Just when you think that the transsexual hating from the more puritan extreme elements of the radicalfeminist movement couldn’t get any worse…it gets that much worse.
Case in point: the recent post in Women’s Spaces where owner Heart raves about a recent lower court decision in Canada concerning a transsexual woman’s lawsuit against a women’s rape clinic for denying her employment due to her orientation.
The case involves the plight of Kimberly Nixon, who sued the Vancover Rape Relief Society, who owns and operates a support group for rape victims. Ms. Nixon was a rape and battery victim whom had gone to the VRRS shelter for counseling for eight months..but when she revealed that she was a MTF transsexual who had recently undergone sexual reassignment surgery, the VRRS (through their Battered Women’s Support Services) promptly and abruptly dismissed her, claiming that her transgendered status violated their policies of only hosting "women-born" women. Nixon then sued the VRRS, claiming discrimination. In Feburary of 2001, a lower court (the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal) ruled that the VRRS had the right as a private organization to deny Ms. Nixon services, but that due to the damages done to Ms. Nixon due to insufficient counseling, she was awarded damages up to $75,000. The VRRS appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, who promptly in December of 2003 threw out the award for damages, citing the right of private organizations to discriminate as they see fit. Ms. Nixon then further appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court; and last Thursday (Feburary 1st) they rendered their decision to reject her appeal and confirm the BC Supreme Court decision. (Heart’s post contains a detailed (if a bit biased) chronology of the entire case.)
Quite naturally, Heart was all a flutter about the decision, claiming it to be a huge victory for "feminist clinics" who wanted to stay pure of "radicalfeminist" and "lesbian seperatist" politics in opposition to the creeping invasion of male power. This is from an early response to a comment in that entry….and yes, "Stormy" is none other than the very same Stormcloud who gave us the infamous "bumblebees vs. bees vs wasps" smack (to which the Queer Bitch responded with "Bzzzz" ) against such enemies of the Puritan Radfem Womanhood as "Ambutt" (nee’ Amber Rhea), "PorniePrincess" (Antiprincess), "Retrograde Evolution" (RenegadeEvolution) and "Belledodo" (Belledame):
Yeah, stormy and all. You know, the really bad thing about this is, this is one of a tiny number of remaining radical femist/lesbian feminist-run shelters in North America. It is independent, non-governmental and does most of its own fund-raising, including the kind that involves standing on a street corner with a can and a sign. It’s because it is independent, and hence doesn’t have to jump through a gigantic number of government hoops, that it can do such amazing work. It’s not bound and gagged by all the governmental regulations that bind and gag most shelters now.
So she brings this lawsuit, costing the shelter thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention all of the energy and time expended, all of which could have been used to serve and support raped and terrorized women and which could have closed the shelter down entirely. In fact, another organization in B.C., and I can’t recall the name now, was closed down under similar circumstances. When a human rights claim was filed by a transwoman, the place closed its doors because it didn’t have money for lawyers and so on and it was one of a very few woman-only venues in Vancouver.
What’s even creepier, gayle, is the support Nixon received in suing a rape crisis center. I mean just think about it! I know you have, and I have for years, but really, it stuns, that someone *sues* for the reasons she sued. Very, very scary.
Oh, yes…a rape crisis center so independent and so isolated that the most conservative court in the land can rule in favor of it against a transsexual. I mean, we all know that those….men are simply out to destroy and rape REAL women over and over again by these frivolous lawsuits, ‘ya think???
Now, Heart might want to know that the very decision used to defend the VRRS’s purge of non-"woman-identified" women from getting rape and battered abuse counseling and support could be used just as strongly by….say, right-wing fundamentalist Christian "crisis centers" who exist to dupe women into not getting reproductive and prenatal care and protection. But never mind that….as long as radfem Puritans get the power of the government to root out their sworn enemies (and I would guess that sex workers, sexually active women who don’t follow "radfem" policies, and merely "liberal" women would probably get the same treatment as well), it really doesn’t matter, does it???
Also….how interesting and ironic that people most opposed to the institution of "the patriarchy" are more than willing to use one of the fundamental tools OF the patriarchy (namely, the State and the judicial system), enforced by a group of mostly rich White conservative men (the essence of the patriarchy, no doubt) to enforce a "radical feminist" principle. But then again, Heart probably would have also praised the Butler decision, too, if she had the chance. (The Butler vs. The Queen ruling in the mid 80s incorporated antipornography language about degrading and objectifying women into the Canadian censorship code; it was used basically to shut down almost all gay and lesbian expression and conduct…but was praised by antiporn radfem activists for its adoption of their stances against sexual material as "hate speech against women".)
