Transing the dead: The erasure of gender-defiant role models from history

This is a guest post by frequent 4thwavenow commenter Carrie-Anne Brownian, a thirtysomething historical novelist, historian, and lover of many things from bygone eras (except for the sexism, racism, and homophobia).  She can be found at Welcome to My Magick Theatre, where she primarily blogs about writing, historical topics, names, silent and early sound cinema, and classic rock and pop; and at Onomastics Outside the Box, where she blogs about names and naming-related issues. Her only child, a 16-year-old spider plant named Kalanit, has thankfully never had any issues with her gender identity!

 by Carrie-Anne Brownian

A most disturbing development in the current climate of transactivist zealotry has been the posthumous transing of famous gender-defiant women.  Women such as Joan of Arc, Mulan, Carson McCullers, Radclyffe Hall, Mountain Charley (Elsa Jane Forest Guerin), George Sand, and Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt, to name but a few, are now being claimed as transmen.  Like so many other things about the modern trans movement, this is inherently sexist and harmful to women, particularly young women just starting to figure out who they really are; young women who sorely need strong female role models..

As discussed in a previous 4thWaveNow post Hippocrates rolls in his grave: In search of the dysphoric trans tweens of yore, there is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever for the existence of desperate, suicidally dysphoric trans kids.  There is, however,  a long history of third genders in many cultures, but those people somehow managed to live happy, healthy lives without suicidal thoughts, drugs, and surgeries.  Many transactivists claim trans-identified people have always existed, but just werent openly spoken about, or were deep in the closet.  However, we only have to take a cursory look at the ample historical evidence regarding gays, lesbians, and left-handers to know this claim is a bunch of horsefeathers.  Those groups of people have always existed, and the historical record shows it.  In a retroactive attempt to rewrite history, the transactivists have seized upon gender-defiant historical and cultural figures of both sexes, primarily women (as well as claiming the intersexed as trans).  While true historians should always be open to new evidence and willing to exchange old beliefs for new if theres a compelling enough reason, theres a big difference between legitimate historical revisionism (e.g., shifting attitudes about Christopher Columbus, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the Crusades) and outright denial or rewriting history to fit an agenda.  And once trans activists have posthumously labeled a dead person as one of their own,  they get very upset when such dead trans people, such as Billy Tipton, are referred to by their biological sex.

For much of recorded human history, even into the twentieth century, women who wanted to serve in combat, travel or live alone, work in most professions, get published, compete in sports, or conduct research felt compelled to disguise themselves as men.  That didnt make them transmen; it made them girls and women with no other options in a patriarchal, androcentric world.  No one would have, for example, published George Eliot, or taken her seriously as a writer, had she used her birth name of Mary Ann Evans, just as Kathrine Switzer had to sign up for the Boston Marathon as K.V. Switzer as recently as 1967 because women werent allowed to compete.

 

NPG 669,George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross (nÈe Evans)),by Sir Frederic William Burton

George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans, widely regarded as one of the greatest Western writers of all time

This may be hard for liberal Westerners under the age of twenty-five to comprehend, but women have historically been denied access to positions of power, most careers, education, legal protections, politics, combat roles, club memberships, athletic competitions, and so forth, solely on the basis of being female.  Women even had to fight for the right to use their own names on legal documents, instead of being forced to sign as Mrs. Husbands Full Name, or to do anything of importance without a husband or fathers co-signature or permission.  By anachronistically pretending all these brave, trailblazing women were truly men, the historical realities of institutionalized sexism and male privilege are written out of existence, and impressionable young people will be led to believe women havent played any kind of important role in history.
For various reasons, women across the ages have wanted to serve in the military, in spite of it being all-male for much of human history.
  Many people are familiar with stories of soldiers and sailors who were eventually found out as women.  Yet the modern spin is that
all these women were really transmen, not women who had no choice but to disguise their true sex in order to join an all-male military.  By taking away this important part of womens history (regardless of what ones own personal feelings regarding war and the military might be), and reclassifying them as men, womens historic achievements in this field are erased.  A young person who genuinely doesnt know any better may someday believe only men served in the military prior to the modern era. Its easy to extrapolate that a young modern woman might feel she needed to transition if denied role models of brave women soldiers from bygone eras.

