Sunday, July 17, 2011


I'm fairly new to the great Borg vs. Separatists crisis currently boiling within the transgender community. So I'm not at all certain of the totality of arguments put forth by either side of the equation. I'm wading my way through a few of the lengthy diatribes of some of the proponents of the dichotomous positions. I find the issue entertaining and quite informing of the breadth and depth of the transgender experience. I'm glad the discussion is taking place because it calls upon us to think deeply about who we are, where we come from and where we are going.

It is, however, important to keep in mind that the transgender population is a very young constituency, really only about 20 years old as a viable social and political movement. We're just now finding our footing and our voices. Everything is changing all around us: how other people think about us, and how we think about ourselves. And it's good. This is growth. This is evolution. This is progress. Yet, when things change, when new awareness and ideas come along, old ideas and old terms get shoved aside. Some people have a real problem with that.

By even using the term "transgender" in the way I have here already my position on the matter becomes instantly clear to those who are familiar with the arguments. For it seems that the term "transgender" as an "umbrella" term for just about anyone - including casual crossdressers - who transits or transgresses or transforms along the great gender divide sticks in the craw of those individuals who consider themselves serious "sex changers." They reject the word "transgender" for themselves, and prefer the alternative term "transsexual," which defines and separates them from all other wannabes. So these are the separatists.

The "Borg" is the transgender collective or "LGBT Dictatorship" who are intent upon forcing the separatists, against their will, to join them under the despised and unrecognized umbrella.

I recently stumbled upon a manifesto, a "Declaration of Independence" of the separatists, apparently penned by Teresa Ellen Reeves, a Northwest resident, about a year ago. I found it fairly well written, at least grammatically, and quite illuminating as to the full gamut of the separatists' concerns. I thank Teresa for her contribution to my understanding. I refer you to this link for her full text:

I'd like to take this opportunity to comment on many of the principal points that she makes.

In this piece, Teresa declares "independence, secession and liberation" from both the transgender umbrella collective and the LGBT collective, which in her view have variously sought to erase the identities, silence the voices and render "transsexuals" invisible and powerless. She argues that those who have undergone a "sex" change are entirely different from those only engaged in some sort of "gender" bending or changing, and that this differentiation renders any type of commonality futile.

The first thing I'm going to do is to throw out the word "umbrella" and substitute the word "rainbow." Though well-meaning, "umbrella" is a clunky description, conjuring a huddled throng of possibly disparate individuals, whereas "rainbow" connotes a smooth continuum of incrementally different individuals who nevertheless are grounded in unique commonality. This metaphor is far closer to the truth of transgender reality.

Now let's examine the first paragraph of her declaration: "We, the transsexual people, hold these truths to be self evident. We are an independent and distinctly different people who were born of a mind in contrast with our physical bodies. We have a neurobiological imperative to seek a congruence of mind and body, and through our transition we relentlessly pursue the remedy and correction of our birth defect through hormonal and other therapies and sex reassignment and other surgeries."

Notice how she admits that this condition involves a "mind in contrast with our physical bodies" and a "neurobiological imperative to seek a congruence of mind and body." This portion of her statement could well apply to any person on the transgender rainbow continuum. Even crossdressers have "a mind in contrast" with their physical bodies, and "neurobiological imperative" to cross the gender divide, if only temporarily. So she has established a firm framework of transgender commonality... with a brain/body incongruency issue at its core. But then she immediately seeks to diminish that commonality by separating out the "transsexuals" as different because only they relentlessly pursue a remedy for their "birth defect" through hormones and surgery.

