Silence can be violent. I’m not sure what that means for those who are fond of meditating or those who preach of silence being golden, or even if it means anything at all. The silence I refer to here is that which takes place after a fight, or instead of an argument – the stuff that occurs on an interpersonal level.Continue reading “Silence as an act of aggression”
A chapter on exorcism and possession in The People of the Lie had my head in a spin. I left the woo scene many moons ago and now have trouble reading any book or article which tries to explain superstition or the supernatural. Although my main gripe is that it’s littered with inconsistency and can take excessive amounts of mental effort to sift through the words. Many humans are psychologically affected by ritual. Ritual can be shown to lessen anxiety, improve performance, and help people grieve after bereavement. I’m not only speaking of the hardcore stuff such as exorcisms, weddings, and funerals but the small ones we do too. Tapping on a surface, eating a particular food and lighting candles – any of those things you do compulsively to ward off negativity or improve your luck, are rituals.Continue reading “Exorcising Those Demons”
I love the term psychological gargoylism which was probably coined by M.Scott Peck. It’s the only reason I’m writing any of this at all. I actually just wanted to put the term out there, the rest of this post may well be no more than window dressing.
But for now, it’s about those kids…..Continue reading “Psychological Gargoylism – A keeper of a phrase?”
I can’t actually remember what prompted me to re-acquaint myself with a handful of the books which influenced me emotionally or mentally during my hardcore woo years (1993-99). Back then, I had a chronic reluctance to think critically and wasn’t keen on reading anything that didn’t offer the promise of a life filled with unicorns and rainbows. I re-read the hugely successful The Road Less Traveled, (Peck, 1978) and followed it up with The People of the Lie (Peck, 1983). It is the latter which provided the fuel for this post.Continue reading “The Connection Between Evil & Self-reflection”
An argument has kicked off on Twitter within the last few days, although I know things have been brewing for weeks between two of the main players and I’ll explain why as I go. My own reason for wading in with my not-so-large size five’s is simple enough; I’m sick of fucking wankers maintaining a good social standing.
Who is Peter Tatchell and What’s He Done?
Peter Tatchell is a prominent campaigner on the LGBT scene, and he’s known in the human rights arena. I’ve seen his name come up on two previous occasions within the last month. The first time: He was mentioned in an online group I like; the comment was something akin to ‘even Peter Tatchell agreed with the judgement‘. The case was the highly publicised gay wedding cake fiasco which saw Christian bakers hauled through the courts for refusing to ice a cake with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage‘. The recent appeal at the Supreme Court saw previous decisions overturned on the basis that ‘nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe‘.
Julie Bindel Enters the Arena
The second time takes a little more explaining. Julie Bindel, a writer, radical feminist, and co-founder of Justice for Women was no-platformed at an event, the Truth to Power Cafe, established by Jeremy Goldstein, which celebrates free speech. Index on Censorship, a UK based international campaigning publishing organisation for freedom of expression, gave open support to Julie and withdrew their support from the event in protest. In the meantime (oct 27th), this happened:
Tatchell was asked to clarify or confirm he didn’t know of Bindel’s no-platforming and then asked to condone the incident and follow through with a show of support by declining the invitation. He didn’t do either of those things. Although, in the end he didn’t get to speak. The event host cancelled because of the controversy citing ‘due to the changing nature of this event, we feel we can no longer guarantee it as a safe space, particularly for our young artists‘. At the time of writing, social media for Truth to Power Cafe was still not active. I’ll assume they took some heavy hits from the backlash that ensued after Julie, quite rightly, called them out on their hypocrisy.
Fast forward to the 8th of November and we have arrived at:
Posted at the link we find this:
The trigger for a reaction from Julie Bindel was this tweet by Peter Tatchell:
Bindel reacted because she knows Tatchell understood full well that white feminists such as herself have been speaking out against all of those issues; often facing accusations of racism when they do. Julie Bindel knew he was having a dig at people like her for voicing valid concerns regarding the trans debate in this country.
The Apologist Mentality & The Backdoor Acceptance of Abuse – Structural Defects
It needs to be made clear that Peter Tatchell is not a paedophile; other than his blatant campaigning to lower or remove the age of consent, there’s no suggestion he has committed any offences against children. Back in 2000, he campaigned to get the age of consent for homosexual sex lowered to 16 to bring it in line with the heterosexual age of consent; I can fully understand and support that action. However, it was only two years after that he joined/made an attempt to further lower the age of consent to fourteen – I find that slightly disturbing. That he has repeatedly made references to knowing adults, who as 9-13 year olds enjoyed sexual contact with adults, adds a further layer of mistrust in his ability to think critically and also his ability to pass healthy judgement.
I’ve got to be honest here; I do think people can be stupid and ignorant enough to support ideas which are clearly abusive yet not be abusive in that same regard themselves. That being said, I’d rather not see those people in positions of trust due to a high likelihood of them turning a blind eye to said abusive behaviours. The bottom line for me is, I simply wouldn’t trust them to do the right thing if they’re mentally fixed on supporting a specific position. The likes of Peter Tatchell are commonplace and it’d be rare to find a human who hasn’t made the mistake of justifying the shitty actions of a friend, but where do we draw the line?