 

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Radclyffe Hall, author of the first recognized English-language novel with a lesbian theme

 

Probably unsurprisingly, though still infuriatingly, many lesbians have been coming in for the posthumous transing treatment lately.  One prominent example is Radclyffe Hall (née Marguerite Radclyffe Hall), author of the groundbreaking lesbian classic The Well of Loneliness, and an earlier, somewhat lesser-known novel with lesbian overtures, The Unlit Lamp.  Ms. Hall was what would today be called a butch lesbian, just like the protagonist of The Well of Loneliness, Stephen Gordon.  Her first longterm partner nicknamed her John, which she went by for the rest of her life.  However, in spite of her stereotypically masculine appearance and male nickname, she never actually claimed to be a man.  Its not exactly uncommon for lesbians to go by male monikers, and butch lesbians are just as much real women as women bathed in pink, glitter, and makeup. So another female role model bites the dust, leaving butch or more masculine appearing/behaving lesbians bereft of an important historical ancestor. 

As per the late nineteenth and early twentieth century theory of sexual inversion, it was believed gays and lesbians were born with the stereotypical traits of the opposite sex; e.g., girls wanted short hair and hated dresses, while boys preferred crocheting to hunting and displayed emotions openly.  When they were attracted to members of the opposite sex who adhered more closely to gendered stereotypes, it was considered to be latent heterosexuality.  But again, Ms. Hall had relationships with other women, as a woman.

 

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Jeanne d’Arc, the teenage girl who became a great hero

Joan of Arc (Jeanne dArc) has long been a hero to many, particularly the people of France, for her decisive role in the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years War.  During the military campaigns in which she participated, she donned traditional male attire.  When she was captured by the enemy and put through kangaroo court, her so-called offenses were heresy and witchcraft, though the technical reason was cross-dressing.  Joan promised to return to wearing womens clothes after her abjuration, though she continued wearing mens clothes in prison to guard against rape.  A dress or skirt offered no such practical protection.  Indeed, several days after her abjuration, an English lord tried to rape her, and she resumed wearing mens clothes.

In 1803, Napoléon Bonaparte declared Joan a national symbol of France, and in 1920, she was canonized in the Roman Catholic Church.  Throughout the ages, many women have looked up to her as a great hero and inspiration, starting in Joans own lifetime with famous writer Christine de Pizan.  Shes also been the subject of countless poems, plays, books, operas, paintings, sculptures, and films.  Joans presence in movies goes back almost as far as film itself, to 1898.  Her trial and execution are depicted in one of the greatest films of the silent era, The Passion of Joan of Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Maria Falconetti in her only major film role.  This powerful film never fails to move me to tears.

Joan never claimed to be a man, though shes been taken up as a trans hero by countless modern-day historical revisionists and transactivists.  Some of them claim she had to be trans simply on the basis of not having adhered to feminine stereotypes and moving beyond the societal roles dictated for women, even in the absence of a sexual reason behind her cross-dressing.  Leslie Feinberg, in Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman, claims Joans donning of armor was an example of cross-gendered expression in a society which dictated only men could be warriors. Yet another source claims Joans cross-dressing automatically made her trans or queer.

All these people are applying their own biases and contemporary views to a historical era they clearly know nothing about.  By making the trans umbrella so wide, these activists are making it a lot harder for the tiny minority of people who have legitimate, overwhelming, lifelong bodily dysphoria and bodily dysphoria alone to get treatment and be taken seriously.

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Carson McCullers, American novelist and playwright

A very recent addition to the posthumous transing of the dead phenomenon is the lesbian writer Carson McCullers (née Lula Carson Smith).  In an article published in The New Yorker on 21 October 2016, author Sarah Schulman claims McCullers had issues with her gender.  She gives such proof as having tomboyish protagonists named Frankie and Mick; going by her middle name, Carson, instead of her birth forename Lula; supposedly never having slept with any of the women she romantically pursued; and once having declared, I think I was born a boy.  This kind of postmodernist, historical revisionism threatens to eventually declare every single lesbian, feminist, and gender-defiant woman ever really had to be a transman.

One more example of a gender-defiant woman getting posthumously transed is Mountain Charley, whose true name was Elsa Jane Forest Guerin.  She was a legendary hero of the American frontier, and has been written about in such books as Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier, by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith.  She also wrote her own memoirs, in which she never claimed to be a man.  The true account of her life makes it clear she donned male attire to earn money to support herself and her two children, and to get revenge on her husbands murderer.  Young girls who love dressing up as cowgirls and hearing stories about the Old West couldve once gravitated towards her a hero, but instead, shes now being passed off as unambiguously male in a Tumblr comic.

