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Introduction To Transness

A. E. D'orsay
A brief overview of the history and significant concepts applicable to the development and understanding of a Transcentric approach to the dignity, civil rights, and human rights of Trans people.

Dyssonant Expressions www.dyssonance.com

8/31/2013

Copyright
2013 Antonia Elle Dorsay. All Rights Reserved.

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Introduction
This is not the Trans 101 people keep telling you to read. You can find all manner of Trans 101s out there. Every major city in the country has someone working to create one or more, every major activist that I know has some sort of a basic glossary of terms, a core set of ideas and concepts they promote. This is about Transness, and it starts where it should start, with a history that looks more at the concepts that led us to where we are today than the major people involved, even though, for this edition, I have tossed in a brief little extra bit. This is a 101 that is more like the thing it gets its name from and less like a quick way to grab some sort of minimal knowledge basis. This is to serve you as an introduction to certain concepts, particular ideas, and I will be blunt in saying that it is likely to be a work in progress for a long while. This is sorta like the basics, if you were to take a course in learning about trans stuff the starting place for you to engage in the hard work of learning things yourself. There is no grade here, though. No bell curve to worry about, no pass/fail. There is only the text itself, and from that text, if you want to, you can craft your quizzes and your homework

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assignments and you can go out and do more research and learn more things, on your own. That doesnt mean this is definitive, or that you will learn everything there is to know here. It is not, in the end, what you want it to be, it is what I chose to make it. There are no citations here, no footnotes. That learning, that educational effort, is left up to you, the reader, to research. The details are given when needed for you to do so, so that you can check against what you see and learn and grow on your own. This is collated from what I know, and checked with things that are fairly easy to find online, and one of my big things is to place all of this stuff into a context that is already known. For the most part and out of respect to other cultures and nations in part this is going to focus on the United States. I could dig deeper and go further and speak to issues in other cultures, but that is a task I leave to those who are far more competent in those areas than I am. I may have a decent grasp of Malay culture, but the history of Malaysia is not my history, and I would do it a disservice. However, it would be pretty cool to me if others, within their nations and cultures, would follow the path I am trying to lay out here, and write that of their people. We need that. We should have that. I try to tell people that there are few cultural equivalents. That Trans here is not always trans there. That what I describe as a Transgender person in the US does not culturally work with a different culture, as there are gradations and shadings and history. There are no doubt great and massive commonalities, persistent possibilities and deep, wonderful collisions of symmetry, but they are still part of their cultures, and one of the things that is most important about Transcentrism is that we honor and respect those differences even as we celebrate those similarities.

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People in the US, especially, have a hard time with that, though. But if I am given those tales, those histories, I will include them here, and I will do what I can to enlighten others, and, most of all, myself. So here you go: a 101 like no other youve seen before. Get a sandwich, some coffee, a comfy chair, and Enjoy. Toni Dorsay August, 2013

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Table of Contents

Copyright ....................................................................................................................................................... 1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 2 TransCentrism ................................................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined. A Reformation of the Spirit ......................................................................................................................... 11 Meanwhile............................................................................................................................................ 13 The Darkness Reinforced ........................................................................................................................ 16 The Absence of a Voice ............................................................................................................................... 19 A Voice comes along ............................................................................................................................... 22 A Passed Torch ........................................................................................................................................ 25 The Struggle to Be Seen .............................................................................................................................. 29 A Light to find the Way ........................................................................................................................... 33 Divisions By Circumstance ...................................................................................................................... 40 Revolutionary Spirits and Radical Souls ...................................................................................................... 44 The Modern Era Begins ........................................................................................................................... 48 Backlash .................................................................................................................................................. 50 The Hammer Blows ..................................................................................................................................... 57 Brief highlights ............................................................................................................................................ 61 Socio-political efforts against Trans people, 1971 to 2007 .................................................................... 61 Ciscentrism .................................................................................................................................................. 66 Cis, Trans, Inter, and those two other things.......................................................................................... 68 Cisness..................................................................................................................................................... 70 Transness ................................................................................................................................................ 70 Transness & Cisness Examination ....................................................................................................... 70 Identity ........................................................................................................................................................ 74 Social Affinity .......................................................................................................................................... 74 Affinity Politics ........................................................................................................................................ 75 Kinship: denied........................................................................................................................................ 77 Reap what you sow ................................................................................................................................. 78 Description .................................................................................................................................................. 79 Situational Membership ......................................................................................................................... 81 Introduction to Transness Page 5

Relationship to Sexual Orientation ......................................................................................................... 82 Structure & Agency ..................................................................................................................................... 84 Structure ................................................................................................................................................. 84 Agency ..................................................................................................................................................... 85 Ciscentrism .............................................................................................................................................. 88 The Rule of Screwing............................................................................................................................... 88 Cooperative Analysis ............................................................................................................................... 91 The Ciscentric Bargain............................................................................................................................. 92 Interplay .................................................................................................................................................. 94 Privilege................................................................................................................................................... 97 System of Privilege .............................................................................................................................. 98 Loss Of Privilege ................................................................................................................................ 100 Privilege is Ciscentric......................................................................................................................... 100 Checklists .......................................................................................................................................... 101 Social Constructions .................................................................................................................................. 102 Sex ......................................................................................................................................................... 103 Social Sex............................................................................................................................................... 105 Social Sex Awareness ............................................................................................................................ 108 Social Sex Roles ..................................................................................................................................... 109 Social Sex Expressions ........................................................................................................................... 109 Social Sex Behaviors .............................................................................................................................. 109 Internal Sex Awareness ......................................................................................................................... 109 Belonging & the Human Need for Connection ......................................................................................... 111 The Other .............................................................................................................................................. 114 Transphobia .......................................................................................................................................... 117 Policing .................................................................................................................................................. 121 Stigma ................................................................................................................................................... 122 Ostracism .............................................................................................................................................. 124 Oppression Against Trans People ......................................................................................................... 128 Identifying Transphobia .................................................................................................................... 131 Responding to Anxiety, Aversion, & Animus .................................................................................... 132 Socialization Arguments........................................................................................................................ 135 Introduction to Transness Page 6

Violence against Trans People .............................................................................................................. 138 Closing ....................................................................................................................................................... 145

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Transcentrism
In centering the lives of Trans people in discourse as parallel with both potential and actual modes that differ, one can start the effectively radical task of dismantling the internalized and external manifestations of social stigmatization and identify systemic power imbalances that are necessary for an effective movement towards a more equitable society that places the needs of all persons as equal. Transcentrism is a response to Ciscentrism, which is not, in and of itself, inherently based in aversion, anxiety, or animus towards transness or trans people, but which is often used in such a manner by those who have access to the expectations of the dominant cultural group in this case, Cis people, as Cisness is the normative model that defines those core expectations. Transcentrism is based on a few very simple concepts. Transness is not an illness, not a disease, not a problem. It is a difference, and there may be physiological differences that could be useful in identifying Trans people at an early age in order to avoid harming them, but the concerns of Transcentrism are not based in physicality or physiology, as Transcentrism is not based in biological essentialism. Transness is not GID, but GID is Transness. Transness, in Transcentrism, is defined as follows: Transness is the state of awareness or condition in society of someone who does not conform in a majority of aspects to the way their society or culture sees them as behaving and living in relation to their cultures social construction of physiological sex, usually due to a variance between their physical sex and one or both of their social sex identity and/or internal sex identity. It exists at the same level as awareness of self, and it is, itself, an awareness. Note that the focus of Transcentrism is on the state of awareness, not on the physical aspects of the definition.

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This is a key and central difference that informs the full range of arguments and outlook around the shift to a transcentric viewpoint and approach. It lifts the arguments out of and away from the derailings of physicality, which themselves are based in a ciscentric understanding and ciscentric systems. This is possible to say because it is understood that fundamentally, the systems and institutions that exist in the broader world are created by, for, and about Cis people be they cisgender or cissexual or both. The central test for identifying such elements in culture and society is this: Was the existence of Trans people considered in the establishment of that concept, system, or institution? The answer in an overwhelming number of cases is going to be no. This is really only important at a very basic level the most rudimentary aspects are where such attention is to be paid, and two of the elements that have already been identified are the systemologies of Sex and Sexual Orientation, neither of which are classified with an understanding or awareness of Trans people in their core development. This is because they nature of the social constructions around those concepts is one that is focused and exclusionary, and therefore calls many of the concepts and dependent ideas that follow from them into question. It also only calls them into question it does not mean they are necessarily ciscentric in their application, and in the present society there are many efforts underway to rectify that that will take time to change. What this does do, however, is give us a new way of perceiving the world around us, one that is not as simplistic as people like to make it for the ease of broad education, but that is nonetheless far more accurate in terms of grasping the world as a whole.

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Transcentrism incorporates many concepts, each of which I have explored in the past in various ways, and that will, as time now goes forward, revisit and see how to remove from them the subtleties of Ciscentric ideation that is common and typical for Trans people, themselves, to have and hold in order to come to some terms with the enormous amount of stigma and shame that has traditionally been associated with transness. To understand this concept, we need to examine the cultural foundations that established it, and so we turn, first, to history, and the development of the concept of Transness as a modern idea, tracing the significant figures and events that shaped that concept and the awareness of it among the population; with trans people in particular.

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A Reformation of the Spirit


In the mid to late 1800s, there was a wave of laws that swept across the United States that explicitly outlawed cross dressing. Over a period of about 20 years, these laws passed in the main states, even though most of the nation was still territory. These laws were in reaction to something. Historically, thats how such laws are always passed they are reacting to something that startles, that shakes things up, that freaks people out. Much of this happened in the years after the Civil War, a war that was ultimately about many things but is still and always going to be about the right of human beings to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was about slavery, at its core, and it was bloody, and brutal, and it had and continues to have lasting impact on the character and makeup of our nation, our culture, and our society. It involved tens of thousands of people and it was unlike anything that anyone had ever seen at that time. Even the French Revolution pales in comparison. It would be nearly a hundred years later before we saw that kind of depth in violence, and had to once again deal with the effects of that violence. Facing ones imminent death is a changing experience. We write poems about it, we craft intricate tales around it, we mythologize that moment. It has been studied and clarified and considered and quantified and classified. When you face your death, in a strange and bizarre reaction that to our knowledge right now is a uniquely human thing, you reflect on your life and how you have lived it. And you might see truths in that moment that you did not see before, and should you escape with your life from whatever it is, you might choose to live your life according to things that matter to you, and that might not matter to others. This was a time when there was note the heavy sort of record keeping that people have today. In this time, you could get on a horse and ride down deeply rutted roads for two days, get off

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your horse, and start a life with a new name, and never be broadly questioned about it. It was presumed that people were, fundamentally, honest and good and those are still values that we hold today, though many prey on the fears that others have. Many people did exactly that. When I say many people, I mean around 50,000 of them. These 50,000 for the most part left the more densely packed urban areas of the east coast and went into the more rural areas of what is today known as the mid-west, but back then was just The West. This particular group of them, however, did something that was different from the tens of thousands of other people who fled places that constantly reminded them of loss, pain, bloodshed, and violence. These people were looking for a little more than room and space and a fresh start. Some were what people think of as women. Some were what people think of as men. To those who knew them, thats what they left those reminders as. When they arrived, however, they were something else. Something different. Nor were they alone. In Europe, there was the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, the unification of Italy, Germany was struggling against waves of shifting rebellion, France was recovering its own power and struggling to maintain a far-flung empire as it struggled with its age old rival. It was the Victorian Era. The heart of it, and it wasnt limited just to the Colonies of the Empire, it affected everyone and everything they encountered, with strict intolerance of variance and very rigid roles for gender that even today we are struggling against. It may be one of the most strict periods in modern history for gender roles and the system of behaviors, expressions, and expectations that govern the interplay between people.

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And they wanted to escape that, as much as they could, because they didnt belong to those things. Often, they were suspected or found out or whatever, and this was what led to these laws. They were developed from a history of such things that had grown out of the preceding centuries, cases often forgotten a decade later, only to be sparked by the latest shocking revelation of someone who was, otherwise, a fine upstanding pillar of the community, now caught out in an act of flagrant disregarding of the social good. This was a period of power for the White, Protestant, sometimes Evangelical people who had descended from the colonists that had come and run roughshod and without regard for the lives of the people already living here. And all of this matters. All of this is important, because at the same time all of this was going on, a handful of people started to study the way people were. Especially in regard to that one thing that Victorian Era values would never allow being discussed. It was in the midst of all of this that a few men and some women who are, for the most part relegated to footnotes at best, started to examine something in a new way. A way that centered around this particular branch of Philosophy that was being called Science by those mechanical whiz kids in England. In particular, this thing called the scientific method.

Meanwhile
This was the setting for one guy to try and figure out a way to describe how he, and several others of his acquaintance, could be normal people and yet also different in that they were not attracted to the kinds of people to whom they were supposed to be attracted. This context is important to know. It is also important to know that while those cross dressers struggled to hide and live lives in the American West, that these people doing this thinking lived in Germany. Where the cream of the worlds intelligence was gathered: Berlin.

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In the 1860s, Berlin was the center of the educational universe. It would hold that position until world war 1. Paris was where Art flourished, and Berlin was where you went if you wanted to know why art was art, or who that weirdo Galileo was. Berlin was what the Ivy League aspired to be. In 1864 and 1865 the tail end of the Civil War a series of five booklets were published in Germany under the name Numa Numantius by a person named Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. In these booklets, he hypothesized a series of different kinds of people who were not like most other people. As a young child, Ulrichs had preferred girls clothing, playing with other girls, and had wanted to be a girl. He appears to have grown out of that, but it stayed with him in many ways as he became who is generally considered to be one of the most important of the early pioneers in the LGBT Rights movement. One questions, with reason, what he might have done had it been possible for him to achieve that goal, and how long he held it, but only if one is familiar enough with the trans experience to understand it enough. The point of doing so isnt to question if he was gay or not (the odds are incredibly in favor of him simply being gay, we know now), but to wonder what might have happened had he come into this world a century later. He, himself, had come out to his family a few years earlier a dramatic and startling step that even today can cost someone their life. He was concerned with letting people know that people like him were natural. They were normal. They might be different, but no more different than a person with blonde hair was from one with brown. The wide series of terms he coined were very German in origin, and because Berlin was a major center, the word got out quickly, and especially after he collected them in the anonymously

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published book Forschungen ber das Rtsel der mannmnnlichen Liebe (Researches on the Riddle of Male-Male Love). These ideas were greeted in Victorian England by several people who began to do some incredible things with them. This is important as this happened before another guy wrote about many of the same topics influenced by Ulrichs, and coined a term in 1869 that is found widely used today: homosexual. He also coined heterosexual. He was, himself, heterosexual, according to him, and theres never been any indication that he wasnt. He wrote, however, that an anti-sodomy law in Prussia was against human rights, and together with Ulrichs, he began the campaign to overturn it. His name was Kertbeny. Karl-Maria Kertbeny. This was the start of the LGBT movement, and while many question the inclusion of it in a history of trans people, it is important to note this, as a seminal moment, when one realizes the nature of trans people, the history of how they are approached by Cis people, and the terminology used by Ulrichs. anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa The psyche of a woman within a male body. The ideas we have about sexual orientation and transness are incorporated and commingled in his work, and this is the birth of the fight for LGBT rights as we know it today. These are the ideas that still influence and affect all the fights we are still going through, culturally, even while science has progressed and marched on long past the point where these truly make sense. Within his work one finds the notions of bisexuality, homosexuality, butch men and butch women, femme men and femme women, and the first modern era calls for people to understand

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that these people exist and they are not wrong or deformed, and, above all, he created the notion that this is something to think about in terms of science. And from there, it spread. Oscar Wilde loved it. Uranian was what Ulrichs called one sort, and from there came all the rest. Ulrichs influenced Kertbeny, who coined terms that were used by another man named Jager although Kertbenys contributions to the book were rejected otherwise. Jagers work influenced another man, and it is here that we return to the US.

The Darkness Reinforced


It is now the era of the Wild West. that slim period between 1875 and 1900 where the Victorian Eras sway and hold over the coasts gave way to what is romanticized and mythologized as the spirit of American manifest destiny. By 1890, in nearly every reasonably sized town across the nation, there was a doctor of some sort, and most of them had a copy of a book published in Germany in by a man named Richard von Krafft-Ebing. The book was Psychopathia Sexualis: eine Klinisch-Forensische Studie (Sexual Psychopathy: A Clinical-Forensic Study). Psychiatry was a popular field then, as it is now, and so the book, which was essentially the DSM of its day, was used in Universities across the world, was a teaching tool, was a reference, was a way of seeing this new stuff like it had never been seen before, and it was a massively influential tome. In the United States, most of the vile stuff said about LGBT folks can be traced back to it. It wasnt intended to be a source for vile misinformation. Such things rarely are. Intent, however, is not magical, and does not excuse the damage that it did, even though it was also useful.

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When you hear about horrible things in Asylums at the turn of the century and in the first few years after, you are hearing about the stuff this book talked about and the ways and efforts sought to cure the problems this book spoke to. It is from here that we get the terms sadism and masochism. He didnt coin them but he certainly popularized them. He felt that sex for reasons other than procreation was wrong, and that affected how he wrote about such things. Through 12 editions, and despite disagreeing with Freud, who popularized Psychotherapy, and ending in 1901, he created one of the most powerful, potent works of science from that era. Still, some people may wonder about what this has to do with trans people. One must remember, though, that in 1901, trans people were gay. They were just a strange kind of gay person. TO these people there was no difference and this held for a mighty long time even until today among the common populace that isnt familiar with such, It is a top downstream, from academia into the cultural zeitgeist, and in seeing it, you can also see the birth of the internal, horizontal hostilities. The trans community was there, all along, though. When some would die and be found out, they were retroactively described as such. But many, they were never found out, and lived quiet lives, and they found ways to do things, and they endured. We wont hear about them. Their lives are not discovered, not read, not noted. That doesnt mean they dont exist, for as long as we have been people, there have been trans people. Those people who are not trans people are called Cis people. Where Trans means to cross the deadly river, Cis means to remain on the side you started out on. Trans people make a crossing, while Cis people do not. Cis people are the most common, the most every day, the overwhelming majority of them.

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Those 50,000 I noted before are a fraction of the number of Trans people who are statistically speaking likely to have existed in the 1860s. Like the million or so today in the United States, they are mostly unseen, unknown, unheard, and unmarked. Yet they live and breathe and exist. Cis people are among Trans people. For every 1 trans person there are a least 250 Cis people. They are the unmarked, the normal, the bell curve. And the world around us is built for them, without consideration of the needs or challenges of trans people, and that causes harm to trans people. That, in a nutshell, is what describes Ciscentrism. It is the act of centering in place of others the lives of people who are not Trans, and it is structured to support the lives of people who are not trans, and is built by them, for them, and by them, and most overwhelmingly it is not done on purpose, with malice and intent, but out of ignorance and blindness.

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The Absence of a Voice


This history I tell you now is about Cis history. It is the history of trans people as written by them, because there were no voices for trans people yet, this is also where the birth of what we know of today as Trans people begins. With Ulrichs, writing about the mind of a woman in the body of a man. Not trapped there, simply there. He was the earliest. He didnt write about the mind of a woman in the body of a man attracted to women that didnt quite make sense to him then, because it hadnt been separated yet. It hadnt been placed before him. This marks our history our earliest history as commingled and conflated from the beginning, and it didnt even start to separate until later. Some will ask how do we know that trans people lived and died then? How do we know there were trans people then? One of the most challenging aspects of having your history written for you by people who are oppressing you is the old maxim of the winners dictate history in the form of the powerful do so to their own interests. I am not here to argue with people about who identified as trans and who did not. I am here to tell you who fits a criteria for trans and who does not based on the way they lived their lives. There are many tales of Men who died and were found to be women, though they were always men right up until that point. There were tales of women who died and were found to be men, as well. Spinsters and married women, wild bachelors who fought with Florence Nightingale and caroused along the back ways of the Old West. They are out there. They are pirates and soldiers, doctors and lawyers, housewives and miners, farmers and ranchers, thieves and heroes. They may be marked as gay and lesbian, and for their times, thats as close as one can get to how they might have, possibly, seen

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themselves in some ways, but they never left much to go off of. They were too busy living their lives to spend inordinate amounts of time examining them. Learning who they are is an effort for a later course; a trans 102, perhaps, but not a 101. They are out there if you look. To look for them, you need to know what to look for. Here is what to look for. Seek out persons who lived a life within the limitations imposed on them by their day, but were found out, revealed, imprisoned, tortured, beaten, and run out of town. Those laws are a good place to start. Look in the news of the weird, the unusual, the out of the ordinary. Seek people who meet this standard: Transness is the state of awareness or condition in society of someone who does not conform in a majority of aspects to the way their society or culture sees them as behaving and living in relation to their cultures social construction of physiological sex, usually due to a variance between their physical sex and one or both of their social sex identity and/or internal sex identity. It exists at the same level as awareness of self, and it is, itself, an awareness. What that means, in detail, is this: look for people who, when left to their own lives, when driven by things they dont demarcate to those that come after, refused to adhere to the rules of the culture they were raised in for how to dress, how to act, how to look. And to that add people who lived the life they carved for themselves, despite that hostility, and did so in secret and fooled everyone. Dont look at who they dated or married or fell in lust with. Look at them, at their lives. Because trans people are not defined by who they date or what they have sex with. If you look to those things, you are continuing the very notions that trans people have been fighting for since Ulrich tried to classify everyone.

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And you are conflating their sexual orientation, in your own terms, not theirs, with their sense of self. Many people who are hostile to trans people will use this kind of argument, and try to define trans people by who they are attracted to. It cannot be done with any accuracy, and these are people long dead, so they cannot speak to you of it. This is important. While they were out there, one will not find tales of those who are both or neither easily. They exist, mind you, but because the society and culture of the day were so restrictive, they were always shunted into one or other and penalized and then that was it. The ones that will be easiest to find are those who crossed and then met the standards of the day in their daily lives, the women and men who became men and women, and then remained that way, for years. Many people can do it for a short time. Theoretically, a few could even do it for decades. But in most cases, and to most degrees, only trans people are going to live their lives without break or hesitation and then make something of that life in the process. So thats what you look for. Consider this, as well: our standards in this vein are far more relaxed than they were in those days. And even then we still have a reported rate of 41% who fail at suicide. We dont know what the success rate is. But we can almost certainly realize that it was much higher back then. There is something notable, however, during this time period. A Zuni lhamana named Wewha was invited to visit President Grover Cleveland at the White House. A significant part of the role that Wewha had was to serve as a mediator, and a representative of the people in dealings with other tribes. Though shown as an anthropological curiosity, it merited mention in some news reports of the day, and is the earliest presently known reference to a trans person entering the White House.