People who have got away with sexual abuse and rape off the back of their reputation in other areas are being exposed far too late in their game. I’m thinking of rapists such as Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, and Jimmy Saville. We’ve been saturated with examples of men who commit widespread abuse whilst retaining and enjoying the benefits of their high social status. We have a small number of abusers and many times more people who are prepared to justify abusive acts despite not being outwardly shitty themselves. How many people knew about Weinstein, Saville, Polanski? For fucks sake, Hollywood was STILL praising Polanski even after he was convicted for anally raping a 13-year-old girl. If we’re serious about tackling child rape and sexual abuse this has to stop. One way it can be stopped is by removing the support network and that DOES mean the likes of Peter Tatchell and others of his ilk. The apologists and excusers need to be publicly criticised when it is known they’ve stayed silent; or worse, when they have publicly endorsed an abusive person. Why shouldn’t they be ostracised for being complicit?
Peter Tatchell should never have been allowed to retain his social position once his views were known. The fact he uses his public role as a champion of human rights to downplay his apologist stance towards paedophilia is a clear sign of system failure. The Peter Tatchell Foundation reeks of a personal agenda to secure himself as a champion. I mean come on, how fucking arrogant do you need to be to set up a foundation in your own name – doesn’t someone else usually do that after you’re dead? The man is out for glory and clearly wants his name to be remembered as something which represents something. In his case, champion of LGBT rights and whatever else he claims to be a defender or champion of. The likes of Peter Tatchell, who can hide behind a position of trust and esteem whilst undermining efforts to protect vulnerable humans are a blight, on society and should never be considered an asset.
The Guardian, The Green Party and the Labour Party have all openly endorsed Peter Tatchell despite knowing his standpoint on the age of consent, that he wrote a chapter in a book written and published by paedophiles, and that he wrote a glowing obit for a known paedophile. This post isn’t saying anything about Tatchell that hasn’t already been said for years; the question for me, and my reason for writing is – how are we ever going to arrive at a point where we have zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of minors if people like him are allowed to continue building their reputations whilst simultaneously undermining the moral and ethical foundations on which we are basing the protections we have in place?
Resources & further reading:
Peter Tatchell wrote the obituary for Ian Dunn, a founding member of PIE (paedophile information exchange) – it’s here. Not even a slight hint towards the fact he was a known paedophile… (1998)
An article on an interview he had with a child. At best, highly inappropriate – at worst, reeks of something far more fucking sinister.
An article Peter Tatchell wrote for the Guardian in support of lowering the age of consent. (2009)
Another Peter Tatchell article setting out his ideas for sex education for children. Once again he hones in on the 8-9 age range as an early starting point. (2016)
Bindel wrote about the wider problem of child abuse and mentioned Tatchell’s attitude in this article back in 2001.
The Sambia Tribe Tatchell mentions as being a possible ‘role model’ for western attitudes towards child sexuality. Notice the lack of detail regarding ‘healthy adult relationships’ between men and their wives.
This coming week sees the deadline for the consultation on reforming the GRA. The consultation in itself is a challenge because it’s using the heavily flawed GRA 2004 as a starting point. The battle for self-id is an ugly one, but to be honest, it’s easy to see how we arrived at this point when you learn that genital surgery is not a requirement for the current GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate). Swiped straight from the gov.uk website, it says you can get a GRC if:
- you’re 18 or over
- you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (discomfort with your birth gender) – this is also called gender identity disorder or transsexualism
- you’ve lived in your acquired gender for at least 2 years
- you intend to live in your acquired gender for the rest of your life
The whole male/female thing is a way to separate the girls from the boys. The PRIMARY reason for doing this is because of the stark biological difference between the two. The biological differences are at least part of the reason there are significant protections in place for females – it’s to keep us safe. Sure, dignity plays its part too, but the bottom line is males have anatomy which can be used a weapon to harm females.
There are places where women have a right to request a female over a male. The same goes for female-only areas such as public bathrooms, hospitals wards, refuges, prisons, and sport have an exemption clause. However, this is not exactly true and the narrative says there has to be justifiable reasons for refusing access to someone with a GRC and it is generally done on a case-by-case basis. I have noted the balance is very much skewed towards the direction of the transwoman, or man if you like. So, exclusion has to be justified and safety is most definitely not paramount. There is currently no standard practice for refusing to allow anyone with a history of violence or sex offences against women and children which automatically bars a male from entering a safe space ‘as a woman’. So, whilst many are up in understandable arms about the threat which is self-id – we’ve already got a major problem where the emotional welfare of men is being prioritised over the physical safety of females. If safeguarding was a priority, those transwomen would be obligated to provide proof they were deemed safe to enter. I am aware there is much sensitivity around the issue of ‘proving identity’, but if we’re going to acknowledge safety as the priority, and not feelings, then there has to be a mechanism in place which ensures this is possible. As it stands, women have little chance to defend themselves against those already abusing the system under current legislation. If legislation were to be relaxed, it is highly likely to open the floodgates to those who are harbouring ill-intent towards women. I actually don’t care what a man wants to think he is – if he has a cock I don’t want him anywhere near the ladies, nor in refuges, nor in female prisons.
The Gender Binary Shite
One aspect of the consultation concerns the legal allocation of rights to people who identify as non-binary; let’s be honest, this IS shite. What the fuck is a non-binary and non-gender? Are these people born without any sex organs or chromosomes? Do they come from another planet? These people don’t need validation, they need therapy. Okay, I’ll humour the non-gendered, do these people REALLY want special status for defying a stereotype? A certificate of preferential treatment for not conforming to the status quo? Apart from anything else, it’s humanly impossible to be non-gendered or non-binary. I can only assume they’re all are sat in a plastic vacuum packed bubble wearing skorts. But hang on a minute, I think they’re designed for females…what are these people wearing? Who does the hoovering? Does anyone cook or is everything ordered to take-away? Traditional roles, for the most part, are stereotypical. Most ‘roles’ played in the daily grind are assigned a gender – humans are not. Humans have a clear and definite sex – gender is the bullshit term created to categorise roles and expected behaviours. If you’re sticking ‘gender’ in your identity, please don’t try to tell me you’re not endorsing a regressive concept. Irony? That’ll be the bit where they’re all claiming to be progressive thinkers and doers.