Gender-defiant men have also been coming in for the posthumous transing treatment, such as Prince, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, even Jesus.  I honestly wouldnt be surprised if they eventually try to get their claws into my favorite actor, Rudolph Valentino, who was well-known for being gender-defiant.  The powers that be were very upset at how a man who wore jewelry, showed emotions and sensitivity, engaged in feminine pursuits like gardening, and spent more than five minutes grooming himself could corrupt American manhood and lead women away from macho he-men dripping with machismo and the stereotypical all-American boy next door.  While racism and xenophobia were also factors, theres no denying a large part of the status quos uneasiness was because of Rudys gender-defiance.  Hes long been painted as a closeted gay man (without a shred of evidence), so posthumously transing him would only be the next logical step for these people who cant think outside of sexist stereotypes.

Gendered stereotypes arent biologically and genetically encoded into our brains.  When a man like Prince wore makeup and cross-dressed, he was doing it as a man, not a transwoman.  Similarly, when Kurt Cobain expressed discomfort with the macho role and male stereotypes, he wasnt motivated by feelings of being trapped in the wrong body, in spite of modern-day claims to the contrary.  Its called having a personality, and using ones own mind and feelings instead of letting society dictate exactly how to think, speak, dress, and behave.  Real people arent collections of sexist stereotypes.

When young women of today are told these inspirational, trailblazing, heroic, talented, gender-defiant women were really men, theyre losing a very important source of pride regarding what women are capable of.  In its place, theyre getting the message that women who dont perform femininity, who want to be more than sex objects, wives, mothers, and Barbie dolls, cant possibly be real women.  Its as if weve collectively stepped into a time machine taking us back to the 1950s, when women who wanted to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, mechanics, architects, professors, scientists, businesswomen, basically anything other than wives and mothers by the age of twenty, were looked upon with hostility, fear, and suspicion, even believed to be mentally ill.

To date, Ive twice read Brett Harveys The Fifties:  A Womens Oral History, and both times felt alternately glad I never had to live in a world like that, and shocked and heartbroken for these women who had to deal with so much institutionalized sexism, lesbophobia, and misogyny.  Now were devolving into that same kind of cultural milieu, only with different trappings.  Its like the 1950s 2.0.

Young men also suffer, in different ways, when theyre told real men are macho he-men who cant possibly enjoy looking pretty, feel comfortable displaying emotions, or engage in pursuits like ballet or fashion design.  Under that kind of logic, all the great danseurs like Nijinsky, any man who ever entered a career devoid of machismo, and just about all the gender-bending men who proudly and unashamedly took on the New Romantic style of the early Eighties were all transwomen in the closet.  Seeing positive, high-profile examples of gender-defiant men can only help young men, by showing them real men come in many different forms.

As a name nerd, I also cant help but notice a parallel to the massive rise in popularity of traditionally male names for girls, and the subsequent, permanent loss of most of these names to the girls side.  Parents frequently say they want to give their daughter a name like Riley, Aidan, Dylan, Tyler, William, Jordan, or Kyle because it sounds strong, as though a name like Elizabeth, Katherine, Margaret, Octavia, Ophelia, or Zenobia is horribly weak and passive.  Likewise, many parents declare a name like Julian, Micah, Nikita, or Adrian is too girly for a boy, and fear hell get beaten up for not having a name drenched in machismo.

In the brave new world of the transactivists, everyone is a collection of rigid sexist stereotypes, and any deviation from this 1950s-style binary must really be the opposite sex.  All girls and women love pink, only go to university for a Mrs. degree and drop out once theyve gotten it, exclusively wear dresses and skirts, dont leave the house without makeup and perfume, have long hair, wear high heels all the time, never do anything active, and derive their greatest pleasures from being full-time wives and mothers.  All boys and men, meanwhile, have short hair, never wear makeup or any article of clothing even remotely associated with women, love sports, are emotionally distant, excel at STEM fields, and hate shopping.  Minus positive gender-defiant role models, impressionable young people will be, and are being, led to believe they must really be the opposite sex.

In 1976, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously said, Well-behaved women seldom make history.  Now, under the aegis of historical revisionists, women dont make history at all, unless they were really men.

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51 thoughts on “Transing the dead: The erasure of gender-defiant role models from history

  1. Great writing and what better way to expose the illusion. The Brontes especially Emily spring to mind as possible writer the Transmovement will claim. One can only hope as they become more shrill and ridiculous try will undermine their own argument. How long before any female not conforming us’outed’ as Trans? Watch this space.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The name thing is something I point out at every opportunity as an easy way to viscerally understand how gender is a hierarchy, not merely a binary.