Now her definition of "transsexual" is set: one who is relentlessly pursuing a "sex" change. But when does this relentless pursuit begin? When does one become "transsexual?" Before birth? At birth? In childhood? Adolescence? Young adulthood? Middle age? The senior years? The answer, of course, is that it can begin at any time of life. So then, what is the person before they begin their relentless pursuit? Not a "transsexual" according to the declaration's definition. Then no one is innately "transsexual," but rather must have both the mind/body incongruency AND the wherewithal to begin the relentless pursuit. Those who will not or cannot make this commitment need not apply to the club. And what about those whose commitment waxes and wanes? While they are dutifully taking their hormones and having electrolysis, are they "transsexual," while if they cease to do this for awhile, they lose their membership? In other words, are all preoperative "transsexuals" probationary, subject to having their TS status revoked at the first sign of weakening? Meanwhile, Teresa makes it clear that once one is post-op, the "transsexual" definition can be dropped for good. According to Teresa, the post-op M-t-F "transsexual" is now a real woman. The only transsexual aspect remaining is their history (which now they must hide). So it would appear that the state of "transsexuality" is quixotic and temporary.

This is clearly quite messy and irrational.

Teresa imagines a great transgender and LGBT conspiracy against "transsexuals," those who have a "bona fide medical condition." These conspirators want to depathologize and normalize the transgender experience, and claim that gender variance is natural. To the separatists, this is an afront to their mindset. They fear that if gender identity can be all over the map, and people can come and go as they please upon the masculine-feminine scale, then perhaps medical solutions aren't really necessary.

Teresa explains: "Since 'sex' in their view is between the legs only and 'gender' between the ears, all that has to be done is convince transsexuals that they only have to change their concept of gender and role and that they should be content with their original birth sex. Meaning it is better to change your mind than your body and better to change gender rather than sex."

This leaves me scratching my head. I've been around the transgender community for over 30 years, and I've never heard anyone suggest such a thing. Perhaps in the bad, old days psychiatrists proposed such a solution. Today, maybe some fundamentalist Christian program offers such an ideology. But I have never perceived any transgender or LGBT conspiracy to encourage "transsexuals" to not transition or to discourage them from obtaining medical and psychological assistance through that transition. Quite the opposite is the current reality, with most transgender support groups filled with knowledgeable pre and post ops, happily detailing their experiences, and a medical system that has never been as large, varied, accessible and welcoming as now. The facts simply don't support the separatists' claim of wide-spread repression and discrimination; actually they have never had more opportunities and rights than they have garnered as an important part and parcel, indeed leaders, of the transgender community.

I just believe that Teresa and the separatists are confused about sex and gender. They seem to assume that everything gender-related is in the head, while everything physical is sexual. They cling to outdated terminology and conceptualizations of 40 years ago that were themselves based upon shoddy differentiation between gender and sexuality. Changing your sex is impossible for humans. Yes, you can add hormones, which will induce some physical and psychological changes; you can surgically alter your genitalia and other body parts. So you've changed some aspects of your biological sexual components, but you haven't changed your sex. To do that, you would have to transform your chromosomes in all 100 trillion of your cells, as well as your gamete-producing apparatus. That's what sex really is all about: reproduction. If you haven't changed that, you haven't changed sex.

Even after the "sex" change operation, you may not have even changed your sexual orientation in terms of which gender you prefer to be with. Only about 30 percent of post-op "transsexuals" change their sexual orientation. It would seem that Teresa is among those whose actual sexual orientation was not changed by her "sex change." As a man she was attracted to women. It was XY on XX sex. Now as a transwoman, she is attracted to women. It's still XY on XX. Chromosomally, she was heterosexual, and she is still heterosexual, because there really wasn't a "sex change." But from a gender standpoint, she was straight, and now she's a lesbian. It was masculine/feminine sex, now it's feminine/feminine sex. So she is transgender, not transsexual. She should embrace the mind/body equation that actually affirms her feminine gender identity, not fight against it while trying to square the circle of the biological equation that actually refutes her proclaimed sexuality.

Alas it seems sexuality is the end-all and be-all for the separatists. Yet it's an impossible dream. They must bend themselves into pretzels and redefine words to form some semblance of logic to defend their position.

Teresa says, "Today there have been oxymoronic constructions of words used as a substitute for sex reassignment surgery including gender "reassignment", "affirming" or "confirming" surgery. Oxymoronic because it is a sex change and not a gender change operation-- as surgery is performed on primary and secondary sex characteristics, and not on "gender" organs."

