is no other membership criteria. Unless of course you’re referring to female-supremacist radical feminism… in which case I could reword what you wrote as: “If you are a female-supremacist radical ‘feminist’ you cannot also be rational. The two are logically incompatible. And mutually exclusive.”

        • Why would I want to do that? She espouses exactly the kind of views, under the guise of “feminism”, that I oppose. The feminism I subscribe to is about ending discrimination, breaking down the patriarchy, and striving for equality. Dworkin advocates female supremacy and the removal of the patriarchy by installing a matriarchy. The very idea that this would be somehow less damaging is ridiculous. The patriarchy harms everyone, both female and male (although, obviously female more so), how can anyone believe that a matriarchy, however it is named or conceived (remember that society at large does not consciouslyt recognise the patriarchy as existing, or call it such) would not be equally harmful, only in reverse. Any feminism that advocates any form of gender based hierarchy, that makes certain qualities, be they biological, psychological, or sociological, essential to the understanding of sex and gender, or that posits such unsupported nonsense as male or female “energies”, is not worthy of the name.

          • Miri -

            Your entire comment just illustrates the obvious fact that you have never read any Dworkin; you’re just parroting what you’ve heard other men say about her.

            “Matriarchy”? Puh-leez! Just as bad as the patriarchy that *doesn’t exist* only in reverse? You’re anti-feminist (anti-Dworkin) arguments are, like, SO 1986.

          • Miri,

            I would suggest reading Dworkin’s “Woman Hating.” Even if you don’t expect to agree with her conclusions, it’s an important and challenging book.

            I think Dworkin errs, though, in saying androgyny and pansexuality are *better* than female-identification and lesbianism.

          • This view of Dworkin is very innacurate and indicates the person has not read the original texts*. [not uncommon now that secondary or even tertiary texts seem to be accepted when they are about radical feminism]

            Dworkin, specifically as a Jew, was vociferously opposed to any type of essentialism including female-supremacist essentialism or the idea women were inherently anything; including better at ruling societies.

            ps. Dworkin wrote in support of trans* people, and about her belief that humans don’t have binary sex or gender, way before such issues were common.

            *texts, I meaning, books speeches, whatever. I’m not in any way formally trained in queer theory etc. but notice people use the word this way.

            pps, you can read nearly all Dworkin texts free online in her archive

            ppps – many radical feminists also agree with the above two Dworkin assertions and still have valid criticism of queer theory and trans*orthodoxy about sex and gender.

        • I’ll concede that I haven’t read much Dworkin. However, beyond that, your post has departed for some kind fantasy wonderland. “Parroting other men” huh? Interesting… I’m actually completely unaware of what men have to say regarding Dworking and her writing, so I’m not sure how I could possibly be parroting them. And, given that I’m a woman, where this “other men” business came from is a bit of a mystery…

          Ummm… also anti-Dworkin /= anto-feminist. To suggest this is tantamount to suggesting that Dworkin was the only “true” feminist thinker, so some other such nonsense. Also, please point out where I said that patriarchy does not exist, as I don’t believe I made any such statement. And while you’re at it, please provide evidence that an inversion, rather than elimination, of the gender based hierarchy in society would actually substantially less harmful than the mess we currently have (and it would be nice if this did not involve the invocation of a kind of superiority inherent to women, which are based on essentialist ideas that all women all possess certain qualities).

          Also, Marja’s suggestion, below yours: that’s an example of a constructive comment free from attacks and unsubstantiated assumptions. You may want to take notes.

    • “if you are genderqueer you cannot also be a feminist”
      WTF? Where do you get off saying that? I’m a genderqueer feminist who is a queer theorist as well. And I lecture in a university Women’s Studies department. All of my research uses a feminist research approach and methodology, and surrounds the concepts of gender, sexuality, and the intersection of disability. I volunteer ALL of my time to working with queer and feminist organizations.
      But apparently, according to you, I’m not a feminist? I’m more of a feminist than you’ll ever hope to be (and this coming from someone who considers themself to be nonhierarchical, ha, but look what you made me assert).
      PS. Cis is not an insult, though if people like you keep polluting the cis prefix, it soon will be. It is merely meant to be a descriptor of who is ok with the gender they were coercively assigned at birth.

      • MK – I think the idea that ‘cis’ means ‘ok with’ is why dyke feminists in particular find it innacurate [or in some cases offensive].
        I’m certainly NOT ok with the *gender* I was forcibly assigned at birth – what with it being an expectation of femininity and a way of being female I don’t recognise, use or aspire to.

        I identify as female as an act of feminist solidarity with others of my sex-class. As a dyke and a queer I am defying my gender assignment and being to disloyal to patriarchy.
        I personally found my feminism to have reduced my gender dyphoria to manageable levels most of the time. I know this isn’t the case for everyone. I’m proud of my femaleness with the proviso I can define it through feminism. Cis doesn’t sit well with me – although I will use it specifically when discussing degrees to which a person experiences transphobia.

        I’n many places in the world there is not much difference of experience between ‘cis’ dykes and trans* women. We would all suffer family rejection, homelesness, sexual violence and other hate crimes, limits on our rights to parent, likelihood of being prostituted or doing sex work. This was the case in Britian (where I live) within my lifetime and many similarities remain, particularly for dykes of colour and/ or working class dykes.

  8. You don’t understand the lesbian position or lesbian sexual preferences because (1) you aren’t a lesbian; (2) you have no interest in what means to be a lesbian or in any sort of respect for, let alone defense of, lesbian lives, bodies and spaces. Lesbian identity is a valid identity. Lesbians do not do penis. The end.

    • I like how you folks keep complaining about other people defining what Lesbian means while you do the exact same thing and are policing other people’s sexual identities; there are plenty of lesbians who have no issues at all with pre-/non-op trans women, and guess what, they are still lesbians.

  9. Avery quote:: “I absolutely respect all sexual preferences. I have no problem with lesbians who don’t like intercourse, lesbians who like natural breasts, etc. My problem isn’t with a sexual preference, it’s with the use of the term “lesbian” as a proxy for a particular set of preferences.”

    You don’t have a “problem” w/lesbians “sexual preference”… Even tho you ALSO state how lesbians are “missing out”.

    It is also apparant that you [[WHO DOES NOT ID AS LESBIAN]] feel it’s YOUR place to tell lesbians what lesbian “should mean” according to YOU – who is NOT a lesbian!

    I realize and it is QUITE obvious that as the unique little unicorn w/zebra stripes, that farts skittles and ALL THE most valued experiences of Genderqueer Landolopia you are “special”. You are so special that mere “mortal lesbians” just don’t get… that a PENIS is actually a LADYSTICK! You believe that YOU can save those damn LESBIANS!

    Listen, I’m sure you are a very nice little unicorn w/zebra stripes… but how about instead of telling lesbians to “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP”… you just enjoy never having to purchase Skittles… because they are all coming out of your ass.

  10. Inconceivable! I think these words do not mean what you think they mean.
    We were radical feminists in the 1970′s. Radfem seems to be something I don’t identify with, sort of like the original Black Panthers denouncing a new group calling themselves New Black Panthers and wreaking havoc with the original ideals of the Black Panther Party.
    Personally I can welcome trans women into the larger LGBT community. We are all oppressed and need to fight for equality. My open mind tells me not to say never but who I sleep with and love is highly personal and I am unlikely to sleep with a transwoman as I am also unlikely to sleep with a boi (who has the right ladyparts but identifies as male) or with anyone male.
    Other lesbians will differ but please, let lesbians decide. If transwomen want to discuss making themselves more attractive to a segment of lesbians not naturally attracted to them, fine. But no one has a right to make them interested.
    Who I sleep with is not anyone’s business but my own.

    • “Other lesbians will differ but please, let lesbians decide.”

      Not trans women lesbians though, right? You meant to say let “women-born-and-still-identify-as-women” lesbians decide, right?

      • No – I think she’s saying that each individual lesbian gets to choose who they fuck. Including trans lesbians.

        However, you can’t force someone to be attracted to you, and you can’t tell a certain group of people that the MUST be attracted to a certain group of people. That’s not how life works.

  11. Avory, thanks so much for writing this. This is something that needs to be talked about and it’s a breath of fresh air to read this! Fuck transphobia.

    Lesbian’s justification for not wanting to sleep with trans women is similar to white gay men’s racist and femmephobic justification for saying that they prefer to not sleep with Asian people/Black people/Femmes etc. They justify it as preference but when it’s EVERYONE’S preference, then there is structural violence and discrimination at play. We are talking about the systemic roots of desire and challenging those roots so that our desire is completely ours and not dictated by uninterrogated privilege. Sleep with whomever you want, but be sure that who you want to sleep with is actually decided by you and not by systemic injustice.

    • Females who want to engaged sexually with other Females are called Lesbians.

      Avory, do you actually think “Lesbian’s justification for not wanting to sleep with trans women is similar to white gay men’s racist and femmephobic justification for saying that they prefer to not sleep with Asian people/Black people/Femmes etc.”?

      • Right. Lesbians are women who like to sleep with other women. Trans women are women. Just as gay men like to sleep with other gay men. Asian men and Black men and femme men are men. But they are categorically discriminated based on their skin color/gender presentation hence, racism and femmephobia. Trans women are categorically discriminated based on their gender and in many cases have their identities invalidated by transmisogyny.

  12. **ding**ding**ding**
    Annnnnd we have a WIENER!

    It took approx. 12hrs for bio – hetero MALE Anders… to go from “Stay the hell away from the debate as much as possible. I don’t think there’s much I can add to the discussion.”

    TO… “… I will be back and smack you.”

    Violence Annnnnnnnd Privilege against a lesbian woman who disagrees w/him.
    How. Fucking. Shocking?

    • Yeah, that was probably over the line. Go ahead and delete it if you think it was inappropriate, Avory. I won’t be upset.

      What I meant was “…if you continue to use terms you have not worked for I will be back and hold you accountable for it.”

        • *sigh*
          Proverbs 26:11 :)

          I’ll take them to task for using it if they do. IF they asked me (and I recognize that there’s no particular reason for them to do so), I would advice them to a) stick with self-identification as the criterion for gender and b) stick with AFAB and AMAB for sex. In practice, the latter would mean primary sexual characteristics. I don’t know what to do with intersex babise – I’ll leave that to people who are more well-read on the subject.

          • That may have been completely wrong. My advice should be – ask someone who knows more about sex and gender than I do. Most embarassing.

            I may make more errors than other people, but I try to make up for it by acknowledging them… :)

      • Anders – you can think you *meant* whatever; but what you *did* was threaten a lesbian woman with violence because you don’t know any better.

        Your main arguments are based on your supposed cleverness and others ignorance – whilst genetics is a pretty specialist field I assert that knowing what ‘smack’ means is unfortunately fairly universal from childhood.

        Your comment wasn’t ‘innapropriate’ – it showed you have no place on this board or in this discussion till you go do feminism 101 and then some.

        • I just want to know that I’m not dismissing your views out of hand. I will think about it, that’s all I can promise for the moment.

          However, if I choose to take your advice, could you point me in the direction of a place to study? Money is short, alas, so I can’t afford books but websites are perfectly fine.

          • Although I find the term cotton ceiling offensive, invoking as it does images of Transexuals literally ripping through lesbians pants to access their vagina, I actually think Transexuals have a point here.

            Mnay women and lesbians will support Transexual rights and welcome them into women’s only space. But they would never consider sleeping with a Transexual MtoT.

            The argument is that this this is because of prejudice. I disagree. I think it is because at a deep level most lesbians know that whatever Transexuals say, they are really men. And lesbians by definition, don’t sleep with men.

          • There you go. Pre op post op doesn’t matter. It’s not about the penis it’s about being transexual….all M to F transexuals are men. Same rubbish, same circular arguement.
            Look we don’t want to go to bed with you. OK? How many times do we have to say it! We would rather go to bed with people that are not hotbeds of prejudice and hatred. That’s our choice. Some of whom may be lesbian….but clearly not your kind of lesbian.
            Now stop asking….or denying….whatever….

  13. Pingback: Cotton Ceiling Experiences | Sable's Blog

  14. Avory, thank you so much for this post! The amount of misogyny in the comments just reenforces your position. I appreciate you talking about this! It’s sparking a lot of conversations in my community. <3

  15. Responding to this comment by Marja Erwin:

    First of all, ‘Lesbian’ was not traditionally defined by genitalia b/c that is CRUDE people did not talk like that! Scandal! But more importantly, because the PLAIN MEANING of WOMAN was adult female human. Even butch lesbians were known to be FEMALE despite their gender non-conformity. Woman meant female. Period. Ha! Pun intended.

    Now, I did not say that it was:

    unacceptable that *some,* not all, womyn who are attracted to other womyn and other womyn’s bodies might be okay with a womon having some less-typical bits?

    Can you quote me saying that? Cause I didn’t. What I object to, and what I find UNACCEPTABLE, is the demand that these special exceptions justify a re-definition of the entire concept of LESBIAN (and/or “woman”). Words have meaning; these meanings are necessary for communication. Further, I find it unacceptable that Lesbians are being POLITICALLY SHAMED into prioritizing the subjectively asserted “gender identities” of MALE BODIED persons over our own boundaries, identities, preferences, and desires. The “Cotton Ceiling” is bullshit.

  16. It’s 2012. Isn’t it long past time that lesbians who are transphobic and transmisogynistic finally grew up?

  17. It seems limited and phallocentric to define lesbian as ‘women who don’t want anything to do with penises.’ My lesbian relationship is about our dynamic as two women, not about the absence of the male organ. There’s nothing wrong with not being interested in sex with someone with a penis, but defining lesbianism as anti-phallus just continues to position the phallus as the ultimate arbiter of sex.

  18. And in case it isn’t clear, my partner and I are both cis women, and we see trans lesbians as lesbians, because, again, our lesbianisn isn’t defined by the absence of penises but by the bonds between women, including trans women.

    • Comrade Svilova said:
      “And in case it isn’t clear, my partner and I are both cis women, and we see trans lesbians as lesbians, because, again, our lesbianisn isn’t defined by the absence of penises but by the bonds between women, including trans women.”

      So Commie… according to the workshop of the CC… why are you w/a bio-female? Why is your partner w/a bio-female? Apparently YOU are BOTH personally involved in THIS TG jumble fuck by NOT having a TG sex partner!

      PERSONALLY… I don’t give a shit! I seriously… Do. Not. Give. A. Shit. Fuck whoever the fuck you WANT!

      But the “Cotton” Pantie Raiders DO CARE! DO CARE enough to make an entire workshop regarding how TG’s are “accepted/invited/participate/allies”…. uuuuuup to the bedroom.

      Lesbians who do not recognize penis as part of being a lesbian… isn’t really the problem according to the workshop description.

      Lesbians who DO recognize penis as part of being a lesbian and NOT. SEXUALLY. INVOLVED w/a TG woman… seems to be the problem.

      Um? Er? This is rather embarrassing to inform you… but it seems THAT would be YOU. You are the problem.

      The bio lesbians are NOT questioning/pressuring YOUR sex life.
      It’s the penis “lesbians” doing that.

      Soooo… good luck w/that!

      • You’re missing the point.

        You seem to think that the “cotton ceiling” is proposing that all lesbians who accept trans women as potential partners must date trans women. This is false. I honestly don’t know how you could possibly have made that leap, but reread the OP.

        The “cotton ceiling” is about the fact that many lesbians think that *being a lesbian* is sufficient reason to explain *not being attracted to trans women*. It is not, for all the reasons explained above. It isn’t about who ought to sleep with whom or whatever. That’s not the point. Presumably, comrade svilova is with her partner because they are attracted to each other. The “cotton ceiling” argument isn’t about that. It is about the claim that lesbians are by definition not attracted to/unwilling to sleep with trans women.

        • anonforthis said:

          “The “cotton ceiling” is about the fact that many lesbians think that *being a lesbian* is sufficient reason to explain *not being attracted to trans women*. It is not… ”

          Gotcha!! Lesbians need more “sufficient reasons”!!!
          HOW did I misread all THAT????

          • ….Yes. But I don’t think it is as earth-shattering a reveal as you do.

            In order for *being a lesbian* to mean *not attracted to trans women*, not being attracted to trans women would have to be part of the definition of lesbianism.

            But it isn’t, because there are plenty of lesbians who are attracted to trans women.

            So simply saying “I’m a lesbian” does not suffice if you want to communicate “I am only attracted to cis women.” That’s a whole extra thing that isn’t part of any general definition of lesbianism.

          • anonforthis said::
            “But it isn’t, because there are plenty of lesbians who are attracted to trans women.”

            Well if there are “plenty of lesbians” to be sexually available to trans women… then there isn’t a problem!! Cancel the workshop!! There are “plenty of lesbians” according to Anonforthis!!!

            What a relief! I thought there was a REAL PROBLEM here for a moment.

