Is there a “gender critical” way to transition?

Purple Sage

In regards to the topic of how to handle early transition, commenter Daniel asked me this:

“Two other common methods for early transition are wearing the clothes of your target gender prior to medical treatment, or going on hormones but not announcing your transition until you have physically changed enough to pass.

Each has benefits and drawbacks, and I have seen feminists react negatively to all of them. There is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation going on, and it’s not like there are official guidelines on how to handle this.

I’m genuinely curious, assuming someone has dysphoria and is transitioning to treat it, what would you like the early transition timeline to be? What do you think is the best course of action for all involved? This is not a settled question at all, and getting a gender critical perspective on it would be valuable.”

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Patriarchy and capitalism: re-reading the debate

Re-reading the Second Wave

In this guest post Teresa Green revisits the arguments made by socialist and radical feminists about the nature of women’s oppression, and considers their relevance for feminists today. 

Histories of the second wave often distinguish between radical feminist political currents that gave primacy to sex-based oppression, and Marxist or socialist currents that put class antagonism first. However, it wasn’t always as polarized as this implies. Socialist feminists like Zillah Eisenstein argued that the oppressive structures of capitalism and patriarchy should be analysed as mutually reinforcing, with neither taking priority over the other. Capitalism reinforces male supremacy, and male supremacy serves the interests of capitalism (which benefits both directly from the undervaluing of women’s paid labour and indirectly from their unpaid domestic and caring labour).

But as Christine Delphy pointed out, this kind of analysis does not tell us everything about women’s situation as an oppressed class. The male wage labourer…

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Journal Entry from 12/8/12


I wrote these notes near the end of my twenty-sixth year, a few months before I started corresponding with another detransitioned woman I met online. I had already worked out quite a lot on my own. I was still living as a man when I wrote this. A few close and trusted friends knew I was questioning what I was again and that I was starting to think of myself as a woman/dyke more and more.  I’ve added a few notes for clarification. I’m not sure why I put quotes around word transition.

things i think contributed to my decision to “transition”
living in a patriarchal society:
-getting a lot of shit for being a “masculine” woman
-getting treated better when i passed as a dude
-making more sense to people when seen as a trans dude rather than a girl
-internalizing standards of male masculinity [As opposed to “female…

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No space for women

Purple Sage

A friend of mine went to an event recently and found the washrooms like this:


The women’s washroom has been turned into a gender neutral washroom, and a sign on the door indicates women, men and in-between. The men’s washroom remains unchanged.

It’s starting to become a noticeable pattern that when one washroom is made into a gender neutral one, it’s the women’s that gets converted. This means that men can go anywhere but women cannot have any space just for ourselves. If you enter an establishment and find the women’s washroom taken away, please complain to the manager and stop using the business until they provide a washroom for women. Any male allies out there? You can do the same thing. Complain to management that there should be a women’s washroom and do not give them your business until they give it back.

Women, please document this whenever it happens…

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South Africa: Apartheid Military Forced Gay Troops Into Sex-Change Operations

South Africa: Apartheid Military Forced Gay Troops Into Sex-Change Operationsby Ana Simo

AUGUST 25, 2000. South Africa’s apartheid army forced white lesbian and gay soldiers to undergo ‘sex-change’ operations in the 1970’s and the 1980’s, and submitted many to chemical castration, electric shock, and other unethical medical experiments. Although the exact number is not known, former apartheid army surgeons estimate that as many as 900 forced ‘sexual reassignment’ operations may have been performed between 1971 and 1989 at military hospitals, as part of a top-secret program to root out homosexuality from the service.

Army psychiatrists aided by chaplains aggressively ferreted out suspected homosexuals from the armed forces, sending them discretely to military psychiatric units, chiefly ward 22 of 1 Military Hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte, near Pretoria. Those who could not be ‘cured’ with drugs, aversion shock therapy, hormone treatment, and other radical ‘psychiatric’ means were chemically castrated or given sex-change operations.

Although several cases of lesbian soldiers abused have been documented so far—including one botched sex-change operation—most of the victims appear to have been young, 16 to 24-year-old white males drafted into the apartheid army. Between 1967 and 1991, all white males over the age of 16 were conscripted in South Africa. The apartheid regime, which began in 1948, officially ended in 1994.

Alleged Torturer Cozy in Canada
Details of the medical torture program were revealed in “The Aversion Project”, a recent 132-page study, and in a chilling investigative series just published by The Daily Mail and Guardian. The South African newspaper identified the head of the program as Colonel Aubrey Levin, former chief psychiatrist at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital, who left for Canada in the mid-1990’s as the apartheid system crumbled.