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A Voice comes along


In 1892, a young, newly Doctored German traveled the United States, even visiting the worlds fair in Chicago. He was 24 years old, and he was gay, and he was familiar with all the stuff that had been written thus far by those mentioned before. He was angry about not being able to live openly, to be himself and to have to sacrifice his sense of well-being to preserve his reputation both socially and academically. And, like his heroes, he wasnt going to put up with it readily. In 1896, back from his travels, he published a booklet, Sappho and Socrates, wherein he talked about homosexual love, using the newly found word and influenced by Ulrichs. He was a medical doctor, and he opened a naturopathic practice in Berlin, that same year, and the following year he got together with a publisher and others to start an organization that would provide medical research to support the fight against the anti-sodomy laws in Germany. He and his group gathered a petition that had 5000 signatures on it from some of the most powerful and well respected people of the day on it, including Kraft-Eberling, the author of that tome found everywhere by the early 1900s. They were enough to get the repeal of the law at least considered, but it failed, and the youthful doctor decided that he would start Outing people in the German parliament and then did so. It took two decades more, nevertheless. It was to him that later people, such as Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, looked on, sometimes in something akin to awe. It was to him that many of the people who in the 1950s changed the way we think of sex and the way people relate to each other looked for the foundation and premise behind their work. He was dealing with patients who were not gay in the 1910s. They seemed gay in some ways, but they werent quite what he expected. He listened to them, he spoke to them, he heard them, and he realized something that none of his peers had yet rea lized: they werent gay. They

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were kind a like gay people, but not really. He especially saw a lot of the ones who seemed like little boys but were really little girls, and he observed how those who indulged their children had happier ones and how those who didnt had sad ones. He continued the notion of classifying things, and in the end came up with 64 different classifications. Under one set of these types, which he called Transvestit, he included what today we recognize as some of the diversity of the Trans community, including transsexuals. In 1919 he co-wrote and co-starred in a film starring an actor whose face was the inspiration for the Joker from Batman. The film was a work of resistance to the laws that criminalized sexual relations between gay men and lesbians. He also purchased a place where he opened what in English is called the Institute for Sexual Research, a first of its kind effort that began to change things for trans people dramatically. Among his employees there was a young woman named Dorchen who served as a sort of secretary and assistant. She was a trans woman, and one of his patients. She was also one of the earliest people to receive what we consider to be SRS in the modern sense. This Institute would become a major source of knowledge for the entire world. In 1922, he organized a World Congress for Sexual Reform. He was a tireless campaigner, a frequent speaker, and earned the sobriquet Einstein of Sex, a nod to his friend and one of the most influential Germans in the world at the time, and also a somewhat mocking way of saying this man talked too much about something that wasnt to be talked about. All throughout this time, he traveled, extensively, and frequently to America, where he would lecture and teach as much as he was allowed, and where he was often looked at askance by a population that didnt know what to make of this man who was saying things that damaged ongoing fights at the time, while helping others. Fights for the suffrage of women and against the evil scourge that caused all men to be demons and led the immigrant hordes into riot and lawlessness: alcohol.

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His name was Magnus Hirschfeld, and he was pro-choice before pro-choice was a thing. He was a man on a mission and his mission was LGBT lives. Truly: all of them. In this time, he did something that gained worldwide publicity. A married couple of painters, Einer and Gerda, who both enjoyed some reasonable success as painters and were of that rare grouping of painters who are popular in their own lives, approached him and his Institute about an interesting thing they had discovered in the process of Einar modeling for Gerda. He arranged it. He made it possible. Today, what was done we would call an orchiectomy. And so became the man behind the first widely known and well documented sex change in the world. Lili, like many Trans people, wanted to go further than was generally accepted, and although Hirschfeld didnt supervise, he connected her with the doctor that carried out a penectomy, and the introduction of donated ovaries for transplant. That didnt work out well for Lili, nor did the following attempt to transplant a uterus so that she could become a mother, and the rejection from the transplant killed her. It also added valuable information that has saved the lives of countless thousands of other transplant cases. To this day, many trans women long for the ability to have a transplanted uterus for the purpose of being a mother. One day, it will be possible. The question is now will it be permissible. Hirschfeld found his life in ruins in 1933, however. With the rise to power of a bar room miscreant named Adolf, his clinic was forced shut and the newsreel footage of Nazis burning books is widely held to be the books and materials from the Institute, representing his life work. Their rise to power also destroyed any hope he had of changing the anti-sodomy law.

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He spent the rest of his life in effective exile from his homeland, but he never stopped fighting. However, his import is not just limited to the above. He is celebrated today, and has been over those who influenced him (though now they are gaining recognition), and there is, of course, the replacement for his life work: the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Humboldt University, Berlin

A Passed Torch
In the early 1900s, he made friends with a fellow medical doctor, and thereby changed the nature of Trans medicine in the United States. An endocrinologist primarily, but also a researcher in sexology, this young doctor was named Harry Benjamin. In the Ea rly 1900s, he would travel around Berlin with his friend Hirschfeld and he would experience the vibrant nightlife of gay Berlin, and was most entertained by the drag queens and others, who Hirschfeld would educate him about using those 64 different classifications of his. Two years after getting his doctorate in 1912, he was returning home to Berlin when the ocean liner he was traveling on was turned away due to the outbreak of World War I. I should point out that there were no transoceanic airlines at this time. He returned to the United States, where he lived for the rest of his life though he traveled frequently. His humble practice in New York City was more a last ditch effort to survive than any real goal of his, but it changed the lives of every trans person alive today. He reportedly shared infrequent communications with his friend Hirschfeld until his death, and there is no question that the man had a strong influence on Benjamins approach and understanding of things that the science of the day was struggling to accept. In 1941, a new drug was announced and marketed. It was called Premarin. By carefully extracting the estrogenic compounds from pregnant mare urine, researchers found they could provide people with cost effective replacements for womens hormones.

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In 1942, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey approached Benjamin about a young child who wanted to be a girl and their mother was in favor of helping them achieve that. Despite the objections of a team of psychiatrists, Benjamin went ahead and prescribed Premarin for the young girl. He even made arrangements for her to travel to Germany for surgery, but when that failed, he never had contact with them again, which was an enduring regret of his. It cannot be underestimated just how important his efforts were. Across the United States, the handful of doctors (that is, less than 5, in the entire country) who might help trans people always referred and deferred during the 30s and 40s to the quiet, unassuming immigrant in New York. He was he doctor that everyone went to. He developed a specialist practice the first of its kind in the United States and he worked with very carefully selected doctors, always mindful of laws in the United States that governed the possibility of doing such surgeries in the US. During this time, there was a crime that was based on the periodic issue of women who would get so angry at their philandering and/or abuse husbands that they would borrow a kitchen utensil and dismember his manhood. It was, and is, called mayhem. As a crime, it happens whenever someone decides to dismember a person, in whole or in part. A useful term to know cut off an arm, thats mayhem. Lends new interest to the phrase wreaking mayhem as well as a great deal more blood. Also explains the phrase life and limb used in place of murder and mayhem. See what odd stuff you can learn? These statutes were used against doctors the public found unpleasant frequently, and especially in cases where the work being done was considered by politicians and police as experimental. There was to be no frankensteining here, ladies and gentlemen. The import of an electrologist? Martha Foss. Surgeons? Someone who will be talked about in a bit: Georges Borou. Psychiatrists? C.L Ihlenfeld and John Alden.

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They became a sort of team of folks who essentially created a standard of care for people that the rest of the world decided were of little or no value and they are, in a real sense, the first people to fully recognize the import of Trans people as part of the rest of society and how their own actions limited or pushed them forward. They were, in a very real sense, the first Transcentrists. Imperfect, without doubt, but with each generation, we come closer. They decidedly recognized that trans people were fundamentally unique. They were not, however, widely known. The first famous US Transsexual, Christine Jorgensen, did not initially contact him, according to most accounts, but did encounter him and became his patient for hormone therapy and commiseration, although after her penectomy and famous return, she did ultimately have vaginoplasty under his supervision. And this is important to note. Sex changes which generally include a series of operation on a trans woman (orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, labiaplasty) or a trans man (hysterectomy, oophorectomy, urethaplasty, scrotoplasty, phalloplasty, metoidioplasty) are a very socially fickle concept. The widely announced sex changes in the earliest years (Elbe, Jorgensen) were little more than penectomies, much like historical evidence indicates has been done on people for centuries when it came to trans women, or mastectomies for trans men. That is, for centuries up through the early 1950s, a penectomy or mastectomy was enough to qualify as a sex change for most purposes and was generally considered acceptable enough in most cases. Trans people still see this today, and it is still reflected in such things as the stigma of a woman with who has to have her breasts removed or a man who has an accident and is suddenly no longer manly enough. This is readily contrasted with many of the arguments that are made these days in opposition to trans people, where such things are considered not enough any longer.

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Often by the same people who say none of it should happen in the first place. I question this, personally, as it is a position that has not effective, practical, or real world merit based on observable, recorded history. Let alone observable events that are readily duplicated. Even the term, itself sex change has acquired a negative connotation in many contexts and so many different alternatives have been proposed or used in place of the catch all terminology, such as Gender reassignment surgery or Gender reaffirmation surgery, or gender correction surgery. As a matter of personal preference, I generally use SRS, but what anyone calls it after that is their personal preference as well and sex change works as well as any other. Hyphenated or not. In most cases, it suffices as a nicely crude interruption that shocks people out of their daze, especially when reading many thousand word posts best enjoyed whilst curled up with a pleasant pet and a mug of liquid alertness. Throughout this period, as he worked with thousands of patients, from all over the country and the world, he became much beloved, and also regarded as something of a strange sort. Someone who was out there scientifically speaking. He published, he wrote, he toured, he lectured, he taught when he could. His work challenged the existing ideas of the time, and he was, I will note a contemporary of Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, and his work was as widely disturbing to the general population as theirs. By 1950, he was generally recognized as the leading authority of Trans people. His work continues to have a profound impact on our lives, in many different ways. He is the source of the majority of the understanding of trans people in the United States scientific community, and he did it carefully slowly, and against great opposition and often at great risk, all of which he shrugged off. In the 40 years that he was doing that, however, something else happened in America.

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The Struggle to Be Seen


People take for granted, today, many of the things we have available to us. Two of them stand out as most notable, for as each movement within either of them has come forward, so has a movement shifted in terms of social justice. The first is changes in transportation. Mobility is a key factor, and despite the hardships that many trans people face today, they are still far more mobile than trans people were just 5 decades ago, let alone at the start of the 20th Century. The second, and more important, is communication. At the turn of the century, in 1900, there were fewer than 20 miles of paved roads in all of the Continental United States. Cars were not ubiquitous, and even by 1910, they were still struggling along as the shift in the nations underlying infrastructure began. The telephone was still a very rare commodity, but it had become such and instrument essential to people, Telegrams were often faster and there was, of course, always mail. However the mail service was limited because it was monitored for unlawful activity that could include sending immoral materials. Trans lives were deemed immoral. The constant specter of being found out just outed today loomed over trans peoples lives as it had for decades. There were secret gatherings, always local, and being seen or known was a risk that few could afford to take. A culture began to form, where certain factors allowed some to assume lives congruent to the natures, while other had to make do the best they could and struggle, but there was one area that enabled an escape. Vaudeville. Here, on stage, a man could play a woman often comedic in nature and receive admiration and praise. Even if they were a person of color, though the venues were significantly less posh and considered improper and seedy. It was tremendously popular, and very powerful, and nearly every decent sized town in America had a stage on which shows were put on and performers could travel and earn a living, meager as it may have been.

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This is a time marked by substantial changes in policies for knowing who was who, and the looseness and freedom that had once marked a chance was slowly closed. There was an underground for information and, as the society was divided by race, so was the underground. Drag was incredibly risky, unless it was done as part of a show essentially capitalizing on the exemption sometimes made for Vaudeville. For many early Trans people in this time, Drag was the only outlet, and it was a great equalizer in terms of class and race. Circus performers were not as often trans people, but many did find some solace in them, as well, especially among persons of color. Arrest meant publicity, and scandal, and the ruination of a lifes endeavors. A schoolteacher in Oklahoma might have to travel suddenly, only to be reported by students in Colorado, to flee to Oregon, and there take rest until having to flee again to California. It mean having to live at the edge of society where crime was the easiest solution and where secrets where the foundation of safety. Stealth was not merely a rule, it was a necessity. Being outed and not thinking fast enough could result in all manner of charges specious and otherwise being brought, and years served at hard labor in prisons that were, at best, places people went to die more often than serve time. Revues and Burlesque, Vaudeville was where those who could scrounge up any sort of talent went, and they provided many of the tales and stories in private and their features as they traveled let others know that they were there. It was secret. Think of it like this. In a town of 1000 people, there are 4 people who are Trans. There are many different kinds of trans people, so they may all not be the same kind of trans people. They may be all women, all men, or some combination of both in their assignments. They could be anywhere from newborn to 90 in age, and any of the various races and social classes present. Lastly, they had to have not taken their own life. Thats a lot of barriers. Thats a lot of walls that served to separate, and if you couldnt escape that town, you might be lucky

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enough, fortunate enough, to meet one of them and then that would be all you could often hope of ever meeting. Finding another person like you was all but impossible unless you were in a big city. That really meant one of the top ten, as the country, still very much not mobile, was incredibly rural. That meant the East coast for the most part, save for Los Angeles, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago. Which were also the places that were toured. You could go to the capitals of the states that were possible, or the port towns where things were often less strict. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco. Hole up in the area that was for those society cast aside, the ghettos and barrios and slums and places for those people. You didnt always feel alone, because there were other peo ple homosexuals, who were close enough even if they werent right on that you could sometimes turn to, and every major city has its share of stories and tales that with each passing day we lose more contact with. In the US, until Christine Jorgensen, you find very little. A news clipping here, and notice there. You can gain oral histories if you are lucky enough to find someone, but our community tends to think far too young, and far too back, and we still have too few who seek to collect those stories. I kinda sorta hope that some people will pass some of those stories on to me. I seem to recall tales of a group in Chicago in the 20s that was trans related, as well as a gay one, but those links have fled from my reach now. I am not a historian, and this is a poor excuse for a history musing, but it is where Im starting because thats where it starts. So here I am always interested in help.

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Philly was an important city, so was New York. Boston as well. By the 1930s they were linked by rail transport and roadways, and one could take a ship from Chicago as easily as a train. Transport let people escape, and let people be seen, and once you knew if you beat all the odds and could find such information, you were sometimes able to do something about it. There were no newspapers, no magazines, no support groups, no peer meetings, no nights out, no way to learn what was wrong with you, why you were different, that you might be able to do something about it, that you werent alone in this world. For many people even today, right now, that still continues, but they at least have the benefit of the worlds fastest communication platform. In those days, you had a phone, a party line or shared line, and then only if you were middle class enough to afford one. Otherwise, as Prohibition began brought into place by the same forces that made cross dressing illegal, the same forces that created separate bathrooms, the same forces that criminalized sex work and that today haunt and persecute us there were speakeasies and illicit alliances, and being that way was a secret that you signaled and you hoped. It was worse than you are thinking it was, right now. Then came the Crash. Then the depression, and the Dustbowl and the great and massive migration that altered the nation forever. Finally, there came the War. I opened this piece up with a discussion of war, and of how the violence makes you look at things, makes you think things, makes you question things. Trans people struggle with their lives, and in these days and these times it was even more common for trans women to embrace, as best they could, the role of man, and overcompensate for it in the process. Here was war. The ultimate act of passion, the ultimate event, and just as has happened before, people went off to war and came back and in that time they questioned why they had to deal with stuff.

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This time, however, they came home, and they had something still in short supply: money. Money to travel, and while they had been struggling through the years of drought and depression, roads had been built, factories had been opened, and transportation was possible in ways that it hadnt been just a few years earlier. It sparked great change, just as World War 1 had sparked great change, just as the Civil war had sparked great change. In the lives of everyday people, in the hearts of people like you and me, and they chose to find a way when they returned to not be the way they had been. It was not easy, but for Trans people one thing happened that changed everything, and that reached every corner of the nation and that every trans person heard, no matter their race, their class, their situation in life, and suddenly, nearly overnight, there was hope where there had been little to none before

A Light to find the Way


The 1950s were a massive change to the way that Trans people saw themselves in the United States, and resulted in a massive shift and an enormous separation that was based in economic class and race. And it started with Christine Jorgensen. She was famous. She was front page news in an era when celebrity news rarely made the first section. She was as big as who wins an election. She was huge. by comparison, she was about five times more big than Kim Kardashian is now. That kind of huge. It was gossipy, it was salacious, she was pretty and she was well spoken and she was a nice waspy girl. Now ask yourself, what was it that could have made the country receptive to such a thing what was it that could have keyed them up in a way that such an announcement was possible to make?

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The answer to that question is the publication of a book in 1948. Traveling the country, a small team of people interviewed thousands of subjects for the purpose of coming to understand how they thought about sexuality, what they did sexually, and related questions. In the process, they created a pair of tomes that were so incredibly shocking, that they changed the way that America saw sex, and they laid the groundwork for the science of sexology and they were part of the path paved towards the Sexual Revolution. The book was Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, from Alfred Kinsey. This was the time period of Scopes, a point in time where scientific information from the last century Evolution was on trial and was still struggling hard to be taught in schools in some parts of the country. This was a time when there was a great deal of underlying pressure decades of Jim Crow laws, the pushing of women out of the factorizes and into the homes, the massive shift in manufacturing, the appearance and propagandizing of prosperity (indeed, propaganda was engaged in regularly by the government), and the massive reality of inequality that was becoming ever more visible by those who had or felt an interest in looking building up, and it was a time that was nearly as repressed and deeply structured as the Victorian Era. What this means is that new was both exciting, interesting, and also frightening once people started to think about it. The book came out in 1948, and it was a bestseller. Copies of it are still available today. Time magazine, at that time one of the major and most influential publications in the nation (think WSJ today or all three of the major over the air broadcasts plus FOX and MSNBC today), said nothing had been seen like this since Gone With The Wind the book, not the film that had to be made because the book was so successful. In 1953 he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, and it became even more shocking, scandalous, and popular, and in between these two things, a former soldier stepped

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off a plane in New York City and told hundreds of thousands of people across the world that it was possible to do something they could only wish for otherwise. More importantly, it said to many that they werent alone, even if they couldnt see anyone near them. In this, it is important to never underestimate the importance of visibility. Here, for the first time in the United States, a Trans person was being celebrated in all forms of media. There were undercurrents of hostility, but they were, at that time, mostly still just undercurrents, and as a whole they were brilliant and happy and exciting, otherwise. I have often said, and will continue to say, that Stealth the act of hiding ones past, of not being known as a trans person, of melting into the pot, the idea of being invisible is inimical to the effort to secure rights, to ensure liberty, and to provide hope and knowledge to future generations. I will say that going stealth (or woodworking), partially or completely, is still a decent enough think for people to consider, because while I may feel they have a debt to those who came before them to let those who come after know they lived, they may not. But with each decade since the mid 1800s, it has becom e more and more difficult to achieve. The loopholes tighten more each year, the interconnectedness of lives increases, the web of relationships increases, and especially in times of economic stress, the need to rely on others who grasp your challenges is greater. I dont condemn those who choose to go stealth in this. In my opinion, they condemn themselves, as the effort to maintain that invisibility will only cause them greater grief than if they were to be open and out. I say that from experience, though it may come from a different space, and an experience that, like stealth was, often found itself expressed as important to others. This was the 1950s, though. She stepped off that plane into celebrity, famous essentially for being famous, linked to a sex scandal, and she was the toast of the town.

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She wasnt the first American to have had a sex change. That honor essentially belong s to Pussy Katt, who was 16 at the time and in the mid 1940s, when Howard Hughes paid for her to have such and then Kept her. (as in, Kept Woman she was taken care of financially in return for being available to him when he wanted her.) She had planned to marry one person, but it fell through. Her second hope for marriage also collapsed, and this time the man shed fallen in love with lost his job because of her the stigma was still there, and it was made worse by the times. That no longer exists so much today, but it is still present, still prevalent. Often it seems as if there is a risk to the livelihoods of those we join with, even while our own lives are at risk, and there is no question that on some occasions, their lives are at risk as well. It was an era of great prosperity and also deep mistrust. Lavender Menace. Red Scare. Cold War. This was the era that saw Labor day moved from the first day of May to the first Monday in September because they didnt want a very American holiday to be confused with that most un-American nations celebration on the same day. This was the era when they added under God to the Pledge. This was an era of Us versus Them, and what followed always follows such times. Reaction, catastrophe, violence. This was an era of fear, when children in 1st grade were schooled to climb under their desks in case the missiles came down. We may have come out of the war victorious, but we also came out of it terrified. Among those who had gone off to war was Christine Jorgensen. She came home and seemed somewhat aimless, and so sought out the help she could find, and that help led her to more, and then off she went. As a radio host described it, she went abroad and came back a broad. Her importance in the United States is so crucial that a history of trans people which ignores her, even if it focuses on people of color, is going to miss it, and do a disservice to Trans people in the US. We owe to her many phrases and turns that we still struggle with, but that were apt

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for the times in which she lived. We could have asked for better, but we dont get to do that. In an oddness of fairness, no one does. She was the force that moved and shaped generations, and if you are of a certain age, or from a certain era, she was your heroine and for many, still is. The knowledge that she lived and had done something and wasnt completely shot as she walked off the plane emboldened many trans people in small ways. Among those emboldened in such a way was a woman named Louise Lawrence. A networker of sorts, she had gone full time in the mid 1940s and managed a house for working women in San Francisco. I want to point out what that means. She ran a house that was intended to allow single women who held jobs to have a place to live. They would rent apartments, and this was always considered temporary, as they were ultimately expected to give up their jobs and find a man to marry, whereon they would move out and proceed to have babies and take care of their man. It was segregated living, socially expected. Segregation was the normative pattern for this time. Louise was a strong willed woman who was going to live her life on her terms, and she was very careful in how she did it, but her passion was in educating doctors interested in trans people. Her efforts here led her to encounter Alfred Kinsey, and Kinsey, in turn, introduced her to Harry Benjamin. The wise among you will note the way all of this starts to cycle back again to seminal figures, and why they are so important. She was very much the sort who would walk up to a trans person and let them know she cared. Through her contacts with doctors, she developed an address book that by all rights should be in the Smithsonian as an artifact of great importance, as it was the first time that we

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know of that a collection of people who were not entirely local to a particular space were all able to be contacted. It was a mailing list. A Trans mailing list. And as far as we know, it was the first one in the United States that covered the country. For the first time, people felt it was safe-ish to talk to others like themselves. Some will argue that she was merely a cross dresser, a transvestite. I wont argue with them, because the details of the particular kind of trans person are unimportant. As far as the society, and more importantly, as far as the trans people themselves thought, they were all the same thing as gay for the most part, and these distinctions arent present in any great degree in the milieu of the average person. Nor do they become so until later. Structurally that is, in terms of Structure, or the systems that exist around us to govern and influence our thoughts, ideas, and opportunities in life there was nothing but punishment. To speak to how someone lived their life in such a period a time when arrest was violence and the scandal could destroy 50 years worth of goodwill even if everything was false overnight as if those factors had no weight on them ignores the very nature of Structure, and gives to them far greater Agency than was possible. Today, often, we stress over how friends and family will react, and many of my brothers and sisters and siblings will choose not to transition or to hold it off until the kids are grown for the purpose of these people they love, and they are often attacked as if th ey arent strong enough or if they dont have the power, and yet they are actually exercising a tremendous amount of Agency that simply wasnt even available to them in the 1950s. To be able to think of those things as reasons not to transition is, ultimately, a luxury. One that people died in the pursuit of making possible.

