Andrea James Writes Problematic Article on BoingBoing And Why You Should Care
First of all this article is purely a criticism of another article found here. You can read the entire thing in its disgusting glory and come back here. Ill wait. Parts of the article will be quoted and will be placed in quotation marks and italicized for reader clarity.
Lets start of with the title
“Manning’s self-made gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world”
Problematic in multiple ways, first of all there is implying that the transphobia Chelsea Manning faces or will face in the future is the fault of her, for coming out. Instead of the fault of the transphobic and bigoted people who have or will discriminate against her for this. This is clear victim blaming and highly problematic. Second of all a passing reference to a highly problematic and poorly written book about BDSM that borders on rape fiction to describe the life of a trans woman in a male prison is a pretty fucking shitty thing to say.
“I’ve vacillated between sympathy and facepalm since Manning’s decision to announce a gender transition at this moment of white-hot scrutiny. It’s causing the trans community to scramble in the same way the State Department had to scramble in the wake of the earlier revelations. We’re having to address several issues that are difficult to explain all at once, as they are among the most polarizing issues we face. These include trans prisoners, taxpayer-funded trans health services, disease models of gender diversity, trans people in the military, and trans depictions in the media.”
First of all your statement shows you have little to no real awareness of the situation, later on in the article you state you were one of the many of us who knew she was trans since 2011 and you also must be aware that the US Army released that email and photo of her, not Chelsea. The US Army attempted to out her for political gain. This is painfully obvious to anyone capable of understanding words. She then “officially” came out after the sentencing was completed because it could have no further effect on the trial and it seems like to me she just wanted to be who she really was inside.
Second of all it is the burden of the privileged to educate themselves in the age of information. You *chose* to try to explain those things of your own free will. Do not blame her for something you were probably already doing anyways and frankly the lack of attention and voice most of us seem to have is a far bigger issue than Manning coming out. This only gives us visibility as a community, it creates opportunities to inform and educate people. To push the overton window in our favor. The only people scrambling were people like you. The rest of us who knew since 2011 Manning was trans and she would likely come out after it was all over were not shocked by this in the least. We have been waiting for it for 2 years.
“It was obvious to me from the moment Xeni showed me the chat logs between Manning and Lamo in 2010 that Manning was trans. I asked Xeni to quote me anonymously for a 2010 Boing Boing post speculating on Manning’s gender identitybecause I knew I’d catch a lot of flak in my community if my name got used.”
You mean the same Xeni who called me a “pedantic anklebiter” for correcting her pronoun use for Chelsea Manning? Forgetting that just for a moment, you know damn well you wouldn’t have caught any flack because myself and others have been *shouting it from the rooftops since 2011*. You couldn’t have possibly avoided seeing that. Nobody listened to us.
“I had hoped I wouldn’t need to write about this ever, because airing disputes within marginalized groups is rarely politically expedient. We’ve had a pretty good run in terms of mainstream media depictions of trans people over the past few years, focusing the kind of friendly, non-threatening, assimilated people that many non-trans people can support: “Why, they’re a lot like us!” Many activists have spent their lives getting trans people to this place, including yours truly, and revelations like Manning’s have the potential to derail that progress among people inhabiting the vast middle ground between complete condemnation and full support.”
What it sounds like is this image below is what you want all trans* people who are visibly trans* to be. I for one refuse to be this and its inherent problematic nature is painfully obvious to just about everybody but you. The key to overcoming our oppression isn’t pretending we are just like the cis people, because quite frankly we aren’t cis people. We have a wide range of behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, ideas and perspectives. You know just like any other group of human beings and we *are* different than cis people, that difference should be celebrated and embraced, not hidden away and rejected for some patriarchal 1950’s model of what a “perfect woman” should be like. Because you know what. a lot of us aren’t “just like them”, we never were and we never will be and your ideology erases us.
Instead of trying to silence the voices you think don’t “fit in” why don’t you challenge the cissexist ideology that makes these folks not fit in?