            So now go FOCUS on hetero men, gay men and alllll the queers who DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. JUSTIFY who they are sexually attracted too.

            Leave the lesbians ALONE! There are PLENTY OF US!

        • Here is my question, though… why do I have to provide a reason to you for why I’m not sexually attracted to you? If I’m not attracted to you, I can say so, and no other explanation is required – “sufficient” or otherwise.

          Let’s stop talking in generalities, here. This who debate is based on a general discussion that “some” lesbians somewhere (no specifics on which ones) are making blanket statements about not being attracted to trans women, just because they’re trans.

          Well, not all of us are making those statements. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a self-identified lesbian make that statement ever.

          And if there are lesbians making those statements, they certainly don’t speak for all lesbians.

          So why is everyone in a tizzy again?

        • Has it been discussed that this whole concept of “cotton ceiling” is really a method to draw fire to define the real enemies of trans-men/women? If so it’s a very clever ruse and succeeded, obviously, in showing lesbian/redfem’s their dirty panties. ~hetro woman of transsexual history

  19. First of all, Margaret Sanger, the courageous founder of Planned Parenthood where this workshop in question is being held wasn’t “cis” anything. She wasn’t gender queer nor was she a transwoman. Margaret Sanger was female. Sorry, I forgot to put the “cis” in front of woman. Even though there is no reference in any historical document to her being “cis” or queer, I don’t want to upset “queer feminists” or gender queer individuals. As to Margaret Sanger, I’m sure old Margaret must be rolling over in her grave by now. Contrary to what gender queer “feminists” believe, brave women were working tirelessly to improve the lives of women long before “queer feminists” came along. Gender queers weren’t on the front lines in the battle to provide reproductive health care to women. It was the Suffragettes who fought tenaciously for women’s suffrage. Queers had nothing to do with it. Most of the major women’s rights legislation was enacted long before gender queer became all the rage in the 1990s. Queer theory emerged during a reactionary period in history in which there were actual attacks on civil and women’s rights. Starting with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, a rapacious form of capitalism was unleashed. There was a relentless acceleration of money and power to the wealthy few. During this time, attacking feminists became something of a sport or rite of passage for conservatives. I certainly don’t see “queer feminism” as an extension of feminism. Rather, gender queer became all the rage during a period in time in which feminism was waning. In reality, I can’t think of anything of significance that gender queers have done for women. As to women’s rights, gender queer is late to the table and came empty handed. Indeed, most “queer feminists” have no idea who Margaret Sanger was. It’s so sad to see gender queers gleefully trample on the bones and graves of women like Margaret Sanger.

    Now, let’s discuss the term “cotton ceiling” which, in my opinion, is an offensive sexist term. What is the origin of this term and where did it come from? As I understand it, this offensive term or so-called theory was first coined by trans porn star and activist Drew DeVeaux. Is this correct? Since this website is about “queer feminism”, and “queer feminists” are so concerned about women, what has Drew Deveaux ever done for women? Sorry, I don’t see how pornography improves the lives of women. By the way, it’s always amazing how close “queer feminism” is to pornography. Let’s examine the elaborate theory of “cotton ceiling” proposed by this esteemed trans porn star. While the term “glass ceiling” refers to employment discrimination and the historical inability of women to break through to higher levels of power and authority in business, government, and politics, the term “cotton ceiling” refers to women’s cotton panties, and sexual access to women, especially lesbian females. The “glass ceiling” affects all women everywhere, and feminists have been fighting it for over half a century. The “cotton ceiling” is a recent, freshly minted gender queer, trans term used to describe trans men’s access, or lack of access, to women’s under panties. Transwomen and gender queer folks have totally co-opted an old feminist term meant to indicate employment discrimination and twisted and distorted its historic meaning as a way to shame, intimidate, and coerce lesbians into having sex with gender queer transwomen. Most lesbians recognize male transgender individuals and often support transgender rights, but aren’t sexually attracted to MTF transsexuals or transwomen. Male transgender individuals can only go so far with many lesbians. Thus, the need to break the barriers to the “cotton ceiling”, or lesbian panties. The term “cotton ceiling” definitely implies sexual access, or lack thereof. It certainly means access to females. After all, historically, haven’t all men whether with an intact penises or not demanded sexual access to women’s bodies? Indeed, I can’t recall a time in history when this wasn’t true.

    How many times have lesbians been told that if they just tried dick, they would like it? Am I allowed to say dick in this blog? Indeed, lesbians are told this in innumerable ways, some subtle and some not so subtle. Lesbians have been told what they should and should not desire all their lives. Now, it’s implied that lebians are “transphobic” if they don’t feel the desire to sleep with MTF transsexuals. This is nothing but utter lesbianphobia no matter how it’s dressed up. Putting it in a pretty little package and attaching some queer speak nonsense words and phrases to it won’t change anything. I’m a lesbian and I love women’s souls, bodies, and spirits. Unlike trans porn stars, I don’t sexually objectify women. I simply love women deeply. Indeed, it’s almost spiritual like any intense sexual or human connection. Perhaps this is why gender queer folks don’t understand lesbians, and why lesbians don’t understand gender queer. I feel an emotional connection to women. The term “cotton ceiling” is sexist and lesbianphobic pure and simple. In the gender queer and trans community, there is an immense and terrifying loathing of lesbians. Lesbians have the audacity to love women. I mean actually love women. In a world where trans porn stars coin lesbianphobic bazaar terms like “cotton ceiling”, this is truly a revolutionary act.

    • Brave women were working tirelessly to improve the lives of women long before “feminists” came along. And you can bet your britches that people who would in this era and society define themselves as queer or genderqueer were advancing the cause of social justice throughout history.

      Also, trans men get a lot of lesbian access. It is women we are talking about right now. Which you obviously do not get.

    • Hilarious – two weeks go by and only one circlejerk response to this post
      radscum’s words fall to deaf ears, but they pretend they are the Cassandras of feminism
      no, you’re the old doomsayer on the corner with the sandwich board, predicting the end of times
      just, do what’s right and please just disappear as a group. you’re holding the rest of the female class back

    • Woah, hold the fucking door. Sanger did support bodily autonomy – but only for rich whites. She also promoted mandatory birth control and forced sterilization among poor and black folks. That planned parenthood is *now* a force promoting women’s health and rights unilaterally does NOT mean this was always the case. It isn’t as simple as calling her a hero; she wasn’t one, at all.

  20. It gets so old when queers, trans, etc tell us that we “just don’t understand” what they are telling us about gender and sex.
    The ridiculous thing is that THEY do not want to understand us when we lay it out for them. Female is a sex (assigned at birth), gender is a PERFORMANCE which has NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX. “Gender” is a preference and it’s (usually)a SOCIO-NORMATIVE performance. It does not hinge on your SEX.
    Therefore a M2T can PERFORM as whatever they think a “woman” is and that personally doesn’t bother me. But to tell us their SEX is FEMALE, well that is just absurd. Were you female at birth? No? Okay then you are not FEMALE.
    Lesbians don’t insist hetrosexual women open their minds a little and have sex with them. I don’t see why M2T’s insist that us ladies open our hearts and eventually our legs to them, if we express that we aren’t into it. Why don’t they insist straight men and gay men that don’t want to have sex with MT2′s open their minds and have sex with them? Because they are not into men! Just like we aren’t into people assigned MALE at birth. How hard is that to comprehend?
    It’s especially disconcerting that this is a “thing” as it shows a complete lack of sensitivity to those of us FEMALES that have serious emotional trauma around sex with MEN/PENIS/MALE BODIES.
    I won’t even get into intersex people here because THEY ARE NOT TRANS.They are intersexed and it’s pathetic that trans/queers/etc try to co-opt intersex peoples experiences.

    • You say “Lesbians don’t insist hetrosexual women open their minds a little and have sex with them.”

      No?

      “Come on sisters, you know it makes sense. Stop pretending you think lesbianism is an exclusive members’ club, and join the ranks. I promise that you will not regret it.” – Julie Bindel to heterosexual women

      • That is a statement which is a lot different than holding a seminar on how to get heterosexual women to have sex with lesbians. BIG difference.

          • Really? You’re actually saying I’m “moving the goalposts” because you found ONE example of ONE lesbian saying ONE statement referring to heterosexual women dating lesbians? Obviously this is comparible to M2T’s current obsession with breaking “the cotton ceiling”. Also, you don’t break cotton- you rip it. Like rapists do when they rape women. This whole thing should be re-titles “Ripping the cotton panties”.

          • @Dee
            Hilarious. Julie Bindel’s supposed to be one of your leaders. They don’t even teach you who to look up to anymore, do they?
            radical feminism sure has fallen

  21. I feel some need to respond to all of this comment back and forth, but I honestly have no organized, totally academic way to address it. So I’m just going to go with the vulnerable messy approach where I attempt to be as respectful as possible.

    First, a sidebar.
    What I think might be lost in all this anger and hateful reaction is the possibly triggering nature of the term “cotton ceiling.” I know part of the point was to rile things up to bring attention to this issue, but the term does conjure up imagery of “infiltration” that old-world radfems may be freaking out over. The original term regarding workplace equality, “glass ceiling,” is often said to be “crashed through.” I think it’s important to say that someone, anyone, who may have any trauma around assault, boundary-pushing and violation may draw this connection in the terms; the thought that one’s underwear being torn or crashed through can be a really scary image for some people (I’m stone, so I know it I jumped a bit when I realized cotton=my boxer briefs). And I think some people who would otherwise admit the imagery may be what is throwing them off, are instead taking the route of attacking the entire premise. Can we make some room to acknowledge that the term could be validly problematic for some people while also acknowledging that the issue it brings up is also valid to address and call out?

    Now, my sense of what’s ultimately going on in these angry, ranty and reactive posts from the old-world radfems is 1.) a vehement rejection of anything man, and in this quest to sift through the world for anything man/male to reject, 2.) anything that is “suspiciously” not on one side of the line is immediately conflated with men. The latter part of this is being addressed pretty thoroughly; conflating transwomen with men in such a way is beyond problematic. But the lens of seeing red and raging whenever this conflation happens (mistake #2) goes back to mistake #1, that the aggressive rejection, demolition and annihilation of anything man/male is paramount to the more affirmative and positive approach to defining one’s sexuality. And so the cycle continues: “We” rage against men (because of the patriarchy), “we” seek to annihilate “them” from our experience (it’s the solution “we” came up with), “we” seek to find the secret and hidden ways “they” try to infiltrate (as “we” have come to assume men are always creepy, sneaky, boundary-crossing), “we” then also distrust anything that is not undeniably 100% NOT MEN by binary “biological” convention (a paradigm that is constantly debunked) – “we” assume this is more “infiltration”, “we” conflate these assumed-to-be-infiltrating persons erroneously with men, “we” then rage against these persons whose experience has been conflated with men, and on and on.

    Now, going back to the more vulnerable messy part I promised. I am so sad about what I outlined above because I know how a lot of this struggle/mind-cycle lives in my own experience. I’m a female-assigned-at-birth cis-woman, cis in the sense of non-trans, as in when trans is a noun, yet with a strongly transmasculine and genderqueer sense of my gender, body and sex. I identify as butch, as in the butch that is a noun, and proudly a dyke.
    I have had in the past some shade of agreement with the radfem view that I’m still working to shake from my bones. I have privileged-cis-guilt around trans-sisters’ experience, especially when I find I’m not attracted to some and they may have an interest in me. And even more intensely I also have shame, shame when I –do– find myself attracted to a transwoman and that shame stops and deters me from connection. I also share some bizarro fear of the dick, fear of pregnancy, fear of the violence I have been told it necessarily comes with, fear that what the mainstream tells us is true, that anyone (regardless of gender) who possesses a dick is controlled by crazed animal urges that break down all sense of ethic and respect for another’s body and agency. And I’m totally attached to that fear as I’ve somehow told myself it protects me from terrifying things happening to me; it creates incredibly high walls with men and regrettably also some walls with transwomen. These are things I am not proud of.
    All of these things I want to work through and hopefully stop in my experience. None of these things or working through them justifies ranting online at persons, queer, trans and all others alike, who are calling out how they have been marginalized and excluded and denied. To the radfem old-world feminists, I wish you could just acknowledge how the rage-filled path you’re on no longer makes sense and where your rage attachments come from, that it’s time to let go of this unreal paradigm of “true women” to which everything outside of it are necessarily “men” and ultimately, the enemy.
    To have entered into the world of change decades ago with lesbian same-sex transgression, you signed up (as we all have) for an ever-changing and evolving and re-naming world of queer actualization and ever-shifting form of transgression that has turned its lens upon the old guard. Your anger about penises, your differentiation about one hunk of human meat vs another beyond your personal and intimate sexual preference, your association that it endemically is responsible for the world’s suffering and wars and sexual violence (rather than what they;we were;are taught being responsible); none of these things maintain some pure idyllic definition of lesbianism that has to be protected, which has to be policed from risk of the “taint” of a non-cis non-normalized female body. They are only fears and rejections, and standing proudly atop them as a house of cards is NOT affirming of one’s identity, sexuality, community or purpose. The lesbian separatist movement is a fallacy because of the illusion that you can so clearly separate, isolate and organize gender, specifically women, that you can claim to have the authority to define what is and what is not female. Attachment to a fixed idea of the word “lesbian,” or rather attachment to all the assumptions you’ve been making about the definition of “lesbian” is helping any of these communities, not yours, not mine, not anyone’s. So stop it, your confusion and struggle may be understandable as we all try to figure out how we fit into this world, but your blind rage against “men”/penises and your constant attempts to deny transwomen their place as sisters and lesbian lovers do no good to preserve your happiness and sense of self – that’s all on you.

    • DV – I liked your messy style of sharing and where you wrote about trying to be as respectful as possible – I’m going to try and respond in kind.

      I’m deeply sad about this internecine (mutually destructive) war between women of trans* history / trans* women vs not-trans / cis women/dykes who are radical feminists.
      I think the original idea for the CC workshop was valid i.e. women with particular additional identities are not embraced as lovers within a community that says it politically supports them. This also happens with Black women, fat women, Disabled women when the ‘community’ is mostly white, normatively sized, non-Disabled.
      I agree with you the ‘joke’ of the CC itself is triggery and historically loaded for many dykes and perhaps other women also.

      What I am most deeply sad about is how queer theory is reconstructing and also mis-historying radical feminism. I honestly believe queer feminism could not even be IMAGINED if radical feminism had not come before it. Radical feminism was the first feminism to truly try and break an essentialist link between assigned sex and ‘gender’ roles, identities behaviousr etc. as such I belive most deeply that we distroyed the first layer of the gender binary. But we were always focussed on the power dynamics in patriarchy. We did not seek to free all people from the chains of gender to come to a day where some women were considered dominant because they happened to be assigned female at the start of their lives. [ps everyone - we were intersectional before it was dreamed too, intersectionality is the root of my radical feminism]

      I accept that women of trans* history become members of my ‘sex class’ later in their lives and are so their womanhood is as ‘real’ as mine [that is to say both a social fiction and a lived and dangerous reality]
      Trans* men and genderqueer/ gender fluid people also have some stake in anti-patriarchy and are certainly not ‘default humans’ – but I have to say that I see women as the key frontline fighters of feminism and I suspect the patriarchy gives you the occasional cookie if you refute being a woman. Well feminism is big enough for us all.

      I think that some parts of radical feminism have become what I’d call bio-nationalists, this is an issue in all freedon struggles. You need to define boundaries and constituencies to fight – sometimes some of you end up believing in this ‘essentially’ and may even dehumanise others, for example Louis Farakhan is only one exemplar of Black Power. Personally I don’t give the idea of the penis enough credibility to fight over it.

      What I do still care about, and what I still think is a valid reason for rage, is a lot of the tropes that are being used intentionally or unintentionally in smacking down the radfems. So much is sounding like oldskool anti-dyke slurs. Nobody wants to fuck us anyway, we should fuck more and different, we are out of date and backward, we are not cool or worthy of respect. I feel women and genderqueers posting here should see this clear as day. To me it’s obvious. Without fierce, ranty, rude, disobediant radical feminist we would not even be here – other queers were heras in the gender fight too and many were trans* women… they were uppity and ranty too.

      Thanks for trying to bring us together – I want this too, but radical feminists are not dinosaurs – they are our foresisters and deserve our respect. Most were dykes – most will continue to be dykes – some radical feminists were assigned male at birth. It’s politics in the soul I care for more than what is in our underwear. But our struggle must be based on autonomy and grassroots movement and argument… not orthodoxy or purity politics or we all fail.

      • Just to call out, much love for 3rd wave/lesbian feminists. The part addressing ‘old world radfems’ would be to those being so vitriolic in the exchange. Those spewing hate and so stuck on a paradigm that rejects transwomen’s experiences. Much respect for (most of) the feminist foremothers.