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No one can say how she would have lived her life today including her. What we can do is recognize that she was able to do some things, and so she did them. Many of her documents are currently preserved at the Kinsey Institute, for those who want to do more in depth study. Louise was a key person, a sort of lynchpin, and she met another person in the early 50s, and together they started a magazine called Transvestia. The person was Virginia Prince. Prince did not coin anything shes given credited for these days, in regards to terminology, and is a presently a very controversial figure within the Trans Community. But she did use that mailing list of people Lawrence had found, and from that evolved what was, essentially, the first trans support group in the United States, and spread much information about it in a way that wasnt possible before. Prince allowed her own biases, over the years, to affect her efforts, and shifted towards the cross dressing scale early (she, like all of us, dealt with deeply internalized stigma, and while we can condemn how she chose to handle it, we must also remember the power that it has). Prince, herself, also had contacts with people, stemming from her very public divorce trial for being a homosexual man with a propensity for womens clothing. The newsletter only lasted two issue, and fortunately missed being challenged under the laws by the post office. In the early 1950s, a Los Angeles Doctor named Elmer Belt, who knew the preceding women and had contact with Harry Benjamin and Kinsey, decided to start performing the sex changes in America. HE was the first Surgeon to do so, and used a procedure where he moved the testes into the abdominal cavity, for the purpose of avoiding those charges of Mayhem that could be devastating.

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He had to stop in the mid 1950s when he came under scrutiny and his work was decided to be improper, but he later started up again, stopping only in the mid 1960s. All of this was very much happening in California, and much of it centered around Los Angeles. Prince met Christine Jorgensen there and admitted in her personal letters that had she possessed the money then, she would have gone.

Divisions By Circumstance
The community of people at this level was small, and tended to be confined to people who were in the news, who were public to an extent, and who struggled hard against many different social pressures. But it was a start, and their efforts crossed over those lines in society, and while the information didnt always come across the same, it still got through. These people were only slightly separate from the Drag culture that still thrived, even though the burlesque and vaudeville days had long passed. Bars where homosexuals would congregate were raided and often the basis for such was the presence of trans people of various sorts. But the big revues were popular if lowbrow entertainment. Hollywood celebrities would go to them (the earlier mention of Pussy Katt and Howard Hughes happened at such a place), and if you were really good in them you didnt stay in the states because the big money was in Paris. Those revues were less segregated in many ways, though. Not always, not universally, but even a person of color could perform in them. And from those places the word and the news and the whispers were overheard and sometimes even spoken directly, a and then it would filter into the street, into the dark corners and the places where things were less savory not because of the people in them, but because of the forces that made them so.

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There, in the streets, the lines were less well marked. Race mattered less because how you can hate your friend? Class mattered less because who cared about class when you were struggling to keep a roof over your head. It was, mostly, the poorest of the poor, and that meant, in those days, people of color and immigrants. A mlange of culturally segregated towns within the poorest, most neglected, most overlooked parts of whatever major city you were in. Sundowning was still going on entire towns erased overnight. In areas that supposedly prided themselves on being progressive and open minded even meanwhile, children were being burned in churches and women and men were being found hanging from trees and dragged behind trucks and the whole of it was kept local, kept narrow, and yet it was all feeding into a powder keg and now the fuse was lit. It started small after hours meetings, get together. Police presence late at night, after the bars had closed, was minimal. There werent people to harass, and so you could go out and be yourself for the most part and the worst that might happen was an attack and one or two of you might get killed, but you could live more openly than you cold during the day. Let us not forget as well that often, that was when you made your money, as well. From New Orleans to Chicago, New York to Los Angeles, there were low ways and back ways that led you to anything you might desire, and plenty desired it then, just as plenty desired it now. If you worked the revues you knew musicians and you knew waitresses and you knew the people that could make the city work. You could move now, buses and airplanes and trains and if you were in a great place you could even get there on your own in your own car. Gas was more than milk delivered to your door, but not that much more.

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You could get phone numbers and make contacts and if you worked a circuit you could see the world, or at least as much of it as mattered to you at that time, and you could expand your network and get new info and bring it back and spread it and slowly the two cultures divided by a combination of race and class divided. Only poverty made you cross those lines. It was the great equalizer. And throughout the 1950s the pressure built among those who were left out. A firebrand spoke out here, a heartfelt and spiritual preacher there. Tupperware parties and other mlm style efforts linked womens networks and allowed for more than just talking about the latest gadget of the strange TV show, but also how incredibly daft their husbands were being and it was as if they didnt think women could do anything and would you mind bringing in a few more of those lovely rolls, Jemimah, dear? By the time the 1960s hit, the Churches were full of people who were tired of being treated like dirt, and they had a bunch of strong voices and one in particular was rising above the others. Meanwhile, they were still among Trans people, and as ever, they still chose not to see them. In the early 1960s, in San Francisco, a group of trans people of various sorts were being too boisterous and too loud for the tastes of a manager of an all-night cafeteria that was part of the chain Comptons.

Things got out of hand when the police came, and one of them grabbed one the trans people. The Compton Cafeteria Riot began, lasting three nights and forcing a change in the way that the city had to deal with these people, these folks who were flooding into the nice conservative little bay side harbor. In 1966, Harry Benjamin collected all the many different papers hed written over the last several decades and edited them into a book for a wider audience, but still with an eye to other

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medical practitioners. Titled The Transsexual Phenomenon, it was a popular and well received book that marked the first time the term Transsexual was used in a popular setting as a description of a certain kind of person. The book was a watershed of sorts, a moment of collected information that spoke to his peers and said heres something we need to take a little more seriously, and heres why. It was well researched, the data was sound, and criticism of the book was almost entirely from outside any of the fields that mattered. That same year, Human Sexual Response was released, by Masters and Johnson, and doctors everywhere were widely prescribing the Pill. The Sexual Revolution was on.

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Revolutionary Spirits and Radical Souls


In 1963, a young man who would be named Reed Erickson wa s a patient of Dr. Benjamins, and he was a very different sort of patient in only one way. It was, however, a way that mattered tremendously. Reed Erickson was the child of wealthy parents in the smelting business. Graduating as the first woman from LSU with a degree in mechanical engineering, he was also brilliant. His father, having died in 1962, had essentially left him the family company, which he sold and then went into other ventures and proceeded to amass a huge fortune estimated to be around 40 million dollars at the time. Thats roughly equivalent (according to the quick calculator I found online) to over 250 million dollars today. Reed is important because after his sex change, he used that money to support research into transsexualism. He funded the Harry Benjamin Foundation, and in the 70s he provided the operational funds for the Johns Hopkins Gender Clinic. He supported research into trans issues in a way that had never ever been done before. He also helped to create information resources and establish referral systems, and essentially connected and provided the needs of psychiatrists, doctors, and medical organizations so that a network of sorts was created across the United States. In the ten years between 1966 and 1976, he provided the majority of the funding and ultimately saw the creation of the very first standard of care for trans people, created by the organization that he helped to fund and create. An organization today known as WPATH. He helped to fund the Johns Hopkins Gender Clinic in Baltimore, where surgeries were begun in the United States in the mid 1960s. If you were white, wealthy, and connected enough, and you could at least fake what they expected of you. Meanwhile, Philly, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York all saw constant, unending harassment of those faggots, the homosexuals who were a disease and a threat. New Orleans was hopping with jazz f a kind never heard before, and it was cracking down on the unsavory areas so the

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tourists could bring in more dollars as they flocked to it and would shut up their whining and complaining about how unsafe these places were. Riots were crackling across the country, even clashing with peaceful protests, turning two mobs into one, turning ugly at the drop of a hate, the forced desegregation rules and the defiant authorities north and south and east and west all calling this a rampant wave of lawlessness and incredibly threats to the natural order of things. People were demanding to be married to someone of a different race, others were marrying outside their religion, others were openly flaunting their deviant lifestyle in the daytime, in front of the children for Gods sake! Religious attendance was dropping and the world was in chaos and at any minute those evil communists are going to fire their missiles at us from Cuba and the world is going to end. More than a few Trans people are likely to have thought or said I dont care if the world ends, because what is it to me? Militant efforts for Black Justice sprang up everywhere. They agitated, they refused to back down, they spoke their minds. Militant efforts for equal pay for women, for the right to have an abortion, for the right to marry a person you love, and if we can fight for the rights of Black people, why cant we pass an Equal Rights Amendment for women? Look at how we are treated as objects and property and merely there for the pleasure of men without them ever once thinking of us as people see, here, read this book about your precious Playboy Clubs. Socialism has been around for years and its working in Europe. Israel is occupying this, war here, war there, bring our brothers home! Blood ran in the streets.

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And then, one night, at the tail end of the 1960s, at a little mafia owned establishment that had two buckets for sinks and a restroom with a half assed door to it that never seemed to be empty when you needed it for one or two because it was being used for three, the world for Trans people was changed. Stonewall was not the first LGBT riot. It wasnt the last one, either. It happened in a city where the Chief of Police and the Mayor had sworn they were going to clean it up, get rid of undesirables. It was the largest city in the United States, the center of shipping, the heart of the financial system, source of best and finest in wealthy entertainments like Broadway, the publishing center of the country, the singularly most important city in the nation more so than even Washington D.C. in terms of the social impact that it had and has, still, to this day. Thats why in the 21st century it was targeted for attack, after all. They wanted those damned homosexuals out of New York City. The problem is how does one know what a homosexual looks like. Places that everyone knew were homosexual hangouts for those who were white enough, and well off enough, were more than aware. They were careful, they bribed and they had people in positions, and so when raids hit there, there was none of the stuff that was expected. They werent wearing the wrong clothes, they werent dancing cheek to cheek with people of the same sex. They were adult and orderly and seemingly law abiding and they werent scared or intimidate d, they just went along, quietly kings and queens of the world, it seemed. It just made the haters angrier. They started going after the poorer places. Especially in the neighborhoods where people of color might go. Because those sorts never really knew the score, never really mattered. Hell, you saw the way they had to be hosed not too long ago, right?

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Serves them right their leader was assassinated. Who the hell do they think they are getting someone like that when weve lost JFK? It was located across the street from a park that was a home to many of the LGBT youth at night, without homes, and to those who worked the streets turning tricks of all sorts, but mostly men, including a few of those from those more respectable, more careful, more willing to appease and supplicate. In early every major story talking about the Stonewall Riots, trans people are reduced at best, and ignored entirely. It is often celebrated as something long since gone and passed, and yet, there are many trans people who were there, who live today, who are active today. When Queen Elizabeth was crowned, it was, as ever, news. And the high fashions and the royal presence struck many within the drag community as it always had, and it gave birth within the street scene to a community of drag folks who were not gay men doing it, but rather were Queens. Call them drag queens, call them drama queens, call them anything as long as you recognized that they were Queens and they were not going to put up with your peasantry any longer. Queens, they were, and they were there, and they were there with Butch lesbians and really femmy gay men and they all called themselves Gay. Lesbian, as a term, had been around, but wasnt widely used yet as it hadnt gotten out that far into the sub-culture where those who refused to follow the stupid rules had been pushed. They were in the darkness, on the edges, in the modern day equivalent of those wild west era spaces where what you could eke out on your own was what mattered and damn the rest of them. As much of the country mourned the death of a celebrity or talked about the advent of landing on the moon or wondered how in the hell people could survive in Vietnam given the stories that were coming out of there, the LGBT community which called itself the gay Community then

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found a moment to stand up to the Structure and exercise Agency against it in a set of riots that lasted nearly a week and scared the living hell out of the most powerful people in the most important city in the nation.

The Modern Era Begins


Stonewall is well covered, the most this can add is that you need to look up and research the people there, but two of them are important right off the bat, although others, like Miss Major, will become important later on in this 101. Those two are a Puerto Rican firebrand loving the radical and anti-establishment ideas that floated through the bohemian parts of the city, and a much loved and cherished Black Mother figure who could smile and laugh even as she was doing everything she could to not do what you told her to do and still make you think she was. Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson were close friends, both of them products of the streets, both struggling to get by in the best ways they could come up with and neither of them wanting to see others have to deal with it. Sylvia was the more political of the pair, Marsha the more social of the pair. They were an odd set to see, by all accounts. Together they rented a run-down building and started the first house known to this recorder that provided a safe haven for trans people to live, and they called STAR House, with the star standing for Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. To pay for the stuff there, they turned tricks. They did it so those they helped wouldnt have to, and could find a better way. The first major militant gay group was formed in New York City. It really marks the start of the modern era of LGBT rights struggles, as it was a marked departure from the older efforts that centered mostly on getting them to just leave people alone, on appeasing, on assimilation and invisibility.

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Like Magnus Hirschfeld in the late 1800s in Germany, they were tired of the crap and wanted it changed, and they were going to fight for it. It was called the Gay Liberation Front. Front and center among its members were people that went on to have incredible impact on the modern struggle for gay rights. But for the Trans community, two people stood out: Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson. There, at the start. Tensions within the group that centered on issues of assimilation and a strong tendency towards extremely radical thoughts popular at the time (which I happen to share in many ways, but not all) were aggravated by the differences between trans people and Cis people. As a result, if fractured, and the GAA was formed. The GAA was the Gay Activists Alliance. The division was the first thing that really started to demonstrate the growing rift. As the word spread into the streets about Benjamins book, and the efforts of Erickson to create a network of providers and the establishment of the first set of standards of care, the rifts began within the communities, and Sylvia and Marsha were at the front of it. Meanwhile, Christine Jorgensen was doing stage shows and performing, traveling to make a living, occasionally called out for interviews, and an optometrist found out that she was really pretty damned good at playing tennis. Acceptance of trans lives wasnt great, but it was a damn sight better than it had been for years. The earliest efforts towards a decent standard of care were being developed out, competing studies, there was funding and there was interest and there was awareness and this wasnt homosexual, it was something else, and it was sold that way, marketed that way, an assimilation model that worked well for those who could afford it and meet the often strict and always variable criteria of whatever group they happened to find themselves in contact with. Be

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a girly girl, be straight, be secret the rules to get them to help were their rules, so it was always on their terms and they were always men. In 1973, as the 3 year long fight to delist homosexuality was reaching its apex, as Sylvia Rivera was being thrown out of the very organizations shed help start, as radical feminism finally decided it really didnt like these transsexuals, in a year that the Battle of the Sexes was being played out between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, a trans woman wanted to play tennis against other women on a full stage.

Backlash
Between the publication of the Transsexual Phenomenon and the formation of the GAA, a lot went on culturally relating to Trans people in the US. For 20 years, the new and amazing medium of communication called Television was sharing the images and ideas of transness in the households of millions of people instead of thousands, and this new idea, and this thing called sex changes may not have been the talk of the evening news a lot, but the concepts and ideas were successfully in the minds of people all across the country. There was a new respectability to all of it, in the days and t imes, and those that were seen were very much a mass of pale skinned, very waspy women. Women were the focus. In the same period, the second wave of the feminist movement was pushing forward, and even came to an idea that was, for all intents and purposes, radical for the times, and they had a cause, and they had a magazine, and they were changing the status quo. Women, at this time, were all but ignored if they went into banks. To get a loan, to have a credit card, they had to have a co-signer. They were culturally relegated to roles of children or at least, thats the tale of those who were in power and thats how they told it. It was servitude, and there was a massive fight to end it.

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The country was in turmoil as the repercussions of the Civil Rights act and the Loving ruling began to be felt at the street level. Counterculture had a place and a power that was unrivaled in history, and reaction was often the order of the day, even as an unimaginably unpopular war was being fought and the nation was being led stalwarts who were reinventing politics and destroying the nations faith in the institutions that served them. In the midst of all this chaos and social uncertainty this period of liminoid and liminal social upheaval the idea of people who changed their sex because they needed to, and that doctors were helping them, reached into American homes. And while not accepted, was, in a startlingly way, tolerated. As long as it was over there. As long as it wasnt seen. As long as they met the rules that were set for them by people who knew better. Dress this way, act this way, be this kind of person, this sort of acceptable. For some, that meant they had to move away, end all contact with family, start anew. For others, it meant change jobs, professions, lives. For others, it meant drop all contact with those undesirables. There was a strong sense that trans people were not the same as gay people, and now they had a word for it: transsexual. It was a word that bore the weight of medical authority, a word that had respect at that time, and while there was another word used in some places but not in others, a strange word transgender, it wasnt the mainline, and it was still pocketed like many others. Communities of trans people had grown up, and within them a series of rules went around, passed as oral lore, that bespoke the ways to get past the doctors and psychiatrists and people of that area, and that spread the word, and that enabled folks who could get through these hoops to do so.

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Not everyone could. The Daylight test, arising decades earlier in Drag culture, had moved into the sub-cultures mainstream. Finding out and being what you were often changed the way you understood who you were attracted to. Many trans people were discouraged from doing anything. Often, they became the ones that fought for recognition in the wider world, while those who could meet the criteria that often changed from place to place, that learned and reacted from and to each other, would disappear into the world, assimilating. Palo Alto, California. San Francisco. Los Angeles. Chicago. Boston. New York. Baltimore. The GLF split was a hostile one, driven by interpersonal conflicts and deep seated prejudices. The people involved with the Mattachine Society, an assimilation group founded for gay men, had come to these radical, anti-authoritarian people and they tried to make a team. Angela Douglas, Sylvia Rivera, and Marsha P. Johnson were all driven out because of their skin color, their cultural heritage, their loudness. They went off and formed the GAA, and they coalesced around a single issue format, which had proved extremely useful in the past (it got Suffrage and Prohibition through), and they also, most importantly, worked on creating the first ordinance effort of the new Era. To their surprise, while they had worked hard on the bill, when it was finally introduced, they had to listen to people tell them that fighting for trans people was too radical, and too hard. SO trans issues were stripped from the very first bill by the time it was introduced. They had started that effort, and they had been key to the development and creation of the group in the first place. Trans women were there at the beginning, when all there was this Gay, when the acronym was just G, because G was the default for everyone. Meanwhile, as this fight was brewing, so was another one, and this one drew in Lesbians to the cause of womens liberation, and there were marches and protests and struggles and make

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no mistake: trans people were there, as well. Including Sylvia and Marsha and Angela. The many social shifts had led to a cross fertilization of ideas, often prompted by tracts written by famed radicals, and tactics and ideas were adopted by many groups and many efforts, because the goal was to overturn the powers that were. Some of these new feminists these radical feminists were of a mindset that women needed to separate entirely from Men. They were, and to this day, still are, not representative of the wider ideas of radical feminism (thats still best exemplified by Steinem), but in no small part that was because the mainstream effort of feminism radical and otherwise ignored them and considered them too weird, too radical, to strange. They felt that because they did not share in that underlying experience of all women that was essential. They were, after all, those filthy homosexuals. What could they have possibly known about the lives and experiences of regular women? Real women, not women that pretended to be men with their poor choice of clothing and short haircuts and weird little perverted lives. Yes, that really happened. If it sounds familiar to you, then you have an idea of where much of the broader stuff trans women have been seeing today comes from. Lesbian Separatists is what they were called. Radical feminists that werent accepted by the mainstream but still fought anyways. They were young, baby boomers in an age where their generation was everywhere, in everything. At some points, if you were a lesbian, you were denied membership in the larger groups fighting for womens rights. You were not allowed to speak at womens gatherings. The same applied to people of color, to other women this was a struggle for heterosexual white women still at this time, who felt they knew what was right and best and it was very much an exclusive club.

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Trans women were everywhere. Even in lesbian organizations and groups. One young woman named Beth Elliot, a singer, had worked with and for the Daughters of Bilitis, the womens version of the Mattachine society, for years after her transition. The had a gathering, a fundraiser, for the organization, which was working for womens liberation, and she was secretary of the local chapter at that time. She had a performance on stage at the fundraiser, and a small group of lesbian women had a cow that a man was playing on the stage at an event for women. Beth Elliot had to sit on the stage as the audience was whipped into a frenzy of hostility and her ability just to be there and play was voted on. One of the women involved was a loud, abrasive, strong willed gal who called herself BevJo. To this day, they are bitter enemies. Forty Years. Beth won the vote, by the way. She performed, but the experience was humiliating. She left immediately after. The multi-day event, a sort of Woodstock inspired thing, also had a keynote speaker the following day. A married woman stood on stage, and brought up the events of the previous day, and labeled Beth a Transvestite and a rapist. BevJo and Beth had been friends in college. From that point on, BevJo began a campaign that blacklisted Beth, had her removed from her position and even ended up stripping her of her membership. When Beth wrote or appeared, it was almost inevitable that the vociferous BevJo would show up. The Daughters of Bilitis has a recent connection as well. Del and Phyllis were the first couple to get married in the window that allowed 18,000 to do so in California. They were among the founders of DOB.