The Birth Certificate
A birth certificate is a record of a true fact, and as its name suggests, it is a certificate of fact regarding the birth of an individual person. The fact a person can change the gender on their birth certificate does not sit comfortably with me. Again, the problem is here a refusal to acknowledge the trans status and instead forces the person into one of two boxes…but to allow the change of a birth certificate is giving the support of a blatant lie. The government should never have been complicit in such an obvious deception. Men, women and trans people should each have a fundamental right to be protected from abuse and discrimination but it’s hardly appropriate to lie on an offical document. The point here is that it’s only necessary to supply the bc when applying for other forms of id such as a passport. If you’re going to insist on changing the sex markers on documents, it’s really the passport and driving license which need attention. As someone who is trying to see the bigger picture, I have to ask why it isn’t okay to list someone as a trans woman or trans man? We can’t change biological sex and there is no real justification for the law pretending we can. Many post-op transsexuals are perfectly comfortable with the trans prefix…so why isn’t the government?
The Pronoun Police
Clamouring for the coat-tails of attention are demands for an individual to be referred to as their chosen gender, or non-gender as the case may be. Accusations of bigotry and hate are sure to follow if you refer to someone as a him because he looks like a male (because he is a male). And no, it’s not a reasonable excuse to say you didn’t know – you’re supposed to anticipate the correct chosen gender for each and every human you come across. You know, like – magically. It’s infantilism at its absolute finest. Also in human existence are those who claim one should never assume and always ask. People have already been booted off Twitter with a lifetime ban, banned from Facebook, and even reported to the police (yes, seriously) for calling cross-dressers and fetishists, men. I state it this way deliberately because the post-op transsexuals and trans women have no problem accepting they are biologically male. The ones protesting outrage at being ‘misgendered’ are, ironically, generally still in possession of a penis. The problem I have is the concept of gender reinforces regressive stereotypes. Woman and female are biological realities, not a frock to don because you feel inadequate as a feminised male. One of the problems with self-id is that it allows a male to stake a claim in womanhood based on their own personalised view of what it is to be a woman. Are we really saying that one becomes a woman through clothing, wigs, make-up, and pronouns? Sounds a tad superficial to me.
Right to Privacy
How far does an individuals right to privacy extend? Is it ever okay to lie about something which may be essential to a person receiving life-saving treatment or some other important assistance? What if a male-bodied person demands a female police officer do his cavity search? Is this appropriate? What about a male-at-birth-rapist being sent to female prison – he’s demanding to be called Monica and prances around in a dress, but he’s also still in full command of his tackle? He’s got eight years of a ten-year sentence left and his ‘condition’ has absolutely nothing to do with wanting access to women so he can rape them too. Or maybe he’s a convicted paedophile and wants to be called Karen… I think it’s perfectly reasonable to not have to explain life-story to employers, although if safeguarding is in place I think there has to be some expectation of an intrusion into the past. Anyone who works with children and other vulnerable humans are subject to a background check, and they are also expected to provide previous names. Trans people cannot justifiably withhold this information on the grounds of privacy, surely? Uncomfortable feelings of a grown adult versus the physical safety of a vulnerable member of society?
Stonewall et al…
The most prominent LGBT charity is fully supportive of reforming the GRA to allow for self-id. Whether individuals are personally affected or not, to insist that men can become women and women can become men without so much as a shred of evidence – they’re saying that lesbians should accept males can be as much of a lesbian as themselves. I have witnessed the abuse of lesbians online for myself – being called transphobe, bigot, TERF (and yes, it is a fucking slur) and god only knows what else. Lesbians have been told to suck ladydick, pretend it’s a clit on a stick – I’ve seen enough to fill a book, never mind a blog post. There are transsexuals who have openly supported and defended lesbians as a protected class, and they too have been subjected to abuse for doing so. Pink News, a prominent LGBT newspaper, a.k.a Penis News to those familiar with its content – has regularly fed into the current trans-narrative and demonised lesbians and transsexuals who have refused to stay silent on the clear conflict of interest that self-id presents. The irony in all of this is the majority of people being protected by the ‘acceptance without exception’ policy touted by Stonewall and Pink News are actually white heterosexual males. Yeah….you can all laugh loudly now.
The Stance of Political Parties
Urgh, where do I start? Do I even bother? The Labour party is losing members due to its unconditional support of self-id. It has already let fully intact males onto all female shortlists and its representatives can be found chanting the trans women are women mantra. Many of us are now feeling politically homeless. There was a recent case involving a Student Officer for the NUS advocating for self-id and in a position to influence policy at the uni; he’d been caught with his pants down, penis out, blogging about his fascination with flashing. Many MP’s on all sides are offering unconditional support to self-id and more disturbingly, the medicalising of kids with gender dysphoria (more on that another time). The Green Party were mocked and criticised for their use of the term non-men to describe women. The Green Party is currently investigating how the father of a high-profile member was allowed to stand as his election agent after he had been arrested and charged with the rape and torture of a ten-year-old girl. Disturbingly, the father and son were both influential in helping to develop the party’s stance on self-id. It only came to light after he was sentenced to twenty years in prison; and even after the event, rather than apologise they defended the adult son. It was only after a shit-load of effort from members of the public they suspended him pending further investigation. Haven’t got anything from the Conservatives off the top of my head but I’m sure it’ll be out there. Oh, hang on, the woman pushing for self-id and leading the consultation is Penny Mordaunt – a conservative who has stated: “Trans women are women, that is the starting point”. A recent article suggests MP’s are afraid to speak openly on the subject and fear reprisals. Great; we have a major safeguarding issue and they’re acting like a bunch of cowards.