    • DV, hahaa!

      my sense of what’s ultimately going on in these angry, ranty and reactive posts from the old-world radfems is 1.) a vehement rejection of anything man, and in this quest to sift through the world for anything man/male to reject

      You are projecting your own fear and revulsion onto “old world radfems” because you don’t understand what we’re saying. I’m 33 years old and I do not believe that separatism is politically effective, nor do I think that every single man is my ENEMY. You completely mischaracterize what we argue. At least you got the part about “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling” reasonably invoking emotionally distressed responses from females. Clearly a poor choice of words, but revealing as to how far removed from reality these porn stars’ pseudo-political analysis really is.

      In any event, and more importantly, the underlying concept of the “Cotton Ceiling”– namely penised bodies demanding full sexual acceptance in the classification “Lesbian”– is also disturbing. Radfems do not believe that “women” are created out of gendered performance. <<This is a fundamental conflict with queer ideology. It's not *because* we hate men that reject the idea of penised "women." Rather, we insist on maintaining a distinction between sex and gender because the difference is significant to OUR female reality–physically and POLITICALLY. Reproductive exploitation of women/females by men/males– including the tyranny of compulsory heterosexuality (RIP Adrienne Rich)– is the foundation and backbone of female oppression. It is WHY women are the second sex. Stop pretending it doesn't matter. Sex matters because reproduction matters.

      Queers are trying to force their values-of-sexual-practice (or something) onto VERY IMPORTANT political concepts. It's a threat to feminism and female solidarity. The conceptual standards one maintains at a fantasy, kinky sex party can be pretty loose. But the conceptual standards and terminological exactitude that we apply to our political analysis and law should be much clearer. I mean, that's obvious, right?? Isn't it???

    • Thankyou for this posting. I think you have covered the issues surrounding this poorly worded workshop beautifully. Apparently you don’t understand what the radfems are saying though…..sigh….

      Not that any of them will listen me either, being to them, a castrated man, but the degree of ignorance I am seeing is beyond….well just beyond beyond….

      Firstly, while anyone can understand a lesbians reluctance to have sex with anyone with a natural penis or even a post-op transwoman either if it turns them off, labelling all of us MtoT, calling us ALL male rapists irrespective of configuration simply demonstrates that this is more about the statement you made:

      “Now, my sense of what’s ultimately going on in these angry, ranty and reactive posts from the old-world radfems is 1.) a vehement rejection of anything man, and in this quest to sift through the world for anything man/male to reject, 2.) anything that is “suspiciously” not on one side of the line is immediately conflated with men. ”

      Moreover because with thinking like that there will never be open trusting communications between rad fems and trans women all sorts of assumptions are made that are simply incorrect.
      1′) Preganacy: Most transwomen are sterile within 6 months of starting hormones. Many trans women do not even ejaculate….many can’t achieve an erection…which bring me to
      2) Why on earth does every scenario here involve penetrative sex? Why is there an assumption that all transwomen even desire that kind of sex let alone regularly want to practice it. Speaking personally when I was pre-op it was the furthest thing from my mind. Which brings me to:
      3) There is an assumption that transwomen somehow retain a male sex drive and a male sexuality. This is simply not true. The male sex drive is the first thing to go after starting hormones. I was sooo thankful for that….you can have no idea how shitty it is to have that, feel sickened by it, not want it, and to eventually have it replaced with the beautiful and fulfilling sex drive I have now.

      The whole rapey thing……..yes the language “cotton ceiling” used was apalling but transwomen everywhere are saying “That’s not what was meant” and “No one should feel compelled to have sex with anyone they don’t want to” but no one in the radfem camp is listening or if they are they are still attacking blogs with these messages.
      I just wish they had used different wording for a real phenomena.
      If you date as a trans person people everywhere put a label on you that seems to come with 1001 misconceptions…..you are dehumanised….objectified….by all groups, be it lesbian, straight, bi or whatever. If you don’t declare it people accuse you of deception….not being real. This is worth being talked about. I can only hope that this is what the organisers were planning to talk about. No one is going to “break through” my panties either……

      • Gwen, I know exactly what the radfems are saying and they will keep saying it until these ASSHOLES WITH PENISES 1> stop demanding UNCONDITIONAL acceptance as “women” under threat of public shame (bigots! transphobia!), AND 2> stop defending the “Cotton Ceiling” concept. Maybe an apology from the organizers and/or Planned Parenthood would be nice too.

        I accept transsexual women. I do NOT accept people with penises AS women. Ever. No. “Women” do not have penises. “Women” do not WANT to have penises.

        • I am replying to this reluctantly in the hope you might understand. Transwomen, when they transition, go through a medical process. Usually after having been under psychiatric examination for some time they are put on a hormone program that will reduce testerone and increase estrogen to female normal levels. They then go through a ‘real life experience’ i.e. living full time as female so they can experience the full force of misgyny that society throws at every woman, along with trans misogyny, the hate reserved for transwomen alone.
          At this point (usually) the nature of patriachy becomes quite crystal clear….you experience it directly and look, we are not a fan of patriachy either.
          If they can handle that without falling in a giant heap then and only then is surgery offered as a solution. And the surgery is expensive…..very expensive……you pay for it yourself.
          This leaves many transwomen in a difficult situation. They are spiritually female, however, because they either have not ‘had permission’ to be operated on or can’t afford it or can’t find someone to operate because of health reasons, surgery is unavailable to them. They are still women , not your type of women, but women none the less. To say otherwise is to say that a person suddenly became female by the surgeons knife…….to reduce a woman to her genetalia….which is, I have to say, quite patriachical. Many men really do think like that. If you performed surgery on an actual man you would have a castatred man. You actually have to be a woman in the first place, the surgery to be actual corrective surgery for the transwoman to feel complete, for any surgical solution to work.
          I get what you are saying about a penis and I can see you are having difficulty imagining a woman with one but it’s actually not something most transwomen want and they can’t help it if they are stuck with it. They are still a type of woman.

          Which brings me to another thing entirely….there are others who have a female form (whethere naturally or not) who DO want a penis ….There are people in male form who are happy with a pussy……and there are people who are happy with any combination. These are the gender queer. They fall outside the radfems much cherished binary essentialist model…which in socially scientific terms means the failure of the model….not the people who fall outside it. The only model that supports the existence of gender queer folk is one that allows gender to be expressed on a sliding scale, with most people admittedly at either end.
          Lastly, you are asking the organisiers to aplogise for trying to talk about something quite real….that is the labelling, objectification and dehumanising behaviour in all of society when it comes to the bodies of both trans and gender queer people. We see it when a date that is attracted to you turns away when they find you are trans…When that happens it’s not you they are seeing….it’s a bunch of labels and associated misconceptions. We see it when ,if you are openly trans, people expect ‘different things from you’ than they would if they didn’t realise you were trans. Amongst these behaviours is a reluctance to date at all, which of course is anyone’s right, but is usually based on misconceptions that when tested are found to be false.
          This is something that trans community does need to talk about. If you want an apology ask for the apology to be about the confronting name they came up with for it, not the need for having such a discussion.

          • YES! THAT IS ME!!! I know ALL ABOUT pre-ops. No need to school me, but thank you. For example, I reject your insistence that hormones result in sterilization.

            In fact, despite Mercedes’s embarrassing inability to comprehend the legal substance of our message to the UN, we not ONLY detailed the problems “gender identity” legislation causes females (our issue) WE ALSO PROPOSED A COMPLETE SOLUTION THAT COVERS EVERYONE! We went above and beyond our own defense; we affirmatively demonstrated willingness to recognize TRANSSEXUAL PEOPLE’S NEEDS TOO. See here for more.

            And you know what we get for that? Lies about our work, personal attacks on our character, and death threats.

          • Gwen, I also disagree with you that there is an important social conversation underlying and/or implicated by the “Cotton Ceiling” concept. If trans people are concerned with the social construction of desire, turn that lens on the sexualization of violence against women and how it causes widespread confusion between love and abuse. Turn that lens on compulsory heterosexuality, not LESBIANS. Or, why don’t you interrogate the social construction of gendered expression? Why don’t you ask yourselves how gender can be biologically caused if “gender” isn’t historically or culturally stable? I mean, really. There are a lot of questions to be asked about the social construction of desire. But NONE of them are about how MAABs (MAABs!!!!!) can convince lesbians to better accept queer theory’s delusional conflation between gendered expression and physical reality (sex).

        • Do you not accept dykes who love their strap-ons as women?

          What about straight women who wistfully wish they had a dick sometimes?

          Your anti-dick-having attitude obviously does not extend to all cis women, so why should it apply to trans women?

          Either you have a weird double standard, or you need to explain to a lot of cis-ladies about how they are actually men because of not having your hang-uos.

        • Hahahahahha, I just read your link. No asshole, you do not actually understand a group of people that you’re not part of better than we understand ourselves. (And don’t reduce people to their genitals / what surgical procedures they have and haven’t had, that’s vile)

          Your work is both pointless – gender identity anti-discrimination and sex anti-discrimination can and do coexist, for example, in my home state – and laughably hypocritical: “No other class of persons seeking protection under anti-discrimination legislation has attempted to intentionally disregard another protected class – until now” …. when your pamphlet did exactly that.

          When I’m walking down the street, people don’t stop to do a panty check or draw blood to check my genes and hormones before they jeer and catcall. Nor do my math professors before they treat me with condescension. Nor do colleagues who make sexist ‘jokes’ and throw gendered insults at me. Etc, etc, etc. ad infinitum.

          And when I face gendered discrimination in school or the workplace, it doesn’t get BETTER once people find out I was amab – rather, they recoil and target me for that as well. Because it’s not being amab (or genes or genitals) that’s privileged, it’s being amab *and actually male* that’s privileged.

          Besides, having sex anti-discrimination without gender anti-discrimination doesn’t even adequately protect cis women. If you base your theory entirely on “real biological differences,” you’re using the same language that’s been used for generations to excuse and defend sexism, and you’re not going to change shit.

  22. Pingback: Two Views on Reality « You think I just don't understand, but I don't believe you.

  23. Old-world cisgendered lesbian separatists have their last-gasp outrage as they are forced to enter the 21st century. Le sigh.

  24. Pingback: Cotton Ceiling Experiences « Women Born Transsexual

  25. I’m a straight woman who was directed to this by a dear friend who said that I simply would not believe what I was going to read and she was so right! I’ve been sitting here a little more than a week following this insane dialogue and I’m still shaking my head over it! Women’s penis’? Lesbian dicks? Men’s vulvas? Huh?

    All I can say is there is one thing for certain about this and that is; Lewis Carole has got nothing on the transgender and that’s fer damn sure! Cause last time I looked, which was sometime last night, the singular defining characteristic of all and I do mean all the males in my life is their most “precious!” Their penis! That insistent demon that at age 12 replaced all rational thought in my boy . The one thing in their lives, even more so than food, that they would sooner die than to part with has somehow become feminine? WTF? It;s the very essence of male! When we sexed animals on the farm it was innies female outties male…and that applied to the humans as well!

    So please! Would? Could? Someone… Anyone! explain to me by what twisted quantum leap of logic a male stand there and say straight faced that they are a woman albeit a woman with what to me seems the penultimatly male name for their precious male center… “a lady stick!”

    Color me so confused! I mean isn’t the point of being transsexual or is it transgender these days… To actually get rid of those pesky things? Did I miss something ? Cause by what I am reading this week past, it all sounds suspiciously rather more like men explaining to me why I have to work harder and longer for less rather than about any feminine sensitivity for and towards other women and their sexual choices!

    MKIA

  26. I’m a little troubled by the knowledge claims made by radical feminists. You seem to claim that a) lesbians get to define themselves (which has its problems, but never mind those) b) that the definition of lesbian includes a ‘no-penis’ clause. How do you know?

    There are between 300 and 400 million lesbians in the world. In order to make the second claim, you have to have interacted with a significant portion of representative people. And you must have done so in a way that minimizes the tendency we all have to conjure what we want to be true from the data.

    Have you, actually, done this? Isn’t it a little arrogant to claim to speak for 300 million people when you haven’t actually done the work? Who died and made you Queen of the Lesbians?

    • E Hungerford wrote:
      Anders, male is male. Objective, physical realities (such as sex) exist INDEPENDENTLY of context. Context does not CHANGE the physical properties of sex. Subjectively asserted identities do not change sex. A “dating context” does not change sex. If you would like to argue against the reality of “transsexuals” I will let you do that. Carry on.

      My reply:
      You are confusing the thing described with the description. The characteristics of the person (in this case) does not change from context to context, but the way we classify the person may change. It is this classification that we’re discussing, not (primarily) the person itself.

      You are of course free to classify people with dicks as non-women. You cannot escape the consequences of this – being a bigot – and you cannot, no matter how hard you try, escape being called out on your bigotry. It’s either that or you must give up the claim to self-identification, the belief that we decide ourselves who we want to be. Are you ready to give up that?

      • Yo Anders, reality check: BIOLOGY is not transphobic. I am telling you that your re-classification is bullshit *because* it INTENTIONALLY IGNORES something that matters very much to females (sex).

        you must give up the claim to self-identification, the belief that we decide ourselves who we want to be. Are you ready to give up that?

        Yes, I am. Because I don’t believe that unconditional self-identification is a human right. In fact, I find that laughable. I don’t believe that “I am whatever I SAY I am just because I SAY it.” I am not a panda. I am not Vietnamese. I am not Jewish. I am not a doctor. I am not a black woman. To pretend, nay demand, that EVERYONE ELSE treat me as something I am NOT is wildly self centered. It is a BLATANT misappropriation of other people’s experiences AND it erases what is special and unique about those things (ie, I don’t need black and white fur to BE a panda; I don’t need any medical training to be a doctor). That’s TWO separate problems. It boggles the mind that you can’t grasp how politically inappropriate unconditional self-identification is.

        • It matters to some females but not to all. This is an empirical fact. And who said anything about absolute or complete self-identification? Will you give up the right to self-identify as a woman? As a lesbian?

          And will you and Cathy please give up the notion that ALL-CAPS somehow makes bad arguments good?

          • That word “Identify” makes me want to scream! I mean to you and the rest of the gender constructionist really think ANYONE actually buys that BS? I mean no matter what you care to call it, Pussy, Twat, Coochie, take your pick… If I take my clothes off and flip over, just like they did when I was born, you are going to find there is a vagina betwixt my thighs, not a dick! And that M’ Dear is the physical reality of being female!

            So lets set aside your sophistical construct of gender for a moment and lets take it all they way back to really really simple, cause you sure seemed to have missed it!

            Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina… How can that possibly be so hard to understand!

    • Holy shit!
      “I’m a little troubled by the knowledge claims made by radical feminists. You seem to claim that a) lesbians get to define themselves (which has its problems, but never mind those) b) that the definition of lesbian includes a ‘no-penis’ clause. How do you know?”

      LESBIANS GET TO DEFINE THEMSELVES, BUT SO DO WORDS. LESBIAN MEANS FEMALE HOMOSEXUALS. FEMALES DON’T HAVE PENIS. HOMOSEXUAL MEANS YOU DESIRE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH PERSONS THE SAME SEX AS YOU, JFC.

      “There are between 300 and 400 million lesbians in the world. In order to make the second claim, you have to have interacted with a significant portion of representative people. And you must have done so in a way that minimizes the tendency we all have to conjure what we want to be true from the data.”

      MANSPLAINING. AND DO YOU SPEAK FOR ALL MEN? GOD I HOPE NOT.

      “Have you, actually, done this? Isn’t it a little arrogant to claim to speak for 300 million people when you haven’t actually done the work?”

      WE CAN ALL SEE WHO IS ARROGANT ON THIS THREAD, SIR.

      “Who died and made you Queen of the Lesbians?”

      NO ONE DIED. ALL LESBIANS ARE QUEENS. YOU NEED TO STFU.

      • LESBIANS GET TO DEFINE THEMSELVES, BUT SO DO WORDS. LESBIAN MEANS FEMALE HOMOSEXUALS. FEMALES DON’T HAVE PENIS. HOMOSEXUAL MEANS YOU DESIRE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH PERSONS THE SAME SEX AS YOU, JFC.

        You do realize that typing all-caps does not make a stupid argument sound, don’t you? *sigh*

        Words can’t define anything because words are abstract entities coming somewhere between concepts and speech-acts. We define the concepts and we are free to define them in any way. Some definitions will be useful in a certain context, others will not. I’m saying that the useful definition in a ‘dating context’ is self-identification. So far the only answers I have gotten are torrents of abuse. Which tells me precisely how empty your arguments are. You just repeat the same platitudes over and over again. That does not make them real.

        MANSPLAINING. AND DO YOU SPEAK FOR ALL MEN? GOD I HOPE NOT.

        Again, vilifying is not arguing. And no, I speak only for myself.