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Many of those who did this were taking their lead from a young theologian professor at Boston College. Her name was Mary Daly, and she embraced the early ides of Radical feminism, even though it didnt embrace her. She spoke to lesbians, and she was, without any doubt, one of many people who contributed to the notion that the G should become the GL, because women were tired of being erased and ignored in the movement for gay rights. She didnt do this singlehandedly she was just one of many, but her voice and passion spoke very strongly to those women who were not waspy, but still very white. Because she spoke from a Catholic background, in an era where the impact of Vatican II had left many catholic women upset and less inclined to follow the Church. Across the nation, while Beth Elliot was fighting, Sylvia Rivera was fighting as well. At a gathering that was part of something that was founded as a direct result of the Stonewall Riots one of the earliest version of the larger Pride (and keep in mind that Pride marches are a remembrance of that fight, and that Trans people were part of it) she was heckled, booed, and then abruptly forced offstage by the person that followed her and her supporters. A firebrand of the era, this woman stood up and in front of a crowd called Sylvia an impersonator, and exploiting womens lives for her own profit. The same Sylvia who was also housing trans women of color in a house. The Backlash had begun as they always do. At the grassroots level, among the streets and in the gatherings. Trans women didnt give up, though. As the ideas and struggles of these any movements spread across the country, so did Trans women. Suspicion and mistrust developed, and as things began to get more heated, the speeches and impassioned calls to solidarity among the various, sometimes competing efforts for those within them became infested as well with calls to purity and ideals that were incredibly limited as they came from those who were removed from much of the strife.

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As this all happened, that Tennis playing woman had managed to rise up through the ranks, and decided she wanted to play at the US Open. Her name was Renee Richards. She was told no unless she allowed them to test her chromosomes, at her cost, and, like most women today but few women then, she wasnt going to take no for an answer and so she sued the US Tennis Association and in 1977 she won the right to play. She did very well, and played against Martina Navratilova in doubles, but lost. She would later go on to coach Martina Navratilova to her victories. It was a well-publicized event in the sports world, and a massive shift in the idea of trans people and it seriously angered many in the Lesbian Separatist movement who had come to follow Daly. It infuriated Daly. It angered many fans of sport, especially in the dominant class in power, who had already had to deal with those damned blacks getting all up in their sports and a black man who was unremittingly proud and damned good at what he did keeping and holding and then just because he could, getting back again the title of Heavyweight champion of the world. The Backlash hit the mainstream, and the Biggest blows were about to come.

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The Hammer Blows


A moral panic is a situation where a particular group are placed in the situation of being considered a threat to the social order. Homosexuality, Blackness, Asianity, even abortion are all examples of this happening to groups. Moral panics are part and parcel of the social schema right now, today, there is a moral panic among many regarding the nature of the Republican party. As the 60s and early 70s had driven people into a state of social upheaval from the overly controlling and morally reductive 1950s, there was a great sense of moral panic among the population, and there was also a large set of groups and efforts that needed a way to come together across lines that didnt exist yet. Then two women, both of them lesbian separatists who belonged to the idea of radical feminism, both of them white and very much part of their times (espousing ethnocentric ideas and often in a hostile sense) published their works. Part of the key to a moral panic is not to create rational, honest arguments, but to play on the fears and insecurities of the population at large, to toy with the things they do not understand well and to use their mistrust especially things they worry about. These two works did that. Both came from women who had the respectability of education, meaning they came from backgrounds where such was possible. Both shared common ideas, and came from similar backgrounds. Mary Dalys Gyn/Ecology and Janice Raymonds The Transsexual Menace came out a little more than a decade after Benjamins work, and they shifted the conversation about trans lives through their popularity within the mainstream. Boston College gained tremendous wealth in its publishing group as a result of these two books, which became required reading among the Radical feminist sphere and they marked a shift toward a less exclusive form of radical feminism towards one that was more inclusive

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but on exclusive terms. Lesbians had fought to be part of the movement, and these two books essentially brought them into it. Because the second wave *is* radical feminism in the United States. The books were really only of significant popularity in the US outside it, and in particular, in Europe, Feminism took different directions and was influenced by a very different set of forces and ideas (notably Luce Irigray, for one). Audre Lorde hated the book. In gentle terms, she essentially called it racist. She never got around to Raymond, though. In the two books, the two authors reference each others work, a circling supportive system that only allows for their views to be presented. Daly leaves a legacy behind her of radical feminists hating men, of a desire to reverse the system, with women governing, not seeking equality, and of the persistent argument that trans people are false beings. Raymond, Dalys protg, would, not long after, be requested to deliver a white paper to a select committee of congress. The white paper was influential in the effort towards removal of federal funding for medical research and efforts on behalf of Trans people. But it was not all of what happened. At the same time that these books were rolling throughout the popular culture, in the scientific culture, blowback against Benjamins work was coming from Jon Meyer and Paul R. McHugh. Meyers work characterized the efficacy of surgical intervention, and McHugh (who even today works as a professional shill for the Catholic Church) was bound and determined to shut down the gender clinic that he took over: the one at Johns Hopkins University.

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The Clinic went through many leaders, some of them famous for other things, and the work done there changed for the better countless lives as well as gave to the whole effort a level of respectability, as Johns Hopkins was an incredibly well respected organization. But McHugh, a psychiatrist who had opposed the delisting of homosexuality, felt that surgery was somehow horrible, and publicly gave many interviews and wrote wide spread papers that essentially linked Transness back to homosexuality and asserted that doing the operations was the worst thing one could do. He even went to say that surgery for them was like giving liposuction to an anorexic person. He was the one who directed the research by Meyer and his efforts had just as much impact on the decisions in federal policy making if not more. We owe the calling of SRS experimental to him. McHugh is possibly one of the early sources for the conc ept of sissy boy syndrome that later became the foundation for gender identity disorder in children, and in the minds of many essentially made homosexuality in children a pathological condition, providing the earliest excuses for reparative therapy. I should note that few people will speak openly of how hostile McHugh is to trans people in the way I have. He is extremely well respected professionally, and so long as it stays away from crossing his personal hot button points (that is, pretty much anything having to do with sex or women), he is very competent. The effect of these multiple, widely spread, vicious, hostile efforts against Trans people, and based in what purported to be academia from both liberal and conservative sides, had a devastating effect on the community of trans people, essentially driving the visible, open part underground, closing down gender clinic after gender clinic, and effectively killing off the possibility for research and overall improvement, as well as shifting the entire way that people thought about and discussed the issues of trans people.

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It wasnt merely a setback. It was a reset.

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Brief highlights
Socio-political efforts against Trans people, 1971 to 2007
1971: The GLF splits into the new GLF and the GAA. The gay men involved in these first groups of the modern gay rights movement drive out founding members Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and Angela Douglas. Three factors come into play in this decision: the ick factor, their being trans, and their being people of color. The GAA puts forth the first effort to legislate an end to discrimination an effort originally started by the aforementioned women. The bill, as finally introduced, strips out all parts of the law that would have applied to trans people as being too radical and too hard. 1973: In California, the Daughters of Bilitis have already voted in Beth Elliot as Vice President of the chapter. While performing at a benefit for the organization as a singer, The Gutter Dykes protested the presence of a man. Two-thirds of the women present voted to allow Beth to remain, and she performed as had been arranged, but she left after the performance, humiliated by the vote on her very existence and after having faced challenges to her very existence. The keynote speaker, the heterosexually married Robin Morgan, incorporated the protests into her speech the next day, and referred to Beth as a male transvestite and as a rapist. Following this, Lesbian Separatist and self proclaimed radical feminist Bev Jo proceeded to launch a 40+ year long vendetta against her former college friend that resulted in Beth Being Blacklisted from lesbian spaces until 1985, when she began publishing anonymously. Bev Jo was one of a small handful of very loud lesbian separatists that were following in the footsteps of Mary Daly and the slow burning Janice Raymond. Also in 1973, during a Gay is Good rally, Sylvia Rivera was followed on the stage by lesbian separatist Jean OLeary. She denounced trans women as men who were imperso nating women and exploiting women for profit.

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1977: Olivia records (the company that now operates the cruises that are really fun) was engaged in the creation and support of women musicians. Among the recording engineers they used was a woman who then used the name Sandy Stone. Having skills gained from A&M records as an engineer, she was an extremely competent woman who was critical to the early success of the label, and suddenly they found themselves at a crossroads when a boycott was called for by a lesbian separatist group. The demands were simple: get rid of the man that worked there, or go bankrupt. At first, Olivia Records supported Sandy Stone, but finally caved to pressure as sales began to drop, and fired her. 1978: Mary Daly publishes GynEcology. In it, she writes: Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent in phallocratic technology . Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes. Although Audre Lord pointed out the work was racist and homogenist, it should be noted that the two women had very different approaches to radical feminism: Daly sought to govern over men, and advocated a complete and total reversal of the current system. Lourde did not, and advocated a new system that presupposed equality. It was racism, in part, that led to the strong split in radical feminism that blossomed in the early 1980s. 1979: A thesis written by graduate student Janice Raymond under the close, personal supervision of her adviser Mary Daly (a violation of ethics at the time) is published and becomes a broad selling book outside the academic and Feminist spheres. The book, The Transsexual Empire, lays out the same already tired at the time arguments in a very direct way, and lays the foundation for much of the transphobia present in society today. Trans scholars generally credit it as the most socially damaging book ever. The book calls for the moral extermination of a class of people genocide and describes the events around Sandy Stone from an outsiders perspective, calling her a man, labeling her divisive, and branding her an as agent of the patriarchy.

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1980: Carol Katz has been a member of the Christopher Street Pride Parade organizing committee since the early 1970s. The original Pr ide committee, she was valued for her ability to get the cooperation of the authorities so that the parade attendees would not be harassed. One of the related events they handled was the Take Back The Night march. Following a historic pattern, lesbian separatists threatened to boycott eh march unless she was fired. In order to keep unity within the community, Ms. Katz stepped down, but the impact of her doing so left the March in a huge lurch, and as a result, they asked her to come back and finish the security arrangements on the day of the parade. This act so enraged the Lesbian separatists, that in the years following it, and up through the late 1990s, trans people were barred from marching or being involved in the planning or organizing of the march by written rule. 1981: Janice Raymond, now an untenured professor (she did get tenure) writes a white paper that is introduced into Congress and has substantive impact in the declaration of trans related surgeries as experimental and cosmetic. The same arguments are used, later on, to explicitly exclude transsexualism from the Americans with Disability Act, by Senator Jesse Helms. 1991: Nancy Burkholter was ejected from the Michigan Womyns Music Festival for the sole reason that she was a trans woman. This despite nearly a decade of trans women having attended the festival, and the continuing permissibility of men to attend the festival. The policy had never before been stated until the news of this spread throughout the communities. 1993: Urvashi Vaid took on the leadership role in the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. Although the platform officially included Trans people, they were held back in organizing efforts and they were explicitly not named in the title of the March, by vote.

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1994: Trans people are actively denied the ability to participate in the Gay Games. The reason was that trans women were men and trans men were women. Also in 1994, Lawyer Phyllis Frye determined that the HRC had objected to the language in the version of ENDA being introduced that included protections for trans people, and as a direct result, it was removed despite having been written, in part, by trans people just before the bill was introduced. Despite being involved in the Pride marches and efforts in the late 70s and early 80s, by 1995, the participation of Trans people in the Los Angeles Pride was completely forgotten and it was Jacob Hale who fought for and had to win back the right for Trans people to march. There are additional events, at local and state levels. For example, there is the statement by the HRCs then President in the early 2000s that they would never advocate on behalf of trans people. There is the HRC removing the language from ENDA again after summoning leaders from all over the country to lobby for the bill and not telling them about the changes they had to find out from one of the congress people. And, of course, there is the ENDA debacle in 2007, when the HRC was the only organization at the national level to support a non-inclusive ENDA right after telling the Trans community at the largest gathering of them in the country that they would only support an inclusive one. Consistently, since the earliest days of the ongoing movement, the aversion, anxiety, and animus directed at trans people, and especially trans women, by the broader LGBT community has acted with the goal and the intent of silencing, marginalizing, and erasing the lives of trans people and sanitizing the appearance of LG people in an assimilationist manner. It has only been since 2006 that there has been substantial changes within online based feminist communities in regards to the embrace of feminism with respect to Trans people, and

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trans women in particular. Among those leading some of the most vile, violent, and horrifying flamewars ever was Bev Jo. By 2010, nearly all of them were persona non grata on every major feminist site, and in every major feminist organization and effort, for the sole and compelling reason of their aversion, anxiety, and animus.

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Ciscentrism
The first thing that we need to look at in order to really be able to look at things is that the systems and tools and forces that we, as trans people, are engaged with on a daily basis are designed by, for, and with forethought for cis people. That is, people who are something other than Trans, Inter, and whatever the other two things are. That last line often bothers people a little -- they toss it aside and don't really dwell on it, so I'll get to that shortly. Because it matters more than people realize to the overall argument -- even though the when it matters is a question. Those systems, tools, forces, and related paraphernalia are all created without thought for trans people. And they are the powers by which the world around is drawn, defined, shaped, governed, acted, and enabled. All of it is there without thought for us, and that's a very big deal that people don't always fully grasp or understand, in part because we live in a period, right now, where there is a lot of change going on that is of benefit to us. This massive coalition of powers, forces, and related experiences and ideas is called Ciscentrism. It focuses on, centers as normal, functions to serve, and exists to maintain the world for the benefit of cis people. An element of Ciscentrism is called ciscentric -- and it is everywhere. Socialism? Ciscentric. Capitalism? Ciscentric. Anarchy? Ciscentric. All of them, ideas and concepts that were created and initiated without he understanding the trans people exist, and without any active or enduring thought that they should be considered as a part of that idea. The Constitution of the United States is ciscentric. The ideas within it are, as well. Now, being ciscentric does not mean that an idea or concept is bad. Which I would normally not speak to but I've noticed a lot of people these days who leap to the particular conclusion that simply because it is ciscentric it is bad. That's a logical fallacy of the genetic type -- and misses the point.

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Here is an example of what I mean. Civil Rights is a concept and ideal that is ciscentric. It is not, though, a bad thing. The goal of Transcentrism is to re-examine all those ideas, concepts, efforts, and creations of cis folk and see how it is that they can be made to be not ciscentric. Indeed, the goal of Transcentrism is to make them Trans centric -- to normalize the existence of trans people within the cultural systems and to prepare the way for those who come along with and after trans people in the fight and struggle for recognition, liberty, and participation. To achieve that goal, however, one must be aware of this incredibly broad reaching set of forces, and one must also be knowledgeable in what it is that must be done to make something transcentric. Which is what we are starting to do here. Ciscentrism, then, is very much like Patriarchy, or Racism, or heterosexual dominance. It controls and shapes and determines the narratives of what is commonplace, what is acceptable, what is, in the world around us. It is, then, the very Structure against which we, as trans people, struggle and strive to exert our own personal Agency, and that, more than anything else, is why it is so important that we recognize it for what it is. To find a solution that works, the first thing one must do is identify a problem. You must find out what that problem is, you must understand that problem, and then you must craft a solution that gives that problem the swift kick in the parts that it deserves. For people of color, that problem is Whiteness. For women, that problem is Patriarchy. For the poor it is the accumulation of wealth among 5% of the population, and so on and so forth. We aren't here to examine those particulars, those axes of oppression within the matrix of domination. We are here to examine just one of them. What all of this means, however, in terms of the sociopolitical context, is that Transcentrism is an extremely radical concept -- it seeks to make fundamental changes to the way that society operates and the way that people think and behave and act. It does not seek to dominate that

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society, nor is it so closely targeted that it seeks to deny other people from participating in that very social system. As a radical effort, its ultimate goal is to remove the need for itself, really. Because once the changes are made, it won't be radical any longer. So a key part of Transcentrism is that it seeks to go from radical to mainstream.

Cis, Trans, Inter, and those two other things


Earlier, I mentioned the above. As a matter of habit, I work from a very strange point of view compared to many of my peers. I approach everything with the fundamental understanding that there are five "sides" to everything. It is a very deeply ingrained habit of mine, with a very real purpose. It enables me to avoid falling into certain common traps; most notably, the trap of binaries or duality that is common within Western Cultures. Many people think of Trans & Cis as a binary -- the night and day (forgetting the dusk and dawn), the black and white (forgetting the colors in between), the us versus them (forgetting those neutral or unaware) of this struggle, and it is fundamental to Transcentrism that we not do that. A few years ago, I applied a rough version of this to the questions of what else is there. In current sexological theory, there are generally groups of four: A, B, neither A nor B, and both a and B. That is how we get sexual orientation, just as a start. It is a way and a means of classifying, of drawing the lines to better enable understanding the picture that one is looking at, to come to a way of understanding it without leaving out something. In the case of Trans people, I've generally drawn lines around four clusters that show up when one does any sort of really detailed and good studies on the different kinds of trans people. These clusters are trans women, trans men, both, and neither. It is a structure that

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mirrors the current existence of many, and I use the phrasing brothers, sisters, and siblings for the specific purpose of making sure that I note the existence of those who are both and neither. That doesn't fully embrace all of the possibilities, though. There are other clusters, and there are a lot of people who are outside that realm. Some of them are Intersex. While they, like the Trans population, struggle with a sense of self and a need to become part of the larger whole, it isn't my role or my goal here to decide what a good system for them is -- although I also see a large chunk of possibility for the presence of Intergender persons that is active right now, and they are often struggling for recognition and awareness within the trans community and under that term. Just as history shows that T and L And B all split away from the G to stand on their own, we will see that same effect happening within the T itself, and one can identify the precursors for such even now if you look for them. I have no idea what they will be called. I've used various terms for them, but the term isn't as important as the goal of leaving the "space" open for them. I know that there will be Trans and Cis. There will also likely be Inter (indeed, the basis for such is there and has been since the 90's, but they just got hit with a massive backlash themselves). There are going to be at least two others. Not knowing what they are doesn't mean they don't exist. It just means we don't know what they are -- just as we didn't know what X-rays were at one time. Or that there was this thing called the higgs-boson. This is important, though, especially right now in the efforts pertaining to Transcentrism, that we don't get caught up in the ciscentric thinking that predicates a binary, that says it is a Cis or Trans world, that one can be only one or the other. Aside from working to limit the ideas and efforts of others to come in the future, it is a false premise and should be avoided in terms

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of thinking as it creates that black and white problem that ultimately serves to benefit the Ciscentric forces we are struggling with.

Cisness
Cisness is the state of awareness or condition in society of someone who does conform in a majority of aspects to the way their society or culture sees them as behaving and living in relation to their cultures social construction of physiological sex, usually due to a harmony between their physical sex and one or both of their social sex aspect of self-awareness and/or internal sex aspect of self-awareness. It exists as a fundamental part of awareness of self, and it is, itself, an awareness, without which, there is no self-awareness.

Transness
Transness is the state of awareness or condition in society of someone who does not conform in a majority of aspects to the way their society or culture sees them as behaving and living in relation to their cultures social construction of physiological sex, usually due to a variance between their physical sex and one or both of their social sex aspect of self-awareness and/or internal sex aspect of self-awareness. It exists as a fundamental part of awareness of self, and it is, itself, an awareness, without which, there is no self-awareness.

Transness & Cisness Examination


Before I post the definition of Trans, I want to take a moment and examine those previous two concepts. In both cases, because the structure of Transness is malleable, and because there are, as I noted, other possibilities, both of those are subject to refinement as we gain broader understanding of those alternatives. Also, there is a really key set of concepts here that I deal with in those definitions. The first is cultural awareness, and a determination to not enforce or invoke ethnocentric concepts into the definition, in order to provide for a broader base that enables a wider understanding of the possible differences within such. There is no direct correlation, for example,

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between winkte, fa'afafine, and travesti, and none of them match the colloquial understanding of trans people in the US. When I say this, I mean it. There is more than a little racism that drives much of the social constructions we deal with, and especially those that date back to some pretty basic elements in the pre-civil rights era. For example, the descriptions and ideas in Harry Benjamin's work are entirely based in a deeply ethnocentric, Western Cultural milieu worldview that effectively erases many of the possible permutations (and, therefore, reduces our full understanding of things). For thousands of years, different ethnic systems existed (and many still exist or are being revitalized following the colonization of their cultures) that defined and structured sex differently from the way we do it in the US (social construction), and there are even broader ways of doing so than we currently use. This is why it is, at the very least, ethnocentric to argue that sex is real because biology, as Elizabeth Hungerford does, and, ultimately, in many ways, it is incredibly racist -- not because people intend it to be so, but because they fail to look outside their own narrow worldview. The next thing to note is that the definitions employed utilize the concept of Self Awareness. Self-awareness is that peculiar thing where we begin to understand that we, as individuals, exist, distinct from others. The most common way of describing this is the mirror: we have self-awareness when we can recognize that the reflection in the mirror is *us*. Ethnocentricity is a major issue within the sciences, as a whole, as they have long been dominated by Western idealizations (and driven by historic colonial devastation), and often it remains unexamined. Even within WPATH, there are issues that many people, such as my friend Dr. Sam Winter, who are working very hard to stop from erasing indigenous and Eastern cultural concepts that affect these very central ideas.

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A major part of the goal of the definitions of Transness and Cisness you see above is to strip the culturally limiting concepts down to their bare bones, and refocus the understanding away from external measures to the ones that are actually at the heart of the question, and to avoid those ethnocentric traps that reduce the description's value in an academic and scientific manner. Within the descriptions are a few concepts that people may not fully grasp off hand, as they are not described in a manner that people are familiar with. The terminology shift is necessary in the view of Transcentrism because existing terminology is overly ciscentric, especially in colloquial and layman use, while also being readily misunderstood by them. When concepts are readily misunderstood, it becomes necessary to reduce them to a level that is more readily grasped by those who are looking at them from outside them, and so that's what the above definitions do. The concept described most commonly as "Gender Identity" in colloquial use is summed up above as " their social sex aspect of self-awareness and/or internal sex aspect of selfawareness". A close inspection will note that this is actually two distinct concepts, and one of the reasons that this stuff is so easily misunderstood. The second concept, Sex Identity, is really the second half of the above description. Roughly translated, the whole thing means that a Trans person is aware that they are a woman, man, both, or neither, at the same core level as they are aware of themselves as a person, distinct from other people. Some people would prefer to argue that what this is suggesting is that there is a "brain sex" -and yet, that's not what this is describing. It is describing a sense of self-awareness -- which, while decidedly part of the brain's physiology, is really part of the existential notion that one exists, and therefore is not part of that argument, nor even related directly to biological

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systems (though many studies indicate such, I'm not going to reference such as biological essentialism of that sort is somewhat contrary to existential systems such as Transcentrism). What that means, as well, is that this description has nothing whatsoever to do with biology, and, therefore arguments about biology aren't valid when contradicting it. It would be akin to saying that the United States army shouldn't exist because of broccoli. This description also places the entire ideation process behind transness firmly within the cultural milieu, and therefore subject to social and psycho-social forces and changes. Since so long as there are people, there will be variance in the ways that people ascribe things to persons on the basis of their physical sex, there will always be trans people. That is, even if one were to successfully "abolish gender", there would still be trans people, because the culture would still ascribe aspects to persons on the basis of their physical sex. Which is also telling, since the social aspects ascribed to physical sex have a very specific sociological name applied to them. The downside, to many, is that in order to identify a particular trans person within a particular culture, you have to have a grasp of how that culture does things -- which as a sociologist I don't have a problem with. The simplest way to look at the above descriptions -- which is, inherently, an oversimplification, and therefore faulty if taken as face value -- is to say that Trans people are folks who think they aren't what other people think they are. Which, when tied to historical efforts to describe it, really matches the trapped in the body story -- but, again, this is an oversimplification of something more complicated, and so while the statement works (which is why so many trans people nod to it, even if they are not, such as myself, trapped in our bodies), it is a kindergarten level explanation compared to a collegiate level.