A Painful Reality
Every time, and I mean EVERY time I write something about anything connected to the trans debate, I am sidetracked into the more absurd aspects which have little to do with the core issue. It is a painful reality that the voice of the tiny minority of genuine dysphoria sufferers who choose to medically transition are being drowned out by the post-modernist bullshit of identity politics. The obsession to win the victimhood olympics has created a dialogue which doesn’t recognise the genuinely oppressed as even significant enough to be mentioned in the conversation. Those currently winning are straight white males – those same people who are said to be privileged above all others. The losers are women in general, children, and males who don’t conform to the popular male narrative of the time. A true head-fuck if ever there was one.
A Bastardisation of Language
No man should ever have a legal right to claim he is a woman. A man may feel he is a woman trapped in a man’s body, but this does not make the statement true. Women are not born in men’s bodies. This is no different than forcing people to believe woman was created after God removed a rib from Adam. Allow a man to live as a woman? Absolutely. But we’ve got a major problem in society if we think we have to legislate that a bloke can wear a dress if he feels like it – most especially if he has to pretend he’s a woman to do so. The majority (if not all) of trans-activists have no intention of having hormones or surgery to alleviate gender dysphoria. Some are no more than confused about how to present themselves to wider society, some are simply rebelling against conformity, some are hardcore fetishists, and some are so horrendously fucking misogynistic it beggars belief they’re able to think they can hide it just by slapping on a bit of lippy. Also hailing the transwomen are women mantra are women themselves, but then women have always been capable of enabling abusers. The current push to remove words such as transsexual appears to be an attempt to diminish the voice of the few who were the reason for the GRA in the first place. Transsexuals are generally the ones speaking out against self-id and they’re usually the ones who have had treatment for dysphoria. The Trans umbrella now has to encompass so many people it no longer just offers protection to those who were (or are) genuinely dysphoric. In actual fact, many transsexuals are raising concern about losing protection if self-id were to become law because they know it’s going to be abused (it already is even now) and they don’t want to be associated with predatory males.
Push to Repeal the GRA
A final note on the current legalities has to include an expression of my desire to see the GRA abandoned/abolished/repealed. This piece of legislation was created by cowards to avoid dealing with the issue of gay marriage. Whilst fully understanding the necessity for transsexuals to have protection against discrimination, there has been a clear conflation of the words sex and gender, and anything imposing on the rights of women can not ever be given as a right to transsexuals who were born male. Access to female-only spaces can only be given as a privilege, and there should be far stricter controls on who can belong to that group of privileged males – the very least of which should be full genital surgery and police background checks. You can’t widen the umbrella of what it is to be trans and then expect the general public to accept it without question. What does need to be widened is our concept of how men and women can express their personalities without being shamed. But seriously, how the fuck did they manage to pass a law which CLEARLY infringes on female rights?
Not long after I began researching the trans subject I came across a term I hadn’t seen before. The word is autogynephilia and it basically describes a man who gets off sexually on imagining himself as a woman. Ray Blanchard, a sexologist, coined the term and wrote about the idea there are two distinctly different groups of trans-identified males. Those two groups are crudely separated into homosexual transsexual and heterosexual fetishistic transvestites, although there are exceptions to every rule.
Homosexual transsexuals will often display stereotypically feminine behaviour from a young age. There are considerably fewer of them who are autogynephilic – but they do exist. I’ve seen people throw stats around such as 80/20 for gay trans people not experiencing/experiencing autogynephilia and 20/80 for the straight ones. Those stats are unlikely to be accurate but they are in the sense of the majority of gay trans do not experience whereas the heterosexual ones do.
Heterosexual fetishistic transvestites are the ones I’ll be concentrating on today – they usually begin having fantasies during the teenage years. Imagining themselves as female provokes a sexual response. There is often little to no feminisation during childhood – they climb trees and do whatever else boys are supposed to do, interestingly, many of them end up in typically masculine professions. They don’t show a preference for pink and they don’t want to play with dolls. Autogynephilic males may, or may not, go through a medical transition. Research has shown that up until now, most autogynephilic males do not have surgery. Suggestions for early conditioning have been put forward as to the origins of autogynephilia; I’ll be staying away from those for the sake of simplicity, although I have included links at the end of the post if you would like more detail.
For the record: Research has found that preferences for pink, playing with dolls, being gentle – more likely to be gay than trans. In fact, and I’ll repeat this often, when a child experiences gender confusion, they are statistically more likely to grow out of it and simply be gay (male or female). Most kids with dysphoria don’t end up going through transition.
Denial from the men themselves
I soon learned not everyone agrees with Blanchard. He has received extreme criticism, as have others, for suggesting some males are wanting to be women to simply get off on it. I realise this is a simplified attitude to take but the distinction needs to be clear. Very few trans-identified males want to be seen as autogynephilic, although I have come across a handful of men who are happy to admit they’re AGP (admittedly many hide their public identity) and will talk openly about their desires and motivations with regards to wearing the female form (whether clothes or surgery). These particular men do not feel the need to lie and say they are real women. I’d suggest the reason most won’t admit to their proclivities is that they feel ashamed.
