Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Feminism and Intersex

Today is an election.  As such I have decided to write a political buffer between G and H on feminism.  I forgot to cover it in the F’s.  Feminism and intersex have an odd and complicated relationship.  I will cover as many of the facets of it as I can.

The kind of feminist that must be reviewed is the TERF, that’s trans exclusionary radicle feminist.  TERFs don’t believe in including trans people in feminist organizations, women’s spaces or discussions on sexism.  They actively exclude transwomen from many of their organizations, most famously the Michigan Womyns Music Festival.  They are cis women but call themselves “women born women” and consider “TERF” and “cis” to be slurs.  They believe sex cannot be changed.  Thus transwomen are men who are trying to infiltrate their spaces and transmen are women who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome from the patriarchy.  TERFs also strongly believe in socialization.  Boys are raised to dominate women and girls are raised to accept this and call it femininity.  They transwomen are still trying to dominate women by forcing TERFs to accept their gender identity, use women’s bathrooms etc.  Also if they still have their penis that makes them dangerous since penises are rape weapons.  Most importantly TERFs believe that anyone born and socialized as a male is privledged and has not experienced sexism and cannot fully understand feminism.  Like most transphobic people, TERFS claim intersex is just a medical condition and too small a minority to factor in the debate.  There are transfeminists and gender critical feminists who counter this by saying intersex proves sex is a spectrum.  They also point out that socialization varies considerably.  Most importantly they point out transgender people are discriminated against far more than ciswomen.  They even go so far as to say this discrimination against transwomen comes from a hatred and fear of femininity so in a roundabout way they do experience sexism.   This is controversial.  TERFs claim the term “cis” implies having a female body is a privilege over trans people.  This is obviously not true.  A female body is not an advantage in society.  But recognizing trans and intersex people are also discriminated against does not mean cis women are not.  The only intersex supportive thing the TERFs offer is that they are opposed to surgeries on intersex infants because it is mutilation and you cannot change the babies sex anyways.

I am glad there are those who are speaking out and saying transgender people and intersex peopleare not antifeminist.  In fact there are many great transfeminist writers out there.  For more I would recommend “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano or this excellent article at the Intersex Roadshow blog found at:  http://intersexroadshow.blogspot.com/2014/09/trans-exclusionary-radical-feminists.html

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