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Identity
The astute will notice that I haven't exactly used the idea of "identity" in any of the above stuff. There is no reference to people who identify as trans or people who identify as Cis. What you identify as is irrelevant in the entire scheme of Transcentric thought, since the notion of identity itself is a ciscentric concept and limiting thereby. This is, perhaps, the biggest change in the way that Transcentrism approaches transness within the politico-social area: it does not argue on the basis of a self-professed identity, and instead relies on a function of self-awareness: it places I am before I belong. In doing so, it removes the onus from the Trans person to identify themselves to others, and places the onus on Cis people (as the dominant social group) to find their own ways to do so. This is a fundamental shift, and a key one. Identity in this case is a sense of self, and the avoidance of the term allows the discussion to avoid being sidetracked into discussions about identity politics, since one's self awareness is not subject to such. What is subject to such is the "membership" in an Affinity group, which is the term within Transcentrism for the sociopolitical collective efforts of a particular oppressed population.

Social Affinity
Social Affinity is that sense of belonging to something larger than yourself. It is where the concepts of inclusive and exclusive come into play, and is the theater in which many of the arguments relating to trans people take place. Some trans people do not feel that they have a membership in a particular social affinity group that has anything to do with Transness. They might be more closely aligned with, for example, the Affinity Group of Radical Feminists, or even the affinity Group of Asian Pacific-Islanders.

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This is important because Affinity Groups are voluntary social structures. Often, people derive a sense of collective identity from their membership in that affinity group, and as a result a Movement is created that will adopt certain common needs and agitate for them. Trans separatists are one example of such an Affinity Group. So are Transgender Activists, and Trans Activists, and so forth and so on. The LGBT is a combined Affinity group, made up of several of them, facing similar or common issues. And this is a key aspect of Affinity Groups they are founded on commonality, first and foremost, Affinity groups do not exist based on that which separates them, though not because some people haven't tried to do so (Groucho Marx).

Affinity Politics
Affinity Groups, which are tied together by commonality, often engage in efforts to improve things in their culture. This is called "identity politics" in the real world. This is Women's Rights, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Undocumented Immigrant Rights, and, yes, Trans Rights (among many, many, many others). I use the term affinity Groups in order to highlight the nature of these groups: they are based in Affinity. Affinity is a fascinating concept, in and of itself, but essentially it is people who have something in common, and the particular way of seeing things that I'm really intent on examining is the notion of intentional family. People often refer to the LGBT community as their family. There are cries of Brother! and Sister! in other movements, and we in the US do not use that term without cause. Those "in-law's" that people are always talking about? Those are people who become related through Affinity. Legally speaking, even. In sociology, Affinity exists among those who have are kindred of spirit. A Kindred is a very, very Anglo-Saxon term, core to English. Perhaps you've heard the phrase Kith and Kin used

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before. A kindred is someone of the Clan, the Tribe, larger and broader than the blood and bone relatives. Kith are your neighbors, the people you live around (and don't always get along with) -- it is your village, essentially. And Kin, well, kin are those to whom you are related according to the way you heritage is tracked within your culture. In the US, that's still, predominantly, through the paternal side of things. So by using the term Affinity, I get a much more accurate description of what we are dealing with than I would if I used the term "Identity", and more importantly, I get right to the heart of the reason that it is an Affinity group -- that is, what it is that binds them together, all without getting into the messiness of "Identity". Here's why this is important. A person can Identify with many things, but ultimately, if they identify as something, they have a linguistic limiting of themselves that takes place, and they shift the nature of the conversation from what they are about to what they are. Identities are reducible, always, to one. Identity is predicated on what makes one *different*, then, not what one has in *common* with others. It can be reduced: I identify as X, except I don't identify with people who are X but also Z, and I don't identify with people who are X but also poorer than I, and I don't identify with people who have a lighter skin tone than I, because we all know they have it easier, and I don't..." Identity should not, really, be reducible beyond 1. I live by this, ever since I came to this realization several years ago. I do not identify as trans, as a woman, as any of the usual things people see or say or think or utter. I identify as one thing and one thing only, and that one thing manages to capture *everything* that is different, that is singular, that unique about me in one fell swoop: I identify as Antonia Elle D'orsay, occasionally Ellie, usually Toni, Ms. D'orsay, and assorted other odds and ends.

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There is no other identity that manages to capture the wholeness and the singularity of me, as a person, and anything I might choose to say I identify *as* would mean taking away from the rest of all that is me in order to focus on that one thing. So I Identify as just that. But I am a member of many different affinity groups. I identify with them, not as them. Saying I am a sociologist is not the same as saying I identify as a sociologist (if it was, then they would have the same meaning, semantically, and they don't, which is why you have to say it differently). This is also important because it highlights the nature of what is, most often, a fractious group of people, especially in something like the Trans community. Families, as many of us know all too well, do not always get along. They do not always pull together. They do not always consist of people who think the same and dream the same and live the same. Siblings fight, cousins mock, Aunts thrill with stories, grandparents embarrass the hell out of everyone. But they are still families. And families have red headed step children and black sheep, as well. Affinity is a far better descriptor than Identity, but it also has a couple of others benefits that have to do with history and arguing with other people.

Kinship: denied
The history part is this, in brief: LGBT people have a long, sordid history of being thrown out of their homes and forced into places that no one would go and then cut off. This history is a history of being told that you are not part of our family, of cutting the bonds of kinship, of denying them those very rights, those very benefits, those very basic ties. Marriage is an example of this. Marriage *creates* family. It creates it in law, it creates in society, it creates it in direct, substantial, measurable terms. People have fought tooth and nail, bitterly, for nearly 20 directly and decades before that, to deny and stop that from happening.

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The social subtext, then, is to deny us access to being a family, having a family, creating a family. That is, in the end, the core goal, and here's why: Family is the most basic building block of society. When you have family, you are able to build society, then. If you were wanting to get rid of someone, would you give them the ability to create a society that could ultimately combat your own? So again, Affinity is more effective.

Reap what you sow


The last one here is that when arguing with people who are opposed to trans people, they will often use arguments that center around identity, and they will intentionally conflate the notions of personal identity and social identity, and do so in a manner that allows them to attack you on two levels instead of one. They, however, are not familiar with the concepts of Affinity, nor the ways it serves the arguments in favor of transness. They recognize, even if they don't understand why, that identity is a reductive, that it is based on what is different, instead of what is in common. That makes it easier to attack. But affinity, based on what is in common, means they have to argue from the basis of commonality, and if their policy is one of exclusion, they cannot effectively do so. Brief: if you look for difference, you will see it. If you look for commonality, you will see it. If you think in those terms, those terms will dictate what you look for.

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Description
Description allows people the ability to look at an issue in more ways than just those found personally, and prevents one from being overly reductionist because it requires accuracy and a focus on commonality. The description of transness, above, deals in the concept of what it means to be a trans person, and also serves to describe the nature of what it is that makes a trans person such. Some will argue that it is, perhaps, too vague, too loose, and yet, it passes every major test and function that Ive come across or that others Ive known have attempted to use in identifyi ng what it is that makes a trans person such, without blocking out anyone. This is important to note, because to people who are not trans, that description doesnt deal in any of the things they expect it to deal in. It doesnt involve clothing, it doesnt involve the toys you play with as a child, it has nothing to do with what you enjoy or how you behave in terms of your gender. It doesnt speak to sexual orientation, and it makes clear a division between people who are trans and people who are not trans be they cis people or something else. It gets to the heart of the matter, then, the core principles, and allows the discussion about what is and is not a trans person to take shape around things that really have a lot to do with the existence of trans people, as opposed to being side tracked or devalued through the use of those other elements that may be related to being trans, but that do not, themselves, define a trans person. This is one of the most common mistakes that many people make they assume that being a trans person is about the clothing they wear or the social sex roles (the gender roles) they make an effort to occupy or are driven into by pervasive institutions and systems of thought. You see this as the primary format of presentation in the media. The focus on the clothing, the makeup, the application of sexist standards with an underlying sense of scandal and impropriety. Late last year, I presented a simple series of comments and highlighted them with links to demonstrate how deep this goes by highlighting the way that commonly used image

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resources, employed by magazines and media industry professionals (Getty Images, Shutterstock, and similar) and comparing them using simple search terms to results gleaned by Google Images. The findings, which to this day are still holding, demonstrate the lurid ways in which trans people are portrayed, often under the guise of being humor or artistic, despite getting that humorous or artistic value from the negative way in which the wider and broader systems portray Trans people. These are why description is often seen as risky we are, after all, an oppressed class with very little effective power when it comes to changing those representations and little to no value in the larger structural systems (such as advertising and image management industries) to change those representations. This is also why efforts such as The Trans 100 are so important and function in no small part to actively change that representation and thats just one example; efforts in Washington DC and Boston have been incredibly powerful in terms of the effect on the Cis community, which is the target demographic primarily, with the ability to reach people who often do not see representations of themselves in the media otherwise being a useful secondary effect. Description then, is very powerful as a tool for the purpose of making clear distinctions and ensuring that the focus is on the facts, instead of the opinion, and allows one to see ways around many of the arguments, as Ive been pointing out steadily. The description for Transness above shows that nearly every major way of looking at trans people is flawed, because it always comes from a ciscentric, externally based concept instead of looking at what it really is, which is a deeply internalized, core aspect of the person we see in the mirror. Description is, then, a key point of capacity building that nebulous seeming buzzword right now that basically means allowing everyone who has ever felt like a freak or a weirdo because of someone else to get behind you and support you like some real life version of Revenge of the Nerds.

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Situational Membership
One factor that affects this goal of capacity building is the concept of situational membership. This often drives many of the underlying arguments people use around the lives of trans people, on both sides. Some might note that often used, more colloquial models for transness are too broad and include people like gay men and lesbians, or even just women who wear pants or men with long hair. Many of the arguments used against legal efforts around transness rely on these same vague ideas, making it seem like transness is just a phase, a fad, or a strange fetish or paraphilia. These arguments often turn people against the needs of trans people that these legal efforts are addressing. This happens within the gay community, where on more than a few occasions people have said that trans people are really just confused gay men who are deeply homophobic, or that such efforts will mean that a person can be one sex today and another sex tomorrow, or that people will pretend to be a trans person just to engage in illegal activities. This is because they use inaccurate descriptions, as well as a form of oppressive argument that places the responsibility for Cis people on Trans people (the same tactic is used against people of color, as well, as is often seen in discussion over affirmative action). Situational membership is when a person who is not a member of a group appears to be such because of the situation in which they find themselves. An excellent example if drag performers, who come in a wide and incredibly diverse variety. There are straight men and straight women who perform in drag (both as men and as women), there are cis men and women who do it, trans men and women who do it, and of course, gay and lesbian men and women who do it. Drag is often not fully understood, and because of the various efforts involved, people readily confuse drag performance with being trans. Drag is performance, however, just like acting is performance, and in the same way that people often confuse traits

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of a character played by an actor with the real actor, people do the same thing with Drag performers. Because of this misunderstanding of what drag is and even who all is involved in drag, drag performers are often placed as members of the Trans community, even when they are not. Even drag performers sometimes do so often in a sense of solidarity. Since some trans people are drag performers, it can be confusing to people who feel that perhaps they need to have those clear cut lines between things, and have a hard time realizing that drag is so complex an issue. Situational membership happens when you find yourself, seemingly unwillingly, thrust into a group with which you otherwise might not feel you have much in common. Bisexual people often experience this in both the gay and lesbian communities, as well as the straight community entirely based on who they happen to be with. And, as a result of the underlying animosities there, they are often attacked on both sides for it, in subtle and invidious ways. Trans folk, such as transsexuals, can find that different peoples perceptions of their gender affect how they are seen in terms of sexual orientation. They might for example, be called a faggot; or perhaps when they seek to marry they are told they arent really their particular sex, but instead a different one. The common element through all of this is the nature of how people predominantly cis people, but really anyone dealing with ciscentric thoughts and ideas about what trans people perceive other individuals, and never with the person themselves. This means that inevitably the issue is one of assumption, and more likely than not is going to involve stigma at some level.

Relationship to Sexual Orientation


IT should be noted that Transness has no direct relationship to sexual orientation.

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There is one aspect of transness that does have an effect on the trans people. It is difficult to effectively and properly know your sexual orientation for many people until after they have started the process of transition the shifting from one point to another. Another way to express this is that it is hard to know what your sexual orientation is without knowing what your sex is, as sexual orientation (which is currently ciscentric in structure, and does not account for trans people) is a relative concept that requires knowing yours as well as the other persons sex and or gender. I use sex and or gender as one of the important things to remember about sexual orientation is that it is not focused on the genitals. Individual preferences for a particular arrangement may be present, but the focus especially as outlined in the concepts of sexual orientation, as we understand it at this time is on the social sex of the individual, as thats what we are initially attracted to in a person and what opens up the possibility for sexual intercourse.

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Structure & Agency


So we've noted so far that there are these people called trans people, and they are banded together in an affinity group, and they have a long and sordid history of basically not being well liked because the system around them is created for, by, of, and about Cis people, and leaves them with less than the short end of the stick. But what is that system? How do we talk about that system of Ciscentrism in relation to other forces that shape our overall culture and that ultimately feed into this strange thing that we will cover in the future called the Web of Domination these days, but that I still like to think of as the Matrix of Oppression (its a movie thing. A movie by a trans person thing. Which reminds me: you do realize that the Matrix is a somewhat transcentric movie that features no visible trans people, right? Subversive...)

Structure
In the study of such things, we call that collection of forces, institutions, and ideas that exist in the world Structure. Government is Structure. Law is Structure. Language is Structure. Economics is Structure. The things you think you know about the world itself is Structure. To steal a rather wonderful description of it: From a child's verbal description of a snowflake, to the detailed scientific analysis of the properties of magnetic fields, the concept of structure is now often an essential foundation of nearly every mode of inquiry and discovery in science, philosophy, and art. To take the earlier metaphor I used parenthetically, Structure is The Matrix. It is invisible to us for the most part, and is composed of billions of lines of code that take the shape of people, who operate and enable and power that very system (what you thought eh battery metaphor was just there for s&g's?).

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Because structure is everywhere and omnipresent, it has tremendous influence on our behaviors, our ways of thinking, our ways of seeing things and determining what is good or bad, right or wrong, a problem or a solution. Structure is The Box, awaiting an action, anticipating a reaction, defining our proactions. When people say they don't want to be confined by labels or trapped in some Box, what they mean is that Structure is limiting them, and that is, basically, the purpose of Structure. Structure is what keeps us from killing each other enough that we are on course to have 10 billion people on the planet. In fictional situations, there is often a cause for conflict -- the power of the Gods versus the concept of free will. The ability of the protagonist to make choices and decisions that shapes the outcome of the story without the input or effect of the Gods themselves -- and more often than not, in spite of them and what they do. What opposes structure, though, is what matters.

Agency
Agency is the degree of free will we have, and the way in which we use that free will to make a decision, think a thought, or take an action. When people talk about transition not being a choice, they mean that the force of Structure is telling them they should die, but the power of Agency is telling them to make a change. Structure is incredibly powerful. Structure is incredibly influential, and structure dictates the choices we can make in many ways. In feminist discourse, a classic example is the choice of a woman who decides to stay at home and raise children while the husband goes off and provides for the family. Structure says that this is the ideal, it posits this concept as the "best", and other possible solutions as "lesser" and even sorts them out by degree until the bottom of the rung is a single, unmarried woman who works in a powerful position.

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When Structure is being incredibly powerful, that choice may be the only one allowed, socially. Structure may influence people to decide that work other than that is beyond the capability of women, and because structure informs and shapes the way we see it and the way we think about it, it also means the arguments that support if are going to be strong and reinforcing of the idea. Agency says that the individual woman gets to make up her mind and do so. That she can choose from whatever the various possibilities are and do what she wants to do. Yet often this power is denied her by the particular structures of her culture. Perhaps she is denied schooling which helps one to make wise and informed choices, as well as to even be aware that there are other things she could do. If you cannot see it, then you likely cannot think it. Imagination is even limited by structure. In feminism, the structure that significantly hinders the ability of women to enact their own Agency over their lives is called Patriarchy. In Transcentrism, that Structure is called Ciscentrism. Go along nearly any major issue of oppression -- an axis, if you will -- and you will find that the system that works to oppress has a name, and that overall those many systems, when taken together, create the Structure that governs people. The give and take between Structure and Agency are fairly constant, and always happening. The entire notion of Civil Rights -- of freedoms and liberties, is a way of enshrining in Structure a concept that says it should to answer to the needs of Agency. And in so doing, they highlighted the nature of the things we call structure and agency today enough that, about three hundred years later, we started really understanding it better. This conflict between Agency and Structure is called Interplay. There are all manner of mathematical equations and algorithms and concepts and more that deal with the way that

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people engage in that interplay -- game theory, for example, has been extremely useful in examining the way that an individual's Interplay between structure and agency happens in certain circumstances. Marketing is built around this whole schema as well, and those people who get into the higher order posts (I'm guessing the 300's) will find that I have a particular way of looking at marketing and seeing how it is a powerful tool that needs to be put to better use, and how those currently in power are aware of that and seek to minimize it. But for now, let's just look at Structure. As noted earlier, nearly all our understanding of the world, thus far, has come about from people looking at what is, effectively, the mean. That space where there is actually a curve, on the bell curve. The hump, if you will: the most common, most typical, most every day, most ordinary, most broadly found, easiest to identify, the low hanging fruit, the mundane, the mediocre. When we started looking at the margins, we started seeing other things. We started realizing that we sorta screwed up here or there, and we shifted -- but those shifts rarely made it into the overall culture, and instead stayed in the realm of the abstract for most people. When people talk about Normal, that's what Structure creates. It creates that sense of commonality (note the link there between normal and affinity groups), that way of everyone being all part of the same thing, and not being all that different from each other. That is structure in action. And ultimately, that's what Transcentrism seeks to change -radically, by placing trans people into the conversation as a matter of course and regularity. To ensure that they are part of the math that says this was built by, for, about, and with people in mind in a social system that thinks it has, when it has not.

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Ciscentrism
Ciscentrism is the collective Structure that has arisen over centuries as Cis persons have developed all of their various cultures and systems of power and influence in a manner that benefits these Cis people at the expense of Trans people. When combined with prejudice, this becomes Cissexism and Transphobia, which are used as the tools by which trans people are oppressed and their lives rendered meaningless and contradictory to established norms. It is a structure that exerts the power and influence gained over centuries into a coercive force that dictates to persons within a given culture how they are to behave, act, and live their lives with an eye to maintaining the oppression they exert over those who do not meet the strict rules for people. Those strict rules can humorously summed up in a little thing I call the rule of screwing.

The Rule of Screwing


You know those moments when someone freaks out because you are a woman, or gay, or a lesbian, or bisexual, or trans and they just seem to go all nuts and say some of the most amazingly stupid things? Often, its because, in some way, you just violated The Rule Of Screwing. Yeah it is a violation of the rule of screwing. That is, there are two kinds of people in their perspective: 1. those who do the screwing 2. those who are screwed They define, in a host of different ways, the screw ers as the males, and the screwees as the females. Anything that allows itself to get screwed is a screwee and, therefore, female (which has connotations of inferiority). So, when a man allows himself to get screwed, or a woman fails to allow herself to get screwed, or someone tries to change from a woman to a man or from a man to a woman, they are in violation of the rule of screwing and they simply cant handle that breakdown of what they perceive as the the way things are supposed to be.

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Worse: since they consider it their *right* to screw, suddenly having something that isnt female by other rules and ways and ideas be screwee, it leads to the suggestions that since they are supposed to screw those things which are screwable, they are supposed to screw these screwee men. That scares the crap out of them, on a subconscious level. Why? Because if they can screw another man, it means that men are screwable, and that would place them in the screwable position as well. Which means they would be women. Which scares them even more, because that would mean that theyd have to give up the privileges of being the screwer. Its all nice and simple for them until this change to the heteronormative patriarchy raises its head. They cant deal with it. It becomes a logic bomb in their heads, and, in the end, what we get is a person for whom the most apt description, in light of the rule of screwing, is screwy. The above, for all the humor that is contained in it, is an oversimplified but still useful way of examining many of the underlying issues that surround a host of issues: heterosexism, Cissexism, and Sexism, and involves the intersecting points of oppression along the axes of Patriarchy, Heteronormativity, and Ciscentrism. This is a good example because it also shows how the varying aspects of Structure work together to bring to bear multiple forms of oppression, thus making it increasingly difficult for oppressed groups to escape certain restrictions on them, especially when they cross one or more of those lines. A trans lesbian for example, gets caught up in all three of those, and is generally going to see those three separate axes as a singular thing -- that is, her experience of such is going to be of

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them as one form of constant oppression, and so she is most likely going to have a desire to describe them as a singular element. Yet doing so is problematic, because it maintains the conflation that is already in place, and is there in service to the greater structure as a whole. You can add in class, race, economic status, education, ability, and keep going and the issue is still the same. Here's an example of what I mean by this. I am a woman of color who is a trans person and bisexual. I get hit along multiple axes all the time -- I experience them as a massive mlange, like a kind of cement that is poured on me with the goal of keeping me in place long enough for it to harden so I can no longer move (and, ultimately, die). If I didn't have a transcentric lens and an awareness of other axes of oppression, I might be inclined to call that particular attack transracialbiphobicsexistmisogyny. Because that's how I perceive it -- as one massive pile of really serious crap. We see that, already, in the term transmisogyny, which attempts to bridge the separation between patriarchy and Ciscentrism and critique both of them at the same time. The problem here is that transmisogyny only affects a specific class of trans people -- it ignores those how are not trans women of the predominantly binary format. It is a form of sexism (and I would point out that misogyny and sexism are distinct concepts, and that in most cases where I see transmisogyny applied, it is really just plain old sexism, which is really even worse), and it is combined with trans discrimination, and by separating those two things, we start to see that is applies to more than just trans women, and that it is a two pronged attack requiring two separate responses if one is going to effectively deal with it, since Patriarchy is not the major Structure facing trans people; Ciscentrism is.