The terms she describes as oxymoronic are actually just a bit clumsy, but not inaccurate. "Sex reassignment" or "sex change" are inaccurate. The surgery itself can be construed as a "reassignment" by oneself, or as some kind of official cultural initiation, graduation or correction. The terms "gender affirmation" and " gender confirmation" were coined as potential replacements for "reassignment," and may be more accurate, but haven't really caught on yet. This demonstrates the flux that our language is in as we evolve as a community.

The "transsexuals" are simply wrong in asserting that altering the sexual organs equates to a sex change. Altering primary or secondary sex characteristics still does not undo underlying sexual biology.

What is very possible is gender change. And gender is what it's important anyway, not sex. Gender is how you self identify and how you present yourself to society... at all times. Sexuality is about fucking... and from a genetic standpoint, reproducing. If it doesn't involve fucking or reproducing then sexuality doesn't actually have a lot to do with it.


She just doesn't get it. She's not going to win any friends among genetic women by claiming that she is just like "any other woman." That's just bullshit. She has no idea what it is like to be a genetic woman. That's a dishonest, ignorant and ignoble insult to individuals who were born female, grew up little girls, felt the subjugation and discrimination of male privilege and patriarchy every day of their lives, experienced the hassle and pain of menstruation every month starting around age 11 or 12, and lived in a state of constant vulnerability and disadvantage in a "man's world" without any relief all their lives, and also experienced the authentic magic of the holistic biological female self. Teresa is very definitely something different from this, and certainly not just "any other woman."

She continues: "We terminate our membership in our sex of birth and end our ability to function in that sexuality and instead have enabled our sexuality as the sex we have transitioned to. 'Sexual Identity' is whether you agree or disagree that you are a member of the assigned sex and whether or not you accept the sexuality and the sexual and reproductive role of that sex."

Teresa is so factually off base here that the mind boggles. Only if you change the words "sex" and "sexuality" to "gender" does this statement not grate like fingernails against the biological blackboard, and even that falls apart when she brings in the concept of "reproductive role." Reproductive role? You really want to go there, Teresa? Female sexuality is all about producing large gametes, eggs. Once Teresa is able to produce large gametes, then we'll talk about her "female sexuality."

So we can't change sex, and we can't steal the history, thought process and feelings of the opposite sex. But we can do the next best thing. We can change gender, as much or as little as we want to, and start building our own catalogue of experiences and history. We can wear the clothes of the other gender. We can style our hair like the other gender. We can wear the accessories of the other gender. We can gravitate toward the same interests as the other gender. We can learn to walk and talk like the other gender. We can learn to think somewhat like the other gender. We can get jobs as the other gender. Other people will treat us as the other gender. Sometimes, if we are good enough at all of this, most people will never even know we were not always of this gender!

None of this has anything to do with sexuality. But there's good news on that front as well. If we want to, through hormones and surgery and other methods, we can approximate the sexual characteristics of the other gender, to the point of even doing the sex act. We haven't completely changed our sexual biology, but we have to the extent we can copulate, or "have sex," in our new gender, perhaps with a new partner, or with the same old partner. Now that is really great for those who want it. And what happens is that the mind, the seat of gender identity, is greatly relieved and enlivened by this new physical congruency. It's not perfect, but it's way better than what it was. In fact, it's a rather beautiful thing. So the "neurobiological imperative" that Teresa mentions at the beginning of her Declaration, is fulfilled. The body can be transformed to better match the gender identity, and then the individual can more effectively and more happily transit the gender divide in their own self-perception as well as in culture-at-large. So the transgender pathway is available to any who would take it, for as far as they wish to take it. There are both capitalist merchants and medical professionals and governmental officials who will help us go as far as we want to go. And there is no conspiracy standing in the way.