Dr. Levin is now Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry (Forensic Division) at the University of Calgary’s Medical School. He is also in private practice, as a member in good standing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

levine Dr. Levin admitted on July 28 to The Daily Mail and Guardian that he had practiced ‘aversion therapy’ on young gay South African soldiers, not with electric shocks, as his victims claim, but with an “electronic device” that caused “a slight, very slight, discomfort in the arm.” However, he strenuously denied that gender reassignment operations were ever performed by the apartheid army and said that no one was ever forced to submit to treatment: “We did not keep human guinea pigs like Russian communists, we only had patients who wanted to be cured and were there voluntarily.”

Since that interview, Levin has retained Grant Stapon, a top Canadian media lawyer, and is now threatening to sue the South African newspaper in a Canadian court. Only one Canadian publication has so far picked up the story—they have also been threatened with a lawsuit. The story has been ignored by the wire services and by the usually avid U.S. media, including—incredibly— its gay wing. (A translation of The Daily Mail and Guardian article outing Levin was posted on July 31 on the home page of the U.S.-owned French-language site, and has since been relegated to their archives.)

Some of the charges against Dr. Levin are not new.

The War Resister, a publication of the Committee of South African War Resisters, first blew the whistle on him in January 1987, for his alleged use of forced aversion shock therapy against gay conscripts.

Untouched by Charges of Abuse
Ten years later, in June 1997, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission named Levin for possible “gross human rights abuses” for the same reason (no mention was then made of the ‘sex-change’ program). However, the Commission apparently made no effort to serve him a subpoena. By then, Levin was already in Canada. Levin could still be prosecuted in South Africa for his alleged human rights abuses because he never applied the Commission for amnesty, nor was granted it.

Dr. Levin is not the only apartheid-era military psychiatrist linked to human rights abuses who continues to practice. A psychiatrist working under him at Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital, who in the 1970’s allegedly helped chemically castrate a young gay conscript named Jean Erasmus, still practices in Cape Town. A depressed Erasmus killed himself last year after telling his story to an Amnesty International representative in Pretoria.

Erasmus’ story is recorded in “The Aversion Project: Human rights abuses of gays and lesbians in the South African Defence Force by health workers during the apartheid era.” The study was commissioned by the Medical Research Council, the Health and Human Rights Project, the Centre for Epidemiological Research in Southern Africa, the South African Medical Research Council, the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), and the Gay and Lesbian Archives.

In the Archives collection there are two boxes of papers documenting the 1968 Immorality Amendment Bill. Item B106 is an eager letter from a loyal member of the ruling, pro-apartheid National Party who claims to have successfully ‘treated’ homosexuals and wants to be invited to address the all-white Parliament on this subject. The letter is signed by Dr. Aubrey Levin, “medical practitioner and psychiatrist in training.”

Government Probe Asked
As more gruesome evidence continued to surface, the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE) asked the government on August 14 to set up a commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of the medical torture allegations against lesbians and gay men by the apartheid army, including the charges of illegal ‘sex-change’ operations. The call was supported by the South African Council of Churches, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, and Amnesty International.

The Coalition, which represents more than 74 lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual organizations in South Africa, wants the commission of inquiry to find out the names of all victims and all perpetrators of these atrocities, as well as the number of deaths. It also wants compensation and follow-up treatment for the survivors and their families.

“Many of the perpetrators of these acts may still be in the service of the State, practicing medicine or in the service of the South African National Defense Force. This is unacceptable,” the Coalition said in a letter to the South African Minister of Defense requesting the probe.

In a statement released on August 16, the Coalition criticized the South African medical establishment for its inaction. Although information about the aversion project had been available for some time, and some medical military staff “at the time of the alleged abuses” had reported them, “the medical establishment has never investigated any of these allegations,” it said.

The South African medical establishment’s ethical lethargy may well be self-serving: it has never been held fully accountable for its widespread violations of human rights under apartheid. By mid-1997, when Dr. Levin was named, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had only heard a measly 28 cases of medical doctors accused of helping the apartheid security forces.

“We believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that there are many hundreds of cases of violations that need to be investigated,” Dr. Leslie London, a member of the Health and Human Rights Project, told the media at the time. These abuses were not isolated events involving a “few bad apples,” but “arose in a context in which the entire fabric of the health sector was permeated by apartheid,” he added.

The bad apple cart will be nastily overturned if South Africa’s government does the right thing and launches an investigation into the alleged anti-gay atrocities. One can almost hear the deafening silence of the medical establishments in two continents as it closes ranks.

Related links:

For The Daily Mail and Guardian complete coverage.

For The Aversion Project (pdf format) go to Behind the Mask, a website on gay and lesbian affairs in (southern) Africa.

For a look at the effectiveness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

For the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College (USA)

Gender Identity Watch


On October 11, The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order granting Kimberly Hively an en banc rehearing in her case against her former employer, South Bend, Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College.