From the crow’s nest
Yeah, I’ve seen it. There are two distinctly different groups operating under what is now one umbrella. Actually, with the recent explosion with ‘trans-identifying’, you could probably add a third group to the pot – the rapid-onset types with no real previous history of identifying as trans The latter are, more often than not, teenage girls. I’ve watched many back and forth arguments between people who are on one side or the other and unfortunately, the ones being the most demanding and unreasonable are people who would fall into the heterosexual fetishistic transvestite category.
Fake versus real?
Some people do require extensive (surgical) treatment for autogynephilia and it’s exactly the same for gender dysphoria. I’ve seen accusations of ‘not true trans’ and similar thrown about and the more balanced from both sides wouldn’t stoop so low as to say anything like that. It is similar to – not a real Christian unless, not a real witch unless, not a real man if you do/don’t do and so on. It follows the assumption that criteria to the ‘in group’ has to be restrictive (and inadvertently(?) repressive) and is usually enforced by those who are dealing with a deep split in the personality and have an immature defence mechanism. The point is trans/transition is what a person goes through to alleviate suffering, the reasons for transition among individuals within each group will be highly nuanced. I suppose if there had to be a fake trans – those would be the men demanding other people use female pronouns and see them as a real woman whilst still having a penis…and sometimes even a beard. I do wonder if it’s important to be able to distinguish between the fetishists and those who have dysphoria. I’ve certainly witnessed homosexual transsexuals attempt to distance themselves from the more aggressive representatives of the AGP’s.
But I’m not like the others…
Not everyone makes it clear whether they’re gay or straight, gender dysphoric or autogynephilic. We, as people in general, cannot be expected to know what type of tranny we are dealing with and it is both unreasonable and unacceptable to ask someone which type they are unless they’re a close personal friend or we’re getting to know them with the hope of becoming friends (or more). Being specific, the trans people causing problems are human, we cannot know what type of human we are dealing with. Some humans are complete shits – we know this. Clothes and surgery can’t change someone’s personality but there are plenty of shits who will take advantage of political correctness, social graces, and anything else they can think to take advantage of.
All normal enough…
The problem I see is we have a whole heap of people who are basically too ashamed to admit to having a sexual fetish – and that is a problem which needs addressing. The thing is, it is NEVER appropriate to expect another human to personally accommodate your sexual desire/inclination/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Plenty of us have a fetish whether it’s for feet, other body parts, shoes, rubber, the list is endless, it truly is endless. Numbers are said to be over 70%; that’s adults who have a fetish. All of it is perfectly fine between consenting adults. But it’s the consenting part which is key. No one is compelled by law to give validation to another person’s sexual inclinations. When people force their need for gratification on another person it’s usually classed as sexual assault or rape. Not sure how it’s not classed as emotional or psychological abuse for an autogynephile to demand validation from an individual if the primary motivation is sexual gratification.
After a while, we end up developing stereotypes which are supposed to be the dominant characteristics of a whole group of people. They may be accurate – as in, a group of blind people are all going to have problems with their sight to various degrees. A group of lesbians are all going to be attracted to other women. But, then you get ones which stray away from the absolutes – gay men are promiscuous, lesbians hate all men, muslims are terrorists, black men are criminals, single parents are scroungers who give birth to criminals, and so on. I can perfectly understand the stress of having to explain how you’re not a stereotypical representation of a group you’re associated with. I’ve had six kids and done a hefty stint as a single parent – too often I chose to do battle with people’s misconceptions about what I was like as a person. It’s exhausting and adds way too much pressure to what is already a heavily stressful and emotionally demanding lifestyle, and yeah, I’m gonna call it (being trans) a lifestyle for now (it’s definitely not a sexuality). The less desirable a lifestyle, the more negative stereotypes are going to be central to the social conversation. Any group can attract negative stereotypes and we need to understand that anything which relates to a sexual fetish is more likely to be weighted towards the negative. It has been suggested, wisely, the more recent push to allow the medical transition of children is an attempt to distract public attention away from the adult men who use dressing as a woman to gain sexual gratification. If we accept the narrative of being born in the wrong body it means less questioning of the reasons and intentions of the person presenting as trans.
So why the issue?
I happen to identify with people who have issues with their own identity. I would rather be able to give open support to anyone wishing to live life on their own terms, but then I’d be falling into the trap of acceptance without exception – and that is dangerous and stupid. Much depends on the individual concerned, but the bottom line has to be safety, not fairness. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that a significant number of men with autogynephilia also have other fetishes which don’t respect the boundaries of women or children. The safeguarding of women and children has to be acknowledged as THE priority here. I probably won’t be writing about that next but it does need to be mentioned now because it’s one of those bottom-line considerations. There’s a noisy group of trans-rights activists currently pushing for self-id and most, if not all of them, are classic AGP types. Again, AGP in and of itself does not correlate to an abusive personality. But, unfortunately, the ones pushing for access to female-only spaces, which are protected by law I might add, have an over-representation of AGP types. This isn’t just about changing rooms in Top Shop, it’s long-standing institutions like Girl Guides. Can you imagine the safeguarding nightmare this becomes if a sexual fetishist is allowed free access to girls under the age of fifteen? This isn’t about gender-confused children, and let’s be honest here, any parent worth their salt would NOT be so cruel to lie to their child by saying they were a ‘real’ girl or boy just because they felt they were. This issue is being pushed under the guise of saving the feelings of the children when in actual fact, it’s manipulative adults who want access to women and children to gain sexual gratification. Do I need to say it again? AGP in and of itself does not dictate the personality of the person and the good ones will most likely tell you it isn’t safe to let any old trans into female spaces…they’ll also tell you they know they’re not real women, won’t demand you use female pronouns, and they sure as fuck won’t call you names if you point out the obvious a.k.a men can’t become women, men can’t have periods, men can’t know what it feels like to be a woman, and so on.