        WE CAN ALL SEE WHO IS ARROGANT ON THIS THREAD, SIR.

        If demanding evidence of your assertions is arrogant, then I’ll be happy to claim that title.

        NO ONE DIED. ALL LESBIANS ARE QUEENS. YOU NEED TO STFU.

        All the manure from all animals that ever existed cannot equal the amount of crap I don’t give about your opinions of what I need and don’t need to do.

        • Anders lost the right to be taken seriously here when he threatened to smack a lesbian. Please don’t encourage him.

          ps Anders, when i called you out on this you asked me to educate you – when you manage to find feminism 101 you will find lots of information about why I have chosen not to waste my time giving you anything like answers – go questing. you are not doing women, including those who are trans*, any favours.

  27. Oh snap, guess I’d better go tell all the lesbians I’ve been with that Internet Commenters are taking away their lesbian cards! Because clearly you, and not they, are the arbiters of their sexual identities! That’s not distgustingly patronizing and hierarchical or anything.

    Anyway, Avory, since you’d asked – “Please let me know if there’s anything you want me to do to support you now, or to be more explicitly inclusive of trans women in queer spaces. Sometimes I forget just how often transmisogynistic cis women, genderqueers, and trans men exclude trans women from sexual communities.” – might I suggest moderating comments? Just one peek at this thread has been absolutely vile, and I for one know that I won’t be bothering coming back to this site. When you’re building communities in which transmisogyny is considered a normal and acceptable part of the discourse, you’re already excluding us.

    And for the love of god, some acknowledgement that “genderqueer” does not equal “cafab?” I’m really tired of nonbinary communities that erase everyone who doesn’t hew as closely as possible to the dominant binary white trans male narrative. [And, for that matter, of trans women communities that equally assume everyone is binary and also erase us.]

        • Because I find the discussion interesting. And as difficult as you find it to accept, you don’t make the rules around here. If Avory asks me to leave I’ll go. Make your case to hir. Until then I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with me. I find that I can bear your dislike and scorn with enormous fortitude.

          • Penis, balls aka “ladystick” and disco balls…
            LISTEN TO ME LESBIANS hetero cisman privilege.

            Lesbians don’t want to fuck you either “syndrome”?
            YOU “feel” transwomens PAIN.

          • There’s probably a thought embedded somewhere in your post, but I’m too dense to find it. You will have to speak clearer.

    • Hi, Dymara. I want to first personally apologize for the triggering nature of comments. I wasn’t prepared for the kind of response this post would generate, and I should’ve seen it coming and waited to post until a week where I knew I could read each comment carefully and thoughtfully moderate. I also am rethinking exactly how to word and implement this site’s moderation policy in light of what’s happened here. My current policy is “no hate speech,” so I’ve been deleting comments that say things like “fuck you,” ie, direct attacks. At the same time, I find many comments to be hateful and triggering because of the opinions that appear within them. As both the comment moderator for this site and one of the writers, I find myself trying not to be too biased about moderating (for fear that it would hurt our position when the other side says they’re being silenced) while at the same time concerned about what effect these hateful comments might have on readers. I’m going to be looking through other site’s comment policies this week and thinking about how I can change the language to better address this issue.

      Also, I wanted to address your second point, because this is absolutely a big problem in the genderqueer/non-binary community. I don’t identify as transmasculine, but I do see a privileging in certain spaces of both transmasculine and assumed-female-at-birth perspectives generally. I want to work against that, and to that end I’m planning on doing a podcast episode on assumed-male-at-birth genderqueer/non-binary experiences. If you would be interested in being a guest on that podcast, or know of others who might be, please let me know! I would really like to have a diversity of perspectives within that group.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful feedback and criticism. I really appreciate it.

      • I couldn’t find a ‘moderating policies’ folder anywhere but laying down the ground rules is probably a good idea. And have some kind of ‘three strikes and you’re out’ system.

        • Why an apology for things not said? Zie is explicitly accepting of the idea of people simply not being attracted to the bodies of trans women.

          To examine one’s attractions to see if they are rooted in kyrarchical attitudes is a good practice for someone of any orientation or physical preferences, but what is primarily being asked here is for you to not assume that your preference is the preference of all lesbians or even the default one.

        • Cathy, my radical feminism has so very little to do with ‘penis’ that I’m struggling to understand your focus here.

          I agree that sex and gender are different and that attempts to socially change patriarchal gender concepts must not erase the (admittedly social) understanding radical feminsts have about sex[es]

          I’m a midwife, as such I am intimately and politically aware of how women’s reproductive biology is used as a central site of our oppression – however I do not feel that non-fertile physiology makes a woman less oppressed, or less a woman.

          When somebody is assigned female at birth, and please remember that I do this myself professionally, they are immediately assigned to the oppressed sex category. The process takes about 10 seconds at birth and is based on my hurried examination of external genitals – no behaviour, no chromosomes, no internal anatomy or physiology, no endocrinology.

          When I assign babies as male they are immediately made an honorary member of the oppressor class in training: proto-oppresors if you like. Neither baby asked me to do this, neither baby is inherently anything but a baby. The baby with a probable penis is helpless to stop my actions. The penis is not doing anything. I’m doing the doing.

          When a person chooses to give up male-status and become a woman they are assigned to the oppressed sex category. [do not pass go, do not collect £200]. I don’t think that their later assignment means they experience less [or more] oppression than me, I just think they are late joiners. Their penis is probably not much of an issue by this time.

          Many men who are trans* don’t have a penis, but many of them do get late admission to the oppressor class of default humans. Adults don’t spend much time lying naked waiting for a busy midwife to send them to their fate. It’s all got much more interactive by then. Adults get at least some say.

          So I’ll reiterate, I think ‘penis’ is beside the point. I think the point is the assigning. The point is why I cannot refuse to do this monstrous task and keep my registration. I often ask the parent to choose, but isn’t this just as bad and just as ridiculous?

          why do the sex classes have such a connection to gender? why do we not assign the babies to ‘human’? why does society expend such herculean effort in beating gender into these babies? This is the point, this is the point of radical feminism, this is a core point of human unfreedom and of women’s oppression. This is my point.

          how say you?

      • “My current policy is “no hate speech,” so I’ve been deleting comments that say things like “fuck you,” ie, direct attacks. At the same time, I find many comments to be hateful and triggering because of the opinions that appear within them. As both the comment moderator for this site and one of the writers, I find myself trying not to be too biased about moderating (for fear that it would hurt our position when the other side says they’re being silenced) while at the same time concerned about what effect these hateful comments might have on readers”

        This is a really concerning approach, though, mainly because it treats this as an issue where there are sides to be taken. Where our existence is up for debate. It… really shouldn’t be, any more than you would give equal time to, say, commenters supporting Bachmann’s gay conversion camps or evangelicals who firmly believe that women should be subordinate to men. Less, so, in fact, as I’d think a sizable portion of your commenters would argue back against Westboro types, unlike what’s happened here.

        And conversely, it treats justifiable anger at oppression to be less valid than the comments demonizing trans folks.

        “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
        ― Desmond Tutu

        Thanks for your consideration. Good luck with moderating policies, that is a daunting task.

        • On moderation…it’s become very ‘ranty’ in here , mostly from two people who have a known and seemingly obsessive agenda against transwomen. Nothing any trans person could say will have any effect on these people so fundamentally we are all wasting our time. Engaging with them only brings more ranting and repetition. I’m out……

          • You’re probably right. They can’t even be bothered to come up with creative insults.

          • yes 3 ha! – at least

            however on moderation – We need spaces to discuss across boundaries – I think the labelling might be key.

            I think spaces that seek to create a paticular safe space or platform should exist and should be respected.

            But I think that confrontational spaces must exist also – and that with enough information people can make their own choice.

            for example spaces like radfemhub have been criticised and critiqued for being exclusionary – but to the users the space seems to have a safe space policy.

            I think some completely unmoderated space is useful – but I’m not saying this site need to be it.

      • I think it would be a completely reasonable policy to say that you’ll only allow comments that seek to discuss the issues in good faith (no baiting, streams of pointless vitriol, etc.) – and that YOU and ONLY you get to decide what qualifies.

        The transphobes will continue on just fine if you ban them; they have most of the rest of the internet in which to be assholes. But there are comparatively few spaces for trans* people and allies to have real discussions.

  28. The problem with transwomen like the cotton ceiling folks is not so much the penis between their legs, but the penis they still tote around in their minds. Thinking of the crotch of a pair of panties as something that has to be gotten thru because the person on the other side of it doesn’t find them desirable is a brain penis issue.

    I dont sleep with F2M or ‘genderqueer’ women, as many of them either want to cut off their tits and/or go on T. for me, that is just another symptom of penis brain. Penis brain is not fuckable to me.

    • Nice. Well, I can tell you I have no intention of breaking through anyone’s underwear, nor do I care if I’m (or even want to be) fuckable. In that case, as a trans woman, do I have “penis brain”?

  29. Oh also. Despite my quasi-religious admiration for Drew Devaux, (!) there has been a lot of good commentary about how the term’s analogy to the glass ceiling isn’t really appropriate. To quote a trans woman who’s been talking about this:

    “It doesn’t sit right with me. Pervasive desexualization and the belief that we are unattractive or not worth sleeping with, or even people being disgusted when they find out we are trans (at us for existing, at themselves for being attracted to us) are a different issue than being denied access to power and spaces that we should have access to.

    Also part of this is that ceiling metaphors have a big association with reformism for me. Like, the classic one (the glass ceiling) is cis white abled middle-class women trying to gain access to positions of power in capitalism that their (abled, cis) brothers could get. It was a critique of women being denied access to power under an oppressive system.

    The desexualization of trans women and our exclusion from lesbian community is very much not that. There’s a systemic problem, but our goal here is not to gain access to oppressive power that others have. Our goal is to have our worth respected and validated by people with power over us, but this respect and validation doesn’t take the form of having them give us the power to oppress others.”

    (Though it does make a bit of sense for Drew Devaux herself using the term, seeing as certain queer women’s sexual communities ARE her workplace, as a queer porn star.) Feigned admiration of her aside, though, it’s clearly a term coming from a (relatively-)affluent, employed, (relatively-)abled, white person.

    And, just for the record:

    “Dear TERFs who think that we’re trying to “trick” you into thinking we’re “real lesbians” (seriously, wtf):
    Imma promise you the same thing I promised insecure straight cis dudes: You don’t need to worry, because I do not want to sleep with you. I will never be even the remotest bit interested in sleeping with you. Ever.
    Ever.”

    Hope that clears that up. TERF stands for ‘trans-exclusive radfems’, which is a bit euphemistic given the systematic violence and denial of resources radscum like Brennan and Hungerford perpetrate. It’s really fucking creepy to realize that commenters in this thread are the ones with massive systemic power actually influencing my life, rights, legal recourse, and medical access. It’s like finding out the people trolling me are a panel of male Republicans.

  30. I really liked the comment Dymara quoted above, and the comments from DV. I’m a cis lesbian and sexual assault survivor and when I first saw the phrase “cotton ceiling” and the explanation that “cotton refers to panties,” I was horrified. Most people are used to hearing “glass ceiling” in the context of “breaking through the glass ceiling,” so it shouldn’t be surprising that talk about a panty ceiling would immediately bring to mind the image of ripping through panties, even for people who do not buy the trans-phobic line about trans lesbians being men trying to infiltrate women’s spaces and women’s vaginas. In fact, the title of DeVeaux’s talk even includes the phrase “breaking down barriers” which might be a fairly common phrase in social justice work, but sounds threatening when used in the context of discussing sexual relations between individuals. At a less visceral but still creepy level, the idea of the glass ceiling does refer to access and to entering previously forbidden spaces, which is a really bad metaphor to be using when talking about wanting people to find you sexually desirable. This is not the way we do fat activism: it’s about promoting fat people as equally beautiful and desirable, not about getting sexual access to bodies that have previously been off limits to us because the people living in those bodies don’t find us sexy. DeVeaux later admitted the concept was problematic if applied at an individual level, but I don’t think there’s any way a term referring to breaking through panties can possibly avoid being associated with individual bodies and with violence. (Incidentally, it just occurred to me that an added source of my horror is that I first heard the term “cotton ceiling” explained in conjunction with the term “panties” –even though many lesbians don’t wear “panties” as such– which seems to emphasize the femininity of the sexual target. Can’t remember if it was DeVeaux who did this, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t from the angry radfem side.)

    I think one of the most difficult things about this conversation is that there is this idea coming from certain radfems that all trans lesbians have penises and are interested in using those penises for penetrative sex, which is transphobic and reductive –but at the same time, trans activists aren’t acknowledging that lesbians (cis and trans, though for trans lesbians this concern might be mitigated by other worries) have very good reasons to be scared of people pressuring us into letting ourselves be penetrated by penises, and that the analogy to fat and PoC activism is therefore not entirely accurate. Here are some of the ways that very different societal forces all contribute to the idea that lesbians should have “PIV” sex, whether we want to or not:
    1) Good old-fashioned conservative misogyny and homophobia that says a woman’s place is in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.
    2) Porn, raunchy ads and TV shows, etc, marketed to straight cis men, in which ‘girl-on-girl action’ leads inevitably to the women involved having sex with a cis guy at the end, usually with the implication that the women can’t be fully satisfied without a penis.
    3) Cis men in real life joking about, threatening, or actually committing sexual assault against lesbian women.
    4) Queer theory and queer politics emphasizing “sexual fluidity” and “breaking boundaries,” often suggesting that lesbians can never be sure of our sexual desires, that we might change our minds sometime in the future, that if we don’t want to have sex with men we’re close-minded and less liberated than our bisexual sisters.

    Given all these things, I think it’s totally reasonable that many lesbians find added pressure on us to let penises into our bodies triggering and scary, even if those penises are attached to other women. Of course it sounds silly to say “I have a phobia of penises” but the reality and the history leading up to that “phobia” is not something to laugh at. I should add here that I understand sexual assaults on lesbians and the pressure to have sex with men are not linked to the penis itself in any simple, one-to-one way. There are lesbophobic assaults that don’t involve penises and there’s perfectly consensual sex between the be-penised and the penis-loving all the time. But for some people, like me, trauma around sexual assault is linked to trauma around the penis as the damage-inflicting instrument (FWIW, I’m also a bit squeamish around dildos) and more importantly the *discourse* around converting or assaulting lesbians usually centers on PIV penetration. Because of that, a concept that appears to put pressure on lesbians to accept penises into our bodies feels threatening even if it’s not strictly a case of male invasion of lesbian bodily autonomy. I think this aversion-to-penises many lesbians have needs to be differentiated from the arbitrary designation of fat people and people of color as undesirable –it’s the result of having been oppressed, not just the result of buying into oppressive, transphobic thinking.

    I hope it’s clear that I know the difference between talking about dominant discourses and talking about physical interactions between bodies. It’s not that I think the penis as a physical object is the root of all evil, or that I think Drew DeVeaux or any other queer trans woman wants to shove a penis in me. What I’m trying to get at is that, just as the transphobic discourses that portray trans women as men is one factor that needs to be addressed in considering why some cis lesbians find some trans lesbian bodies undesirable, the lesbophobic discourses that put constant pressure on cis lesbians to let penises into our bodies is another factor. I’m not worried about violence from trans lesbians, I’m worried that a discourse which emphasizes sexual access and panty-ripping is contributing to the many discourses already floating around that denigrate lesbian sexual autonomy.

    I’m sorry that, in focusing on DeVeaux’s problematic framing of her concept instead of on the issue as it affects the lives of trans lesbians, I’m not being a good ally, but I feel like I constantly put up with suggestions of sexual violence from men and seeing it coming from other lesbians is just too much.

    • “even for people who do not buy the trans-phobic line about trans lesbians being men trying to infiltrate women’s spaces and women’s vaginas.”

      It’s funny how you say this, then spend the rest of the post proving that you do actually think this.

      The analogy to fat activism is actually a really good one, in that when we fight back against those body-policing prescriptives of desire, no one ever compares it to rape.

