Petition: Remove Laverne Cox from the Cast of “Orange is the New Black”

Yesterday, a petition was created to have Laverne Cox removed from “Orange is the New Black,” a show released on Netflix following the stories of characters in a women’s prison, after he led a campaign in support of Synthia China Blast, who was convicted for the rape, murder, and desecration of a thirteen year old girl. Cox partnered with the transgender rights organization the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and created a video wherein he read a letter from the convicted child murderer who now identifies as a woman.

Although it is unlikely that Cox will be removed from the show, the petition now has over 750 signatures at the time of this post. I consider it to be a monumental success: It is extraordinarily rare to see people in such numbers band together and speak against a transgender man’s actions.

Cox has since written an apology on his blog and asked that the Slyvia Rivera Law Project take down the video, saying he did not know the crimes of the man he was campaigning for when he recorded the video.

This almost makes it worse.

Blast was not doing a six-month stint in the county jail for DUI charges. He has been in prison for over 20 years for the rape, murder, and desecration of the body of a child. That Cox would be willfully ignorant of the crimes of the people he is campaigning for speaks to how little he values the lives of all those hurt by their hands. Like many other powerful men, his only concern is the continued fulfillment of men’s desires when they are in line with his own.

This is not the first time that Cox has campaigned on behalf of a woman-abuser. Cox recently promoted the case of Robert/Michelle Kosilek, a man who strangled his wife and sought genital alteration surgery during his time in prison.

So at least we know that Cox does have some limits on the degree of filth that he is willing to defend. It’s somewhere below the rape and murder of a child, but above the attempted murder of a woman.

You can sign the petition here:

Petition: Remove Laverne Cox from the Cast of “Orange is the New Black”

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Notes from a non-cis woman

Sarah Ditum

If cis means not-trans, then I am cis. I have been told repeatedly that cis is a label that belongs on me, and assured by those applying it that it’s not an insult – even while in many cases its use has clearly implied that, as a cis woman, I have certain privileges that preclude me from being listened to on certain issues. What are those privileges? Julia Serano defines the state of being cis as the condition of enjoying agreement between one’s physical sex and “subconscious sex”:

I suppose that when a person feels right in the sex they were born into, they are never forced to locate or question their subconscious sex, to differentiate it from their physical sex. In other words, their subconscious sex exists, but is hidden from view. They have a blind spot.

Julia Serano, Whipping Girl, p. 87

There is no substantial definition of…

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Is there such a thing as cisgender?

The Prime Directive

Kay, I’ll get right on that. Do I get a slice, though?

The term “cis,” as in “cisgender,” has been recently made fashionable by trans activists to designate people who are not transgender. It is said that cisgendered people benefit from cis-privilege. Before we uncritically accept this reframing, it would behoove us to look into what the expression is supposed to mean.

Here are two definitions of cis:

A cisgender person is someone who identifies as they gender/sex they were assigned at birth. For example, your birth certificate says female, and you identify as a female woman.

an individual’s self-perception and presentation of their gender matches the behaviors and roles considered appropriate for one’s sex.

Gender and sex are two completely different things, so these definitions make no sense. There is no gender role “appropriate for one’s sex.” Gender is not “assigned at birth”; a baby doesn’t have a gender…

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The Emperor’s New Penis | CounterPunch

This brilliant article was written by Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen, members of the feminist environmentalist organization, Deep Green Resistance, which has been the target of attacks in recent months for being transphobic (or, in other words, critically thinking about gender).

There are a few quotes that I want to share. Some of them are snippets, sentences here and there, that boil major issues into key points. Of course, the article should be read in its totality, but these are some statements that really stick out to me and are worth repeating here.