Criticism of the establishment
There needs to be some accountability on the part of the psychologists and psychiatrists working in the field of all that is transgender. I haven’t seen many who have openly spoken about the need for caution nor the acknowledgement that AGP is even a thing… I’ve already mentioned my own angst in regards to demonising a fetish which doesn’t seek to impose itself on the general population – and I probably can’t stress that enough. Humans are, for the most part, simple creatures – and to assume most people will be able to distinguish a predator from a regular person is short-sighted, narrow-minded, just plain-old unrealistic. You can’t put that shit on the general population and expect it to end well. Do we really think the political parties supporting self-id have safeguarding at the heart of their policies?
You have no idea who you’re dealing with. As humans, we have a tendency to think everyone thinks the same way, and is motivated by the same things we are ourselves – this can’t be helped. Even with training, most people will still fall into the trap of projecting their stuff onto others. If you’re not a predator, or if you’re lacking a decent dangerous person radar, you’re going to be an easy target. The people who tend to be good at spotting predators have usually suffered abuse in the past – it’s a skill that only some former victims acquire and not exactly a trophy to be proud of…especially when warnings tend to fall on deaf ears.
This post isn’t going to delve too deeply because it’s really just an opening to discuss the massive increase in people, and especially children, identifying as ‘trans’. Having had half an eye on the subject for the last four, maybe five years, I’ve involved myself directly over the last eighteen months. I immersed myself in the Twitter wars and read plenty elsewhere – arguments from both sides of the fence and even stuff by those who were sat on it. The transition of Caitlyn Jenner is obviously the most public within recent memory. He had more press coverage than necessary and before he’d even finished his transformation (he still had a penis), he adorned the cover of Vanity Fair and even won an award for woman of the year (complete with his penis). The media appeared to be largely in support of the whole process and as usual, the do-gooders, social justice warriors, and the so-called left-leaning liberals all came out in full force to say what a great thing it was. There seemed to be little criticism, or more accurately – little critical thinking about the issue as a whole. I found it disturbing to see the way everybody was supposed to celebrate his transition and see him as brave or you were labelled as shit.
Fake it – especially when you’re making it
I couldn’t help but think of his family – a mainly female household, and in particular his kids. As the weeks moved on, we were encouraged to forget his past and any reference made to his former life as Bruce was automatically assumed to be hostile. I was uncomfortable with the clear sexualisation of his image as a woman…and he was so often heavily airbrushed. And, let’s not forget how much money he had at his disposal to pay for the surgery. So, yes, there was much that pissed me off yet much of it, I felt, was me being trivial. I didn’t initially want to look closer at the reasons I was being so reactive to the whole event when it clearly wasn’t my personal life being affected. Instinct can be funny at times. Funny in the sense it’ll scream at you and it takes your rational mind a while to catch up. So, what was it about the Bruce Jenner situation? He was sixty-four when he came out of the tranny closet. Sixty-four? Essentially, here we had someone who had lived an outright lie for over forty fucking years and yet it was spun as some kind of victory when he was finally able to be the person he always was? Not only was he sixty-four, but he also had an incredibly successful life as a former athlete. Not only was he a man, but he had been successful at being a man and taking all it had to offer. Marriage and children too…so he clearly didn’t mind using what was between his legs. Lots of advantages… and fair play to him regarding the athletic stuff and making the most of his testosterone and all else he had. But if he really thought he was a woman, why had he not been more feminine in his youth? I thought trannies were supposed to be more like your stereotypical woman? Did he counteract his femininity deliberately by pursuing manly sports?
Courageous or coward?
The thing is, men have been transitioning for a few decades now and there has been limited public interest for the most part. Sure, there have been a couple of ‘high-profile’ trans-identified males – I’m thinking of Lily Elbe and Christine Jorgensen, who undoubtedly had considerably more challenges to face than any man wanting to transition these days. They both managed it…1882-1931 and 1926-1989 respectively, and with respects to Christine Jorgensen – had an enormous amount of popularity and acceptance. My point being, if Jenner wanted to be an honest man, he could’ve been – the precedents were there in history and if he wanted to pretend to be a woman he could’ve done so. I don’t deny it takes strength to defy stereotypes and neither am I ignorant of the abuse some trannies receive. People can be cruel, horrifically so, but it’s been a long time since it was deemed acceptable to level cruelty at someone for simply being a tranny. Many who don’t have Jenner’s public status or bank balance have, and are, living as they see fit and have done for years. Oddly, there’s a good number of them who refuse to lay claim to womanhood and can perfectly accept themselves as men. That’s not to say those men haven’t at some point flirted with the idea they were real women too…but their journey ultimately led them to accept who they were without shame. Some of those same people lived their truth through the 1970’s and had an inordinate amount of shit to tolerate – all without the cushion of wealth, status, or celebrity. I’d consider those types brave. But is Jenner? Is he fuck. He’s a privileged male who knows exactly how to court the media and make money from it.