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Indeed, trying to address it as a singularity actually provides more power to the structure, because it has obscured the way it relies on two separate tangents, and this enables it to consistently move the goal posts and derail the conversation and thereby avoid having to face its inherent bias. Which is not to say that transmisogyny doesn't have a place. It does. But the place for it is not in a transcentric analysis.

Cooperative Analysis
Part of why the other systems are not the major issue for transness is that they are all currently ciscentric systems themselves -- feminism is ciscentric. It was created by, for, about, and of cis women. It has grown and adapted, but the core tenets of it are still that way, and although it struggles to achieve a more transcentric point of view and adapt, it is not there yet. That's going to take transcentric feminists bridging that gap. The same applies to other systems that often conflate and cooperate in oppression, because they are all opposing a cis created system with cis created concepts in a cis created way. All of the oppositional efforts, though, must work in tandem, must cooperate -- we here the term capacity building a lot, which essentially means that we need to get more people on board with us in order to achieve our collective goals. That means that Transcentrism needs to have that capability inherently, and recognize potential issues of patriarchy, racism, classism, and so forth within itself. IT needs to reach out into the matrix of oppression and because it crosses all those other lines, it needs to bring them into itself, and make their goals an equal part of its own. Not doing so means that it will deal with the same issues that other efforts have consistently dealt with. The original law passed to let Black people work in this country was passed in the 1860's, yet it took another a century later to fix that fact it still wasn't being done, and there are still decisions and efforts chipping away at it constantly (voting rights laws).

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Women have been fighting for equal place since the earliest days of the nation, and they still haven't achieved equality in pay. They are still denied their right to bodily integrity -- just like trans people often are. So that's structure, an agency is our own individual ways to step around that structure. That isn't always readily possible, however...

The Ciscentric Bargain


Sometimes, in an effort to wrestle some small snippet of personal agency and thereby gain a benefit out of the system, we have to make a sort of deal with the devil -- a bargain that allows us to wrest that sense of personal power from the system and make whatever living we can out of such. Trans people are just now, really, finding out they can do this, It is at its earliest stages in terms of the ciscentric bargain, but at the same time, it is a lesson we have learned well in other ways, along different axes. We make a ciscentric bargain when we speak of passing. When we do our utmost to meet the ciscentric model of beauty and appearance for acceptability. We do it when we speak about going "a little bit stealth" or just not talking about being trans. We do it when we turn tricks on the corners or we fudge a little request for help by switching to male voice with the customer service rep while trying to get something done and say "this is my boyfriend". We do it when we are afraid to walk down the street holding hands, or when we look for that single stall restroom and wait for it instead of using the multi-stall one. This is the sticking area -- like that housewife who wants to be such, we open ourselves up to potential criticism for a decision we made of our own will, in order to wrest some sense of happiness out of a situation that is pretty difficult.

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Think about that housewife for a moment. She gets hit with issues relating to supporting the structure, and told that her choices are not valid because they only came from structure. Yet she still exercised her agency. Trans people do the same thing. We do it to separatists, who are arguing for assimilation and erasure. We do it to people who will argue with the ideas I've put forth here. We do it to those who detransition and those who are too tied up in a complicated life to start. The underlying accusation is that they aren't really trans, or they are helping the Structure that we are fighting with. And here's the thing about that sort of action -- a lesson I had to learn a hard way. That's not how you do it. You do not fight Structure by attacking Agency. The choices a person makes in order to live in a world that oppresses them do not happen in a vacuum, but neither do the forces that affect those choices, and your picking on them isn't going to make a change in the greater structure, which is the real problem. You fight structure by attacking structure. When you go after someones personal life, you are not attacking structure, you are attacking Agency. Moreover, the only thing that fights agency is Structure -- so you are, in that sense, doing the work of structure for them, even if your intent is to actually fight the structure. To combat systemic issues, speak to the Structure. To combat personal lives, speak to the Agency. If you are fighting oppression and you speak to the Agency to do so, you are, ultimately, doing the work of the Structure. Intent is not magical.

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What you intend to do doesn't matter. It is what you actually do. The road to hell is paved with only the best of intentions -- the genocides of people throughout history were always done with good intentions.

Interplay
Things like the Ciscentric Bargain, the struggle between your personal effort at Agency, and the collective effort of an affinity group to exercise social agency are part of how one strives to make changes that are meaningful on personal and communal levels. The changes being sought are changes to Structure, which has the power to limit the available options, choices, and decisions available through the reward and punishment cycle, along with such forces as policing, stigma, shame, and ostracism. The back and forth between these forces is called interplay, and interplay can also be summed up as the methodology by which one negotiates the matrix of domination in order to provide personal, social, individual, and collective resources for use against and in spite of the structure that limits them. This is why it is a revolutionary act just to express yourself if you are positioned within an axis of oppression as the oppressed. This is why peo ple describe these actions as brave and courageous they see it as being an act of defiance to the Structure. One of the more interesting things that happens when one begins this effort, especially since the mid 1970s, is that people will use the terminology of Identity, and argue that their identity must be respected as a person, and as a member of a class. This is unwise. Identity systems are reductive and exclusionary you build identity by what separates you from others. That identity process can be reduced to ever smaller segments, ever narrower concepts, ever more limited and restrictive structures that serve as a way to further refine ones identity. In the trans community, a few examples of this are passing, the surgery, true transsexual, and policing the concepts until the identified group becomes ever smaller.

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This is especially true within oppressed groups, where often individuals, as part of the ciscentric bargain, will seek to utilize various ciscentric arguments as the basis of those ever reductive identity based arguments, and this allows people to utilize many of the arguments that one sees used against trans people in the first place. Identity is always reducible to one and in the end, only one identity can ever possibly capture the wholeness of an individual, and this is why I do not use identity based arguments within my work saying I identify as to anything other than a singular moniker that expressly marks you as an individual is ultimately going to lead you into those paths even if you put great effort and store into avoiding policing and into avoiding reductive systems because you are starting with a reductive system. Instead, what I focus on is description. When discussing LGBT issues, one of the things that often comes up is some individual stating that they are not part of a particular group, and that as a result, they are opposed to the stuff being discussed. An example of this is LGB people who dislike the presence of Trans folk in the mlange, or trans folk of one sort or another who feel that some term or some group does them an injustice. This kind of thinking often serves to create wedge issues when it hits the affinity group level, and works against the actions of those seeking to make changes to the structure in order to improve things for their particular affinity group. It also often results in different affinity groups making purity calls and attacking persons similarly situation (trans men versus trans women, Black versus A/PI, dark versus light), ultimately creating a form of policing within the community that takes energy away from the effort to resist the structure and serves to reinforce it, thus undermining the work as a whole. AN excellent example of this is the collapse of Second wave feminism during the 1980s as it divided and split into differing approaches and ideas that are often placed at odds with each other. Part of what underlies the unwillingness on the part of many to deal with situations of dissent there is that there is an almost unspoken requirement to respect an individuals personal self-

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identity. To avoid being disrespectful of that persons self-identity, people go to great lengths to talk around aspects, or else they become embroiled in a contest where the argument descends into the logical fallacy of arguing the general from a specific or vice versa. The solution, then, is description but description is harder, and involves thinking about such issues in a different way, because there are a lot of perceived risks to description and a sense that description is to subject to the whims of other people. This despite the effectiveness of the shift around the nature of marriage equality in changing the focus from identity to description.

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Privilege
Privilege is a short hand for a concept known better these days as Dominant Class Privilege. It is the antithesis of Stigma, the obverse of it As such, it is not a visible privilege, and not something granted by some governmental authority. It is not being born to a wealthy family or the lap of luxury in the common sense that we speak about normally when we talk about someone coming from privilege in most uses. The sort of privilege we are talking about is very loosely related to those things, yet is not that. It is a form of entitlement and immunity to stigma, yet cannot by earned by actions that you take it is conferred entirely by your existence, and based solely on the ways in which you alike to others who have, to some degree or other, social power as a result of being the dominant class of persons in that cultural milieu. This kind of privilege we are talking about is more formally known as Dominant Privilege, and is an unearned thing. You do not have to do anything to get it, and you receive it whether you want it or not. You benefit from it, by your membership, and it is unseen and unrecognized by you when you have it, unless it is exposed to you in some way, or you lose it. A good example of this is the grocery store analogy. You go to the same grocery store for five years. Although they change the end caps from time to time, the things you want and that you know how to get are always there, and you can find odds and ends and you can expect that the manager is going to be a person whos skin is pale, and is a man. Over that same five years, a large ethnic population moves into the area, and they start shopping there, and the grocery store makes rooms on the shelves for the things they want. But the process of doing so means they move things around dramatically, and suddenly that 10 minute shopping trip you were taking takes 45 minutes, because now theyve moved everything around in the store and it is harder for you to find the things you like, you want, and if you are like most people, you will develop a subtle sense of resentment about it. They have a sense of strangeness about the store that they may or may not notice, but ultimately, many of them will go and find another store.

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Now, a lot of people right now are saying, no, I dont do that and yet, most of them do. T hat sense of strangeness is what happens when your privilege vanishes. Privilege is not sexism, not racism, not Cissexism or Ciscentrism. Privilege is not discrimination, in and of itself. It can accompany it, and it can underlie it, and it is derived from it in part, but it is very subtle, and is less about those who are in a position of powerlessness and more about those who are in a position of power. People speak of dog whistles: words and statements that are seemingly innocuous, but are intentionally phrased so as to suggest something other than the seeming innocence. A good example of a more blatant dog whistle is the Bathroom Meme They will allow men into the womens restroom! On the surface, this is fairly innocuous. Men go into the womens room surprisingly often (I walked in on a guy waiting for his daughter yesterday at the grocery store and he was far more embarrassed than I was). But the idea that was dog whistled there is that letting men go into bathrooms is dangerous for women. And I *did* indeed feel some concern about having a man in the bathroom there because as a part of society, I am expected to see men as predatory culturally, and therefore I should fear this man helping his daughter learn how to use the toilet. Not because of what he was doing, but because of what he was and therefore what he represented. Privilege is like that. Its subtle, it exists under the awareness level. It is, to an oppressed person, a screaming siren, and to those with privilege that unearned Dominant Privilege it is a silent agreement, a tacit understanding, and unspoken agreement that they are not even aware of having made.

System of Privilege
Privilege has three aspects that are fundamentally present: Innocence: I am not looked to as the cause of problems in a social group. Worthiness: I am presumed worthy of a social groups trust and wealth.

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Competence: I am expected to be skillful, successful, and autonomous. All of those are things we all think about ourselves in general. Indeed, all three of those are things that LGBT+ people are fighting to achieve in the social group that is the culture of the United States. Two really good examples of privilege as its been used by gay men against trans people recently include : I dont have privilege. This one is an assertion of innocence. When one says this, one is saying that they are not the cause of the problem, when, in fact, it is rather useful at pointing out that they are, in fact, a part of the problem. I cant be oppressing you if Im pro trans. This one deals in the worthiness of the individual. When something like this is said, it is staking a claim to being worthy of that trust and wealth (and, in this case, that wealth is a metaphorical sort, such as information, esteem, knowledge, etc. linking it as well to the question of their own competence). It denies the unearned privilege the writer has not on the basis of the unearned privilege, but on the basis of their unrelated stance. This is similar to the argument well, I have gay friends and they think you shouldnt get married too, or the I know a lot of trans people and they like that movie. In both cases, the individual is asserting their privilege you should listen to them because they are more worthy than you are and they support it by citing people that they know in the oppressed class as evidence that they arent part of oppression. These are, for the most part, trans specific examples of privilege in action, stripped of something important to understand, and thats context. Well get to that in a few moments. These are examples, as well, of the defensive posture that is taken when people are confronted with their privilege.

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Loss Of Privilege
That unearned privilege is very hard to lose. To lose it, you have to suddenly be stripped of your status. You have to affected by some form of stigma that reduces your ability to do this. Closeted gay folks are often perceived as heterosexual, and as a result gain the unearned privileges of heterosexual privilege. When they come out, they lose that unearned privilege. There are arguments surrounding the concept of how they gained that privilege in the first place, and readers are free to enter into those in the comments, but Im not going to go there right now. One of the most glaring experiences of a trans woman, however, happens frequently enough thats its also a trope a sort of fully expected and normal experience thats very, very common. That is the apparent loss of male privilege. The most subtle form of it is often described as how when they were perceived as men they would be in a meeting and if they spoke, people stopped and listened to them. They gave their attention, and often would even stop what they were doing to allow the person to speak. Then they encounter a similar situation as a woman, and are ignored. Their ideas even if it is the same idea they may have expressed when perceived as a man are suddenly less valuable, and have less merit and are lacking in worthiness. This is the effect of privilege when it is used: it puts someone in their place. It is, in and of itself, a form of oppression, and people are typically utterly unaware that they are doing so. Even a very supportive and dedicated person working on behalf of a particular oppressed group will do this and not realize it until they have it pointed out to them.

Privilege is Ciscentric
One of the interesting quirks to the notion of Trans people actually having privilege is that it isnt possible. They can benefit from it, but they cannot actually have it. It resides only so long as they are not known to be trans which removes them from the group of men in the US

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culture at present, even if they are trans men. That knowledge changing things is why they dont have that privilege. The closest comparative, and one I draw on from personal experience, is the way that light skinned Black people are sometimes conferred temporary benefit to white Privilege. That exchange happens as an error on the part of the broader, dominant culture, and so when it is lost (through the discovery) the penalty for such is often extremely severe, up to and including accusation of theft, through fraud, and the infamous trans double bind of fooling.

Checklists
The most common way of demonstrating someones privilege in simple and reducible form is via a checklist. This is derived from the short form of the paper cited earlier. Privilege checklists are often interpreted as being individual specific, and as having a uniformity to them. That is, when people see a privilege checklist, they often expect all of those things to apply to them. This is an incorrect reading and a lack of understanding. Checklists can apply only partially. A checklist can also have intersections there are things on a Cis Privilege checklist that can also apply on a Straight Privilege checklist. Those commonalities do not reduce the truth of the particular point, they are simply an intersection. Just because you as an individual may not have experienced a particular form of privilege used to further your marginalization that does not mean that it is not an actual aspect of privilege. Conversely, just because a given person does not have a particular privilege described in a list (for example, a cis person looking at a cis privilege list), that does not mean that the particular privilege is not such.

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Social Constructions
Social constructs are the by-products of people interacting with each other. They are the products of communal creation and understanding of reality around them, and they are based in the notion that things are not universal and based in an understanding of them as having an essential quality that transcends time and space. Social constructions are the ways in which people collectively participate in the construction of their perceived social reality; the manner by which social phenomena are created, institutionalized, known, and made into tradition by humans. The social construction of reality is an ongoing, dynamic process that is reproduced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it. Social constructs must be constantly maintained and re-affirmed in order to persist, and often the tools by which this happens, themselves are part of the way in which that happens. Social Constructs are how Structure is created, in other words. They are the concepts, ideas, and thoughts that are shared, communicated, and accepted in a way that becomes part of what everyone accepts. This process also introduces the possibility of change: what "justice" is and what it means shifts from one generation to the next. Some of the more interesting social constructs that people do not always grasp right off the start are things like law, money and Property ownership. The ideas that someone is a man or a woman, that someone is male or female, are also social constructs. Which means, yes, that Gender and Sex are social constructs. Transcentrism, being a strongly existentially focused effort, looks at concepts from a constructivist point of view, and does not rely or need to use arguments that are based in physiology or biology to make points. It is, like feminism, a social construct, in and of itself, and is committed to the ultimate goal of not being necessary.

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It also seeks to avoid continuing a cycle, and to uplift those around us, because there is only the one division of Cis people and even that one, if you give it a great deal of thought, is variable. Trans people are everywhere. There is no field of human endeavor that there are not trans people, no subset or segment or class or group that trans people are not involved in. Cis people are among us, we are not among them. That means that when we see the struggle of women, we must join it. When we see the struggle of people of color, we must join it. When we see the need, and there are trans people, then that is a trans issue and it needs to be transcentric, and we need to look towards the greater benefit of trans people, people outside our selves, because we, as individuals, only gain value through our interaction and efforts on behalf of others. Other social constructions are as follows.

Sex
In grade school biology class, many people are taught the extremely over simplified binary the one or the other, which in an appropriate way of saying it. The way that binary came about was that in the process of studying biology, initially, the scientists looked only at the mean and discarded results which were not part of that. In other words, they looked only at the central part of the bell curve, and sorta left off the ends as unimportant. They labeled the stuff on the ends the stuff they didnt understand very well and didnt look at closely aberrant, broken, defective, mutated, and assorted other terms. If that sounds very much like a ciscentric focus, then you are correct, it is. At the time this was being done, normative patterns were deeply prized, and anything that wasnt normative was considered as useless and a waste. It also happened a really, really long time ago and has only been getting more narrowly refined over the centuries by the time what we think of as modern biology came about, the notion of that binary was already firmly entrenched, and questioning it wasnt really high on a lot of peoples priority list.

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The major issue here was taxonomy how to classify the world of things around us so that we could understand them and develop a way of communicating with each other that would be accurate and lack overt ambiguity. This is the creation of the social construct known as Sex. It was rarely closely examined until late in the previous century, and what we do know has been passed down in those grade school levels as the minimum amount to know. That is important to realize: the minimum for people to know is pretty much that men have penises and women have vaginas and there are XX and XY chromosomes. Thats the minimum. This isnt about the minimum. To determine the sex of a person is much more complicated than people like to admit when they have spent many years and become very comfortable with the minimum amount to know, since it works in the majority of cases. It does not work in all cases, however. As Eric Vilain pointed out over a decade ago, there are a great many ways of determining sex. All of them vary and all of them serve a particular purpose or goal. So long as we seek out a singular way of identifying between the two sexes, we will always tend to have some variation and some failure to include everyone. There are 7 factors that apply.

Primary sex Characteristics Secondary Sex Characteristics Gonads Hormones Chromosomes Internal Sex Awareness Social Sex Awareness

In general, the manner in which one determines a persons sex is through a majority of those five things to establish a person as physiologically male or female, and the particulars of that majority are what counts.

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So if a person has the genitals of a male, the secondary sex characteristics of a female, the gonads of a male, the hormones of a female, and the chromosomes of a male, they would be male physiologically but the balance still remains with the Internal sex awareness and the social sex awareness, and if those two are female, then the person is a female, but if they are male then the person is a male, and if they are both or neither, well, that gets more effective. Surgery and medicine can change these aspects as well, and alter them. Removal of the gonads and genitals, and shifting the hormonal basis of the person is often used, routinely, to do just that. This is called changing the sex of someone. The combined series of medical treatments is called a sex change, while different collections of procedures have different terms and trans people cant even agree on what it going to be called.

Social Sex
Social Sex is the more accurate term for the concept that most people just call Gender. There is a reason to use it beyond accuracy, however: people readily and easily conflate sex and gender, and this is especially true when dealing with people who are ciscentric and hostile towards transcentric thought and ideas. By using the term social sex (which takes a few more letters and a space bar hit), it is possible to push the discourse into the proper view, and it also highlights the nature of the division between gender and sex in a way that laymen can grasp, as well as reducing the ambiguity of terminology that using the term gender brings. Social Sex is not a singular thing. It is a mlange of elements and pieces and parts and it is deeply embedded into the culture it is part of. Social Sex varies from culture to culture, and there are no universal aspects of Social Sex. Social Sex is tied not merely to language, but also to deep aspects that govern the way relationships are allowed to form in a culture stuff from friendships to marriage, Social Sex affects it all. A phrase often used by many is that Family is the building block of society. Its true, too. The building block of Family is kinship marriage and the ties that create family; relationships developed between people and governed by social rules of interaction.

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The building blocks of the rules that govern those relationships are grounded in a cultures Social Sex. It lies at a part so deep in a culture that a change to it truly does change the culture itself in a markedly dramatic way. That depth is why sexism is so hard to root out and so pervasive on our thoughts, and why language is tied into the concept, and it even affects the very *idea* of sexual orientation at a level that no one really saw when Kinsey was doing his report. Most people experience Social Sex as a singularity because it can be difficult to see it otherwise unless you are, in some way, different in your way of dealing with Social Sex than is readily apparent in your culture. Social Sex is always social. It is always a matter of how other people see you. This is because Social Sex is what you have when you do not see the flesh sex is two naked bodies on a table, Social Sex is everything else. Social Sex is not about male or female, it is about man or woman, boy or girl. These three factors all work together, depending on each other and enforcing each other, and its a very strong, very basic level of understanding. Our Social Sex Identity informs our ability to see the difference between what clothing is ours and which clothing goes to the opposite sex. Our Social Sex Expression informs which clothing we choose and how we show the world we are fertile or a good potential partner. Our Social Sex Role is reliant on the other two for our choices in cultural occupation and involvement according to the rules of our particular society. Those rules can vary. What is masculine in one culture can be feminine in another. Those rules are often unspoken, but we learn them from the time we are born and begin to understand the world around us until we die as just as a culture evolves and changes, so do the roles and the manners of expression. Hence the idea that Social Sex is not real it is an intangible thing that cannot be touched, cannot be seen. Its like emotions they are there, and now that we know the words for them,

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we can label them and identify them and describe them to others, but theres nothing there they are aether. Yet it is very real, and very much a presence in ones everyday life. You are using Social Sex every single time you talk about being a man or a woman or male or female or boy or girl you cannot avoid using Social Sex when saying that, and each time you do so, you support and further the cultural process. It is, then, a recursive power structure. Judith Butler called it performative, using a particular word that strikes people often as strange, but it has nothing to do with performing there is no putting on an act, and that is not what the word meant when she used it. As anyone with a decent grounding in the social sciences will tell you, the terminology we use has to be specific, and it has to have a very specific meaning. Butler approached things from a basis of speech acts. What she means when she says performative is not an act of performance, like a person on a stage. She is referring to a Performative utterance (or performative) which are defined in the speech acts theory (part of the philosophy of language) as sentences which are not only passively describing a given reality, but they are changing the social reality they are de scribing. Now, if thats a little hard for you to wrap your head around, thats ok just be aware and note that it has nothing to do with performing in the sense of an act of performance like a person on a stage, it has more to do with how what we say shapes the way it is perceived. One rather simple and weak example of this is the difference between like a woman and am a woman. They have two very different meanings, but people often colloquially interpret them the same without realizing the differences because of the meta-context that surrounds them (or people get what you mean). All of these concepts are well known, thoroughly understood, and tested both in real world formats and in logical exercises. They are as much a theory as gravity or light are such. Each of them is a distinct part, and when speaking of Social Sex, it is important to remember that you cannot confuse or conflate them or you will inevitably reify Social Sex as a system within a culture.

