In this Session I will be dis-enchanting the Tranz Trance with a bit of scholarship from famed gyno/ethicist, Mary Daly. I recently picked up her book Gyn/Ecology after 30 years and the effect of reading it now as an old woman is nothing less than shattering. I heartily wish I had taken heed of her message the first around.
I came to this college town 3 years ago, I lived for nine months in a student housing coop. I went to a local rape crisis center looking for support for my post-incest trauma, I considered connecting with a woman’s center associated with the university and I became involved with an arts organization. And what I noticed happening in all of these organizations was the arrival of the Tranz and the beginning of the erasure of women.
The housing coop had Tranz members and at every meeting we had to go around the circle and state our pronoun preferences so that no-one would be mistaken for the sex they were born as. The rape crisis center did not deal with male violence against women, but with gender-based violence. The woman’s center welcomes “people of all genders.” (although I think they recently changed it to “people of all identities”.) They also state that they work toward “Violence Prevention,” neatly erasing the fact that the overwhelming majority of interpersonal violence is committed by men against women. When I wrote to them and tried to engage them on why this might be a problem, I was ignored. They did not even afford me the dignity of a reply. The arts group includes a man pretending to be a woman. And I am forbidden to say anything about these lies, lest I be marked as an evil bigot. I chose to abandon these groups rather than to confront what I see as blatant violence against women in the form of the Tranz sado-ritual that I am not allowed to question.
In her book Gyn/Ecology, Daly discusses The Pattern of the Sado-Ritual Syndrome. The Sado-Ritual Syndrome is the patriarchal method of behavior-control for women, including suttee, or widow-burning, footbinding, female castration, the European witchcraze and modern gynecology and psychiatry. This is my synopsis of the seven features of this syndrome:
- obsession with purity.
- abdication of personal responsibility to authorities.
- “catching on” and spreading from the elite to the poor.
- scapegoating victims and setting up “token torturers”
- compulsion: orderliness, repetition, fixation on minute details.
- normalization of atrocities through conditioning.
- legitimatization by authoritative scholarship.
For the purpose of this Session I want to focus on element lll:
These ritualized practices have an inherent tendency to “catch on” and spread, “since they appeal to imaginations conditioned by the omnipresent ideology of male domination. Moreover, since the patriarchal imagination is hierarchical, there is a proliferation of atrocities from an elite to the upwardly aspiring lower echelons of society.”
I see this element very clearly in the Tranz fad. It is chiefly a trend of upper class white males who can afford the doctors and chemicals and surgery and the time off from labor to recuperate. The Tranz fad is in fact spreading into every corner of my world, places such as rape crisis and women’s centers, where previously I could expect safety as a woman and where I could voice my opinion. And now I am constrained from speaking up about my recognition of Tranzing as an atrocity against women. I am certain that if I extended my analysis I could find all seven elements being expressed within the Tranz phenomenon.
The Tranz fad is not about liberation of the sexes and freedom of sexual expression, although this is the ad copy that is being presented. It is nothing less than the new face of Goddess Murder, another face of the sado-ritual practices that silence and oppress women, in this case the underlying idea is that males who Tranz are more womanly than women and women who Tranz are sacrificing their womanhood, in the time-honored tradition. As long as there is a gender caste system, there will be an unequal power dynamic between the sexes. Changing your pronoun and/or chopping off/mutilating your sex organs does not change your sex, it only reinforces the terrible sex ROLES that we are forced to inhabit by the threat of violence from males.
Raised To Be Silenced
Another clue as to the phallocratic nature of Tranz phenomenon, i.e., that is about males taking over female space and obliterating female reality, is illustrated by this personal experience of mine:
The condition of belonging to the male-dominant, misogynistic family I was born into was that I had to keep silent about being raped by male family members and take the blame for these rapes when they became too egregious for others to ignore. My father continually warned me that if I told anyone what he was doing I would lose my family. I did speak up, I sued him in court. And now I have no family.
The condition for my belonging to the housing coop or the rape crisis center or the women’s center or the arts group was that I had to keep silent about men pretending to be women (less frequently, vice versa) who are forcing others to go along with the lie that it’s ok to mutilate your body to match some artificial social role that was dreamed up by patriarchy in order to enforce women’s slavery. I chose to walk away from the social groups that are silencing me. But, I have this blog where I can tell the truth about my experience.
I see an exact parallel of oppression in these two situations. The shame associated with talking about incest is the same shaming and being pressured into silence that surrounds the Tranz phenomenon. Which makes it about male privilege and sexual violence against women and not about liberation and equality between the sexes.