Statement on “Bullying”

“Bullying” as a political issue has gained much traction in recent years, with suicides of GLBTQ youth paving the way for a campaign to protect youth. Such a campaign is a worthy endeavor, as bullying – aggressive behavior in which the Bully, through force or coercion, habitually targets a victim, who usually has less power than the Bully or who may be otherwise “different” from the bully – harms children.

Bullying is not a new GLBT issue. In the 1990s, the Community rallied around Jamie Nabozny, a gay youth who endured considerable abuse due to his sexual orientation. Over the last year, the issue of anti-gay Bullying has garnered even more attention, culminating in the conviction of a former Rutgers University student for his role in Tyler Clementi’s suicide. We owe it to children to protect them from bullying, and each adult must do her level best to protect children from attacks that can inflict lifelong damage.

As an activist, though, I am constantly mindful of the methods used to silence those who express politically unpopular opinions in the GLBT Community. The Bully line has been used early and often to silence those who challenge the current GLBT March towards gender identity purgatory. That is, lesbians who challenge gender identity – and sharply challenge transgender women who violate sex-segregated space, including our vaginas – are bullies. Indeed, we are called “trans-exterminationists” with “blood on our hands.”

We are “bullies” because we don’t agree with you, political transgender community. Because it’s not as if we lesbians can “force” you to do anything – we cannot even get you to listen and comprehend our objections to overbroad gender identity legislation without you threatening to maim us or wishing we would die in a fire. As for “less power,” do you actually believe that a handful of lesbian activists who do political advocacy around gender identity in their spare time have power over a GLBT movement that has fully embraced gender identity as a cornerstone of our community’s liberation?

It is to laugh!

So, where is the bullying? Point of fact, there is no bullying. Adults should be able to engage in political debate – even heated, profane political debate. And adults should be able to use all the creative tools and tactics at their disposal to make a political point. The Lesbian Avengers did not ask for “permission” when they ate fire. ACT UP did not listen to critics who chastised them as “too angry.” These direct action groups deserve credit for the GLBT Movement’s success. To abandon edgy tactics because they are “not nice” is a coward’s gambit. Being “nice” has never gotten females a seat at the table. Being “nice” does nothing to improve Lesbian visibility or advance Lesbian issues. Being “nice” is a tone argument, a derail. Because even when we are “nice,” we still get accused of bullying.

Rather than crying about Bullying, how about you take responsibility for the elements of the political transgender community that “bully” Dykes? It is wrong that Lesbians fear criticizing Gender Identity because of the backlash such act will earn them. It’s wrong that lesbians have to justify why we don’t want to engage sexually with dick (or former dick) holders. It’s wrong that females cannot establish a sex-segregated boundary without having to explain ad nauseum why we want it. It is wrong that instead of addressing the legitimate grievances Females have with gender identity legislation, the GLBT Movement tells us that we are Bullies.

Imagine what would have happened if, in the 1980s, middle-of-the-road gay activists convinced Larry Kramer that he was too aggressive? What if establishment gay activists in Maryland convinced the Lesbian Avengers that they were in fact to blame for stalled Gay civil rights legislation?

It is to laugh! We need aggressive tactics – and difficult conversations – to create real change.

There is another irony about the Bully meme. Over the last year, only a handful of individuals from the GLBT Community have publically spoken out against actual violent language aimed at Lesbians. Instead, such violent rhetoric – proffered by individuals hailed as movement leaders – has gone completely unchallenged by the establishment GLBT Organizations. In the face of overwhelming silence from GLBT Organizations regarding these violent threats, calls for “niceness” now that lesbian activists have ratcheted up efforts against overbroad gender identity legislation seem hollow, at best.

Instead of appropriating a serious issue children and youth face to advance your own political cause, what if you, political transgender community, engaged in an actual debate on the issue of sex versus gender identity. The political transgender community has benefitted muchly from female socialization in a sexist society and our “endless” patience and tolerance for bullshit. It seems, however, that our patience has done run out. Stop dodging the issue with the bully club.