  31. I probably wasn’t clear enough about what I was trying to say because I was so shocked by the poor choice of metaphor (or metonym, or syndoche, or whatever it is exactly). A lot of my criticism was directed at the way that metaphor frames trans-cis lesbian relations (cis woman represented by her underwear, trans woman trying to break through it) but that might have come off as suggesting that I thought that was how trans-cis relations really are. Let me try this again: I’m not afraid that queer trans women are male plants sent by the patriarchy to infiltrate the lesbian guild. I’m not even afraid that an idea like the “cotton ceiling” will pressure cis lesbians into having sex with trans women they don’t find attractive, because it’s true that the bias against trans lesbians is normalized enough that cis lesbians wouldn’t face repercussions in the queer community even for outright bigotry. What I’m worried about is that the insistence that lesbians who are not attracted to the danglier bits do some introspection about why we don’t like those dangly bits and whether we might be able to change our minds about that actually plays into a narrative that shows up on a much wider scale in all sorts of contexts: the idea that all women will turn to the dick eventually and that there’s no excuse for not at least trying it, an idea which exerts a lot of pressure on lesbians to have sex we don’t want *with cis men.* Not all attempts to change perceptions of the desirability of trans women play into this narrative (and not all such attempts are as rape-y as the term “cotton ceiling”). But in the course of the “cotton ceiling” debacle I’ve seen a lot of comments that do play into that narrative. There’s the relatively innocuous comment on this thread which says being a lesbian is not a sufficient reason for not liking penis, which of course was meant in the spirit of “lesbian =/= anti-penis” but has the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that lesbians do need to provide an excuse for not riding the bratwurst. There was the comment I saw at a post on the “cotton ceiling” and genderqueer people at another blog, in which the commentator asserted that many lesbians find themselves wanting to experience the joys of a penis and hold themselves back because they’re too stuffy and too attached to simplistic ideas of identity. Then there are the comments from DeVeaux and just about everyone else involved that refuse to acknowledge that lesbians who don’t want to be told yet again, by yet another group of people, that they really ought to reconsider the penis actually have some good reasons for that.

    The problem with these sorts of comments is that they align with other queer questionings of lesbian identities and sexual preferences in a way that makes it hard to talk about the pressure to have sex with cis men as a real and pervasive form of lesbophobia. There’s already a strong tendency in queer politics and queer academia towards dismissing lesbians as misguided and less radically queer than bi- or pansexual women, because of the idea that a fully liberated sexuality would be more inclusive (specifically, more inclusive of cis men and their penises). That’s mainly because even with efforts to diversify, ideas about queerness are still based primarily on the experiences of gay cis men, and pressure to sleep with women isn’t nearly as prominent a part of homophobia against gay men as pressure to sleep with men is a part of homophobia against gay women. So it’s more a result of ignorance than maliciousness, but the effect is that when lesbians face societal pressure to do something that doesn’t fit with our desires, the queer community doesn’t have our back. If a lesbian gives in and has sex with a man when she doesn’t want to because she feels it’s somehow not okay to say no, the most the queer community can do in response is to shrug and say “Good for you, opening up to sexual fluidity.” Asking cis lesbians to reconsider the penis when it’s attached to a trans lesbian is not the same as asking us to reconsider the penis when it’s attached to a cis man, but it does inadvertently offer another angle from which to chip away at the idea that a woman has a right to declare that she doesn’t like penises and never will. I don’t think that chipping away will result in cis lesbians having sex they don’t want with pre-op trans lesbians (nor have I ever thought that was the goal of DeVeaux or anyone else pushing the “cotton ceiling” phrase), but I think it does contribute to the growing discomfort with lesbians-who-don’t-do-penis in the queer community, which in turn contributes to decreasing support for those lesbians as they face the pressure from mainstream culture to mate with cis men.

    Another thing I should clarify is why I think it’s harmful even to tell vulva-only-lesbians we should think deeply about and come up with justifications for our anti-penis proclivities. It doesn’t seem so bad, right? What’s wrong with just asking us to think about it, if you aren’t pressuring anyone into sex they don’t want? But underlying that question is usually the sentiment that anti-penis prejudice is probably the result of emotional investment in simplistic ideas about sex and gender. It demands that we come up with a deeply rooted, perhaps even biological explanation for our preferences in order for them to be acceptable. If a preference is widely accepted anyway then that sort of questioning can be productive, as in the case of prejudice against fat people, PoC, and in most cases of prejudice against trans women, but that particular demand that lesbians reconsider the penis –that’s the part of the argument that bothers me, because it does lead to statements like “you can’t rule out penises definitively” that are indeed exactly the same things cis-het-male culture is always telling us and which have caused lesbians a lot of trouble. (Again, that’s ‘trouble from lesbophobic cis men and queer communities that don’t have our backs,’ not trouble from sexually aggressive trans lesbians. The problem is the statements themselves, not the people and bodies they’re advocating for.)

    I don’t know what the answer is to balancing the need to promote new visions of trans female desirability, including the desirability of pre-op trans women, with the need to not put yet more pressure on lesbians to give up on sexualities that exclude penis, but I think avoiding underwear-ripping metaphors would be a good start. And more seriously (because now that I’ve calmed down a bit the “cotton ceiling” phrase is starting to seem kind of funny –the image seems to be of a woman popping her head up through another woman’s underwear in a kind of improbable, physically impossible way) I think there just needs to be a little bit more vocal acknowledgment that not digging the dong is an acceptable preference, and a lot less insinuation that in the post-patriarchal paradise all people will be pansexual and there will be no more anti-penis prejudice (because lesbians, trans people, and their intersections are all aware how “people like you won’t exist after the revolution” arguments turn out).

    • I meant how you repeatedly framed ‘having sex with a person who has a penis’ as ‘pressuring us into letting ourselves be penetrated by penises.’ Having sex with someone with [x bits] is not having sex with [x bits], it’s having sex with a person, jfc.

      That reaches over to yr other points as well, e.g. “insinuation that in the post-patriarchal paradise all people will be pansexual and there will be no more anti-penis prejudice” – we’re talking about attraction to people, not body parts? I *don’t* think attraction to vulvas only is a problem; you are jumping from ‘attraction to trans women’ to ‘attraction to penises,’ and saying trans woman = penis is just not okay on any level, before getting to the rest of the problems with that (like the comparison of being attracted to cis and trans women to being bisexual, no).

      We aren’t cis men, framing us as like cis men or a stepping stone to cis men is simply not okay. Hell, even our bits aren’t the bits of cis men either – symbols of power, strength, pride, to be flaunted. Far from it. Our bits are private, terrifying, shameful, seen as despicable, to be hidden.

      And y’all seriously need to realize that surgery is a thing that exists, knowing someone’s cis or trans does not actually tell you what’s in their pants.

      But yeah, again to quote someone who said it better than I could -
      “Speaking as someone who, in her less-aware days, was one of those queer woman who “didn’t have a problem with trans women, but I wouldn’t date one” – YES. As I got more involved in social justice movements, I was reading a post talking about how a blanket statement like that is basically third-gendering of trans women, and then one shortly thereafter that likened it to lesbians who refuse to date bi women (which was a prejudice I had begun to run across personally, as a bi-identified woman), and that was when it clicked. That if you say “I date, fuck, and love women (but not this entire class of women)”, you have some kind of prejudice going on, full stop. Whether it’s black women, or trans women, or whoever, when you are categorically dismissing from your potential attraction matrix an entire class of people who should otherwise be part of it by your own declared standards, there is something deeper than “I don’t find X attractive” going on. And if you want to claim any degree of self-awareness and in particular any awareness of your own privilege, you need to ask yourself why that is.”

      I mean fundamentally, when I say eg that the framing of fat bodies as unattractive and repulsive is based in bigoted fat hate, I’m not trying to shame people into having sex with me – far from it, sexually I want *nothing* to do with people who are repulsed by fat bodies. If people get guilty because of it, that’s their problem to work out, preferably far away from me.

      Really the framing of trans women as having systemic power over cis women is just so blatantly backwards – particularly, as i said before, in a thread where some of the commenters *have influence over UN decisions about my legal rights, medical access, etc* – that’s just fucking wrong.

      • “That if you say ‘I date, fuck, and love women (but not this entire class of women)’, you have some kind of prejudice going on, full stop.”

        That’s a pretty serious strawman you just set up – many women here have said “I date, fuck, and love women” but in all of the comments I have yet to hear “(but not this entire class of women).” That may be YOUR interpretation of what some of the comments have said, but I repeat, as I said in a comment above, the only people speaking in generalities about *whole groups of people* in this discussion are on the trans side- from the very beginning, in the conference description itself, and then throughout the comments. Lesbians are speaking in more specific terms about specific people they are not attracted to, not to or about entire groups.

        And I can’t figure out what this discussion is actually supposed to be about – is it about trans women being a part of lesbian spaces, or is it about trans women being considered sexually attractive to lesbians?

        Yes, trans lesbians should have access to and feel welcomed in lesbian spaces. Period, end of sentence.

        Should lesbians be attracted to trans women? There is NO rational answer to that, because it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS who someone is attracted to unless they are attracted to you, and you are also attracted to them. Period. End of sentence, end of discussion. *** This is what the heart of the fight over sexual orientation is about. *** No one should get to dictate who others should be sexually attracted to.

        If I tell you I’m not sexually attracted to you, take it in stride and *go about your business.* I don’t owe you (or any other human being) any explanation about why. NONE. Don’t kick my ass if you’re cis het, don’t hold a conference workshop on getting me to get wet for you if you’re trans lesbian. If I’m not wet for you, I’m not wet for you. Holding a conference about it isn’t going to accomplish a thing. I don’t see trans gay men holding conferences about why cis hetero guys don’t pop boners for them. This is the equivalent.

        • Thinking that through – I’m wrong on that last sentence. The equivalent would be trans het guys holding a conference about why het cis women might not be attracted to them. So my point there isn’t a valid one.

          But still – just because I’m attracted to women doesn’t mean I’m attracted to ALL women everywhere, or that I must accept solicitations from any and all women who offer them. I have a right to say no to anyone, and I have no obligation to explain to anyone why I said no.

          • But I have the right to point out that it may be due to prejudice, right? And then maybe you can examine it and gain some self-insight. I’m not saying you have to examine it, or that you have to try to change it (if it’s even possible).

            There is a distinction between giving information and coercing people. The former is acceptable, the latter is not. And of course, the trans side may be wrong. That’s a risk we take whenever we make a statement. And if you do some serious soul-searching and discover that we’re wrong, we may change our beleifs and then we have learned something (actually, that’s not very likely given how humans function, but y’know… :) )

          • No, I’m not sure you do have that right – any more than cis het guys have a right to have conferences about why I’m not attracted to *them*.

            You don’t have a right to take my specific non-attraction to you the individual and relate it to some global theory you have about all lesbians being not attracted to all trans lesbians all the time ever, especially since I’ve not given you information about why I’m not attracted to you because I’m not obligated to explain to anyone anywhere the inner workings of my vaginal lubrication stimuli. The contents of my vulva and what makes it ping are not your business unless I’ve specifically chosen to share them with you.

          • Of course you have a right to say no. But I have a right to point out that it might be due to prejudice. At the bottom that is part of the right to free speech and free thought. You may disagree, but you may not stop me (unless I’m somewhere where you make the rules, like your house). Nor do you have the right to stop me calling whatever conferences I like – as part of the right to freely assemble.

            I think we’re using the word ‘right’ in different senses here. “Right” to me means something like “neither the government nor citizens may stop the exercise of your rights.” What do you mean?

          • I don’t mean ‘right’ in the sense of “guaranteed by the government” – I mean “right” in the sense of “rules of civil discourse.” You sharing your thoughts on why I’m turning you down as a sexual partner – given that I’ve given you no information as to why – is certainly a major trespass across the the boundaries of civil discourse. And while it may not be rape to insist on sharing those thoughts with me, it’s certainly a few steps down the path towards it, because it’s beyond the threshold of enthusiastic consent.

            You asked me for access as a potential sexual partner. I turned you down. No means no. No does not mean “but explain why, please.” No does not mean “here’s what I think you mean when you say no.” No does not mean “I’m going to sanctimoniously explain to you’re refusal to sleep with me means you hate trans women and are a prejudiced bigot.” No means NO. Any other continued discussion on your part is trespass beyond the threshold of enthusiastic consent.

            Certainly you have the right to free speech. That doesn’t mean I’m obligated to listen to your speech. I can turn around and walk away. If you conduct yourself as uncivilly as you’ve conducted this conversation, I probably will do just that.

          • Ok, I misunderstood what you meant. Sorry.

            So, by ‘a right’ you mean something I would call ‘polite’. You can call upon social retribution but not governmental. Am I understanding you correctly?

            Well, then it seems there is very little we disagree on. You have a right to say no, you do not have any obligation to explain your decision and if I press you for an answer I am being grossly impolite at the very least. And I may confer with some buddies and wonder about why lesbians don’t want to fuck me. It’s a pointless exercise but I understand that it is popular in certain circles… :)

            The only questions I have left then – and you are under no obligations to answer it, of course – are a) have you explored whether there is a legitimate criticism here, that some lesbians could learn something about themselves by dissecting their relation to trans women, and b) could it be that the reluctance among some lesbian to explore this relation is also worth further questioning? Is there something to learn here? Not because there’s any obligation to tell anyone about any discoveries but as a matter of self-exploration. We know that humans are extremely poor at judging their own motivations and there’s no reason to suppose that lesbians are any different.

            Thank you for the discussion, and I am sincere when I said I learned something. Again, I’m sorry for aggravating you.

          • Hey! we reached some ground where we can talk! Awesome. To answer your questions..

            a) I don’t think there is legitimate criticism for a couple of reasons…
            – the conference didn’t invite cis lesbians to it. If you’re going to discuss why cis lesbians say no to going to bed with trans lesbians, at least have cis lesbians in the room for the conversation so they can answer and have a discussion. Not inviting them assumes a number of things 1) that there is one systemic reason why cis lesbians say no, 2) that those reasons are always trans-phobic, 3) that this is some sort of war where a battle plan against cis lesbians needs to be devised.

            – I don’t think trans-phobia is actually the reason cis lesbians turn trans lesbians down as sexual partners. I think the most common reason is that many trans women – if they went through puberty before transitioning – have secondary sex characteristics that we generally associate with cis men, and that isn’t sexually arousing to cis lesbians. I have met trans women who turn me on sexually, and for the most part, they transitioned very early after puberty or had secondary sex characteristics that were on the more feminine side before transitioning.
            You can say what you want about “loving the person” but I really am a kinsey 6 lesbian; I’m not bisexual. My vagina lubricates for very specific things, all on it’s own, and as I mentioned above, body parts are part of the equation. But that is *just me.* There are a lot of lesbians who aren’t kinsey 6, who are turned on by secondary sex characteristics of both sexes and who would be thrilled to meet a nice trans lesbian. And there are a lot of bisexual women who should get to be included in this conversation too, because in general bisexual women are awesome and should be included in any conversation, and why shouldn’t they get to be in on this dating discussion? (Incidentally, I often use my Kinsey scale number in conversations with lesbians as well, because the debate rages in lesbian communities in a very similar manner to here about what the definition of lesbian is. I tack Kinsey 6 onto my descriptor because it adds context, without trying to redefine what the word lesbian means. If a woman says she’s a lesbian but places herself on the scale at a 4, cool. She’s a lesbian but with a different arousal set than mine.)

            b) I think there are a number of reasons for the reluctance on the part of cis-lesbians to having a discussion on this topic; 1) one is in a very large measure the triggery, less-than-sensitive presentation of the topic, the fact that cis lesbians were excluded from the conference and the conversation (you’re talking about us without us there!) and the fact that trans folks haven’t been willing to listen very closely to what lesbians are saying.

            2) I think there is further reluctance to examine the relationship because it is an intensely personal discussion, and practically everyone cis woman has been trained from puberty to try to let cis men down gently when they’re not attracted to them, and to be considerate of cis men’s feeeeelings – often to the detriment of their own comfort and needs. Feminists start to reject the society-bred notion that cis men should be coddled and have their hands held while “being let down gently” to the point that women have to give up their time and resources to do so, and this feels very much like the same sort of thing.

            3) I think also – it’s hard to explain to someone that you like as a person why they don’t turn you on sexually, and it seems particularly cruel to have to explain that it’s something that this person can’t help – i.e., secondary sex characteristics.

          • Anders, you just started quibbling semantics over THE RIGHT TO SAY NO. stop. way the fuck out of line.

            [Though steph IS wrong about this 'no one has the right to question my preferences!' bullshit, it's a p transparent attempt to try to make a systemic problem about her and playing off demonizing stereotypes against trans women. Steph, i invite you to reread that paragraph about anti-fatness, and also this: "Imma promise you the same thing I promised insecure straight cis dudes: You don’t need to worry, because I do not want to sleep with you. I will never be even the remotest bit interested in sleeping with you. Ever.
            Ever.”]

          • No. No. No. The right to say no the sexual advances is absolute and it is NOT the same as a right to shut down all inquiry about a question because it relates to you. Do NOT conflate the two. I will not have it.

          • “just because I’m attracted to women doesn’t mean I’m attracted to ALL women everywhere, or that I must accept solicitations from any and all women who offer them.”
            And you accuse ME of strawman arguments.

          • That’s not a straw man, it’s literally what you said above. “Lesbians are attracted to women. Trans women are women.”

            It follows from what you’re saying that we have to accept sex from all trans women who request it, or stand and listen to a lecture on how we are trans-phobic and bigoted. Or we must deliver upon request a detailed description of exactly what it is that turns us on so that we can assure the person making the request that we are turning them down for “acceptable” reasons.