Politicising the personal
With the identity of Caitlyn Jenner firmly established there was a shift to make it political. The media slant made it clear that no one was to question why people chose to transition – the preferred narrative fell along the lines of ‘born this way’ and that it should be seen as no different to sexuality. Except, being trans has fuck all to do with sexuality. In the UK, there has been a stream of constant pressure to relax laws around who can declare themselves a woman, and up until recently (like a month ago), I bore witness to some shocking stances by mainstream politicians and councillors who categorically stated that anyone who wanted to identify as a woman could do so and to call them men was a hate crime. They further insisted these men had the rights of women, as women, and should be allowed access to women only areas. I saw tweets by green party spokespeople who referred to women as ‘non-men’ so as not to marginalise the blokes who wanted to be seen as women – by this point, there had been a fair few public disagreements over who could actually be called a woman. I think it was their way of getting around the issue of what to call anyone with a penis who didn’t want to be called a bloke. Seriously. Then there’s a Labour party ‘women’s officer’, an official position, held by a then-teenage boy (he only recently crept into his twenties) who still has a cock and balls – demanding that all women shortlists be open to anyone who saw fit to call themselves a woman, even if they still had a cock. The elephant in the room here is those lists are seen as essential to get more women into politics – kinda defeats the purpose if half those women are actually blokes. But, more on the politics another day.
Down the rabbit hole
And then I fell down the rabbit hole. Honestly. I’m not quite sure when I realised what a complex issue I was looking at. It wasn’t as simple as some bloke getting more publicity than he was worth or Joe Public fighting for acceptance without exceptions. I’ve studied many subjects in my life and if ever there was one which needed someone standing there with a hand up saying ‘wait, it’s not what you think’- it’s this one. I began in earnest, fearing I had an irrational prejudice and simply needed to understand something. I sit here now wondering what fucking planet I’m living on..admittedly it ain’t the first time I’ve pondered that one.
Acknowledging the tree
I’ve been fearful of saying anything at all until I had the bigger picture, and part of the problem is there are many branches coming off the main trunk. It didn’t seem fair to have a half-arsed opinion when there was so much at stake for the individuals who are directly affected by it. I’m not. I have an interest in identity in general, and I feel strongly that people should be able to live their lives without too much interference by 1) the state and 2) shitty people who think it’s okay to abuse other people for lifestyle choices. Although to say I’m not directly affected isn’t entirely true – as a woman, it does affect me if there are men wanting to change in the same room as me if I go swimming. And do I really want any of my daughters having to deal with a grown man in the female toilet? Or my granddaughters? There has always been a part of me which felt compassion towards regular trans-identified men and women. I had long-since wondered what drove them to reject their bodies so vehemently and how hard it must’ve been to not just acknowledge those feelings, but to actually try and do something about it. I still feel that compassion – probably even more so now, and if anything, I’m more likely to shout louder in support of those regular trans people who have always battled with an intense rejection of their bodies. But, there’s a problem because not all trannies are cut from the same cloth. I’m not talking about your average human differences here – I’m talking a gulf so wide between the two main groups you’d need an aeroplane to get from one side to the other. Tis the group of ‘others’ who are the main problem in this whole debate and they really do not stand in representation for all trans-identified males. I’ll be posting about these ‘others’ next because I feel it’s important to differentiate between these two obviously different types early on. And yes, I’ve already found exceptions to the rule and will make sure to quote them. To end this introduction, I’ll say a heartfelt thank you to Miranda Yardley for writing so honestly and being brave enough to openly stand against the narrative.
Just a couple of links but much more worth reading.
Everything dried up. Well, not everything, just me. Or maybe there was too much stagnation – led to rot. I dunno. I don’t really care either. So, I slammed on the brakes on my entire life and did nothing for a few months. I sat in quiet and tried to realise and re-prioritise. None of the old props worked and I found myself hitting brick walls as soon I tried to move in any direction. Maybe I stopped before crashing through a wall then built up the others around me. Again, I dunno, and don’t care either. It’s at the point now where all I want to do is start from scratch on this project and begin one or two new ones. So, that’s what I’m doing. Continue reading “Stripping it Back”
It’s taken me longer than I intended to finish reading The Presentation Of Self, but I finally found the necessary discipline to keep my arse in the chair. I then noticed I’d lost my voice, or maybe I should say – my ability to communicate in the way that I like. I think this is more an issue of identity, though. . . as in, I identify with being an outsider. And yet I need to let that go if I’m trying to include myself with ‘others out there’, even if those others are the socially reluctant. So, anyway, arse on chair and voice in mind – the chapter is headed Belief In The Part One is Playing, and in itself has me raising an eyebrow before I even begin reading the contents. Belief? What does belief have to do with any of this? I’m hoping to see Goffman ask a question or two because I am already concerned the tone isn’t going to be objective enough for me to take him seriously. I’m worried (as one who suffers the consequences of social angst) he may have been too close to the herd to see the absurdity of what he bore witness to. I’m reminding myself the book was written in the 1950’s, but I’m also reminding myself this was after the likes of Otto Rank, Kierkegaard, and many others. What I mean to say is, he seems a little stunted in his way of thinking, or rather, he’s not doing any thinking – just observing and going along with the flow.
Goffman makes a comment early in the chapter which again makes me question his mentality –
“only the sociologist or socially disgruntled will have any doubts about the ‘realness’ of what is presented.”
Okay, so how about psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and others who are socially aware? Or is he seeing all of those types as ‘sociologists’? It just seems a little narrow for my liking and possibly elitist too. I’ve come across many people who are considered uneducated and yet they are well aware of how insincere people can be, yet they’re not disgruntled in the slightest – they’re often perfectly capable of communicating on a one-to-one basis, and the real issue lies in dealing with groups, in the flesh. The problem can sometimes be one of depth – they’re unable to be satisfied or comfortable with superficial social interaction, which is what most groups demand. If I turn the clock back, sociology has its roots in philosophy which is not difficult to see nor understand, and yet it appears to lack the intellectual discipline visible in other arenas. I’m also questioning just how different the socially averse were back then; I think they can’t have been that different in temperament to the similarly afflicted today.
