I’d like to be able to call myself a feminist

2012/11/04

I’d like to.

I really would.

But doing that would feel like a lie.

Because if I say I’m a feminist, what I’m saying is “I feel like I belong, like I’m safe, in feminist spaces”. And that, except for spaces which are specifically trans, is not true.

It’s because of a barrage of micro (and macro) aggressions conflating having a penis with receiving the material benefits of patriarchal manhood. Because so many feminists don’t care enough to know if someone they’re praising or quoting has a history of active transmisogyny and cissexism. It’s those constant microaggressions that tell me, continually, that feminism is not for me, even when feminists say otherwise. Sometimes even from feminists who say otherwise.

It’s because¬†posts like this¬†have to be written, among other reasons.

But, unlike some very dear friends of mine, I want to be able to call myself a feminist and not feel like I am lying, or, at best, oversimplifying.

When I first came out, I was a very staunch feminist. I don’t really want to say whether I was or wasn’t before. I believed a lot of feminist ideals, but I also believed myself to be a man, and acknowledged that a lot of feminist women believed that men shouldn’t claim feminism (which is a belief that I now hold, quite strongly. Men should not call themselves feminists). I’m staunchly opposed to sexism, but I don’t have feminism as a place to stand from which to work against it.

It wasn’t until some months, almost half a year, after I came out, facing microaggression after microaggression in feminist spaces (and, of course, having my anger at them, when expressed, invalidated behind my back), until I saw that so many feminist spaces worked like this, at best (at least, the ones created by white cis women almost always were like this at best. My friend Christine points out that this is, specifically, a white tradition). When I saw that not only was I hated in these spaces, but also that depth of analysis was hard to find (not even the ones who called thesmelves “radical” spend nearly as much time advocating radicalism as they do promoting bigotry against trans women), I left.

And so, ultimately, I gave up trying to call myself a feminist, or call what I advocate feminism. Too little depth of analysis. Too much self-centeredness. Too little critique of the cissexism and transmisogyny handed to them by society, or handed down by their foremothers.

For me to call myself a feminist would require cis women creating feminist spaces in which I can let my guard down. In which I can feel like I belong, like my status there is not tenuous, like people will have my back if conflict happens.

So far the only spaces I’ve felt that way in were spaces that defined themselves as not feminist but otherwise anti-sexist.

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My Existence is Unthinkable

2012/11/02

It’s a day late for Autistics Speaking Day, but I just had an experience that reminded me just how unthinkable it is that I exist.

So. Today I was on Facebook, reading status updates, when I got an ad for a bracelet to “fight autism”. This is offensive. This is vile. This is an ad being served to me telling me that something fundamental to who I am is a thing that must be fought, because they presume that, because I talk about it:

  1. I must be an allistic parent of an Autistic child, rather than an Autistic person myself.
  2. That the only thing to do is “fight autism”. That nobody on facebook who talks about autisticness would have any other view than that “fighting autism” is a good thing and a priority.

This isn’t the first ad to remind me that anyone who uses the keywords I do (“autistic”, which I use way more than “autism”. I should talk about the theory behind this sometime, because I have one. It’s actually, in its own way, “person first”). I get ads that presume I’m a parent rather than Autistic all the time. When I care to, I block them and mark them “offensive” or “against my views”.

I have never once seen an ad on Facebook presuming that the reader was Autistic.

Ever.

Not once.

Instead I get assumed to be someone I’m not. Only. I get the assumption that my political beliefs on autisticness are the opposite of what they actually are. Only. The idea that I might be an Autistic person who does not want to be cured is entirely unthinkable.

How unthinkable it is that I exist as a trans woman is a story for another day. But I have experience in that vein, too.


Autistics Speaking Day

2012/11/02

Since today is Autistics Speaking Day, I should probably at least acknowledge it. Even though I don’t really have anything to write for it that hasn’t already been said better elsewhere (Neurodivergent K is amazing, for one)

Meatspace, and mostly trans stuff in meatspace, has most of my activist energy.

I’m on a break from tumblr, for a bunch of reasons. I may remain on break longer-term. My own inability to stop doing things once I’ve started has made tumblr into more of a timesink than I really can handle, for one. My other reasons I would prefer not to discuss openly.

That means I might actually manage to update this blog weekly for more than two weeks in a row, though. As long as I can find inspiration for it.