Teresa herself has been the beneficiary of this ever widening system, but she sees enemies everywhere: "A major faction of the transgender dictatorship seeks the deconstruction of the dichotomy of human sexuality and abolish the sex binary of male and female to suit a minute portion of the population and to create a legal classification of persons other than female or male that some call a third gender (sex), including transgender, genderqueer, bigender, gender neutral, gender fluid, polygender, etc. They would like to desegregate single sex-only spaces and establish gender neutral or multigender restrooms, locker rooms, schools, jails, etc. where all must be allowed in."

Again, "sex" is foremost on her mind. I've not encountered this "major faction" of the "transgender dictatorship" that is seeking to deconstruct the sexual binary of male and female. The gender binary, yes. The sexual binary, no. It is a biological fact that the basic template of sexual reproduction is based upon the polarity of male and female. If there are people out there disputing that, then they are as confused as those who think they can change their sex. It's in the realm of gender where people should be free to blend masculine and feminine energy, perspective and identity. In other words, to be themselves.

Transgender people are free to do whatever they want with their gender identity and presentation. They can play around with it, or they can go all the way to full gender transformation, including the physical self.

Teresa and the "transsexuals" are afraid of this freedom in the hands of the rabble. They are the sex changing aristocracy, the ones who are strict and serious and conformist and traditional about this mind/body dichotomy business, to the point of needing medical attention (as they keep reminding us). They are not free to decide for themselves where upon the gender spectrum they are most comfortable. They are commanded to proceed full speed. The "transsexual" Grand Council will revoke their "transsexual" membership in good standing if they don't get a move-on down Sex Change Road. And they don't like any posers muddying the water for them within the greater cultural pool. So they feel they must create a clear line of separation between their higher aim of "sex change," and the lesser and often aimless objectives of the transgenders. To create this division, they wish to sever all ties to the transgender community, and its motley collection of queers and crossdressers and pre-ops who don't have what it takes to become a real woman or man. It's basic clan mentality.

"To be trans- "gender" is to change gender role. Gender is a sociocultural role construct that is a cluster of roles played that conform to the societal expectations of behavior and identity by those sexually assigned female or male."

Well close. Gender is personal identity and cultural presentation in addition to societal expectations of roles and identity. Almost always it matches up with biological sex. But, as we are discussing here, not 100 percent of the time.

"Change of gender is the last word in the transition of those whose journeys stop-- ending midway to becoming unified in body and mind. Transgender people are willing to settle for less than what transsexuals are seeking."

Absolutely wrong. Here Teresa and the separatists are simply taking it upon themselves to make up a new definition for "transgender," so that it will no longer include them. This is the same creative license they utilize to presume that modifying one's genitalia magically changes one's entire sex. They don't want to be under the umbrella, or on the same rainbow spectrum, so they are taking their identities and marching off. But it's rather like California declaring secession from North America. Nothing in the definition of the word transgender, either etymologically or within common usage, implies that a transgender individual cannot pursue and fulfill the same mind/body unification that a "transsexual" achieves. They don't have to, of course, but they can. I did. And I am proudly transgender, not "transsexual." And there are tens of thousands of other post-op transmen and transwomen who also consider themselves transgender.

Now, Teresa and the separatists charge that the "transgender Borg" are out to erase their identity and history. Nothing could be further from the truth. The transgender political movement is trying to save their true identity and history from those that would destroy it: the "transsexuals" themselves. But there is great irony in this tiny minority of "transsexual" reactionaries telling a much larger collective that they aren't what they think they are. According to them, you can't be transgender and have had surgery... or even want surgery. You can go midway, but stop right there, transgender person! You have no right to go any further. The "transsexual" Grand Council declares you unqualified!

It's a ridiculous assertion. Anyone is free to think of themselves in any terms they want. I will not say you don't have a right to think of yourself as Jesus or Cleopatra or a purple wallaby. Out of a desire to help you understand reality a little better, I might attempt to point out the delusions in your interpretation. Or I might just choose to ignore you. But I do have a right and duty to counter your attempt to set up a cultural meme that is blatantly in error, divisive and destructive, not just for others but for yourself as well.

