Monday, April 13, 2009

Short post...

Been thinking on the term subversivism. I've heard a number of genderqueer femmes & trans* female folks say they had problems with it & I began to think about how it's used and what it means. Later, Gauge and I chatted about the term for a bit. Then I read hir post earlier today & decided I should probably getting around to posting my thoughts (when did I last do an actual post here? ^_^;;).

I just reread the chapter "The Future of Queer/Trans Activism", & Ms. Serano ascribes a number of situations to subversivism which I think are more likely trans-misogyny, femmephobia, classism, etc.
Such as, for instance, how many trans* women do not feel comfortable in many queer/trans* spaces.
Well, many trans* women & other mtf spectrum folks I've spoken to mention how trans-misogynist those spaces can be (Ms. Serano actually mentions this on page 352)--people supporting "WBW"-only spaces & no one calls them out, saying sexist things (I've heard about a lot of of experiences with trans* guys doing this; for instance, in LJftm guys always get all offended when they are told not to say bitch), or valuing masculine genderqueer identities over feminine ones (which is not limited to trans* communities; cis* lesbian & cis* gay male communities are also known for this).
I saw one older trans* woman told she shouldn't complain about substances/parties at Camp Trans because CT is for young people (& young people all apparently love to do drugs & party & old people don't)--the ageism was called out, but the fact that someone felt entitled to say such blatent ableism...

If you separate out that which is actually classism/trans-misogyny/ageism/etc, subversivism has been mostly cis* people exotifying genderqueer identities and trying to separate trans* people into "good" and "bad" trans* folk. Yes there are some trans* people who buy into this (but really, whenever a group is being exotified it seems like there are always a few members who are willing to take the superficial power they are given).
Genderqueer people are not the majority & they are not the ones with power; there is no genderqueer privelege. It is cis* people who have made their own theories using genderqueer identities, thoughts, feelings, goals, etc & then use this theory to hurt all trans* people (including genderqueer folks who can't/won't fall into line).

If someone wants a comparison to subversivism, look at political lesbianism.
Certain groups of straight women made their own ideas about lesbian identities, practices, feelings, etc and tried/try to enforce their theories as Real Lesbianism. Yes, some actual lesbian women supported those theories, but lesbians were still not the oppressor group. Actual lesbianism was not truely supported (actually, a lot of f/f sex was attacked for being too male-identified & pornographic) only political-lesbianism was supported.