And as you would expect, all of the usual suspects chime in to praise the decision and smack down Ms. Nixon for her (or as they put it, his) depravity:
Heart said: “So she brings this lawsuit, costing the shelter thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention all of the energy and time expended, all of which could have been used to serve and support raped and terrorized women and which could have closed the shelter down entirely. In fact, another organization in B.C., and I can’t recall the name now, was closed down under similar circumstances.”
This was really my first concern, the VRR, and the drain on their very limited resources. Especially as they had already made a cash apology offer (from the limited resources) and offer of a different post within the organisation.
Amy did make the brilliant point that ‘not all groups’ are equal, and I agree that “good people” wouldn’t be the term I would use in describing a lawyer that would hound a donations-based support centre for over 10 years, especially the women’s support sector which is always in financial crisis (eg the recent closure of Aradia Women’s Health Center due to lack of funds).
The VRR and agencies like it are NOT the government, big business, or part of the establishment. They are not the ones routinely discriminating (for the purposes of domination). There is a valid reason why they have women-only directly supporting the female victims of male violence.
“good people”. Nope, don’t think so. But perhaps she’ll get a thank you card from The Patriarchy.
Then there were the usual catty remarks towards Nixon’s attorney barbara findlay, mostly because she prefers to eschew caps for her name (like, say, Mary Daly or the publishers of off our backs, maybe??):
February 2nd, 2007 at 7:28 pm
“She has represented many disenfranchised people, most of it pro bono, in her long career as a human rights attorney.”
Do you count Nixon among those disenfranchised people? I mean, if all Findlay’s clients are as equally disenfranchised, well, she’d make a hell of a republican lobbyist here in the states.
” I know barbara findlay, Kimberly Nixon’s attorney, personally.”
Those capitals are always so interesting!
bint alshamsa Says:
February 3rd, 2007 at 7:00 pm
“This lawsuit was not about defining who a woman is — it was about the right of equality groups, including females, to define the boundaries of their own spaces.”
If a group discriminates against transpeople, then it isn’t actually an equality group at all.
This idea about some supposed “right” you mentioned, sounds (to me) A LOT like the arguments posed by those who have sought to discriminate against other groups. What is the difference between a women’s group that would like to keep out women with disabilities and one that seeks to exclude trans-women?
As a person who has lived with and without disabilities, I have seen how differently one is treated by the world based on one’s perceived status as either “healthy” or “sick”. Does that mean that I should be excluded from groups that are supposed to support female victims of rape? Isn’t rape something that happens to disabled and trans-women too?
So she brings this lawsuit, costing the shelter thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention all of the energy and time expended, all of which could have been used to serve and support raped and terrorized women and which could have closed the shelter down entirely.
Sometimes ending discrimination means that some people will lose advantages that they once possessed. However, the fact that a group does SOME good does not mean that those who are fighting discrimination should just give them a free pass. Abolishing Jim Crow laws meant that white people had to wait a lot longer when they went to the doctor’s office, when they tried to get their kids into good schools, when they went to the voting booth, et cetera. However, ending discrimination was the right thing to do then and it still is today in this case involving the VRR.
This lawsuit IS about defining who a woman is. Just look at what Jay said on behalf of VRR:
“We believe it is important for raped and battered women to have the choice of a women-only peer group for support. Now the Supreme Court of Canada has strengthened their right as well as strengthening our right to provide that support”
In other words, by excluding trans-women, the VRR claims that it is providing women-only peer groups. That statement shows VRR is defining trans-women as outside of its definition of who actually is a “woman”.
While transwomen are just as vulnerable to rape as other women are–the VRR recognizes this by acknowledging them as belonging to the group that they are supposedly set up to support–according to the VRR, they are not, however, sufficiently “woman” enough to work there because they may have had a different sort of upbringing from the other women that work there.
I wonder what reaction many feminists would have had if a group with the same supposed goals as VRR decided that since all their other members and volunteers had an upper-class upbringing, any one who came from an impoverished background shouldn’t be allowed to work there.
bint alshamsa Says:
February 3rd, 2007 at 7:11 pm
It sounds like she’s saying transwomen out-woman her and that that is admirable, that gender performance is liberating.
It doesn’t say that anywhere in her post. How does commenting on the fact that a particular group of people she’s around perform certain dance moves better to her equate to her saying that transwomen “out-woman her”? There are plenty of kids who have perfected certain dance moves in a way that I NEVER will. Does that mean that I think people who are younger than me “out-woman” me? Of course not!
Definitions of “woman” that perpetuate gender stereotypes.