The "transsexual" separatists have it all wrong. There is no such thing as a sex change, and therefore the word transsexual is inaccurate. There is no conspiracy. There is no Borg, though there is a welcoming, inclusive and powerful Rebel Alliance: the LGBT community and transgender community within that larger spectrum. No one is trying to erase their history or their identity, except themselves. No one is trying to prevent them from getting their surgery. No one is denying their difference from a crossdresser or gender queer or drag queen or any of the other people upon the transgender spectrum. Those who want surgery hold down one side of the transgender rainbow, and those who only want to dress up now and again hold down the other. They are certainly not the same, but they certainly are related.

Teresa and the separatists (who seem to be overwhelmingly M-t-F) see enemies and repressors everywhere. They are suspicious of and angry at the transgender community, gays, lesbians, the straight people, normal society, even F-t-M "transsexuals" (because by typically not undergoing the all-important surgical initiation, they are dubiously "transsexual"). In this embattled state, as well as in the incoherency of their doctrine and dogma, they are like the fundamental Christians and political conservatives, at war with the world and reality.

The pity is that these people cannot embrace all of the grand and wonderful diversity of the human rainbow, and accept their own unique and special qualities, and the sacredness of their individual journey. In their fervent wish to be the other "sex," the "transsexuals" have missed the epiphany of being something far more profound. They think they have a birth defect, something to be corrected and then forever hidden, rather than a challenge-gift of sublime meaning. They are the ones struggling so desperately to erase their own history and true identity in flailing pursuit of an impossible dream. In dreamlike seeking of "sexual congruence" they end up losing their authentic, holistic self. They are doing themselves, and all who come behind them, no favors.

I would imagine that this way of thinking will soon largely die out. Younger trans people are much more open to embracing their authenticity as a blend of masculine/feminine energy and perception. Giving up the impossible dream of ever becoming, deeply biologically, the opposite sex/gender, and opening up to the possibilities of forging your own unique gender identity, and bringing your physical self into the best possible congruence with that self is the true pathway to wholeness and happiness.

The mystical word transgender conveys the essence of this journey. Long may it inspire and unite those who would accept the challenge to understand it, explore it... or to be it.


  1. Beautiful and very apropos essay! Thank you, Annie!

  2. I have been loosely tracking the issue of separatism and have agreed with and endorsed some of the base concepts . However I find much what is said as being problematic and/or unworkable based on the language used or unrealistic statements or conclusions of the author. In many of the various platforms of the speakers they choose to speak for all persons in very generalized statements and do so without a mandate from this population. Nor have they reached out to or achieved an consensus from the constituency they claim to represent. Often they display an abject lack of knowledge.

    Opinions are a personal privilege. We all have them. We all have implicit bias. But, less we forget that they are our personal points of view and possibly may or may not be shared by a large number of folks. That said, here’s my opinion. I take umbrage with the statement that “homosexuality is an Abomination”. I condemn and challenge this notion. I also challenge trans- misogyny, cisexism and “bio-determinism” . Trans-masculine and female masculine folks are often maligned and unsupported by the trans-feminine community. I fell that this is wrong. I hear much said about Gender-non-conformity, genderqueer trans, transsexual, transgender and so forth. Let me remind folks that no matter how we choose to adopt as our personal take on who we are, or as a collective, by consensus, form an overarching statement of identity we are the smallest faction of the world population need to choose wisely amongst ourselves, our allies, strategies, tactics to define and achieve our goals. Our manifesto needs to be inclusive and yet reflect a confluence of viewpoints. In-fighting is not productive. Respectful debate is.

    Variance in one’s sexuality is as natural as ones gender identity and expression. Lady Gaga’s song “Born this Way” is in many ways totally on point. In the nature vs. nurture argument hard science is confirming that yes indeed, we are born this way and this speaks to the entire human species as a whole. What was once theoretical about ones gender or sexual identity is now largely confirmed or disproven by hard science. It is what it is.