    Names do not merely “change sex,” no – names which start out male get adopted by “groundbreaking, tough” females (or are assigned with those hopes by the girls’ parents) and thus become “tainted” for male children, until the name is used almost entirely by women. Leslie, Ashley… just put some of those into the Baby Name Voyager app and it’s strikingly obvious.

    Names don’t go the other way though. Not a coincidence.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. This piece is so well-written and makes a lot of sense. Thank you! I think we need to keep telling the real stories of these women, and stop the revisionist history.

    Another writer from more recent history who has fallen into the trans trap is Harper Lee. She never got married, was not very feminine in her presentation, and she had the nerve to create a character like Scout Finch. My thinking is that Harper modeled Scout after herself–a strong-willed, opinionated, tough girl who didn’t fit gender stereotypes. Scout didn’t want to wear dresses and giggle about boys with the other girls. She wanted to go on adventures and do all of the fun things that boys did. But people are even trying to trans a fictional character these days.

    There are plenty of Scouts out there in the real world today. Except now instead of being girls who play in the mud, stand up for themselves against bullies, and don’t wear dresses, they are told that they must be boys. If Scout were real and a young girl today, she would be taken to a gender therapist, put on puberty blockers, and gone on to transition. After all, if a girl acts like that, she must really be a boy. The only way she will be happy is to become a permanent medical patient. Instead of growing up to be strong, independent women who bust through gender stereotypes, the Scouts of today must try to become men. Instead, many of them end up weak members of a victim class, who cannot accept that they can’t control the behavior of others.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Although she’s a current figure rather than a historical one, the same is true for Alison Bechdel. I can very easily envision some overzealous parents trying to transition little Alison, who wanted to wear boys’ clothes and was sometimes mistaken for a boy. And yes, she hated barrettes!

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    • Towards the end of eighth grade, I had to go to one of the local libraries to do some research on Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird for a required project in my English class (which was at the ninth grade honors level). My mother was horrified when the librarian assisting us used male pronouns to refer to Ms. Lee. I’ve never forgotten my mother’s shocked, horrified reaction afterwards, and her exact tone of voice: “I can’t believe she thought Harper Lee was a man!” And that was back in 1994, well before this disturbing trend of transing the dead arose.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Thanks for this post. Much needed.

    I looked at the Radclyffe Hall article you link. An amazing piece of unhistorical tosh. I find without surprise that the author is a ‘transman’, Tobias Gurl. No doubt Gurl gets quite upset when anyone refers to her using female pronouns. But she bumptiously presumes to ‘misgender’ Radclyffe Hall, using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘him’ throughout.

    As for her claim that ‘During Hall’s time there was no distinction made between a lesbian and a heterosexual trans man.’ Oh poor, poor Radclyffe Hall, who lived and died never realising that she could have ‘identified’ out of being a lesbian merely by calling herself a ‘transman’ and demanding masculine pronouns …

    Liked by 5 people

    • He also transed Florence Nightengale….who was in no way transgender…there is zero evidence she was…but becasue she was brilliant and had a harsh personality she was a man obviously! I tried commenting on how offensive that was and linked a few biographies of her but of course I wasn’t allowed to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, man, this Florence Nightingale thing just beggars belief. The article says: “…as per a book cited on Wikipedia, Nightingale allegedly preferred male pronouns, which is enough to – with the usual disclaimers about ambiguity – qualify him for a position here.”

        If you go to the Wikipedia article, what you find is “She often referred to herself in the masculine, as for example ‘a man of action’ and ‘a man of business’.”

        (1) Those are decidedly not pronouns, but rather nouns
        (2) It’s a peculiar old-timey linguistic quirk and should *probably* not be taken as evidence about anyone’s self-image

        I guess I’m not surprised that misrepresentation of facts was involved, but I am surprised at how easy it is to uncover said misrepresentation…no thumbing through books or tracking down obscure sources needed.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “This may be hard for liberal Westerners under the age of twenty-five to comprehend,” I almost laughed out loud at that! It literally describes every snot nosed gender studies undergrad who screams “TERF” at me when I try to explain how they’re actually being duped into sexism, homophobia and misogyny. And that they allow themselves to be vulnerable to that duping by not doing any historical research.
    Anyway – thankfully I keep coming across articles like this that restore my faith. So thank you very much!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Yes, thank you! And I say this even though I’m only a little older than 25, but it’s true. Other than women on the interwebs, most women I know who are into “feminism” are into the counterfeit third-wave crap.