            These appear to be the rules for cis lesbians as you and Avony and Anders have outlined them throughout the comments above. Am I wrong in my assessment, here? If I am, can you give some detail explanation of exactly how you want cis lesbians to react if they receive a sexual solicitation from a trans lesbian they aren’t romantically or sexual interested in? Are they to accept because it’s politically incorrect not to? Are they to decline, but providing a short essay about what turns them on? What exactly are we supposed to do in these situations?

          • “Am I wrong in my assessment, here?”
            Yes.

            “If I am, can you give some detail explanation of exactly how you want cis lesbians to react if they receive a sexual solicitation from a trans lesbian they aren’t romantically or sexual interested in? Are they to accept because it’s politically incorrect not to? Are they to decline, but providing a short essay about what turns them on? What exactly are we supposed to do in these situations?”
            Turn her down the same way you’d turn down any cis woman you aren’t interested in, e.g. ‘sorry, I’m not interested in you in that way.’ It’s easy when you remember that trans women are people.

            And I’ll refer you again to the quote I said earlier: “when I say eg that the framing of fat bodies as unattractive and repulsive is based in bigoted fat hate, I’m not trying to shame people into having sex with me – far from it, sexually I want *nothing* to do with people who are repulsed by fat bodies. If people get guilty because of it, that’s their problem to work out, preferably far away from me.”
            When trans women are talking about how social norms of desire frame us as unattractive, if you recognize some of that impact on your own desires and feel guilty, DON’T ASK US TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT IT. DEAL WITH IT ON YOUR OWN. That does NOT mean to actually try to date a trans woman.

          • But – that’s exactly what cis lesbians have been doing. That’s what I’ve been advocating doing throughout this discussion, and yet you’re arguing with me like there’s something more to it, like I have some additional obligation.

            And if that’s all that is required, why on earth is a conference like this even necessary?

          • “When trans women are talking about how social norms of desire frame us as unattractive”

            Wait – is that what this conference is actually supposed to be about? That’s the first time I’ve heard it expressed that way, and that’s FAR different from what the conference description was. I could understand THAT as a conference topic.

            But “cis lesbian sexual attractions” != “societal norms of desire” at all. Those two concepts couldn’t be further apart from one another.

            “if you recognize some of that impact on your own desires and feel guilty, DON’T ASK US TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT IT.”

            a) I don’t recognize that in my own desires at all; it’s certainly not there.
            b) I didn’t ask anyone to make me feel better about anything.

            The only people asking anyone to make them feel better about anything are the folks asking for answers about why we aren’t turned on by them sexually.

        • “W2M on April 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm said:

          The problem with transwomen like the cotton ceiling folks is not so much the penis between their legs, but the penis they still tote around in their minds. Thinking of the crotch of a pair of panties as something that has to be gotten thru because the person on the other side of it doesn’t find them desirable is a brain penis issue.

          I dont sleep with F2M or ‘genderqueer’ women, as many of them either want to cut off their tits and/or go on T. for me, that is just another symptom of penis brain. Penis brain is not fuckable to me.”

          Gee, that took all of ten seconds.

          • Ten seconds for what? Read what I said again, and what you quoted. It doesn’t prove your point at all. She’s being specific, not general.

          • Missing the point. You’ve repeatedly insisted that no lesbian would claim not to be attracted to any trans woman:

            - “That’s a pretty serious strawman you just set up – many women here have said “I date, fuck, and love women” but in all of the comments I have yet to hear “(but not this entire class of women).”
            - “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a self-identified lesbian make that statement ever.”

            …when there are FAR, FAR WORSE things than that being said about trans women, repeatedly, in this comments thread. ffs, scroll up.

            And then you pull bullshit like this?

            - “That may be YOUR interpretation of what some of the comments have said, but I repeat, as I said in a comment above, the only people speaking in generalities about *whole groups of people* in this discussion are on the trans side- from the very beginning, in the conference description itself, and then throughout the comments.”

            first we have the oh-so-lovely derail bullshit of saying that there’s no bias, we’re just ‘interpreting’ comments as biased. just like all the men who’ve told me that what they’re saying wasn’t REALLY sexist, i must just be looking for sexism because I like being oppressed? yeah gtfo.

            and then outright fucking lies. you want generalities about groups of people? read, scumbag:

            “Lesbians find sex with males unappealing. I can actually feel the male energy from MTF transsexuals. I instictively know the difference between a genetic female and a genetic male. I hate to tell you this, but this is how many lesbians feel.” -Sharon

            “A friend suggested this just for you Anders!
            ‘genetic women = all the women he (as a cis het male) would fuck BEFORE he would fuck a trans woman’” -cathy brennan, such a misogynist she thinks defining women according to who men find fuckable is a valid argument

            “Ha! Lesbian MEANS something. It is a word with a meaning. It refers to a particular set of sexual preferences (for the female body) held by certain kinds of people (with female bodies). Lesbians, by definition, are not attracted to MALE bodies. A ‘ladystick’ is a PENIS and it is male no matter what “gender identity” you lay over it. A cow is still a cow even if you call him a horse. You cannot enforce your special meanings on us under shame of bigotry and ‘transphobia!’ I simply will not play along with these semantic reindeer games. It is insulting to my intelligence. ‘Lesbian’ is not yours to redefine, colonize, or water down. It is ours to live, to expereince, and to define. Please step off.” -ehungerford (oh god, i’d been avoiding the early parts of the thread so much i missed a white woman appropriating the word colonize in the middle of her bullshit, wtf)

            “A male bodied individual’s “gender identity” and performance thereof simply does NOT change or influence that person’s SEX such that the person magically becomes a physically appropriate sexual partner for a lesbian!!” -ehungerford

            “Shit! I mis-sexed the cow’s pronoun! I’m sorry. This is embarrassing.” -ehungerford

            “When Lesbians define Lesbian(!), we have a shared understanding that NO PENIS is involved. “No penis” goes without saying because attraction to physical traits (not gender presentation) is inherent to Lesbians’ definition of Lesbian. I can easily prove this by reference to the Lesbian tradition of butch/femme. Lesbians, as a class, do not have a problem accepting gender non-conformity in our ranks, thank you very much. You might even say that Butch Lesbians wrote the book on gender non-conformity. So this queer misinterpretation of ‘Lesbian’ as a GENDER preference belies one’s ignorance of Lesbian history, community, and our relationship to gender. Lesbians are attracted to female bodies, not the feminine gender.

            Further, in addition to suggesting that we are confused about what our own sexuality means, you demand that Lesbians change the way we talk so as not to “insult” any male bodied persons with penises who believe that their subjectively asserted “gender identity” gives them license to claim entry to our Lesbian community and identity. This is not Lesbians’ responsibility. This is not Lesbians’ error. It is “queer feminism”‘s error. It is not millions of Lesbians with decades– even centuries– of history who should change our knowledge of each other in order to avoid insulting the “gender identities” of penised people who want access to us. It is penised people who must stop arrogantly colonizing “Lesbian.” We are not bigots, transphobic, or politically regressive for maintaining CONCEPTUAL boundaries around our Lesbian identity. It is our RIGHT.” -ehungerford

            “So WHY are you insisting that lesbians accept penised people AS Lesbians based on nothing more than their subjectively asserted “gender identity”? ” -ehungerford

            “Again, no one has an ethical or political responsibility to prioritize “gender identity” over and above everything else. No, it is not our obligation to agree that “gender” is more significant than sex. This fantastical sense of unconditional “gender” entitlement is completely out of hand. Telling me that a cow’s “gender identity” is rabbit does not make said cow, actually, a rabbit. Placing a new WORD on something does not change its essential characteristics. I’m sorry, I know this might hurt the cow’s feelings (awwww), but facts are facts. Enough with the semantic reindeer games of “gender.” Seriously. It is unreasonable to demand that lesbians prize penised people’s “gender identity” over physical reality. In fact, I am insulted!” -ehungerford

            “And as a bonus, I will add that male bodies have PENISES attached to them (while female bodies do not). Just FYI.” -ehungerford (I’m going to start skimming because her bullshit is painful)

            “On a more serious note, and I really mean this, you really need to preface this post with a TW for WBW and dykes. The amount of hatred you’ve put forth in these words can be triggering for women who’ve struggled to own their bodies in a society that abuses them and to own being lesbians in a society that hates them. By all means, you have the right to say what you will, as hateful as it is, but forewarned is fair warned. The hatred here for lesbian women is …sad and a little scary.” -grainne, though you probably don’t even see the irony here

            “If you are a ‘genderqueer’ you cannot also be a feminist. The two are logically incompatible. And mutually exclusive.” -kittybarber

            “Lesbian identity is a valid identity. Lesbians do not do penis. The end.” -clarity

            “But the “Cotton” Pantie Raiders DO CARE!” -dyksfunctional

            “The bio lesbians are NOT questioning/pressuring YOUR sex life.
            It’s the penis “lesbians” doing that. ” -dyksfunctional

            “Therefore a M2T can PERFORM as whatever they think a “woman” is and that personally doesn’t bother me. But to tell us their SEX is FEMALE, well that is just absurd. Were you female at birth? No? Okay then you are not FEMALE.” -dee

            The fact that you have found no problem with any of these statements and have spent every post in this thread arguing against trans women makes your motivations painfully fucking obvious.

          • “You’ve repeatedly insisted that no lesbian would claim not to be attracted to any trans woman”

            I said no such thing, anywhere, not even once. I’ve never presumed to speak for all cis lesbians here or anywhere else. I’ve stuck almost exclusively to describing my own feelings about sexual arousal and attraction and what they mean.

            “yeah gtfo. and then outright fucking lies. you want generalities about groups of people? read, scumbag: ” {list of comments}

            Looking at the time stamps, many of these comments were made after I said that lesbians were speaking in specifics rather than generalities. I’m not Kreskin. I can’t read comments before they’re made.

            I’m also not defending any of those comments. I’m saying, that cis lesbians are often talking about *specific* situations with specific individuals, not trans women as an entire group. Some of these comments are talking in generalities, and I don’t agree with rad fem lesbians speaking for ME or all cis lesbians in their statements.

            BUT you haven’t at all addressed or acknowledged my actual point, which was that the generalities STARTED on the trans side, in the conference description itself. The conference and many of the blog posts about it, and many of the initial discussions here are making sweeping generalizations about ALL cis lesbians and their sexual desires, as if we all got together and come up with some community-wide policy about not sleeping with trans women. And the conference and many comments are derogatory of cis lesbians, dismissive of their point of view, or down-right nasty and rude, like your comments here. And the fact that cis lesbians were not even welcome or invited to the conference is dismissive of their point of view.

            If you start off the conversation making sweeping generalizations about a group of people, why are you surprised when people respond in kind? You’ve already set the tone of “I’m going to take a handful of anecdotal experiences and draw conclusions about an entire group of people” and then when cis lesbians do the same, you scream and yell.

            Go back and look through all the comments I’ve written. You’re calling me a scumbag. But I’ve never dismissed the concerns of trans women, made ad hominem attacks on them, or referred to trans women as some form amorphous group without individual identity. You’ve done all of those to me.

  32. While sitting here and reading all the posts, one thing is crystal clear to me. Everything is about sex and focuses on one’s genitals, or who sleeps with whom. Well, I can assure the reader that I don’t fuck women. Instead, I have a deep emotional and spiritual connection to women. This is why it’s necessary to tame or eliminate women like me. I completely understand the The “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women”. I have the audacity to deeply love women and to form intense emotional bonds with women. This is why I’m so frightening.

    Throughout history, there have been repeated attempts to force, intimidate, or coerce lesbians to conform in one way or another. Before the mid-1970s, lesbians were occasionally committed to psychiatric hospitals, drugged, shocked, or simply dragged from one therapist to another by a frantic parent attempting to find the root cause of their child’s sexual and emotional attachment to other girls. Of course, there have been far more horrific ways of making lesbians more docile and receptive to the idea of change. Perhaps one of the most brutal and barbaric ways of “breaking down” and “overcoming” the will of a lesbian is called “corrective rape”. In corrective rape, lesbians are raped in order to cure them of their love and attachment to women. By the way, the women being raped are not trans women. Corrective rape of lesbians has occurred in South Africa. There have also been reports of corrective rape in Ecuador. SIMPLY GOOGLE “LESBIAN” AND “CORRECTIVE RAPE”. Let’s ask the lesbians in South Africa who were victims of “corrective rape” of lesbians what they think of “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women”? In one “corrective rape” of lesbians, a lesbian activist was gang-raped, beaten and stabbed 25 times.

    In the entire history of Planned Parenthood of Toronto has there ever been any other group of individuals who needed to be “overcome” or “broken down”? The “cotton ceiling” refers to sexual access to lesbians. It doesn’t refer to male cotton boxers or a male cotton jockstrap. It refers to lesbian cotton panties. The “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women” does in fact target only one group of women to be “overcome” and “broken down”. Yes, I completely understand this workshop.

    This issue is not going to go away anytime soon. It’s with us to stay. And, I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere.

    • And corrective rape is not just something that happens in Africa, although we hear a lot about it there. I was a victim of corrective rape in college. I was stalked and raped by a cis het man who had seen me speak on a speaker’s panel about what it was like to be gay and out of the closet in college life. His attack was specifically with the intent to “fix me” as he told me repeatedly in various ways during the rape.

      That being said – would I accuse the conference planners of wanting to rape lesbians? I think that is going pretty far. I would say they were definitely insensitive in the language they used to describe the conference and how that might come across to persons who had been the victims of sexual assault or who had been threatened with it – which is something that is a very common life experience for many cis lesbians.

      It is also my opinion, as I mentioned in the comment above, that the concept of the conference itself is overstepping boundaries that people have no right to cross when it comes to the personal autonomy of others. No person -cis, trans, het or gay or bi – has any right to demand to know why another person isn’t physically or emotionally attracted to them, or to try to take a individual person’s non-attraction to them and try to draw more general conclusions about larger groups of people and their feelings of attraction to others. You are basically demanding that personal account for how their genitalia and heart reacts and you have no rights to that information unless someone choses to share it. Demanding access is ignoring the value we all purportedly share about the importance of enthusiastic consent.

      • Dymara said:
        “You’re aware that trans lesbians face higher rates of rape and other forms of violence than cis lesbians, yes?”

        MEN are the ones committing these rapes to females, female homosexuals and M2T… I’m sure you realize this, yes?

        The ones w/the penis or “ladysticks”. . . men.

        • Exactly, yes. Men have systemic power over both of us; trans women are not part of that group. And, as is painfully obvious in this thread with two commenters who write directives to the fucking UN in an attempt to shut down legal rights for trans people, cis women have hells of systemic power over trans women, not the other way around as you so bizarrely believe.

          Yes, these rapes are commited by men -
          -in an environment where trans women are dehumanized and seen as disposable
          -in an environment where radfems run a website publicly outing various trans women, including trans women of color, so as to share information on vulnerable targets to rapists and murderers
          -in prisons by male police, guards, and inmates, as trans women are thrown to the men to appease them, based on your cissexist bullshit
          -in an environment where ‘walking while trans’ (though particularly walking while a trans person of color) is criminalized based on hypersexualized, demonizing portrayals of us, vastly increasing the chances of rape by police/guards/inmates as above

          (And then deny trans women access to shelters for assault victims or homeless women, despite our MUCH higher rates of victimization on both counts)

          In short, in an environment where YOU contribute immensely to the rape culture targeting trans women with this dehumanizing bullshit. Rapists themselves aren’t the only ones responsible for rape culture, the people who encourage and enable them are culpable as well.

          [Yes, this has nothing to do with who you want to have sex with. That conversation isn't even actually about you, it's towards people who WANT to examine their own prejudices; i'm addressing your toxic bullshit, not that.]

      • Could you provide some statistics for that, please? I’ve been googling for info since you posted, but I’m not finding any info on stats about trans lesbians being raped more often than cis lesbians. I do know quite a bit of data about homophobic “corrective” rape directed at cis lesbians both in the US and in other countries, and I’ve read quite a lot about physical assaults on trans women, but not any data on rape of trans lesbians.

        • Comparing the rates of sexual assault against cis women and trans women in general. There aren’t any studies specifically about trans lesbians, hell, the us didn’t even acknowledge and collect data on hate crimes against trans people until 2009

          • But what you said was that trans lesbians were sexually assaulted more often than cis lesbians, not that trans women were more often sexually assaulted. Although I can’t find that statistic either. I can find information on physical assaults on trans women, but not specifically about sexual assaults, and comparing physical assault stats to reported rape hate crimes against lesbians, I’m still coming up shorter in the numbers. Can you provide some links to your stats, please?

            I’m getting into the weeds and getting specific because rape against cis lesbians is a very common tool of homophobia and a hate crime. It’s used as a tool of terror against the lesbian community as a whole; “keep in line and stay in the closet or this will happen to you, too.”