A little further in and Goffman talks about audiences who won’t allow sincerity and gives the example of shop assistants who will white lie to keep the customer happy, but my personal experience knows we can find the insincere audience at home. I’m wondering where integrity comes in, or whether it comes in at all. Could the inability or reluctance to white lie or perform be at the heart of the so-called-socially-inept?
More than once, Goffman refers to concealment of the negative stuff and how people tend to underplay the stuff which doesn’t fit with an idealized version of the role one is playing. But, why is this? Is it necessary? Does it not point to ‘the performer’ having a few issues themselves? Are we genuinely hardwired to present ourselves in the best possible light? That’s not to say everyone should have to expose every minor dysfunction, but why, when it’s so evident that not one of us is perfect (and no job is either), is it assumed that there isn’t an underside ~ a darker belly? What’s going on here? Is it the reluctance of the performer to get off his pedestal or does the problem lie with the audience’s inability to accept that people are human? Again, thinking of the socially dysfunctional people I know personally, the problem is often one of not being confident nor comfortable in pretending much of anything…and more often than not they’re great communicators so is it even fair to call them socially dysfunctional?
He further claims that (we) people tend to exaggerate uniqueness, and I can see that’s only true on a superficial level. Just because people make claims of uniqueness doesn’t mean it’s true, and I’ve become increasingly cynical over the years and noticed that people would make claims as to who they think and feel they are, but it rarely matches the impression I get. Mostly, people are so hypocritical that it beggars belief that anyone ever pays attention to what someone says about their individual self.
The mention of humiliation and possible loss of reputation when a performance fails is important and yet barely explored (it’s underplayed). This concerns me greatly, my main objection is if someone didn’t have to play a part to begin with there would be no loss…why do people have to pretend they’re some kind of one dimensional being? When Goffman talks about loss of reputation I’m assuming it correlates to those who have a professional reputation which also claims an unrealistic moral high-ground. This is not to say it is the members of said professions who make the claim, only that the insinuation is there in place and because it’s not considered appropriate to show the behind the mask, they just carry on with the performance. It’s the assumption that all judges, lawyers, and police officers are more law abiding than average citizen; or that doctors, nurses, and carers are more health conscious, caring, and humanitarian than the average citizen. The impression that vicars, priests, and nuns are more holy, spiritual, or moral than the average citizen. It’s absurd to assume a chosen profession says anything about a person’s character. Does it not say more about how the person wants to be seen, rather than saying something about inherent characteristics? If he’s right about the level of importance given to a performance, then it would stand to reason that people choose their role based (predominantly) on how they will be seen…and we all have good examples of people who think and feel they are something that they’re not. If people are trying to conceal a flaw from the outset would it not make sense to hide in plain sight, where it would be least expected to be found?
Goffman takes the time to explore where it’s acceptable to be found out (impersonation); such as the hero not having a low economic/social status and the villain not having a high one. But when he talks about the fatal flaw, I find it disturbing because (again) it presupposes moral direction. Those flaws can be anything from jealousy to hubris, and to be honest, if you strip those down it can be difficult to see how they can be classed as flaws to begin with. Goffman claims that a legitimate performance tends to say what is unique whereas a false effort tries to make it look routine, and this sounds fine, but where is the line between ‘uniqueness’ and ‘bragging’? And what does it say for those who genuinely find it easy to do what they do? Are they supposed to pretend their role is harder than it is in reality?
One comment I found interesting was when he says “A new position means a new part” – and this comment has me wondering if those who struggle to fake a front could have a more difficult time of social transitions, or maybe it makes it nigh on impossible to adopt a new role? What I mean is, how does this impact on their ability to progress in life? Does it limit social mobility if they’re aware of the connotations that a particular role carries? Could they maybe do the actual job but not fake the necessary performance which goes alongside it? Does it make the socially reluctant more likely to be drawn to work which the self has more room to be itself? Or does it imply the reluctance comes from narcissism, because I’m also aware of those people who would say “everybody else has to get on with it so why can’t you”…what I mean is, it seems almost compulsory that all people have to follow the ways of their land…what kind of personality objects to being a member of the herd if humans are a herd type of mammal?
So anyway the gist of it is; status and position rely on the individual portraying a pattern of appropriate conduct which is coherent, embellished, and well articulated. What this means for you and me, is that we need to be consistent in our behaviour and we need to be able to express the uniqueness of our self. However, this could mean we have to make the effort to get to know what it is that makes us unique, and if you’ve spent any time listening to others with issues around socialising then you’ll know that far too many are saying the same things. If your social anxiety is a result of hidden stigma, this is going to get complicated real quick because you probably won’t want to disclose, and yet it may be that very same thing which is a big part of your uniqueness.
Catch 22 indeed!
What I’ve realised since I began reading this book is that it freaks me out. The whole idea of what is considered normal, and what is expected of me as a person freaks me out. I mean all of this in regards to the social expectations, the way ‘society’ functions. Why do I have to downplay hardship or dirty work? Why am I not allowed to admit that I struggle, or that I get conflicted? Why is it not okay to let people know I’m complex? Why do I have to stress what is unique about me when it’s probably bullshit? What I mean is, I’m not so sure that anyone can be described as possessing unique qualities or abilities – I mean come on, a planet of seven billion people and we’re still trying to pull that card?
25 April 2016