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One of the things people often do not realize is that Social Sex is not limited to a pair, to a binary. Nor is sex. In both cases, cultures have had many different Social Sexes and many today can have as many as 9 different Social Sexes and 6 different sexes. In order to avoid racism and/or ethnocentrism, it is important to recognize that when one states a particular number of Social Sexes and/or sexes, you have to be clear about the cultural basis in which you are making that assertion. Otherwise, you may be presuming that western ideals of what are men and women are more valid or more real than other ideals usually without any evidence and despite western science pointing out that there are more sexes and Social Sexes than just two consistently for well over 15 years now in no small part because of greater understanding within these areas of things like ethnocentrism and the testing that has revealed such flaws. Social Sex is based on assumptions and presumptions made about a persons physical sex, and governs the ways in which a persons socially determined physical sex is dealt with in society at large.

Social Sex Awareness


Then we have Social Sex Awareness, which is about how we inherently expect others to see us in relation to the roles and expression we have. It is more accurately referred to as your social sex self-awareness, and is a part of the idea that tells you that you exist the ability you have to recognize that you exist as a physical being, to recognize yourself in a mirror, and so forth. It is different from Sex Identity in that it deals mostly in how we see ourselves as being seen by others, and this is why many people often think of trans people as being all about Social Sex roles (they arent, but when you try to explain a part of your self -awareness to others, it often tends to rely on such things). While there are studies that have to do with where this is located in the brain, the simple fact of the matter is that it is a function of mind, and it is inherent in all people. It can be tested, revealed, and those tests and revelations can be reliably duplicated and have been for well over 50 years. We also know that it is not a function of how one is

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raised or acculturated, again through decades of testing within the scientific method, including controls (some of them horrific).

Social Sex Roles


Social Sex Roles are what we call Femininity and Masculinity. They deal in how we expect persons of a particular sex to behave or act within our culture. The three billion ways to be a man, and the three billion ways to be a woman, and all the stuff related to sexism lies here. Social sex roles are a set of social and behavioral norms that are structurally designated as appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship based on their social sex.

Social Sex Expressions


Social Sex Expression is how people present themselves to the wider world, not always in line with their Social Sex role. It has to do with primarily superficial stuff dress and body decoration that affect things like attraction and courtship. Expressions are the tools by which we convey to others, who cannot see our physical anatomy, that we fit into this particular box for a given physical sex.

Social Sex Behaviors


Social Sex Behaviors are all the little things that social sex influences that are outside the realm of the usual and the commonplace the indirect effects, so to speak. Inheritance is part of this, kinship is part of this, lineage is part of this, even names are part of this. These behaviors are basic elements, often focused around interpersonal relationships and the interplay between Social Sex Roles and Social Sex Expressions. Male privilege is an excellent example of a Social Sex Behavior.

Internal Sex Awareness


This is the simple concept of knowing that you are male or female or both or none or some combination or variant therein. It is part of you knowing that you exist. This is what most people mean when they talk about gender identity I am a woman or I am a man kind of stuff. It is your self-knowledge of yourself. It differs from social sex awareness by being how

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you think about you, as opposed to how other people are meant to think about you. It is how we see ourselves in terms of male or female. It is our personal understanding of that concept, void of any external influence. It is not something taught to us people have had accidents that strip their bodies of any way to sex them, and they still know, even if that stripping happened at a point too soon for them have a knowledge of it. It is not founded in the flesh we can see, it is part of the sense of ourselves that we know. For many trans people in particular, the binary sorts their internal sex awareness and social sex awareness are matched that is, they are in sync with each other. For many others, however, these are not in sync.

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Belonging & the Human Need for Connection


Once we understand the mechanics of the way that trans people are oppressed the basic core ideas, we can begin to look at the major issue that affects trans peoples l ives: a lack of human connection. Trans people, in the US specifically but in consultation with people all over the world I have found it to continue, are, once they reach adulthood, deeply, deeply harmed people. The process of acculturation that was created and established for Cis people has a profound impact on their ways of seeing themselves, and seeing their lives, and the constant, unending reminders through the power of Social Sex behaviors and unintended micro-aggressions has resulted in a state that is best described as isolative, withdrawn, self-harming, and defensive. The term I personally prefer to use for adults is Survivors of childhood neglect. One of the things that is true of nearly every person on the planet those who it is not true of are people for whom empathy and compassion are not possible is a need for connection, for relationships, for a sense of belonging. This is the major motivator behind every social effort ever undertaken, the reason that the concept of human rights is so stunningly novel in comparison to the 6,000 years of recorded (and 10,000 years of unrecorded before that) history before it. Trans people, because they are considered external to normal, because they are labeled as Other and set aside, because they experience a constant and unending pressure to be something they are not, are often denied that simple sense of connection and belonging as a direct result of the ways that Structure operates. Every time a child that is a trans child is called a boy when they are a girl, or a girl when they are a boy, or ether of those things when they are neither or both, it piles up in their minds, starting most commonly between the ages of 3 and 5 sometimes earlier, sometimes later and it acts as a way of telling them what they are, and then we get into the rules and the encouragements and the mixed messages that they are inevitably going to receive when they

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are supposed to be one thing and yet they are another and they hear and receive and *yearn* for the right one while being punished for it. Every cartoon, every television show, every childs book, every time they have to wear clothing, every time a favored family member or family friend comes by. Children, by and large, want to please their parents, and will do what they must to become the thing their parents encourage them to become, even while secretly wanting something else, something more, and the way I describe it most often is that it is like mosquito bites. For most people, a really horrible experience with mosquitoes is when you get bitten 50 times. Everyone can stand one or three of them. Mosquitoes are small, and while they can be dangerous, in most cases they are just annoying, and they raise a little welt on the arm and they make you want to itch it. You can always heat a spoon to put on it or X it with a finger nail. Twenty of them and you are looking for a way to find shelter or cursing that you didnt have bug spray and you are moving out of the area already. Often without even really thinking about it you just get away from wherever they are. Fifty is a horrible experience by comparison. You can focus on nothing, you are irritable, you are angry, you frown and you scowl and you are always looking for a way out of it. For Trans people, growing up is like dealing with hundreds of them, every day if not thousands, based on the number of times gendered messages are given to us in a particular day. In most cases, after a month of 50 bites a day, people are going to hate going to some place. They are going to do what they can to avoid it, they are going to think ill of that place and even less of mosquitoes. They will, in general, do everything they can to avoid being anywhere near those damned mosquitoes, anywhere, ever again. If they are children, it has a really high likelihood of affecting them for the rest of their lives, shaping their core experiences and ideas

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about everything around the place where they were bitten, the reasons for having to be there, the way mosquitoes are, and so forth. Trans people, however, dont have that capability, because everyone around them, and everything around them, is doing it, and it is constant, ongoing, unending and it lasts for as many years as they resist being themselves. There is a strong correlation between the outcomes of trans adults and the outcomes of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect. A correlation that is nearly identical within the margin of error across all known and remarked outcomes. Because for trans people, being raised in a ciscentric system is neglect. Time and time again we have seen studies that demonstrate this, duplicated time and time again, establishing that transness is not a factor of nurture. Nurture, in fact, is historically harmful to them. When the general populations attempt ed suicide rate is 1.2% and the trans population has one at 40% to 60% based on multiple surveys done with multiple populations, we know that there is something harmful going on, and no one can ignore that without some sort of willful blindness being involved. This rate increases as you factor in additional intersections, as well. This comes from being told, mostly in small, seemingly insignificant ways, that you dont belong, that you are wrong, that you are bad, not good, undesired, undesirable, unwanted, and, perhaps worst of all, not worthy. We know what the long term consequences of this kind of constant, unending bombardment of negative messages are. There is a great deal of knowledge on this. Experiencing child abuse and neglect may lead to adverse physical, cognitive, psychological, behavioral or social consequences in adulthood. How many trans people do you know are often sick and depressed?

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How many trans people do you know react inappropriately to people saying things about them? Adults with a history of child abuse and neglect are more likely to have physical health problems and chronic pain symptoms. Research indicates that adult survivors of childhood abuse and neglect have more health problems than the general population, including diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, headaches, gynecological problems, stroke, hepatitis and heart disease (Felitti et al., 1998; Sachs-Ericsson et al., 2009; Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, & Carnes, 2007). In a review of recent literature, SachsEricsson et al. (2009) found that a majority of studies showed that adult survivors of childhood abuse had more medical problems than non-abused counterparts. Using survey data from over 2,000 middle-aged adults in a longitudinal study in the United States, Springer et al. (2007) found that child physical abuse predicted severe ill health and several medical diagnoses, including heart and liver troubles and high blood pressure. Some researchers suggest that poor health outcomes in adult survivors of child abuse and neglect could be due to the impact early life stress has on the immune system or to the greater propensity for adult survivors to engage in high-risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, alcohol abuse and risky sexual behavior) (Sachs-Ericsson et al., 2009; Watts-English, Fortson, Gilber, Hooper, & De Bellis, 2006). This places Trans people in the position of being The Other, and this can start as young as 9, although most trans people will demonstrate some form of active resistance between the ages of 5 and 9.

The Other
In Transness 101, I talk at length about the early history of Trans people in the United States, and how concepts and ideations that flowed and worked towards the understanding of transness in the modern sense arose and were developed.

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One of the important aspects that it not noted in that segment is that Trans people are often set aside, cast out, moved away. They are not like us is the general refrain, and this act of making a group of people are not like others is called othering. Trans people experience the act of othering frequently on the macro-social scale, on the micro-social scale, sub-culturally, and in general in their daily lives. The system that surrounds them from their earliest days is a system that doesnt intend to render them invisible, unseen, or to harm them, but does because it was not structured and did not develop in a manner that considered them worthy of inclusion and broader value. As a result, Trans people became The Other, a broad concept that applies in all situations of oppression. A societys definition of the 'Other' is part of what defines or even constitutes the society itself (in both a psychological and philosophical sense) and other phenomena and cultural units. It is the way by which societies and groups exclude 'Others' whom they want to subordinate or who do not fit into their society. The concept of 'otherness' is also integral to the comprehending of a person, as people construct roles for themselves in relation to an 'other' as part of a process of reaction that is not necessarily related to stigmatization or condemnation. It often involves the demonization and dehumanization of groups, which further justifies attempts to civilize and exploit these 'inferior' others. So Transness in the form of an affinity group, arises as a direct response to the othering of Trans people, and the goal of Transcentrism is to equalize the situation by showing how Ciscentrism is Othering and is, from the perspective of Trans people, Other. Othering as we use it is ultimately derived from Simone de Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, where she showed that women were the Other for men, and for trans people, it shows that they do not fit into that dichotomy others among others, so to speak.

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For Trans people, they are The Other to Cis people. They are outside, and as they are a minority in terms of the way that social collateral and systems are structured, they are made to endure or be erased, made to surrender or be destroyed, made to yearn but never have. Othering sits at the heart of the way that Trans people are treated, and trans people typically (though not exclusively) become aware of that Othering very young. This is why the work around Trans children is so very important they can be helped to feel less othered by society at large by allowing them to become the people they are, not the people they should be, or are meant to be. The reason that so much of the previous material is necessary to collate and make known is because trans people are othered. In the process of that othering, we are often demonized because we do exist in many fundamental ways at the heart and soul of social systems we challenge the very core elements that form building blocks within society. We challenge existing conventions, and we defy norms and we are labeled with demonizing terms and described as dangerous, and risky. For Trans people to make Transcentrism happen, and for them to be free of the oppression and dominance associated with such, they have to think, enact, work, create, inspire, form, organize, speak, and live on the same terms as Cis people. Rather than venting our frustrations and in turn demonize them, we need to declare ourselves on par with Cis people, normative center our existence and ensure that every structural act and institution includes us as part of the normative order of things. Luce Irigaray famous compared women to fluid mechanics and men to rigid mechanics (taking the analogy further than I describe here and being criticized for it by two men). I would compare Trans people to Sand, myself combining the challenging and difficult aspects of fluid mechanics with the directness and ease of rigid mechanics.

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But I am not deft with physics, so dont hold me to it, and look at it more metaphorically or associatively. And that, perhaps, is the greatest challenge many people have trans people are difficult for many to grasp because the systems that they are capable of using are to limited, too much a part of the Structure itself, and so what trans people, as The Other, are left with is allegory, metaphor, and association.

Transphobia
Transphobia. It is a word that makes people instantly defensive. It is a word that some people say isnt real, and that other people say is just an excuse to get away with something morally reprehensible. But what is it? Most people think that it is one of two things: either fear of trans people or hate of trans people. This is not wrong, but it is a lot like saying that the Statue of Liberty is a big statue. It doesnt tell you what it really is. A lot of people focus on the end of the term that phobia part, and yet they dont realize what a phobia is. They think of phobias as being something like being scared of spiders or heights. When they dont think that, they think of it as something like wh at Westboro Baptist Church does or the lynchings of the Deep South. Here is what Transphobia is: Anxiety, aversion, and/or animus, singly or in any combination, towards or regarding trans people or trans related things. Anxiety is that sense of worry, that concern, that uneasiness with something that feeling that things are just not quite right and that something bad is going to happen.

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Anxiety, properly, is not fear fear is what you feel when the gun is in your face and you know the person holding it has killed and is going to kill again. Anxiety is what you get when you could face fear. Anxiety is what makes people call anti-discrimination legislation bathroom bills. Anxiety is what makes a parent ask what will the neighbors think?. Anxiety is wh at drives the arguments that rely on a slippery slope if we add trans people into this bill, then it will be harder to pass. Aversion is a little more direct. Aversion is a disgust, distaste, that feeling when you see a pile of feces on the ground and you want to step around it instead of in it, or when once you do you make that face. Aversion is the ick factor, the throwing up a little, the oh my god thats not a woman, thats a man! statements and the way people talk about how bad trans people a re. Aversion is Trans critical thinking often supported by anxiety. Animus is an intense dislike that is acted on. When you have an intense dislike a visceral reaction thats hate. You can dislike something, and in most cases people who dislike something arent going to say anything about it because they dont like it, why should they put any thought into it. But this kind of dislike is far and away above such. Animus is the Westboro Baptist Church approach, the KKK, the lynching. Animus is hate. Not the mindless drooling sort of thoughtless hate that people think of. Animus is the rounding up of trans people. Animus is the outing of trans people, Animus is when you say that trans women are men right after you say or just before you say kill all men. Thats a phobia, and while the descriptions and examples are focused on trans issues, they still apply to any sort of phobia be it spiders or snakes or the dark. A phobia doesnt apply to a particular person, though you can be all of those things about a specific person. IT comes into play when you get that feeling from a class of people, most of

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whom you have never met, and you start to act from a position that many in this group of people share those same categories. One example is big black men. People are afraid of them. Racism is the cause, but it is still a phobia of black people. There is no good reason to be afraid of black men but a lot of people create all manner of reasons. There may be a reason to be afraid of a particular black man, but if the basis of your fear is that other black men do this so this one will, then youre not being rational, and you are demonstrating a phobia. Phobias are failures to exist in reality. Strong phobias affect your entirely life, and interfere with your ability to do things. I happen to have a fear of failure, myself, which might seem really silly and stupid compared to others, and yet it colors every decision I make and every action I take and when I am in the grip of it I am all but useless to the world, and completely useless to myself. It is crippling and when you are being reduced to a place where you cannot move, it does not matter if that reality is there or not you still have to deal with what is before you and the issue is that you cannot. Phobias, in other words, can be destructive to people, an d more importantly, to their lives and the lives of those around them, and to give you an idea of how bad it can be, keep in mind I am going to get crap for writing this post and it is going to trigger all sorts of thoughts of failure in my head. Which I will deal with using my coping mechanisms. Because those are my problems. Just as the issues of Transphobia are the problems of the people who have that animus, that anxiety, and/or that aversion to trans people or trans related things. So we see now that when people are worried about the impact of a law say, they argue that passing legislation that includes gender identity is somehow magically reducing the practical protections for women or how hard it is going to be to pass a law (e.g., they decide that it might be too hard to pass a law about trans gay people while one for cis gay people might be

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easier), or they say I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that picture of that woman in a really inappropriate dress because to me she looks like a man in a dress, or they do things like spend a good third of their posts saying how trans women are men and are terrible things, that all of this is, literally, Transphobia. The same things would apply in a case when it comes to homophobia, or femmephobia, or lesbophobia. Without anxiety, or aversion, or animus and it can be just one of them, or it can be a combination of them, in any order, to any degree there is no transphobia. And this applies when one generalizes which means the way to avoid it is to only be that way around a few people, that you know, personally, because you cannot make an informed, rational decision based on the internet. Phobias are catching, by the way. IF you dont beli eve me, keep in mind that baths were thought to be bad for ones health in many cultures and that in some cultures even today, leaving a fan on when you sleep will kill you. Phobias are catching because people have to justify their phobias not fears, because remember this isnt about fear. There is no gun, there is no immediate danger. Phobias are catching because some people can have really horrific experiences that emotionally scar them and damage them and they will project the phobia they develop onto an entire class of people who represent in their mind (irrationally) those who harmed them, and who wants to tell a person who is hurting that they are wrong and shouldnt do that? I sure as hell dont. Ive been there. Some things you have to work through. So it can spread, and it is an emotional argument, not a rational one, and thats why they stick around and are so hard to overcome because phobias are emotional. That doesnt excuse them, but it does help you to understand them.

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There are way to deal with phobias that are extremely successful, but, ultimately, all of them start and only work if the individual with the phobia is interested in changing. Even that gun to the head wont make them change. This is important to realize when dealing with people who are doing or saying transphobic things. Unless they want to stop being that way, there is nothing you can say, do, argue, or otherwise enact to make them change. Nothing. It is absolute. When you are dealing with a population that is heavily stigmatized in society, though, you are often dealing with a social system that has these rationalizations, these arguments built into it. That is, the system is transphobic. Systems arent emotional. And, as a result, they can be changed. They can be altered. Thats the structure, and you can always attack and argue, and cajole with structure. Because that system is made of everyone, including you, and if you want to make that change, then you can do it.

Policing
One of the tools that is used by people both intentionally and not so intentionally is policing of Trans lives and existence. Policing happens when people from an oppressed class have their actions or behavior scrutinized and criticized in response to their pointing out the oppression they face. You see this in calls for various forms of respectability politics where the idea is that if you make yourself more respectable then you wont have to deal with oppression. How you wear your pants, is your underwear visible, are you wearing the right style for the season, how fashionable are you, could you not cuss so much, thats not very ladylike of you, what about

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those people that are cis people that might pretend to be like you, what are you going to do about them these are all examples of policing. The goal of policing is to derail a discussion away from the ways in which people cause oppression and turn it back on those who are oppressed, making them responsible for the actions of others and being on based on a sense that you need to keep your own kind in line. By doing this, the effort to talk about the problems trans people deal with as a result of the Structure hindering them and ignoring them is reduced and made less important or ignored entirely. It is a tool that is used to make sure that trans people never have time or energy or interest in talking about the ways they are oppressed and you will see it everywhere once you start to look for it. Policing can happen within a group true transsexuals are essentially policing other trans people, and determining who is and who isnt good enough to be a trans person. Policing is about making the subject of it fit in in order to achieve a sense of belonging. The problem is that fitting in is not what allows one to belong it is twisting oneself up like a braid and making yourself into something that you are not in order to meet someone elses expectations. Thats fitting in thats the purpose of policing to change you for other people. Belonging is about being accepted for yourself good, bad and indifferent, the whole of you, not the parts of you, without having to change who you are for any reason.

Stigma
The messages that trans people are told are often about there being something wrong with them. They also receive messages about how what they are doing is wrong, or about how they are behaving is wrong, and when those messages are combined with the ones they have received all their lives and internalized taken into themselves these message serve to reinforce and often mirror the idea that something is wrong with them.

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When trans people reach out initially, those first tentative steps they take only with people they trust in ways that they find almost impossible to do with other people, they ask some variant of the question what is wrong with me or they state, bluntly, there is something wrong and I need to fix it and they are referring to themselves. This is the power of stigma an unseen mark that connotes the lack of value and unworthiness of a person. Social stigma is the extreme disapproval of or discontent with a person or group because of being different in some way, that are perceived, and separate them, from other members of a society. Stigma is then applied to a person, by the greater society, who differs from their cultural norms. Stigmatized people see others in three distinct ways:

the stigmatized are those who bear the stigma; the normals are those who do not bear the stigma; and the wise are those among the normals who are accepted by the stigmatized as "wise" to their condition o The wise come in two forms: Active wise, who speak out to effect change in the stigma; and Passive wise, who remain socially silent.

Stigmatization involves dehumanization, demonization, threat, policing, aversion, shaming, and sometimes the depersonalization of others into stereotypes. Stigmatizing others can work as self-esteem enhancement, control enhancement, and anxiety buffering, through comparing oneself to less fortunate others, and so increase one's own subjective sense of well-being and one's self-esteem.

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Consider that for a moment. People actually benefit from the act of stigmatizing others, emotionally. It isnt rational but people, by and large, are not rational beings. Stigma can enter into a person when they live with it for a great deal of time. It becomes a part of the way they think about themselves, about things related to themselves, and becomes a part of their goals. Passing is an example of internalized stigma it serves within the community to act as a manner by which the stigma experienced by trans people can be avoided through fitting in that is, meeting the expectations and following the rules of the broader culture and oppressive structures. Being an Ally is often expected to involve being an Active Wise, and when an Active Wise fails to fully understand the nature of the stigmas, or errs in including stigma in their own actions, they are often the targets of ire, which serves to unintentionally convert them into passive wise, when such anger should be seen as a loss of trust and a call and appeal to do better and improve.

Ostracism
I am, unfortunately, not in a place where I can effectively address this issue on my own, so I am going to cheat and simply cut and paste an article. Being excluded or ostracized is an invisible form of bullying that doesn't leave bruises, and therefore we often underestimate its impact," said Kipling D. Williams, a professor of psychological sciences. "Being excluded by high school friends, office colleagues, or even spouses or family members can be excruciating. And because ostracism is experienced in three stages, the life of those painful feelings can be extended for the long term. People and clinicians need to be aware of this so they can avoid depression or other negative experiences."