            Given that women grow up with a systemic fear of “lock your car doors, don’t go out at night, be careful what you wear, close your blinds” or you could get assaulted, and that lesbians feel additional fears because “corrective” rape against lesbians is a common hate crime, using language that could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder for lesbian victims of corrective rape is particularly insensitive on the part of the conference organizers. And although some here defending the conference have acknowledged that, the post title still contains that triggering phrase, going back to the point of why this was brought up in the first place.

        • Try to find any statistics on trans women….you won’t find them…..apart from the gender psych community. If you really look you will see that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of rape but then they they usually kill us…call it corrective death….rather than corrective rape……
          Check the statistics page:

          http://www.transgenderdor.org/

          “Given that women grow up with a systemic fear of “lock your car doors, don’t go out at night, be careful what you wear, close your blinds” or you could get assaulted, and that lesbians feel additional fears because “corrective” rape against lesbians”

          I am a little shocked that you don’t realise trans women and trans lesbians experience all of this and more. Of the six transwomen I shared time with in Thailand 50% are lesbian and 50% have been sexually assaulted. Two of those were lesbian.

          • I’m certainly aware that these things are happening to trans women. Dymara was specifically saying that the rates of rape of trans lesbians is higher than the rape of cis lesbians and that the data showed that. I just wanted to see the statistics she was drawing that conclusion from to make that claim, because, like you, I find it hard to find anyone who is keeping these kinds of stats (although I absolutely think they should be tracking this data.)

  33. Isn’t it true that many trans women are sexaully attracted to men? This is my suggestion. In fact, I dare anyone to try this. Heck, I would give anyone twenty bucks just to see it happen. If there is no sexism involved, then try the following. Why not have an “Overcoming the Cotton Jockstrap: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women”? Or, “Overcoming the Cotton Boxer: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women”? In my lifetime, I doubt if this is never going to happen. Sexual access to cotton panties comes with little or no risk. Overcoming the cotton panties is far less problematic. Women have an instinctual ability to whiff out sexism. So, don’t tell me there isn’t an element of sexism involved. Hell, yes there is.

    By the way, be sure to use the words “overcoming” and “breaking down” as in overcoming a cotton jockstrap.

    • It’s a major issue for trans men and they talk about the dating issues with gay men ‘a lot’…….like really a lot……

    • K let me break this down -
      -you seriously just asked a group of lesbians why they aren’t interested in seeking more attention from men
      -yes, most trans women like men. so do most cis women. missing the point much? you don’t go into a group of cis lesbians and say ‘well most cis women like men, that is just a fact!’
      -lack of male attention is, unsurprisingly, FAR from the actually problem wrt men. There are far, far too many men interested in trans women. The problem is that the vast majority of them are chasers. their interest is framed in extremely creepy, fetishistic, dehumanizing ideas about us. A conference addressing this would be very different from a conference addressing our desexualization in cis lesbian communities (and trans lesbian communities, actually, there are plenty of trans lesbians with hells of internalized transmisogyny)
      -though yeah the name is incredibly awful, but not actually for the reasons you think

  34. I’ve heard of circular arguements before but this one is making me dizzy. We all just keep on saying the same things over and over again.
    I’ve learnt a few things. For example, how far off the planet radfem thinking actually is, if you can call the reactionary, tunnel visioned, abusive and ranty statements here thinking at all. I used to pay them heed……..no longer……

    The wording of the workshop is confronting, something that perhaps it was meant to be (I don’t know) but my personal feeling is that it was poorly named. On the other hand it has raised awareness of very real issues in the trans community, based on a very long history of outright rejection and violence towards trans women by the lesbian community ( and yes, I have directly experienced this and know of others who have been assualted) , the denial of which simply emphasisies the transmisogyny the radfems have towards transwomen.
    You can all rant away now……..I am no longer listening……

  35. As a lesbian, I am horrified at the idea that lesbians are discriminating, because they don’t want to sleep with Trans people with male bodies e.g. penises. Lesbians are women who are sexually attracted to other women. And by women, I mean people with female bodies.

    I have spoken to several lesbian friends about this as well as about the offensive term the “cotton ceiling” and they are all equally horrified – including those who have been sympathetic to transgender rights.

    You don’t get to define in my book who lesbians consider as other lesbians. It is not a self identifying term. We will define what we mean by lesbians and who we sleep with.

      • The whole point of the term cotton ceiling Gwen, is that Trans MtoT are finding lesbians actually don’t want to sleep with them. If there wasn’t an issues, this offensive term would never have been identified.

        I actually think Trans MtoT have a point in that many lesbians will say that they accept Trans as women and lesbians but would not consider any Trans MtoT as a suitable bed fellow.

        The trans community seems to see this as evidence of Transophobia. I think it is because the majority of lesbians, even if it is a deep unconcious level, don’t recognise them as men and lesbians don’t generally sleep with men.

        • The term MtoT is offensive and is indicative that you do not accept transwomen as a type of woman. This is trans misogyny. I totally get it if a lesbian does not find trans women attractive enough to take to bed. To then say “they are not women because my type of lesbian are not attacted to them” exhibits the worst type of privileged arrogance. You don’t speak for all lesbians. You don’t speak for all women. How many times do we have to say we don’t want to go to bed with ‘your type of lesbian’ either. Telling us we are really men just identifies you as another transphobic (or transmisogynist) troll (troll because you seem to obsess over us and want to tell us how you gender us all the time) ….and it’s just totally wrong. We may not be your type of woman but we are women non the less.

          • If most lesbians accepted Trans FtoT as women and lesbians though, this debate wouldn’t be taking place. The reality is most lesbians do not want to sleep with Trans MtoT. I think that is because they don’t recognise them as women. Why do you think this is?

          • Because they have an incoherent and some ways self-contradictory view of what a woman is.

  36. So you think most lesbians don’t accept Trans as women because they have an incoherent and self contradictory view of what a woman is? How is it incoherent and self contradictory?

    • We have seen a number of different views here, actually. There was the genetic theory that was brought forth by Cathy Brennan and disputed by yours truly. Then there’s the biologic theory which usually focuses on the genitalia – as if a woman who undergoes hysterectomy and ovarectomy suddenly becomes neutral gender. Or a girl who has the most extreme of the barbaric practice known as female genital mutilation (all the external genitalia are cut away).

      In males the focus is generally on the penis as sufficient and necessary, but of course the adolescent German boy who cut off his own penis and then had it sewn on again wasn’t a neutral gender in between.

      And then there’s claim of a penised brain. I have no idea what that means, but there are intriguing work that shows that cells in the hypothalamus exposed to certain molecules have a female response pattern in trans women.

      There’s the socialization angle, which I’m not competent to discuss. Suffice it to say that I agree with those who claim that trans people are not socialized as their assigned gender because socialization is always an interaction between a person and the social environment.

      So I would say that these views are incoherent* because they do not deal with the special cases. They are appropriate as a first approximation – to cover 95% of the population… but when tried outside that area they run up against a blank wall.

      They’re self-contradictory because a person will generally hold more than one at a time. But if male-ness is determined by the Y chromosome, then it can’t also be determined by a penis and by socialization.

      *maybe incoherent is the wrong word. It’s probably more fair to call them incomplete.

      • The reality is we alla know what a biological male and female is. When babies are born except in some cases of intersex, we know if a baby is born a girl or a boy.

        There are a range of things that make up this designation. Chromosomes, genitals, secondary sex characteristics. The fact that one of these is missing or altered does not chnage the classification. So as you said the German boy who no longer had a penis, was still a boy. Similarly women who have had a masectomy are still woman.

        I have found it is only Trans people who are desperately trying to argue their theories who say that it is difficult to determine biological sex. The rest of the population seem to have no such difficulty including lesbians.

        Yes you are right socialisation in terms of gender is also important. A girl socialised as a woman will behave differently from a boy socialised as a man, however much she rejects and fights that socialisation.

        • But what if two categories are missing? Or three? Yes, these classifications are sufficient for most of the population but when you try to apply them outside these situations then they give bizarre results.

          All examples below are completely made up.

          I see only two ways out of this dilemma for you, if you do not want to accept trans women as women. You have to make up a list of indicators – karyotype, hormone levels, vagina, female socialisation, etc. Then you can add them together, and say that Lisa is a 5 on the female scale – she is less female than Klara who has 8. That’s obviously impalatable. It also goes against our intuition that you’re either a female or not. Most people will cluster around the upper part of the scale but you have to deal with those who do not.

          The other thing you can do is a hierarchical conditional scale and say that you must have 6 or more of these indicators to count as woman. Or you can say that they must have 6 or more + a vagina. Either way you will find yourself forced to exclude people because they had a mastectomy and dropped below the bar. And of course such definitions are always arbitrary to some extent.

          Or you can go by the scientific method, i.e., the method most used by scientists all over the world. You ask. This will not yield the answers you seek, but it is the method most commonly used.

        • Hi,
          I thought I might reply and try and explain how theories are just extensions of models that can be used (if accuurate) to predict behavior in the related cohorts. The second wave feminist model has failed totally because it does not predict behavior accurately. To compensate, they make up ‘stories’ to explain variance against their theories, some of which are really ‘foil hat stops CIA from invading brain’ sort of stuff. But then I thought that every word after ‘Hi’ is completely wasted because ….well I can just tell :-)

          • It is normally clear whether a baby is a boy or a girl. In the rare cases of intersex a Dr usually decides which sex the baby is. There is an argument within the intersex community that there should be a third classification of intersex.

            But Trans people are generally not intersex. Most Trans people clearly have a biological male or female body, so this whole question of biological sex does not apply to most Trans people.

          • Why should the doctor have greater authority than the person hirself? It seems to me the most natural thing to do is ask what they are now, rather than rely on a doctor who made a decision (in most cases, a seemingly easy one) twnety-five years earlier? Why are genitalia at birth the criterion that everyone should bow before?

            What will you do if this hypothalamus story bears out? If trans women react as cis women and trans men react as cis men? Is the biology of the genitals more important than that of the brain?

  37. So you think most lesbians don’t accept Trans as women because they have “an incoherent and self contradictory view of what a woman is” How is it incoherent and self contradictory?

  38. The REALITY is… that Avory = a genderqueer [[who adamantly doesn't ID as a "cis" lesbian]] AND… Anders, a straight, “cis” man and the other “anti lesbians” commenter’s are DEMANDING female homosexuals to buy into this carnival side show.

    It’s NOT EVEN THEIR EXPERIENCE!! But w/alllll Anders male privilege and Avory’s “very special fluid experience”… THEY know what lesbian SHOULD mean!!!

    Anders… If you want to fuck a M2t… then find one that “digs” you [[as much of a stretch THAT IS for ALL of us having to deal w/you here]] do it. You don’t need lesbian’s to give you the go ahead. There is PLENTY of porn that M2T have subjugated themselves for your sexual approval. I also believe that you have watched WAY to much male gaze lesbian porn. You think lesbians want to fuck men… cause DA PORN tells you so.

    Avory… W/all your white privilege and love of the penis, lesbians just don’t feel the need to “feel” as a special, rainbow, skittle shitting unicorn as YOU. REALLY.. we believe you are “queer”. You don’t look straight at. all.

    This is a seriously a carnival side show.
    The roughnecks in the back will move the crowd forward to see the circus side show… BUY YOUR TICKET!!

    But the “lizard man” has a skin condition.
    The “bearded lady” has facial hair.
    The “Siamese twins” are con-joined twins, that can happen to any race.
    The “lobster boy” has Ectrodactyly.

    BUT… the MALE TO FEMALE LESBIAN… w/his hard on is REAL!!
    Step right up folks… Only a nickle of GUILT and stupidity.

    It’s easier to buy into the sideshow then see people.
    Just people.

      • Anders said:
        “It’s always fun when someone forgoes even the pretense of having any arguments and just rants and raves.”

        Anders… you have tucked that tail you call a dick several times by lesbians AND MtT’s… it’s kinda obvious at this point that your “tail” has been REJECTED ON ALL POINTS.

        You are just another very creepy straight guy… from all of us.

          • Anders said:

            “When new data come in, I change my mind. What do you do?”

            Well Mr. Straight White Man… I don’t rely on a VERY… MALE… STRAIGHT… and WHITE… Medical INDUSTRY to tell me that Lobotomy’s and Rape Therapy are “the latest” in DATA!

            It’s probably worked for YOU… cause YOU are not female AND a lesbian.

  39. “If trans women react as cis women and trans men react as cis men?”

    And what does reacting as a woman or man mean?

    • Different patterns of activation in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the great control station of the brain. Core temperature, blood pH, blood glucose, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide… It also contains a network of neurons that are driving in the release of estrogen or testosterone (very simplified). Here’s the original article.

      http://faculty.bennington.edu/~sherman/sex/male%20to%20female%20trans-odors.pdf

      Note that they have only tested trans women – we need to redo the experiments with trans men and we need to replicate it before we can say anything for certain. And even then we must establish causation, not just correlation. But it’s an interesting find nonetheless.

      • Were you hoping I wouldn’t actually read the article you linked to? Because it clearly says:

        “MFTR differed significantly only from male
        controls.”

        In otherwords, MFTR did NOT react like biological women, but simply reacted differently to biological me.

        How does this prove that Trans are like biological women? Answer: It doesn’t.

        Do you want to try again? What does reacting like a man or woman mean?

          • “MFTR differed significantly only from male
            controls.”

            “In otherwords, MFTR did NOT react like biological women, but simply reacted differently to biological me.”

            No, she just can’t understand scientific papers. It means they did not differ significantly from the female controls. I notice she doesn’t like being called CIS but is quite happy labelling others offensively with MtoT. A Hypocrite as well methinks.
            I am increasingly shocked and amazed and the thought patterns and obsessive behavior the unradical fems are demonstrating. You can’t argue with them on science or psychology because they will just use a derail and parrot their narrow inflexible views on life.
            This particular study compared heterosexuals and I am wondering if these particular women would yield quite different result. Perhaps they are exhibiting a psychological pattern that deserves study? Will (un)radfem syndrome appear one day in the DSM???

      • To clarify, and because I love to pontificate (:)). The thinking is something like this – in cis people (I hope you’ll accept the terminology for now) a man’s hypothalamus is set for testosterone and a female’s hypothalamus is set for estrogen. And as long as “expectations” match blood levels, there are no problems.

        If we have a situation where the hypothalamus expects estrogen and gets testosterone (or vice versa), something happens (remember, this is all hypothetical). When other blood parameters are out of whack you get an automatic response to correct the problem, and you get a distress signal. This is what is called ‘gender dysphoria’ which I don’t claim to understand beyond that it is very, very unpleasant. If you want to know better than that you’ll have to ask trans people.

        So when we do hormone treatment and give this person androgen blockers and estrogen, the hypothalamus gets what it expects and all is fine.

        This is all speculation, but it is not implausible when it comes to what we know of the hypothalamus and its role in consciousness. It can’t be the complete answer, because some gender dysphoria persists after hormone treatment, and it also sets in before puberty when this particular network of brain cells is not active. There are other possible sites, but we have even less empirical evidence there.

        So this is a plausible hypothesis in the light of current data, but we need much much more work before we can promote it to more than that.

        • First, no I hate the word cis. The correct word is man or woman or biological man or woman.

          Secondly, even if your theory was correct, how does the paper you quote back this up?

          • You will have to wait until tomorrow. I do not intend to be caught with my trousers down again. Once per day is more than enough… :)

          • Ok, first of all, tough buns. I’m using the word cis anyway – anyone with a grounding in organic chemistry knows that cis and trans are opposite.

            Second, there is an extremely important point that I want to stress. From my point of view, the genesis of transsexualism is completely irrelevant to the question of transness being a legitimate part of human experience. It is interesting from many standpoints, but not from this one. To my mind, what a person thinks today about hir gender is more relevant than what a doctor thought thirty, forty, or fifty years ago.

            Now, you asked what reacting like a man or woman. That’s listed in table 1. It is a pattern of brain areas activated by a certain stimulus, and that pattern is different in cis men and cis women. Taking trans women as the baseline, they can agree either with cis men or cis women, with both, and with neither.

            Now, I was talking about the hypothalamus so that’s what we need to look at. That has been measured 4 times, and in all the four measurements trans women and cis women agree; in two cases by activating and in two cases by staying silent. And that is what I call agreement in patterns in the relevant area.

            Now, there’s an important caveat here. This is a small study, partly because PET studies are very expensive and partly because drug naive trans women are rare. It needs to be replicated with a larger sample size (and that may also allow us to see smaller activity in other brain areas).

