Clownfish Redux


Came across this interesting post via the ever-reliable GenderTrender, and it’s precisely this kind of thoughtful, compassionate – and most importantly, informed by personal experience – writing that refutes the all-too-popular notion that feminism is ‘anti-male’, ‘anti trans*’ or otherwise reactionary. The trans* movement is very much a liberal cause célebrè right now and – forgive me if I’m patronizing you – it’s likely that many who responded aggressively to, for instance, the Moore/Burchill Twitter spat had little knowledge of a three-decades-long conflict between liberal and radical politics which preceded it. They simply perceived a present injustice and reacted accordingly, albeit revealing the pervasiveness of sexist attitudes in the process. But those attitudes deserve confronting, politically-correctly or not, and as I commented on GT; this kind of reaction is timely, it strikes a chord even outside the obvious Radfem circles. The health and wellbeing of women is paramount, and the implications go much further: can one consider the energy crisis, overpopulation, STIs or abortion without also examining hetero-normativity and the normalization of PIV, the nuclear family, war, patriarchy…
We’re (in the UK and the US) on the brink of sending troops to another foreign nation (Syria) and Radical Feminism – whether you understand it or not – offers us the one thing that Obama, Cameron and their ilk count on us not having for our bodies and the body politic: hope for a better future free of fear, whoever we happen to be…


My unpopular perspective is that the adoption of trans identity is frequently a trauma response. Some of the first cracks of daylight that could pierce my former ideology came from Carolyn Gage’s article on how the reality of sexual abuse can complicate FTM trans narratives (“The Inconvenient Truth about Teena Brandon,” Trivia, Issue 10, February 2010).

I recently learned that in the mid-90s, Aaron (still Holly, then) Devor even did a study suggesting that some FTM identity formation is a response to abuse, perhaps a form of dissociative identity disorder. (This resonates: approximately 2/3 of my sexual abuse support group transitioned ftm and identified as “multiple.” This was years after I detransitioned but before I really got what it had meant in the first place.) The study interviews FTMs and specifically some who are trained therapists. According to Devor, “all three of the participants who were therapists mentioned that…

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