      You are exactly right! Do research and question authority. This mindset of “don’t associate with anyone whose third cousin twice-removed is a “terf”” is thought-policing to the extreme. And it is so easy to do research, especially for said snot-noised gender studies students who have access to the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article. Transing the dead sounds crazy – I wonder how mainstream this idea is? I doubt the average person on the street would buy into Joan of Arc being a man, for example.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The invasion of the body snatchers have also dug up Billy Tipton, a brilliant female jazz pianist who couldn’t get work as a woman, so went by the name Billy and presents as male. She was also a lesbian, with a number of female partners who apparently didn’t know she was a woman 9hard to believe). I changed her wikipedia entry many times, and was threatened by an apparent male to trans for doing so. Don’t mess with HIS story.

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    • I was just thinking about Karen Carpenter. I wonder why she has not been transitioned after death by the trans activists. After all, she considered herself a drummer who happened to sing. She was a phenomenal drummer who was well respected. She also played bass and liked to play baseball as a child. Pretty unusual stuff for the 1960s-70s. She obviously had issues with body image, as she died from complications of anorexia. Maybe they haven’t focused on her because she wasn’t a lesbian.

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  8. Florence Nightengale is apparently also a man according to this Tobias person…I have officially hit my peak trans….Next someone will trans Marie Curie! Apparently no women are safe

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  9. I write about women taking part in a traditionally male sport. Currently, I’m working on a chapter for a book, and putting together some biographical stuff about a slightly famous, pioneer sportswoman, who was brilliant at what she did. She was also not very feminine, and a lesbian. During her lifetime, this was an open secret, but she was very private and did not wish to be defined by her sex or sexuality.
    I really do want to publish this chapter, but I am actually terrified that the transactivists and queer revisionists will get hold of this woman’s story and trans her posthumously. I would feel responsible if that happened. What I would like to do is confront the issue in the text, and point out the ways that she was categorically not trans-anything, but then I run the risk of censure by publishers, or abuse and silencing tactics from transactivists.
    We need to save our sheros.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you can follow your instinct, and assert what your knowledge of her life tells you is historical truth, and I bet there are ways to firmly assert what she WAS without necessarily stating up front what she wasn’t. Maybe avoiding the hornet-attracting word ‘trans’?

      Also, I’m glad you will make the point that ‘she was very private and did not wish to be defined by her sex or sexuality.’ That in itself sets her apart from the trans movement, and is such a needed contrast with our age of narcissistic focus on both.

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      • On 5he other hand I WANT to know about Butch Lesbians who.came before me, straight women are always tied to.their husbands/boyfriends/children.to.give them.solid hetro credentials but Lesbians are nigh invisible like dome kind of sexless neuter women.where their loved and personal lives are NOT discussed. Thus making ALL Lesbians. And more so Butch Lesbians that much more invisible.

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      • FeistyAmazon, I absolutely agree with the need to know about lesbians and butch lesbians who came before, maybe my comment wasn’t clear enough? I was trying to make a suggestion toward solving the dilemma Rachel stated: that her subject’s lesbianism

        “was an open secret, but she was very private and did not wish to be defined by her sex or sexuality.

        I really do want to publish this chapter, but I am actually terrified that the transactivists and queer revisionists will get hold of this woman’s story and trans her posthumously. I would feel responsible if that happened. What I would like to do is confront the issue in the text, and point out the ways that she was categorically not trans-anything, but then I run the risk of censure by publishers, or abuse and silencing tactics from transactivists.
        We need to save our sheros.”

        My thought was of course to fully describe that she was lesbian, without having to pretend that she herself put her sexuality front and centre when she didn’t, and maybe without having to overtly start a ‘here is why she couldn’t have been trans’ battle. To make it clear that she couldn’t have been trans without resorting to trans-defined terms of description and argument? To see if it’s possible to portray her lesbianism clearly in ways that can’t be countered, and let it speak for itself? There may be no way to stop those determined to try to posthumously trans the dead, not without stirring the hornets, but maybe worth exploring?

        And as well as needing to hear about lesbians who came before, I think people in current culture need to hear models of lives lived without the intense focus on sex, sexuality and ‘gender identity’ that now predominates.

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  10. I really do want to publish this chapter, but I am actually terrified that the transactivists and queer revisionists will get hold of this woman’s story and trans her posthumously. I would feel responsible if that happened.

    But even if you don’t publish, one of these addled or duplicitous ideologues may still hear about her and try to co-opt her memory. And without your chapter, there would be no authority that lesbians could cite to refute transactivist propaganda.