            And I’ll leave you with a complementary hypothesis for transsexualism as a neurological phenomenon: http://chip.ucsd.edu/pdf/occurence_phantom_genitalia.pdf

        • Your comments on the hyperthalmus are interesting and not the first study either. Brain patterns in MtoF transwomen have been known to be more on the female scale than the male scale for a while.
          The theory goes that to ‘make male’ in the womb, as we all start female, several ‘flushes’ of testosterone take place, some working on the physical and some some on the mind. In the Mto F transexual it is theorised that one or more of these ‘testosterone flushes’ fails leaving the person with an incongruent body and mind. This is very simplified. I read the whole process once, it’s pretty heavy going.

          • The phantom penis paper is really proposing a thesis that the authors would like to study properly. It offers no real evidence to back up your claim that Transexualism has a basis in neurology. Even if the authors thesis was proven true, this wouldn’t tell us whether the outcome is based in neurology or for example the power of suggestion or even mental illness.

            I have yet to see any study that when you really read it, backs up Transexuals ideas that there is a proven biological cause for Trans people.

          • A problem with the study is that we don’t know if these trans women are on androgen blockers and GnRH analogues. That’s not stated, but it’s enormously important. If they’re not on blockers then that means their brains are bathed in androgens. That’s hardly comparable with a cis woman.

            And even if they were, you’re comparing people with no sex steroids to people with normal levels of estrogen. The study should be remade with trans women who are on estrogen.

  40. *sigh*

    You said earlier”
    ‘“MFTR differed significantly only from male controls.”

    In otherwords, MFTR did NOT react like biological women, but simply reacted differently to biological me.’

    I’m sorry but that is NOT what, logically, we should be able to infer from this. What is DOES say, that of all the controls, the trans women in the study reacted differently from men ONLY. And, from this, we can infer they DID NOT significantly differ from “biological” women (I put this in inverted commas, because I’m not sure in what way I’m not biological… I’m not a robot, or a golem…).

    Furthermore, the paper did actually state: “Group analyses showed that our MFTRs differed only from the male controls and showed a predominantly ‘‘female’’ pattern of activation”. Which, you know, totally contradicts your argument.

  41. I have quoted below the summary of the study you linked to. It is clear that although there were differences from biolkogical males, Trans MtoT people did not react like biological females. The “predominantly female like fatures” seems to be sexist code for – not like men, rather than like women.

    “One working hypothesis behind transsexuality is that the normal
    sex differentiation of certain hypothalamic networks is altered. We
    tested this hypothesis by investigating the pattern of cerebral
    activation in 12 nonhomosexual male-to-female transsexuals
    (MFTRs) when smelling 4,16-androstadien-3-one (AND) and estra-
    1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol (EST).

    These steroids are reported to activate the hypothalamic networks in a sex-differentiated way. Like in female controls the hypothalamus in MFTRs activated
    with AND, whereas smelling of EST engaged the amygdala and piriform cortex. Male controls, on the other hand, activated the hypothalamus with EST.

    However, when restricting the volume of interest to the hypothalamus activation was detected in MFTR also with EST, and explorative conjunctional analysis revealed that MFTR shared a hypothalamic cluster with women when smelling
    AND, and with men when smelling EST.

    Because the EST effect was limited, MFTR differed significantly only from male
    controls, and only for EST-AIR and EST-AND. These data suggest
    a pattern of activation away from the biological sex, occupying
    an intermediate position with predominantly female-like features.
    Because our MFTRs were nonhomosexual, the results are unlikely
    to be an effect of sexual practice.

    Instead, the data implicate that transsexuality may be associated with sex-atypical physiological responses in specific hypothalamic circuits, possibly as
    a consequence of a variant neuronal differentiation.”

    • “The “predominantly female like fatures” seems to be sexist code for – not like men, rather than like women”

      Your sexist interpretation……..

      • Why my sexist interpretation? The measures clearly showed that in a few areas Trans did not react like biological males or females. Because they did not react like biological males, the author concludes they reacted more like females, when actually that is not the case. Not like males has been extended to mean like females.

    • Excellent idea if you have the chops it takes to make a sensible criticism. You’ll need an understanding of physiology – especially endocrinology, neurology and psychology/psychiatry. And of course how to read and criticize biostatistics (because that’s where they’ll most often screw up). Otherwise there’s a very real risk that you’ll end looking like a fool. Like the people who traced cis- in ciswoman to incision. Uh, no.

  42. It might be too late to comment, but seeing the trainwreck above, I have to try a somewhat gentler and simpler approach.

    I haven’t seen anyone answer the question of trauma: is there any acknowledgment that the term “cotton ceiling” is triggering?

    For me, what stands out about this in creepy land is that there’s an entire workshop that seems devoted to talking about why lesbians are bad for not sleeping with transwomen, and how transwomen can somehow sneakily trick lesbians into doing so.

    There are lesbians who are attracted to transwomen, there are lesbians who are not. There are lesbians who are attracted to certain body types and others who are not. As Steph says at length above, this isn’t anybody’s fault, and no one should have to explain it. If the majority of lesbians don’t seem to be sleeping with transwomen, it could be for a lot of reasons, including that their girl-girl legos just didn’t click right. The smell wasn’t right, the sense of excitement wasn’t right. Something read as “off” or “wrong” or “not what I want.” Maybe that was the secondary sex characteristics, maybe it was a word or a gesture learned in early socialization. But sexual and emotional attraction are such funny things, and they cannot be forced. Even if people sit all day and tell themselves, “Transwomen are women too, I should be attracted to them”, it is not going to get the juices flowing.

    It’s not transphobic not to be attracted to transwomen, in the same way it’s not gender-presentation-phobic to be attracted only to butches or femmes.

    And this language, this language of attack, is just painful and offensive to read.

    • The train wreck is because most transwomen agree with exactly what you just said and have said so again and again and again . Was that language of attack against transwomen? Because that is what I got from this thread, in appalling bucket loads. Please don’t start it again.
      No one deserves this ammount of hate.

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  48. I’m a cisgender woman, a lesbian, and a proud ally to a lot of transgender people. Involved in the community, so on, so forth, no taste for transphobic feminism.

    But I think that it is DISGUSTING to claim that there’s some sort of barrier to be broken through because people are choosing not to have sex with you. Someone’s sexual choices are not subject to what someone else thinks is most appropriate or least discriminatory.

    We “discriminate” in who we choose to have sex with all the time. we “discriminate” against male-identified people. We “discriminate” against, say, butch women because we prefer feminine-presenting women, or vice versa. We “discriminate” against people that we don’t find attractive.

    Know why? Because sex is a PERSONAL choice. It’s not something that you get to invade and it’s not something that you get to declare yourself as having the right to. You don’t get to claim that I’m discriminating against you because I wouldn’t want to have sex with you. My responsibility as an ally to transwomen does not go as far as my bedroom or into my vagina.

    No one has a right to have sex with me and I’m not a bad person if I choose not to have sex with anyone for any reason. I’m not necessarily opposed to having sex with transwomen (it’s not an issue that’s ever been relevant for me), but vilifying women for not wanting to have sex with those they aren’t attracted to is revolting to me.

  49. I’m not threatened by a penis. I find them laughable. If you don’t tell me you have a penis and we end up in bed and I see your penis I will laugh you out of my bedroom. This is because I’m a lesbian. It is not homophobia for a straight woman to not sleep with a lesbian and I would never be so lacking in empathy and boundaries (as to be near sociapathic) to say that to a straight woman. Nor would I use my ‘equality’ fight to guilt-shame her. They don’t like vagina those straight girls. They find them gross. I find penis gross. GET OVER IT!!! It’s not transphobia and it is not homophobia. What IS homophobia is Trans people not understanding that lesbians find dick gross. You behave like straight men quite frankly. Sort yourselves out. You’re all sounding creepy and rapey.

  50. A friend pointed me to this thread, and upon reading it is rather an interesting read.

    All the ‘radfems’ who are lumping the FtM’s in with girls still are utterly ignoring their gender choice. Several that I know would, in fact, be profoundly upset with being treated such.

    On the one side, there are several well thought out ideas. On the other is ‘nya nya, ur hed is full of poop’ level of immature mocking. It makes a very interesting read if you switch all the gender tags and pointers around. Or rather, it looks the exact same as most places infested by dudebros, and a discussion about FtM’s that are saying ‘i will not respect any of them cause they don’t have a cock and the cock is the ultimate thing in the universe’.

    There are a bunch of people making the ‘teh jeanetiks’ argument, which is about as bad as the ‘teh godbro’ argument. One uses imaginary friends, the other uses imaginary ‘science’. No attention is really given to xxy or androgen insensitive types; someone XY but who was assigned female at birth, has an innie, but does not have functional ovary’s. And again is the ‘i would know if they were fakes!’

    I would also like to point out, that apparently ‘radfem’ and ‘dudbro’ both seem to reduce women/womyn/girls/etc to nothing more than what’s in their underwear.

    As to myself, well. To anyone that demands to know that first off, I the same thing ‘does it matter? I’m not going to sleep with you.’

    Having said that, I seem to be someone who started out with an outie rather than an innie, had hormonal dysphoria to the point of feeling suicidal most of my life till that was fixed. And, I knew I was a girl by the time I hit 7 and was unable to do anything about it due to an ultraconservative abusive parent till a lot later in life.

    I’m a lesbian. And have had a few cis partners who were also lesbains. And several genderqueer partners who also were such. We tend to cuddle a lot, and sleep a lot better when there’s someone else in bed to curl up against.

    On an interesting note, I’ve had several gay male friends who were fun to hang out with, gave great hugs, and were utterly unattracted to me. One who several times threw his arms up and arghed at me due to me ‘being a girl’, and a hetro friend who was a girl who was also unattracted to me for the same reason.

    tldr: ‘radfem’ ‘conservativechristian’ ‘dudebro’ all are saying the same madlibs with different words. I think I’ll take them all with the same seriousness.

    Hopefully this isn’t thread necromancy too terribly much. ^.^;

  51. I am a transman. I spent 20+ years as a butch dyke. In those 20 years, I pulled numerous cis gendered lesbians out of violent relationships with cis partners. I have seen broken jaws, faces smashed into broken glass, just the worst violence. I have sheltered friends in fear of cis women finding them. To assume that lesbians are only open to violence from trans* women, or even men is a cozy electric blanket made up in classrooms and rad fem meetings. People, in all walks of life, no matter whether hetero, queer, separatist, fascist are capable of doing harm to people, and to blame a group for that harm is ridiculous. Cis and trans women are all fabulous, and feminism is for all of us.

  52. I stumbled on this piece looking up what the cotton ceiling meant and I just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful commentary and explanation, and for making me (re)think about how we define terms like “lesbian”.

  53. Human sexuality is innate, some people are exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. Others are bisexual, or pansexual. I do not believe sexuality its flexible, as in the sex you are attracted to can be changed, unless the person is bisexual. I also believe some sex differences are innate, so i believe transgender has a biological basis. I think the sex differences with in the brains of humans are small, but are magnified by cultural gender roles.

    It cannot be fully determined what proportion of the population is gay, or bi. But it is likely that social pressure to be heterosexual lowers the figures. Being gay is not a choice, though it probably can be chosen by some individuals for individual reasons.

    The more i read on this cotton ceiling the less impressed i am becoming. I think to say that women who identify as lesbian should reshape there sexuality to fit into queer politics, is way out of line. Like it or not human sexuality is not a social construction, if you think yours is fluid you are likely bi or pan. Which is all fine, as nature produced diversity.

    Lesbians are attracted to women, and in nature without medical intervention supplying hormones etc, only men have penises. So if a lesbian is adverse to having sex with someone with a penis, or with someone who was born male, who has visible left over male features which turn her off. Then again that is just nature, there are plenty of bi and pan women out there who wont care about any of this stuff.

    Its no different for straight trans women, they too would struggle to find a straight man who would except them pre op. Why should a lesbian be any different, she has just as much right as a straight man to know what her sexuality is.

    I am a lesbian, i have been out with two trans women, i am all for recognizing trans women as women. But the line has to be drawn somewhere.

  54. Hi. I am a transitioning trans MtF from Brazil and I apologize for my poor english. Gender identity is a real, actual thing, not a fantasy, recognized by the UN Human Rights Commission. Lesley, like a fundamentalist evangelical is a transphobe that doesn’t recognize this. A trans person assigned as biologically male at birth doesn’t have to accept her maleness as it was a fatalism and thus having to embrace this from cradle to grave. For this we transition to live as the gender/sex which we identify with. Biological factors don’t determine or explain everything. It’s the reason gender identity is of utmost importance not chromossomes, biology or the like. A man, far from beyond being xy, is satisfied with his gender/sex, but differently, a trans woman, despite being assigned male at birth, does’t feel that she is a man in her brain. If you don’t respect this, yes, you and others commentators are a transphobe that doesn’t respect a human right. Calling us “men” is profoundly disrespectful and discriminatory. Haven’t you seen all enough plight, violence and discrimination that us, trans people have to face in a daily basis? I think that controversial convention “cotton ceiling” perhaps should never be held, since none cis lesbian was invited and personal tastes we can’t criticize. And i apologize to you, Steph Mineart for you being offended by any trans woman here. I didn’t felt your comments being transphobic in any way. In fact you were well balanced and didn’t retributed the rudeness you suffered. And you explained well the fact that in Kinsey scale many women may date us trans women, but in kinsey 6 it may be less likely isn’t it? But thank for you being the good person you are, thanks everybodx who is trans supportive, and i have to say that adore and love all women

  55. Where I wrote “I didn’t felt” I meant “I didn’t feel” and where I wrote “you didn’t retributed” I meant “you didn’t retribute”

  56. How come all of the trans lesbians out there getting on “cis” lesbians for not being sexually turned on by penis don’t want penis themselves. Don’t be hypocritical. And how come this is only directed at lesbians? You don’t see hetero trans women demanding that hetero men reevaluate their attractions and give it a try. You don’t see FTMs going after gay men either. Genitalia doesn’t determine everything for a lot of people, but it does play a role in what turns you on sexually. It completes the package of the gender you’re attracted to, because a vagina IS a female body part and a penis IS a male part. It’s concrete anatomy, and you’ll never convince people otherwise. I think some trans* people are trying to mislabel and rework definitions to suite their needs and make them feel better. It is what it is, and just accept it.

  57. Your hostility towards women who view things differently than you is simply mind-boggling.

    “Sit down, shut up, and read a book (or a blog).” WTF?

    Are you trying to silence women who might feel differently? That is oppressive and I don’t care how you identify yourself.

    It’s too bad that some trans-women feel rejected by some lesbians because they don’t want to have sex with them. But nearly everyone experiences this kind of rejection. It is not unique to trans-women. And whatever shame you might feel, it is coercive to try to shame other individuals into having sex whom they have no desire for.

    Okay, they might be missing out on some transcendental experience…that is their choice. That doesn’t mean they are “transphobic” any more than I’m “lesbianphobic” because I don’t want to have sex with women or a man is “homophobic” if he isn’t sexually attracted to other men.

    I was beginning to be persuaded by your argument but you are so insulting and condescending to women who simply have a different opinion and differing sexuality that it’s hard to give any credence to your point of view.

    But, I’m guessing you don’t care about the perspective of anyone who disagrees with you and would just prefer it if we would just “shut up”. This is excellent advice if you are trying to drive away people who might agree with you on other issues. Congratulations, you’ve succeeded. Good-bye!

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  59. I came very late to this conversation, but I’d just like to say that as a m-f transwoman who has no sexual interest in other women trans or cis, that i resent those that try to push this cotton ceiling nonsense. no one has an obligation to have sex with anyone or even an obligation to consider having sex with another individual or group of individuals. i can def see why this upsets some in the lesbian community. it angers many lesbians and just gives ammunition to the rad feminists who hate us and will never accept us. i’m really sick of all this hostility . some of us just want to live our lives in peace and be left alone.

    • I couldn’t agree more. This certain mindset in the trans movement is only driving a wider wedge between the gay and trans communities. Thank you for being a sane voice in this extremist wave of scaring/guilting people into becoming sexually available to everyone under the guise of a phobia.

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  61. Having run word analysis pn blogs, twitter and facebook of a large number of lgbtq activists and feminists I have found a strong correlation between lgbt behavior and mental health issues.

    This indicates that declassification of such behavior from the mental health lists was a mistake. Most of lgbtq people are seriously ill and need care and medication, not encouragement.

    I wish you well and hope that you and the rest find the help you need.

    May Allah heal you!

  62. The reason why you can’t understand, agree with, or get along with RadFems is because they are real women, whereas you are just men pretending to be women. If you were “real women on the inside” then you would be like, “yeah, I totally understand why they want to exclude us male-born Trans women from their bathrooms and locker rooms”. The fact that you don’t get it is all the proofIng need that you are all men.

  63. Hey Avory! I still love reading your articles and you taught me a new term today. Thank you for writing about this!

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  66. “We will be over here, having fabulous queer sex without you.”

    What a passively aggressive homophobic way to end your piece. Just please know that your sexual politics are not superior to anyone else’s.

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