    In peace & Solidarity ~Allison~

  3. Allison, well said, especially the part about "it is what it is." Indeed. In existentialist philosophy this is referred to as facticity. And, a kindred concept is historicity. In other words, the truth.

    A movement, no matter what it is, will not survive for too long if it is sideways with the truth and/or has surrendered the moral high ground. Our transgender movement is very young (despite there being transgender people around since the dawn of humankind), and we are just now carefully re-evaluating concepts given to us by earlier generations of both trans people and medical professionals. As we have grown larger and more diverse, and become at least somewhat empowered within our own community, some of these earlier concepts have been proven to be in gross error. With broader, clearer scientific and cultural perspectives, we can now formulate a new and improved sense of what transgender does and does not encompass. This includes critically evaluating the language and strategies we use and the beliefs we take to heart, always striving to make sure the facticity and historicity is sound.

    But certain fundamental aspects of this growth are not subject to consensus or democracy. When the facticity or historicity of a concept are corrupt, then it doesn't matter how many people want to believe in that concept. It's still corrupt. So certain components of our paradigm are not subject to a popularity vote. As you say, it is what it is. and they are what they are.

    By "bio-determinism" I'm not sure if you are referring to the concept that gender identity equals biological sex, and can never be changed, no matter what, the position of the ultra conservatives... or whether you are referring to the notion that one can change their fundamental biology. Science refutes both of these ideas, and has provided the groundwork to facilitate those who wish to transcend their biology to become the gender they wish to be. And yet, even for those who go "all the way" through surgery, etc. to the promised land of post-op, that old facticity and historicity has not changed.

    I totally agree that our movement must remain inclusive; a concept that the separatists reject. And yes, we should remain respectful and try our best to avoid in-fighting. Alas, I'm not sure this last objective is entirely possible, given the uneven intellectual awareness and emotional investment that exists within our community. With their very self identity at stake, many are determined to believe what they want to be true, rather than what is true. For these people, "healthy debate" seriously threatens their worldview, and so they tend to withdraw to their own, private redoubt, castigating all whom they blame for having lack of respect for their belief system.

    I do believe we are born this way. Yet we are not prisoners of our biology; in the modern world we can bring key aspects of our physicality (not our sex) in line with our gender identity. And we should honor and join forces with those who are likewise transgressing the ancient gender divide. We may be a tiny segment of the population, but just in our being we may challenge old cultural paradigms more than any other group in history. We represent a far more radical departure from conformity than gays and lesbians ever could. Indeed, we are born to be the ultimate cultural rebels, and teach the human family what the rainbow of diversity really means.

    Annie R.

  4. So many responses buzzing about my being after reading this....I will share some of them...

    For the author to assert that Teresa has no idea what it is like to be genetic women is an overstatement, and the author also undervalues the profound physical and psychological changes that can occur after genital change surgery and under hormone therapy.

    Post-op women may not be women like any other, but there are important ways in which they may differ from other folks who are included in the term transgendered.

    I get the impression that many of the separatists just want to be better known and appreciated for who they are. A post op female married to a man and who interacts with family and friends who largely do not know her history has a very different set of experiences, psychology and concerns than a man who cross dresses for sexual thrills and is a married to a woman, living in fear that she or anyone will find out his secret.

    Neither is intrinsically better or worse than the other, and each deserves to be treated fairly under the law and by other community members. Even so, until more of the community becomes able to embrace and appreciate each other for who they are, such struggles as that with the separatists will continue.

    Fully male bodied folks who love their penises and who do not alter their bodies in any way and who claim to be butch lesbians with male minds, attitudes and manner of dress are really the only ones in the community who strike me mostly as attention getters who love to pretend that they are revolutionaries and who are feeding a fetish.

    There is nothing with having that fetish, but be honest and open about what it is!

    Where is the woman in what they claim to be?

    Body, mind, dress and attitudes all male, wanting to interact sexually with a female who prefers women. It seems more like a desire to a participating voyeur in the classical male fantasy of woman on woman.

    Again, nothing wrong with that, but let's not pretend it is something other than it is.