    I don’t think you should feel responsible for the misuse of properly researched work published in good faith. Go down that road and none of us would ever publish anything.

    Did she make any statements that you can highlight that would support your view of her: for example, in which she defined herself, privately or publicly, as a lesbian? Would something like that be a way to undermine a transactivist/’queer’ interpretation without directly picking a fight?

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    • Definitely some statements and actions that showed she had no trouble classing herself as a woman. She was in a romantic relationship with another woman for most of her adult life, but never spoke of it publicly – given when she was famous and her sport, that isn’t surprising. As far as I know, no-one acknowledged her sexuality in print until last year, long after her death. I’m not going to devote many words to her lesbianism, as it wasn’t really relevant to most of what she did, but there is a need for me to recognise the role that her partner played in her life. Just referring to “her partner” feels a bit prudish and disapproving, and it denies the partner her place in the narrative.

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  11. Pingback: November IWSG—Back to last year’s NaNo book | Welcome to My Magick Theatre

    • Plenty of people thought Janet Reno was a man, for very similar reasons. Back in the days of aol, there was a humor site called Hecklers Online, which had a weekly Top Ten list made up of the best viewer submissions. (My submissions made their lists twice.) One of them was something like, “The real reasons Janet Reno fainted,” and their choice of the #1 entry was, “Plastic penis taped too tightly to leg.”

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  12. This “trans” crap makes me furious. There is a biography by a gay man who claims that Katharine Hepburn was “trans”, because she was a “tom boy” when she was young and called herself Jimmy. And there was apparently an incident where she dressed up in “mans clothes”, when she was on a date with a woman as a teenager. These people are so stupid they have no idea. The fact is she had a father who she admired, who preferred her older brother, and didn’t value girls. She also probably had some feelings for her own sex, one of her male relatives have said she was very physically affectionate with her female school friends. Instead of using their brain, they would rather use a simplistic explanation that she must be have been a boy stuck in the wrong body. These people “trans” every strong woman who is suspected of loving her own sex. How long before they claim Dietrich and Garbo, or even Stanwyck?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When they trans the dead like this, it makes it pretty obvious they’re all about the sexist stereotypes. Transactivists like to claim it’s not about stereotypes at all, and then turn around and trot out a list of sexist stereotypes to “prove” someone has to be the opposite sex. One of my favorite YouTubers is an older transman (only six years older than I am), who speaks about overwhelming, lifelong bodily dysphoria, instead of saying things like, “I knew I was trans because I didn’t want long hair, liked playing with boys, and loved skateboarding!” As a result, I take this person’s trans identity a lot more seriously than that of the young transtrenders who cite nothing but stereotypes and sudden onset of bodily dysphoria at puberty or after taking a gender studies class.

      So many transactivists are just historically ignorant, as in your example about Katharine Hepburn. We need to look at context and intent, not apply our own modern-day biases and values to people and situations from a much different era. It’s one thing to wonder if, e.g., a character in a book or film is an unwritten gay character, but entirely another to outright declare someone absolutely had to be trans based on contemporary ideas!

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  13. You have no idea how incredibly grateful I am to have found my way here today and to find rational, eloquent and intelligent company. My daughter is the latest to fall victim to this wave of hysteria. At 17 years old, with a boyfriend for over a year an obsessive make-up routine and no previous signs of being at all uncomfortable in her own body she suddenly announced to me last week that she believes herself to be transgender. In the last week she’s completely changed what she wears (only at the weekend though – during the week she’s still wearing feminine make-up and dresses to school by her own choice). My over-riding feeling is that she has been influenced by what she’s coming across on the internet as she’s always been very easily led and impressionable (previous and thankfully brief episode of self harming being the worst of many incidents to date). She sent me a link to this video as she says the girl is her hero…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwV7ENOTeek
    I am still processing this out of the blue bombshell but I know that reading through this wealth of balanced information will help me order my thoughts. Thanks so much for being here.

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  14. Hello, 4thWaveNow:

    This is the follow-up to a link posted several weeks back – the Seattle Times reporter Nina Shapiro looking for families with trans experiences. I thought people here might be interested.

    Several of those letters were recently published, along with a brief story by Shapiro.
    The final letter, referring trans as a “new anorexia,” was a trimmed version of the letter I submitted.