Hively’s lawsuit alleges “she repeatedly applied for and was passed over for full-time positions at the college because she is a lesbian.”  Although she was not formally fired from Ivy Tech, she claims “administrators simply stopped scheduling her to teach courses.”

U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano originally dismissed the case, saying “the law does not explicitly forbid workplaces from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.”  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judgement in a July 28 decision in which Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner writes, “[a]fter a careful analysis of our precedent, however, this court must conclude that Kimberly Hively has failed to state a claim under Title VII for sex discrimination; her claim is solely…

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Jaiowyn Robinson (USA)

Gender Identity Watch


Jaiowyn Robinson, a 35-year-old man who identifies as a transgender woman, appeared at the Warren County Board of Commissioners in Ohio, following their recent actions to ensure that sex reassignment surgeries (“SRS”) are not covered under the county’s employee health plan.  County Commissioner David Young, who signed the letter directing the county’s insurance provider to remove  SRS coverage from their plan, said of their decision, “If someone wants to do that (gender reassignment surgery), that is between them and God.  It’s just not something I think taxpayers should be paying for.”

Although not employed by the county, Robinson nevertheless felt entitled to attend the commissioners’ meeting and read a prepared speech in response to the updated health plan for county employees.  Before the meeting, Robinson told a reporter, “Fighting these systems gives me purpose.”

Commissioner Young cited “the federal government’s overreach” as the inspiration for the change, saying “It’s in the last six months someone…

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What the trans community needs to do to support women’s rights

I’m always seeing these articles on what feminists and lesbians need to do to support the trans community and it’s pretty much shut up and obey and call the nice man she if he demands it and prioritize the needs of males who identify as women ALWAYS and cease to exist as a female class of people. Right, not going to happen.

Anyway, here’s my list of what the trans community needs to do to support women’s rights.

  1. Stay out of women only spaces. All of ya.
  2. Build trans specific homeless shelters that are sex segregated.  FTMs are not safe in men’s shelters and they aren’t likely to want to ID as the women they are (women are adult females, even women who take T) to get into a woman’s shelter, so build the FTMs some homeless shelters already. Women’s shelters are being forced to admit any male who claims to be a woman into women’s shelters. This is fucked up. Build homeless shelters for MTFs and you guys figure out who’s *REALLY* trans or who’s not and stay the fuck out women’s shelters, see 1.
  3. Expand co-ed sports (this would be really cool) and start trans specific leagues. Also, MTFs stay out of women’s sports, see 1.
  4. Stop telling lesbians they are “transphobic” for knowing that dick is male and not wanting to date MTFs as they are men. Again, see 1.
  5. Speak out against the current trend of transing children. These are minors, CHILDREN, that are  being physically altered with hormones and surgeries to make them appear to be the opposite sex and if you think this is going to end well, you are fucking crazy. Puberty blockers and early cross sex hormones lead to sterilization and nearly ALL the kids put on puberty blockers go onto cross sex hormones so stop with the “it just buys them time” bullshit, cause it’s bullshit. Actually it’s beyond bullshit, it’s eugenics and it’s sexist and homophobic to the extreme. Go read
  6. Stop claiming misgendering is violence, it’s not and everyone knows transwomen are men, everyone, even your mom.
  7. Ban rapists and predators from claiming trans status and getting to change legal gender marker and name and get a new lease on life. No, no more guys like these transitioning in jail.
  8. Work to make men’s bathroom, locker room, safe for all sexes of all sartorial choices. FTMs just need to pee. Transwomen aren’t being assaulted in the men’s room, like none, FTMs are the ones who are at risk. Transwomen, use the men’s room and defend FTMs or at least run a diversion or something. And besides, assault is already illegal so if a transwoman is assaulted using the men’s room, just call the police. Again, see 1.

New Statesman | What’s missing from the transgender debate? Any discussion of male violence

One of those things that supposedly never happens, happened. Luke Mallaband was convicted of six voyeurism offences after a female student at the University of East Anglia found his phone hidden in…

Source: New Statesman | What’s missing from the transgender debate? Any discussion of male violence

“I’m not a TERF but…”

Purple Sage

This morning I woke up to a comment that started off with “I’m not a TERF, but….” and then she basically agreed with the problem I have with Danielle Muscato.

“I’m not a TERF, but I do find that it is a bit disingenuous of D. Moscato to have made this pronouncement two years ago and, in glancing at their FB page, see no difference in their presentation to date. Curious. It is not difficult to shave or to modify clothing style, and yet I see none of that. Perhaps giving up male privilege is more difficult than they originally anticipated.”

It’s interesting that she just denied Muscato’s gender identity and yet she feels the need to say “I’m not a TERF.” I have several things to say about that.

First of all, nobody is actually a TERF. This is not actually a descriptive acronym, it’s a slur. The…

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