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When a person is ostracized, the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which registers physical pain, also feels this social injury, Williams said. The process of ostracism includes three stages: the initial acts of being ignored or excluded, coping and resignation. Williams' research is reported in the current issue of Current Directions in Psychological Sciences. The article was co-authored by Steve A. Nida, associate provost and dean of The Citadel Graduate College and a professor of psychology. "Being excluded is painful because it threatens fundamental human needs, such as belonging and self-esteem," Williams said. "Again and again research has found that strong, harmful reactions are possible even when ostracized by a stranger or for a short amount of time." More than 5,000 people have participated in studies using a computer game designed by Williams to show how just two or three minutes of ostracism can produce lingering negative feelings. "How can it be that such a brief experience, even when being ignored and excluded by strangers with whom the individual will never have any face-to-face interaction, can have such a powerful effect?" he said. "The effect is consistent even though individuals' personalities vary." People also vary in how they cope, which is the second stage of ostracism. Coping can mean the person tries to harder be included. For example, some of those who are ostracized may be more likely to engage in behaviors that increase their future inclusion by mimicking, complying, obeying orders, cooperating or expressing attraction. "They will go to great lengths to enhance their sense of belonging and self-esteem," Williams said.

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If they feel there is little hope for re-inclusion or that they have little control over their lives, they may resort to provocative behavior and even aggression. "At some point, they stop worrying about being liked, and they just want to be noticed," Williams said. However, if a person has been ostracized for a long time, they may not have the ability to continue coping as the pain lingers. Some people may give up, Williams said. "The third stage is called resignation. This is when people who have been ostracized are less helpful and more aggressive to others in general," he said. "It also increases anger and sadness, and long-term ostracism can result in alienation, depression, helplessness and feelings of unworthiness." Williams is trying to better understand how ostracized individuals may be attracted to extreme groups and what might be the reactions of ostracized groups. "These groups provide members with a sense of belonging, self-worth and control, but they can fuel narrowness, radicalism and intolerance, and perhaps a propensity toward hostility and violence toward others," he said. "When a person feels ostracized they feel out of control, and aggressive behavior is one way to restore that control. When these individuals come together in a group there can be negative consequences." Williams is a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences. That earlier section in bold is important. It is a register of pain to be ostracized to be tossed out of society. As far as the brain is concerned, you have just been hit upside the head by a two by four.

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It is no different an act to employ the tools of shame, and stigma, and policing against a trans person than it is to physically attack them. The outcome may be less visible, but this damage heaped on damage already done by the broader system and society at large. That is, in the end, why it is so important to have a good, solid grounding in these concepts and this is just an introduction to them you should do more research on your own, engage in deeper study and look beyond the superficial, often oversimplified stuff I have presented here.

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Oppression Against Trans People


Nearly everything above focuses on the pint of trans people being oppressed, and lays out the case for such. However, some folks might say that Trans people are not oppressed in order to get around all of the above. So let's look at oppression real quick. As defined in The Social Work Dictionary (Barker, 2003), oppression is: the social act of placing severe restrictions on an individual, group, or institution. Typically, a government or political organization that is in power places these restrictions formally or covertly on oppressed groups so that they may be exploited and less able to compete with other social groups. The oppressed individual or group is devalued, exploited, and deprived of privileges by the individual or group who has more power (pp. 306-307). Social Oppression is the systematic, socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group, category, or team of people or individual. Institutional Oppression is when established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on ones membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions. It can also be the the subordination of a given group or social category by unjust use of force, authority, or societal norms in order to achieve indoctrination. Based on the above, we can identify a few factors that go into the determination of an oppressed class of persons: They are members of a social affinity group That social affinity group has attached to it a large degree of resistance to dominant cultural norms

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That social affinity group is looked at the cause of problems within the larger cultural context

That social affinity group is presumed unworthy of that larger cultures trust and wealth

That social affinity group is seen in ways which mark it as Other That social affinity group is stripped of human dignity and recognition That social affinity group is denied access to the rights and responsibilities of other members of the larger social group

That social affinity group is considered to be incapable of membership in the larger community as a result of their membership in said affinity group.

That social affinity group and its members are subject to social exclusion (ostracism) within the broader social context.

These are just a few of the traits we can use to distinguish an oppressed class of persons. Dalymple & Burke (1995) define oppression as inhumane or degrading treatment of a group or individual based on some defining characteristic. Based on these aspects, and subject to the information within the previously linked posts, it can be established, with certainty, that trans people are a member of an oppressed class. Trans people are the victims of persistent, systematic, endemic, structural denial of dignity and worth. This is visible in the following ways: The existence of trans people is denied, discounted, or absent from consideration of larger scale social issues. Trans people are blamed, as a class, for particular behaviors that are outside the normative range of their behavior as a class one stands for all.

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Trans people are actively divided by social systems (trans women are attacked, trans men are not).

Trans experience reflects larger social issues and divisions both within the class and as a class itself.

Trans people are denied basic aspects of human dignity (pronouns, basic respect, worth).

Trans people are systematically denied access to treatments which enable them to live fulfilling and productive lives.

Trans people are seen as the source of a problem that does not involve them directly.

The aspects of ostracism, of a lack of persistent and consistent privilege, and of social faulting are all evidence that trans people are an oppressed class, and only someone who is ignorant of what oppression is would assert otherwise, typically for the purpose of ensuring and justifying the oppression they engage in.

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Identifying Transphobia
Transphobia is aversion, anxiety, or animus, singly or in any combination, regarding trans people or transness. Thats important to note and be aware of. Aversion is things like being disgusted, in opposition to, identifying something as repugnant, and exhibiting strong feelings about this. Anxiety is distress, worry, concern, and overt anxiousness about something or someone that is strongly expressed in physical, literal, or metaphorical terms. Animus is a strong and intense dislike. It involves devaluing the lives of people, erasing their dignity, opposing their civil and human rights, denying them the ability to mark themselves, and outright harm to them. So any of those things, either individually or in combination, is what makes up transphobia.

Examples of Transphobic Statements


People who mutilate themselves (Animus) Transness is a mental illness. (Animus) I do not feel safe having male socialized trans women in my space. (Aversion, Anxiety) Cis assigns a gender to someone. (Anxiety) Trans women are biologically male. (Animus) Trans women are men (Animus) Trans men are traitors (Animus) trans politics enforces gender and gender roles by reducing womanhood to a stereotype made up by males. (Animus, Anxiety) If we include gender identity protections in this bill, it will be harder to pass (Aversion, Anxiety)

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the second you become pregnant you are a woman.(Animus, Aversion)

There are many other examples, readily found in pretty much any attack on trans lives or in any post that deals in trans issues coming from someone who proclaims themselves trans critical. The concept of Trans Critical, itself, is based in Aversion derived from Anxiety and supported by Animus, so it is a fairly easy to spot examples.

Responding to Anxiety, Aversion, & Animus


The best response to Anxiety, Aversion, & Animus is to provide examples of how the statements are any of those three things. One of the things that affects these statements, frequently, is a series of cognitive biases.

Cognitive Biases
Cognitive Biases are often deeply embedded in Transphobic statements, particularly when Animus is involved, as Animus alters the fundamental ability of the individual to perceive things clearly. Focalism - the tendency to rely too heavily, or anchor, on one trait or piece of information when making decisions - is widespread, relying primarily on the basis of their perceived natural order. The Backfire effect when people react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening their beliefs is also frequently encountered, and indeed, is evidence itself of the strength in the Animus. The Belief bias an effect where someones evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion is often noted among those who frequently profess or describe belief as a fundamental aspect of their opposition. This is not religious belief, though it can be, this is the sort of belief one is referencing when you say I believe.

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Confirmation bias the tendency to search for, interpret and remember information in a way that confirms ones preconceptions is rather obvious after only a few exchanges, and is particularly widespread among TERF types and those professing to be Tra ns Critical. Most importantly, all of these arguments are marked by Conservatism the tendency to insufficiently revise ones belief when presented with new evidence. This is very important, as the individuals often do not realize that they are engaging in that conservative belief.

Logical Fallacies
To support their views, biased as they are, they will often rely on a handful of fallacies. These fallacies are, in and of themselves, acts of dishonesty and deception, and are based in irrational thinking (which is to be expected when one is dealing with aversion, anxiety, or animus, since persons embracing such are fundamentally irrational). The five most common versions of these in my experience are the following: Strawman - This is where someone misrepresent s someones argument or statement to make it easier to attack. By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someones argument or statement, its much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate. Example: After Will said that we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenseless by cutting military spending. Incredulity - This happens where one found something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, or made out like its probably not true. AN excellent example of this is the notion that sex is a social construct despite it being known to be such for decades and an

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accepted part of scientific discourse, they will refuse to acknowledge it, treating biology as inviolate, even though it is one of the sciences most affected by cultural shifts (see racism). Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding before one is able to make an informed judgment about the subject at hand; this fallacy is usually used in place of that understanding. Example: Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with effusive disdain asked Richard if he really thought we were stupid enough to believe that a fish somehow turned into a human through just, like, random things happening over time. Next is the Appeal to Nature, where it is argued that because something is natural (biology, as an example) it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good or ideal. Many natural things are also considered good, and this can bias our thinking; but naturalness itself doesnt make something good or bad. For instance murder could be seen as very natural, but that doesnt mean its good or justifiable. Example: The medicine man rolled into town on his bandwagon offering various natural remedies, such as very special plain water. He said that it was only natural that people should be wary of artificial medicines such as antibiotics. Purity Fallacies are where they make an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws of an argument or statement. In this form of faulty reasoning ones belief is rendered unfalsifiable because no matter how compelling the evidence is, one simply shifts the goalposts so that it wouldnt apply to a supposedly true example. This kind of post -rationalization is a way of avoiding valid criticisms of ones argument.

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Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a true Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge. The fifth most common Fallacy employed is a Loaded Question or Statement. Here they ask a question or make a statement that has a presumption built into it so that it cant be answered without appearing to be uncaring, uninterested, supportive of a taboo, or similar act. Loaded question fallacies are particularly effective at derailing rational debates because of their inflammatory nature - the recipient of the loaded question is compelled to defend themselves and may appear flustered or on the back foot. Example: Grace and Helen were both romantically interested in Brad. One day, with Brad sitting within earshot, Grace asked in an inquisitive tone whether Helen was having any problems with a drug habit. A frequent example as well is well, what about the poor c hildren in (insert your country of choice) who are starving if you care so much about this, why dont care about them? There are many other logical fallacies that are frequently used. You can study them at this link, and learn them at your own time.

Socialization Arguments
Recently, I watched someone unironically use the argument that trans women are not women because they were socialized as men, and that as such, they cannot ever be anything other than men. They also applied it to trans men, indirectly. Specifically, these were the uses of the concept: You cannot transition out of your socialization, just like you cant transition into male privilege.

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and Your socialization dictates that what you say goes, men dominate, and push their way into female spaces. Now, most trans folk tend to fall for these arguments. They are, for the most part, still dealing with a lot of the internalized shame and stigma that is hurled at them, and this is a fairly common, very old argument that presupposes, at its core, that one cannot change because of their socialization. Indeed, in the second example, thats even made explicit. Now heres the problem: A woman said those things. Well, actually, I say a woman because she claims to be a woman, but as Ive seen no evidence of it, Im merely giving her the basic dignity to which she is entitled by respecting that claim of hers and Ill note Im doing so despite being called a man, white, and a few others choice things, all of which are false. Which I realize is a bit of a derail from the point, but is one of those little jabs that I occasionally have to get in with a bit of glee. In any case, as a woman, she was socialized as a woman. She was socialized that if I am a man, she is supposed to shut the hell up and not argue with me. She was socialized to not make waves, to be more interested in finding a good man than living a life that is her own construction. She was socialized to see her job as being a woman and as being a mother, and she was socialized to look for the prince. Yet here she is not doing those things. Here she is actively defying the very socialization that she is saying that one cannot defy.

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In feminist discourse, what shes arguing is that Structure (in this case, patriarchy) is so powerful that it overrides the ability of a trans person to have Agency, while she, in turn, retains that Agency for herself and is able to actively use it to resist the power of Structure. When I pointed this out to her earlier, I was informed of several falsehoods by her and another person about myself, which essentially amounted to them deciding for me what my state of being is that is, not affording me the basic core precept of dignity, and, instead, acting in a manner that is directly oppressive and that seeks to decide, for me, regardless of any other reality outside their own narrow viewpoint, that I am what they say I am. Now, forgive me, but Im trying really hard to think of a time when someone else gets to decide for you what you are that doesnt involve violating your human rights. Im sure if I think on it long enough Ill come up with a really complicated case. This, however, isnt it. When you see radfems, in specific, using that argument, remember that they are, themselves, going against the very socialization that they are speaking about, and if they can go against, then there has to be some other reason for someone else not be able to do so, unless, of course, they are trying to police the lives of other people. When you see conservatives doing it, remind them that soci alization means they wouldnt be speaking out themselves, because we in America are socialized to hold up as heroes those who undergo the arduous task of self-empowerment and become whole persons we hold people who rise the fullness of their potential as architects of the future. It probably wont work, but it gives you a head start. In any case, heres the simple truth: the way people are socialized does have an impact on how they live their lives and it does influence their decisions and their experienc es. It doesnt make

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those decisions for you, and it cannot stop you from being yourself if you are strong enough if you have the personal Agency enough to defy it. The act of Transition an act that trans people have to undertake against tremendous odds and that typically has enormous personal, emotional, and spiritual costs is an act of Agency, an effort that, in and of itself, is absolutely concomitant with the act of overcoming the very socialization that they speak of. In practice, I point out that transition is only about 10 to 20% physical. And that part takes time a lot of time, really, but most folks with means concentrate on the first three years or so. The rest of it, and the part that is the hardest, is the social part, and a major reason that it is so damned hard is stuff like this socialization argument, and the real, measurable tangible harm that comes from being told you are not a woman, you are not a man, you just have a mental illness and related aggressive, violent statements made for the express purpose of causing emotional and mental harm to another person. The person who said those things is a serial abuser. Abuse was their response to me when I pointed out the problem which isnt hard to figure out, really, given that it is about the least feminist statement one can make and abuse is what they hurl at other trans people. Im sharing this so that the next time you see someone use the socialization argument against anyone, you can point out to them the core flaw there: they are part of the same system that socializes themselves.

Violence against Trans People


Trans people are constantly subjected to acts of violence on a daily basis. Some folks, of late, have asked what violence is done against trans women, and to trans people in general, and hey frame it in such a way as to describe what they do as not being an act of violence. Violence, however, is more than merely brutality.

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When most people think of violence, they think of things like beatings, the act of striking someone, they think of visible bruises, of broken bones, of swollen puffy faces and the sight of blood. Those things do happen to Trans people. In particular, trans people of color in the United States, but just in general, on a worldwide basis, trans people are murdered at an alarming rate that we can only estimate because of the lack of data from many nations, especially those where simply being trans makes it seem permissible to engage in acts of brutality against them. This isnt about brutality, however. This is about violence on a different scale. This is about violence that people shy away from, that they avoid looking at, that they do what they can to not have to see. In 2002, the World Health Organization complied a landmark study of worldwide violence. This was the The World report on violence and health. Representing a consensus of experts and scientists, peer reviewed multiple times over, and acting as the new foundation of broader support and understanding of the forces involved in tracking harmful, violent behavior, the report made it clear that there is a far more universal form of violence which is just as deadly as the aforementioned brutality. Two kinds of violence in particular are discussed at length, especially as they affect the lives of people in minority populations. These are psychological and deprivation/neglect. These are further divided into Interpersonal and Community forms of violence.

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They developed, out of that, a definition of violence that is as follows: the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation. The Bolded portions are what Im going to focus on here. One of the more pervasive forms of this harm is exclusion more formally described as Ostracism. Kipling D. Williams is one of the foremost researchers in this area of study, which has been ongoing for many years. Using thoroughly vetted methods, he has noted some startling factors that arise directly out of ostracism itself with or without verbal derogation or physical assault (that means insults and related microaggressions). Physically, the body receives such stimuli in the same way it receives a physical blow. That is, in controlled or uncontrolled situations, the act of ostracism, but itself, is felt by the body in the same way that a physical attack is felt.

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The body reacts to them the same, with the physical blow simply involving more effort on the part of the body to heal, while with the nonphysical attack, the healing takes much, much longer. "Being excluded is painful because it threatens fundamental human needs, such as belonging and self-esteem," Williams said. Again and again research has found that strong, harmful reactions are possible even when ostracized by a stranger or for a short amount of time. In his work, he has identified three stages of dealing with ostracism. The first stage is simply being ostracized. For trans people, the signals of ostracism come in many forms. Most of them have to do with aversion or anxiety about trans people or transness in general that is to say, transphobia. Others have to do with aspects of social permissiveness the things that one is allowed to do as a member of a particular class of persons and the things that others are not allowed to do as a result of not being in that class of persons. This permissiveness is readily tracked in three ways, each of which applies as part of a whole: Innocence: I am not looked to as the cause of problems in a social group. Worthiness: I am presumed worthy of a social groups trust and wealth. Competence: I am expected to be skillful, successful, and autonomous.

This particular aspect of permissiveness is often referred to as Dominant Class Privilege. In the case of Trans people, the Dominant Class is persons who are not intersex and who are not Trans that is, persons who are otherwise typical and common, the majority or persons in the world. These persons may find themselves dealing situationally with perceived membership in the class of trans and/or intersex persons, but they are not actually within those categories. This is called an intersectional loss of privilege.

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The members of this dominant class are called Cis people. An example of situational membership might be a Butch lesbian who is socially harmed on the basis of her expression or role in society and how it deviates from those roles and expressions which are culturally permissive to members of her gender. It doesnt change her Cisness, but it does mean that she is dealing with an intersection. As a result, she can, through an intersectional experience based on externally perceived situational membership, experience ostracism (and the attendant harm) in the same way a trans person does for violating those same normative patterns in terms of expression and role. The second stage of dealing with ostracism is Coping. Coping usually means the person being ostracized tries harder be included. The way they do that may vary. For example, some of those who are ostracized may be more likely to engage in behaviors that increase their future inclusion by mimicking, complying, obeying orders, cooperating or expressing attraction. Others may seek to connect with persons who are similarly ostracized, creating an Affinity Group (or in-group), and possibly even advocate for changes to the social norms. In yet other cases and in particular if there is something that gives them a sense that they are being ostracized by a larger group, or they gain the sense that it isnt possible to gain inclusion, or they come to feel or be told that they have little control over their lives (such as by being told that their knowledge of themselves is invalid or untrue, as frequently happens with Trans people when they are told they are not women), they may turn to provocative behavior and even aggression, such as when this happens between two groups that are oppressed under two different axes of oppression especially when there are aspects of situational membership shared. "They will go to great lengths to enhance their sense of belonging and self-esteem," is how Williams describes it. However, "At some point, they stop worrying about being liked, and they just want to be noticed."

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This can lead especially among competing out-groups to internal warfare and the creation of ideologies and statements of outright hostility. The example most readily found of this is the way that TERFs engage with Trans people. At this point, after 40 years of open hostility between the two out-groups, they are constantly engaged in a series of escalating aggression and provocative behavior. This is most notable in the way that Terfs call trans women men and then say Kill all men, and the way that trans women say die cis scum. All of which comes to a head in the incredibly hostile statement kill yourself which is a direct act of violence with an often deadly outcome. When ostracization continues for a long time decades, in this case the third stage, called Resignation, is reached. At this point, many simply give up. "This is when people who have been ostracized are less helpful and more aggressive to others in general," says KD Williams. "It also increases anger and sadness, and long-term ostracism can result in alienation, depression, helplessness and feelings of unworthiness." Trans people, as a general rule, are in the third stage for the most part. This is particularly true for those who transition as adults, but still applies in many situations to those who transition as children. The long term effects of ostracism are incredibly damaging to people, as a whole, and all major pediatric organizations look at it as a form of child abuse and neglect for good reason. The issues that face the adult survivors of child abuse and neglect are massive and potent ongoing social issues that are merely exacerbated by the constant interpersonal and community attacks that trans people experience from TERFs. As Ive noted previously in discussing how to identify transphobia and the argument of ostracism that is the male socialization argument, these attacks are harsh, critical, dehumanizing, overt acts of violence that are based in the presence within a Dominant Class

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and are founded on the principles of Ciscentrism, which is opposed by Transcentrism. I discuss some of the specifics about how this oppression is engaged in various posts such as here, here, and here. Williams says Endure ostracism too long and theyre depleted. You dont have it in you to cope, so you give up. You become depressed, helpless, and despairing. Even memories of long-ago rejection can bring up those feelings. His work, widely cited and broadly available, lays out the foundation for the manner in which trans people are actively and intentionally harmed through acts of violence that include microaggressions, psychologically damaging verbal attacks, and active efforts at exclusion and using existing stigma and shame against trans people in both externalized and internalized varieties, preying on low self-esteem and insecurities of trans people (in particular, those going through the crisis point of transition, which is an incredibly fragile time and is, itself, an act of overt and fundamental hostility to another person during a time of incredibly personal and psychological vulnerability), and acting as if in concert with larger forces (such as those on the religious right and those within patriarchy) to create a powerful and potent mix of violence that has the appearance of being socially sanctioned in an environment where such behavior is not only tolerated, but often encouraged (social media). This is the violence against trans people that is often talked about it need not be a clue by four to the skull to have the same effect, and indeed, when combined with the life history of such experiences, it makes it an outright act of cruelty, inhumane in its force, and absolutely an act of violence.

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Closing
I hope that you find, or have found, much of this here useful to you in explaining different concepts and that your will not rest after reading this, and instead use this as a springboard from which to learn more and grow more in your understanding of trans lives. I have written this for the purpose of re-examining many of the core concepts that I have written on and about over the years that Dyssonance.com has been up. It is a constant effort of mine to learn, grow, and deepen the connection I have with, to, and for my brothers, sisters, and siblings. Too often we allow ourselves to be dragged into internal arguments, baseless fights, micro- and macro-aggressions that ultimately work to undermine the efforts to make changes to the broader systems that oppress us. Pass this information. Come to understand, learn it, know it, make it part of all the other things you know seek out those tendrils of connection and those bonds to the things you care about and you enjoy. Then take that to others around you, without rancor, with humor, and help them to learn, to grow, to understand the lives of trans people in ways they almost certainly have never thought about, never given consideration to. This is the second half of an introductory effort. It is a way of saying to you that there is more out there to learn, to know, to understand, and to grow. As time goes on, Ill work on the rest, but for now, this will do as an introduction. That appears to be it for now. Tune in next time for Transness 201!

Antonia Elle Dorsay August, 2013

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