    The letters the paper did select offer a wide range of opinion on the trans phenomenon, which seemed encouraging.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/readers-share-stories-in-response-to-article-on-transgender-teen/

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  15. Aren’t there straight females who are gender nonconformists and strong females? I am a straight female and I am annoyed by the infiltration of feminism by lesbians. It’s like lesbians just took over! I support gay rights and gay marriage, but strong straight females are NOT just an afterthought. I’m sick of hearing jokes as well as genuine speculation about strong females being lesbians. Lesbians are only a small minority of females. So are the rest of females just doomed to gender roles and stereotypes? Is this “feminism” just some lesbian clubhouse? Maybe that’s why a lot of people, even other females, are critical of it. I really hope that Hillary Clinton isn’t a lesbian. There are rumors about her being one, and I’d like to see a strong, powerful female who isn’t a lesbian. I don’t conform to gender and I’d say I’m pretty strong, and yet I have no attraction to females whatsoever. I like males and I’m proud of it!

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    • Wow straight woman, this is exactly what NOW said to Lesbians in the early 1970s. They feared the women’s movement would be “infiltrated” by lesbians, and it would be harder to make progress with those gender non conforming women presenting themselves as feminists. Lesbians went off and formed their own groups. Lesbians largley have no need for birth control or abortion, but we still marched and lobbied for women who have sex with men. Lesbians are the lowest group to contract HIV, but we still marched and lobbied for men who have sex with men. I don’t know any lesbians that speculate “strong women” are lesbians, most bi or lesbian women come out these days, it’s kinda trendy, or it was.

      If you are proud of liking males, good for you, lesbians have always fought for heterosexual women’s rights, because we as women feel connected to you as women.

      I have marched in untold numbers of abortion rallies for your rights. Have you ever marched for lesbian rights? Have you ever contributed to a lesbian charity? Because i donate to charities that primarily serve heterosexual women.

      This isn’t a competition, we’re all women and we all suffer under male domination. As for feminism being a “lesbian clubhouse”, no lesbians don’t have any clubhouses left, we are not permitted to gather as females anymore. Perhaps its easier for lesbians to be feminists because we don’t have so many men around us, we don’t invest our emotional, spiritual and sexual energy into men.

      So please don’t be bitter, the last thing I want to do to any woman is mis represent her, I believe in women’s integrity in life and in death.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Straight Female, if people are assuming you are a lesbian because you don’t conform to stereotypes regarding the way a straight woman is “supposed” to look, act, and dress, that is not the fault of lesbians being active in feminism — it’s the fault of society.

      All women should be welcome in feminist circles. Why would you want to exclude any woman from feminism? As long as a person is female, they should be welcomed; their sexuality shouldn’t matter.

      If the general public is assuming you are someone or something you are not because of the way you dress and act, then you are in a great position to smash the very stereotypes which are driving some girls to feel they should transition. Go for it!

      Also, work on overcoming your dislike of lesbians — homophobia is another big factor which pushes girls to want to go under the knife and take harmful cross-sex hormones in order to appear male. Help us wipe out these harmful stereotypes, and the world will be a better place for you and all women and girls.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hiya! I’ve lurked on this blog for a while now, but I was always nervous about commenting because I’m neither LGB nor a parent.

      Anyway, yeah. I’m another straight woman, and I’d describe myself as “mildly non-gender-conforming”. Regardless of how mild it may be, I predictably get $%*# for it from society. Reading material from blogs like this has been helpful for me in asking introspective questions about who I am and what my relationship to “womanhood” is, as well as what I desire and expect in relationships with men. I’m not saying I’ve come upon the perfect answer to how to build a heterosexual relationship where the “roles” are based not on gender but on the individual talents and personalities of the people involved; thanks to these writers, though, I have a better idea of what conversations to have with people and how to have them.

      A society based on the transgender ideology will be one where it is not safe to be a gender-nonconforming woman — lesbian or not. I do want to have kids someday, and to have a hand in educating the kids of my community regardless, and I want to be able to teach them that their personality and their sex are totally independent and neither dictates the other. And I want their teachers and schools to support them in that.

      There’s so much we can agree on. We’re stronger together.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Hi, I am sort of puzzled by this post? If you take a bit of time and read over the posts and especially the comments, you will see that a lot of the community represented on this site is, while very accepting of gay and lesbian people, by and large comprised of straight parents. Many of us have lesbian daughters and we’re concerned that our wonderful children are the subject of tremendous pressure to identify with and even try to be the male sex (a thing that we acknowledge is impossible). I’d venture to say that we’re all considerably more comfortable with the idea of having lesbian daughters rather than life-long medical patients trying, unsuccessfully, to be male. But that is not to say that we believe that every woman, or every strong or successful woman, is or should be, lesbian. It’s a pretty far leap from “here” to “there”…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. REvisionism by ANY OTHER NAME. Just like Holocaust Revisionism…it never happened, those were some bombings by the Allies at Dresden.