Second of all no the hell we haven’t had good media depictions over the past few years what the fuck planet have you been living on because its sure as fuck isn’t planet earth.
Lastly if cis people cant support all of us then they aren’t supporting any of us.
“The recently published selfie taken by Manning sitting all alone in a parked car, unsmiling, with heavy makeup and platinum blonde wig, as well as Manning’s accompanying email, felt very familiar to me. Because I created and maintain one of the earliest informational sites on gender transition, Manning’s is a story I have read many times in the last 20 years.”
Ah yes. tsroadmaps.
Here is what I have to say about your terrible bullying site and its toxic effects on the trans community. Do us all a favor and login as root and rm -rf /* because your site is garbage and we all hate it, i had to pick up the fucking pieces left over after the damage your site did to innocent trans girls. I had to clean up your toxic bullshit and fuck you for that asshole.
Your “fake transsexuals” section has created a toxic bullying environment within the trans community thats used as a weapon to humiliate degrade and erase unpopular people, while i’m sure you had “the best intentions” your intent doesn’t fucking matter. The end result is that it was used as a way to erase transgender peoples identities for being unpopular. I know i ran one of the largest forums and irc chat rooms for transgender people for over 2 years. I saw this shit happen and had to put a stop to it, most of these fucksticks were quoting your bullshit. Not a single “fake transsexual” was ever discovered in my channels or forums, it was always a weapon of bullying wherever i went.
Oh and no you didn’t hear Chelsea’s story many times over 20 years because her story is really fucking unique.
“Though thousands of trans people have served honorably in the military and have held military and civil positions requiring high security clearances, many of them have had to do so without divulging their trans identities. While “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) has been repealed, that movement quickly lost momentum when it came time to seek the same rights for trans people. SLDN/Outserve, the largest LGBT servicemembers’ advocacy organization and an important factor in lobbying efforts to repeal DADT,imploded earlier this summer. Fewer funders wanted to continue the fight,culminating in a messy dismissal of the trans executive director and dissolution of the organization.”
So LGB threw you under a bus. Imagine that.
Stop trying to appease your oppressors so much and they might stop throwing you under the bus and using your talent momentum and energy for themselves. This is what they have been doing since stonewall so why are you suprised?
“Kristin Beck, a Navy Seal who transitioned after retirement, minced no words in her initial response about Manning: “Some say hero? some say traitor? I just say ‘misguided, egotistical Liar and thief’ which can be applied to both hero or traitor depending on a few factors.” Beck later wrote a more measured response about Manning and the current status of trans people in the military”.
Fuck Kristin Beck and fuck you for quoting her transphobic screed. Myself and many others within the community shouted her the fuck down for good cause. Don’t hitch your horse to that wagon its on fire ok?
“It’s hard for me to see Manning as an unalloyed hero. Setting aside Manning’s data dump, just prior to arrest Manning was engaging in some very problematic and desperate behavior. Manning assaulted Specialist Jihrleah Showman, leading to loss of both security clearance and weapons privileges.”
Nobody said she was fucking perfect. She is however a trans woman in a male prison, imprisoned for revealing the truth about war crimes. The other incident she was already punished for so bringing it up is kind of moot and derailing to the subject at hand. She was already disciplined for that infraction.
Another thing, the US Army has a systemic issue with violence within its own ranks (imagine that a bunch of people who’s sole job it is to kill people and break things have temper issues). I’m a vet myself and i’ve seen it as have many others, this doesn’t excuse what happened but it does better explain the context a little better.
” I am uncomfortable with how a much-needed conversation about difficult trans issues suddenly became entwined in this controversy.”
YOU. Are uncomfortable. You. Not me. You.
I’m perfectly comfortable with this because i’m not one of those people who think all minorities are ambassadors of the minority group they belong to. Shame on you for perpetuating this toxic stereotype.
Its a much needed and long awaited talk about trans people that cis people need to hear, and they don’t need to hear it from people like you. Your toxic and outmoded ways of thinking only serve to try to hold us back as a community. So I am going to ask you to do what I asked Kristin to do, stop posting.