    Others in the spectrum seem more genuine in what they present themselves as, and maybe they will learn to express greater appreciation for each and, as a result, work better together to achieve a better community, including legal rights, for all.

  5. Overall a well done and thought out response to the TS seperatists, but there are parts I fail to grasp.

    What I really don't get is how anyone can say that a post op woman does not have any idea of what it is like to be a genetic woman. It seems that, in her zeal to make her point that there are differences between post op women and other women, the author has pushed her case too far.

    As pointed out later in the article, after transition, TS women usually begin having experiences of being treated as female. That alone would give them some idea of what being a genetic female is like. Innate mental and emotional proclivities provide another means, as well as engging one's empathy, of knowing such for a TS woman.

    There are many interesting points in this article, but I caution against overstating one's case. That can lead to irrelevant side arguments, as well as further obfuscation of the truth.

  6. A transwoman can glimpse and feel what it is like to be a cultural woman, but not a genetic woman. We synthesize a morphology that is, at best, a partial approximation of female physicality. Hormones and surgery are powerful, but they do not create a woman, and our most fervent wishing and hoping does not make it so either. We may think we think like a woman, and probably do to some degree, but that's something we can never really know. We never experienced anything remotely similar to the biological and environmental metamorphosis and conditioning of girlhood and adolescence. Lacking these fundamental, person-shaping experiences, one cannot look a genetic woman in the eye and truthfully say, "I know what it is to be a woman, just like you." They may smile and nod at you, while thinking, rightly, to themselves, "that's a load of crap."

    This is disingenuous and/or delusion, and basically amounts to stealing an identity and history, and, conversely, hiding or erasing your own. We cannot ever expect to be respected if we are going to presume to become something we clearly are not. We are not "just like them." We are just like us... transbeings. Magic frogs.

  7. I am a f2m trans just starting down the long road of transition. I have heard many terms in this dialog that i am unfamiliar with, but I do recognize the attitude behind them. I live in Alaska and know that when people bring crabs in baskets to the farmers markets they don't need to put a lid on the baskets to keep the crabs from getting out and crawling away. The reason why is that the crabs will see one crab starting to crawl up the side to get out and they will all pull that crab back into the basket. I view this stupid argument over what to call ourselves with the same sigh and head shake as I would the crabs. This is truly asinine! I am what I am and I really could care less what some self appointed gurus are telling me to think or speak. I can smell fascism from a long way away and want nothing to do with people who make themselves feel better by tearing others down. I suppose if this makes me a rebel,,,, so be it. Until someone starts paying my bills and rent and insurance, I will think what ever I want.

  8. Hmmm. OK. I give up. Who are the crabs here? The fascists? Those tearing others down? I've got my ideas, but I never assume I understand how people from Alaska think.

    FYI, however: according to separatist dogma, transmen do not quality as "transsexual" because medical procedures are not advanced enough to allow them to "change their sex." Sorry, until you have a "real" penis, like the transsexuals have a "real" vagina, you'll just have to consider yourself "transgender."

    Oh well, Rebel, you'll just have to console yourself with the knowledge that transgender is the right term anyway.

  9. Having just been to Gender Odyssey, I have to complain that Trans folk, as a group, are stubbornly exceptionist: They like to view their own group, or their little corner of their own splinter of the trans community as being especially exceptional - non-ordinary. It may be a bitter pill for many people to swallow, but a great many trans folk are not really extraordinary. Deal with it. Stop trying to take credit for things that aren't your fault and don't really describe you.

  10. Thank you Annie for a wonderful and well written essay. I have found your arguments to be both cogent and persuasive. I also find myself now in agreement with you, much to my suprise!

    I am still uneasy of your aim to erase the term Transsexual, as I know many trans women to whom take that as their identity, just as you (and now I) accept the term Transgendered. I think you are right that this is mostly a generational thing and surely we can accept everyone's identity under the rainbow?

    Is there room for one more at the end of the rainbow? ;-)
    Warm Regards,
    Nicola Cowie