    Joan of Arc NEVER maintained she was male, and was a shero to my young tomboy Self, and though an ultimately tragic story, The Well of Loneliness was my first Lesbian.book, I COMPLETELY identified with.the character, and the cross dressing ways of the author.

    This trend continues there will be NO Butch Dykes left, nor girls who can visualize themselves as anything but feminine, unless ready to put themselves in for a lifetime of hurt on hormones and having surgeries, HATING their young Female bodies, instead of reveling in them and finding THE POWER in them, as I did through Karate.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. The only reason the transactivists are doing this is because there are no documented historical instances of:
    1. people claiming to be the opposite of his (or her) bodily sex
    2. numerous suicides of people who longed to be the opposite sex (as there is historical evidence of social contagion, such as contagious suicides after the publication of “The Sorrows of Young Werther”)

    It’s the same as when adult males who, after decades of butch employment, heterosexual marriage and fathering kids, claim that pre-teen children (that these adults have never met) are “trans” because those adult males have no evidence of their determination to be women for more than a short time before dropping the trans bomb on their wives & children

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  19. Pingback: Wednesday 11/9/16 | Tipsy Teetotaler

  20. I continue you find much hope on this site. But it is so frustrating the media does reflect it. I recently spoke to a legal team who were trying to get publicity for parents fighting against Trans cult. They could not find a journalist or T.v station willing to cover this angle. No reason was given but given the Paedophile scandal in Britain and the protection the BBC gave to Jimmy Saville, it does leave you speculating. I wonder what the situation is in the US.

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  21. Pingback: Bono, Glamour, and Posthumus TransBaptism: Welcome to the 1950s, 2.0 – SIMCHA FISHER

  22. This is a really great, well written post! It’s just 1950s level misogyny to insist that all these interesting women who defied gender stereotypes were “really men”. Thank you for this important post.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Female author Louisa May Alcott is now apparently another ‘transgender’ not a real woman because in her book Little Women she had a female character named Jo who didn’t enact appropriate female sex role behaviour!’

    ‘In re-reading Little Women this time around, I found the literary evidence for the possibility that Alcott depicts Jo March as transgender quite compelling. Jo, like many tomboys before and after her, chafes at traditional definitions of femininity, but her feelings go beyond that, and so does Alcott’s depiction of her. She makes no bones about calling her “gentlemanly,” and Laurie often refers to her as a “fellow.” Her family and close friends seem to have no issue with the fact that Jo is really more of a man than a woman. Still, Alcott marries her off, albeit unconventionally, in the end.’

    Reason why fictional male character Laurie referred to fictional female character Jo as ‘fellow’ is because he was stating he views her as an autonomous female human being rather than merely a ‘girl’ and hence innately inferior to the default male species!

    https://jenniferlgadd.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/little-women-does-louisa-may-alcott-present-the-first-transgender-protagonist/

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    • Oh my God. Thanks for pointing this out. Why can’t people accept that a woman who didn’t fit the gender stereotypes of her time was still a woman? Maybe Alcott just didn’t think she should have to put up with all of the sh*t that other women around her had to deal with.
      Maybe we should start saying that every slightly feminine man throughout history was really transgender.

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      • Okay, I’ll start! George Washington was really a woman because he wore a wig. So were all those French dudes in the 1700s.
        (The sad thing is some trans wacktivist will probably take that statement seriously.)

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    • How dare they! I loved Louisa M Alcott books when I was a girl. The phrase ‘really more of a man than a woman’ is so offensively gender essentialist and misogynistic!

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  24. Thank you for this article. I was not aware that these women were being referred to as men now, simply because they do not fit into the stereotypical gender roles ascribed to their sex. It seems women (and men) face as uphill a battle as ever, in “ungendering” ourselves.
    The ability to have a vagina and dress and act how ever one chooses without some deep hatred for said vagina, if said vagina is not bathed in frills.
    And vice versa for having a penis, loving that penis, and loving pink and perfume too.

    As a (primarily) straight woman (but not exclusively) i have often felt i am dressed in “drag” when i wear a dress, though i go through phases where i frequently do.
    Anyhow…i could go on but i wont.
    Just thanks for the article. It is very hard to talk about this with many people on the left lest you be accused of not supporting trans rights, etc.

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