Originally published here.

11 responses to “Statement on “Bullying”

  1. You know what, I am a little nervous commenting on here because of the really really negative atmosphere I sense from your posts and comment replies, but fuck it. I am a cis-gendered female. And putting aside all the trans-women stuff; it wouldn’t matter what you were talking about, all I can see when I read through your blog is absolute immature simplistic thoughtless bullshit. Replying to people’s well-thought responses with things equivalent to “you’ve got a dick, deal with it” is not something that a well-adjusted INTELLIGENT person would say.And it’s just that simple. You say political debate isn’t bullying, and you’re absolutely right. The irony is what you’re doing isn’t political debate, it’s an electronic equivalent to vicious high school gossip. I support all LGBTQA members and they’re rights in society, even yours. But I do not support your attempts to limit acception of Trans women as women in their own right. I know I don’t speak for everybody (as you like to tell people) but you don’t either (especially if you can’t even get 5000 signatures on a petition). So go ahead, speak your mind on your blog. It’s your right, after all. But just know, hate gets you nowhere, and you’ll know that when your blog dies, and Trans women continue to become accepted into the LGBTQA community as the awesome women that they are.

  2. Trans women are men. Are you a lesbian? If so, what the fuck is wrong with you? If you aren’t being disrespectful, you HAVE NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.

    Also, I will be delighted when “my blog dies.” Do you think this is fun? It is not.

  3. Oh God, you are 17. You are too young to be on the Internet.

  4. Cathy, you’re one of the most viciously immature people in these circles. You engage in schoolyard tactics and still don’t seem to have developed any moral conscience whatsoever. You have the catty nature of a stereotypcial teenage girl and the posturing tough guy nature of a teenage boy, you’re the worst of both worlds.

    Also no matter what bullshit you pull for trans people – you made an ageist comment. Fact. There is no debating this. You are an elitist asshole and this is what your transphobia is rooted in. Nobody would read her post then yours and come to the conclusion that you were the more mature one.

    “Tranwomen are men” is not an argument. It’s a statement. One that requires defending.

    The sheer level of aggression you display over this leads me to believe at the time of writing that, you were fingering yourself furiously over the thought of a transwoman being raped and bludgeoned to death, maybe some snuff fic one of your other morally bankrupt transphobe friends wrote. You have that constantly exasperated tone, like being hatefully aroused. Not that they’d ever do that shit themselves, since TERFs are total cowards(which they pretend is non-violence – they merely rely on spreading enough hate to get wider society to do it for them).

    I honestly cannot picture you as not doing this, and I get the feeling many others feel the same. You come across as a total monster but are unwilling to show any compromise to get people to take you seriously.

    In b4 responses telling me how I’m a MAN and that his somehow invalidates an argument when you probably got kicked out of debate classes for responding to your opponents by farting.

  5. Just want to say a couple of short things.
    Bullying sux. No matter why or where. I think we can all agree on that.

    And a woman is female if she says she is. Challenging another’s gender – OR sexuality – is what straight people do. Get rid of that mindset! A man is male if he says he is, too. I think nobody has the right to define someone else’s sex or gender, especially some doctor somewhere who defines you according to your physical equipment.

    I read a statistic once (I can’t source this – it’s just a memory) which reported that one out of a hundred people are born with ambiguous genitalia. At some point in their lives, these people must come to a sense of self which may include gender and sexuality, whether they have surgery to correct the ambiguity or not. If this is true (or even if the numbers are wrong), these people ARE choosing their own gender. It happens, it’s not wrong, and it’s not illegal. Hmm.

  6. Pingback: So an Image Gets Posted on the Internet… | FeminGenUality

  7. bugbrennan, i don’t think anyone here is demanding that women see their penis at all. nobody here wants you to see their penis.

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