This is exactly what the VRR is doing by claiming that the way you were treated as a child determines whether you should be treated in the same way as other people who are women.
Which brings this response upon her head by one of Heart’s supporters:
February 3rd, 2007 at 8:28 pm
“This is exactly what the VRR is doing by claiming that the way you were treated as a child determines whether you should be treated in the same way as other people who are women.”
Let’s really examine that sentence.
I mean, it violates the progressive golden rule all over the place: some people, evidently, should be treated “as women,” whatever that means, and that it’s somehow bad if some people aren’t treated the same as that, for whatever reason, the same as “as women.”
“Whatever that means,” whatever womanhood means, is a combination of
2. Fetish of Subordination (femininity)
3. Reaction to Subordination (feminism)
So that statement supports subordination, fetish, and feminism.
It’s unpopular to tie transwomen to femininity now: after all, it was just evil doctors and the military industrial complex in the past that made transwomen conform to hypertrophied femininity. In fact, it’s popular for pornofeminists to accuse radical feminists of being “classist” when complaining about that hype femininity, in as much as in a world of powersuits and Hillary Rodhams that much of femme culture is supposedly blue collar. Of course, if you’re in favor of gender, more gender, gender as a human right more essential than food and water, gender all over the fucking place, it’s ok to tie womanhood to girly dancing as was done in this thread; no one will make it their personal mission to demolish you personally and professionally for saying so.
(That sort of demolition happens, it has happened to people in this forum, which is why it’s really rude for jfr to try to say “hey, this lawyer is a good person, let’s agree to disagree and not get personal about it.” There’s consequences to standing up against this sort of “activism,” consequences that are a lot more extreme than Findlay will ever have to endure, being on the side of male power.)
It also ties transwomen to subordination and feminism. Both are true. Transwomen are oppressed. OTOH, they chose that oppression and most will admit that they believe that what they suffered as non-conforming men was far worse than what women endure. So transwomen are – they believe anyway – transitioning out of oppression. Which doesn’t mean that life is peachy, far from it, which is why some of them want in on feminism too. And there’s nothing wrong with that, provided they don’t try to co-opt it or use male power to focus it first and foremost on their own personal needs, which is what I’d argue Kimberly Nixon was doing.
But when someone says that “certain people ought to be treated as women” only a small component of that “as women” is feminist in meaning. A much greater percentage of that thought is antifeminist in meaning, even if it was said with a kind heart and the best of intentions.
Nixon should be treated as a woman in what ways? All ways? Or just the nice, “feminist” way of letting her have whatever position of authority she wants in a shelter? Or other ways, too: should men following your advice rape her? That’s treating her like a woman, too.
But it’s impossible to critique that if one is working under the idea that “womanhood” is an essential right for anyone, male or female, to go and obtain for herself.
Oh, I see…so a transwoman who has been brutally raped and/or beaten who tries to enter a battered women’s clinic that claims to wish to protect her should have no right to such protection merely because she just so happens to have a man’s set of testicles in addition??? How about treating her as…well, you know….A FUCKING HUMAN BEING WHO HAS BEEN ASSAULTED AND NEEDS SUPPORT!!! Oh, but we can’t do that…that would destroy the sisterhood and allow those evil male values to corrupt our intricate and well-tuned hive!!
But the funniest part of this exchange comes when none other than Chasingmoksha chimes in as the sole sockpuppet…errrrrr,
reasonable voice of color (thanks to ‘Da Thin Black Duke for the correction)…..to lecture another woman of color on her lack of faith:
February 3rd, 2007 at 8:54 pm
“OTOH, they chose that oppression and most will admit that they believe that what they suffered as non-conforming men was far worse than what women endure.”
Men first always. #1 rule for the patriarchy.
So….if a transsexual actually dies from being assaulted or raped, that still doesn’t count much because women will always suffer worse. How verrrrry progressive of you…especially for a
Black supposedly antiracist White woman.
Considering Heart’s supporting role in the earlier firebombing of transsexuals over at I Blame the Patriarchy (she attempted to beat down the critics of the likes of Luckynkl and MarySunshine (who openly pontificated about the threat of trannies using women’s restrooms — and deliberately refered to a transsexual who responded righteously to her being slandered as "he/she/it" — by claiming that they were distorting the records of radfems who don’t go that far. But I guess that that was just done as a tactic; from this latest bromide, we now know that Heart will indeed go that far….and so much further.
Congratulations, Heart(less)….you just earned yourself the Paul Cameron Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Impersonation of a Bigot Enabler. "Radicalfeminism" is all right, all right….Far, Far Right.