 Feminism – movement that tells the terrible truths about women’s lives and aims to change them—is being disappeared…. Starting with the category “woman.” Transgender activist Joelle Ruby Ryan has written that the terms “female” and “sex-class” are “offensive and passé.” To make “sex-class” a dirty word means that the realities of women’s lives become once more unspeakable, each woman cut adrift in a hostile, chaotic sea. Apply the word “sex-class,” and that chaos snaps into a sharp pattern of subordination, from the small, daily insults to body and soul to the shattering traumas of incest and rape. The crimes men commit against women aren’t done to women as random individuals; they’re done because women belong to a subordinate class and they’re done to keep women a subordinate class…

But the basic truths of women’s lives are once more becoming unspeakable. Why? Because genderists are literally shouting feminists down to shut us up. Instead, they’ve laid claim to “woman.” …. The genderists claim that this is all natural, eternal, basic to the structure of the universe. A typical comment: “There is a distinct, substantive, immutable feminine gender, and it can not be transcended.” This is what systems of power always have to imprint on our psyches: not only is this state of affairs natural, resistance is futile. We beg to disagree. Some of us are living proof that feminine gender can be transcended—and the feminist movement is even larger proof that it can be fought.

The source of female oppression is erased in the name of trans inclusitivity. Women’s language and experiences are appropriated, women’s spaces are put under attack unless they permit male access, and discussion of the roots of sexism is deemed transphobic. Recognizing and naming the sex-based cause of female genital mutilation is called “cissexist.”

 But the genderists don’t want to resist gender. They are, in fact, quite attached to it. Writes one, “It would be a crying shame if ‘woman’ and ‘man’ ceased to be relevant categories for me to play with.” Substitute poor and rich or black and white if you don’t understand how offensive that is. People being oppressed are not categories to be played with. If you understand that, the only question left is: are women people?

The strangest part of this whole debate is that feminists are being called biological essentialists. The genderists baldly state their belief in “brain sex” and the immortal, even cosmic, nature of femininity . White supremacists are the only people who believe in the “Negro brain.” But talk of “lady brains” is completely accepted across progressive communities if it comes from genderists. Feminists, in contrast, start with Simone DeBeauvior: “One is made, not born a woman.” It’s that making that we intend to stop. It can be stopped because gender is a social process. It’s the genderists who claim it’s biological, immutable. Yet we get called essentialist?

Gender essentialism is the idea that there is an inherent essence to being a man or a woman. Genderists assert that essential to being a woman is identifying as one, a declaration that erases the violent socialization of all  infants into the male or female sex roles. “Woman” is not a label that a person knowingly consents to perform; it is an action done to them starting from birth.

“Being becomes having and having is reduced to merely appearing.” This is, of course, what has happened, and then some: commodity fetishism has conquered every human relationship, including, finally, that between body and self. Instead of inhabiting “the soft animal of your body,” as poet Mary Oliver so sweetly puts it, the body is an object to own and then to starve or slice until it approximates the punishing, promising image. Our genitals are now a commodity to be obtained rather than tissue to inhabit, the exquisite nerve endings where animal meets angel severed to create a surgical simulacrum. Perhaps the commodity has finally been defeated by a greater force: the image itself.

Once upon a time, a woman who was disgusted with the treatment of women, the expectations that were thrust upon her, the roles she was supposed to perform, the clothing she was supposed to wear, the mannerisms she was supposed to act with – was called a feminist. Today, she’d likely be labeled “transgender.”

I’d really like to see more writing that elaborates on this line “Our genitals are now a commodity to be obtained rather than tissue to inhabit.” I think gender is becoming increasingly restricted, increasingly defined. In the 60’s and 70’s, women learned that they could be whoever they wanted to be, that their tissue was just happenstance flesh that need not influence their potential, their behavior, their goals, their desires, their lifestyle, their personality. Today, it seems that we are pedaling backwards in a sense. Our roles are defined by our bodies, and if we don’t like our role, we should change our bodies.  I wonder to what extent all of this is a product of the individualization of feminism, where “women” is no longer a category of shared oppression but a standard (with a sliding scale) of adherence to some particular set of stereotypes.

The Emperor’s New Penis | CounterPunch

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Then and Now

Then: A woman can be anybody First women graduates of West Point in 1980

Now: Anybody can be a womanA heterosexual white man becomes "Kristin" by wearing makeup and dresses

Chris/Kristen Beck.
CNN refers to femaleness as a “persona.”
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I’m Not Afraid of Your Penis, I’m Afraid of Your Socialization

Amazing video by a member of Deep Green Resistance on radical views of gender, with an eloquent dissection of liberal (queer) views of gender.

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