Defining Lesbians Out of Existence
Better to Be Anything than a Lesbian:
“Transmen” Are Still Women
Shouldn’t anyone be able to do what they want? Too many women seem to have lost touch with reality in this liberal/right wing era of “You create your own reality.” That dangerous philosophy has been used against victims, whether those who get cancer to those who are raped. But carrying it to the extent of believing someone has the power to fundamentally change who they are rather than changing the system that oppresses us is taking it to a terrible new extreme.
If I insist that I am a different race or species other than who I truly am, would you accept me as that? Should you? Well, no, not if anyone is being hurt by that delusion.
How many Lesbians who would never accept someone saying they have changed their race or species, believe that sex change is possible? Why that difference, other than that being female counts for very little in patriarchy and the general attitude is that we are possessions of males and patriarchy?
It’s interesting that until they have been brainwashed and bullied into accepting the cult line, most women’s first reaction to a man saying he’s a woman, or a woman saying she’s a man, is refusal to buy the lie. Being able to change sex is very much the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. It’s a mass delusion. (Some MTF trans-activists are aware of this and so make up elaborate pseudo-scientific explanations that they are actually intersex, but true intersex people are a small minority and also are furious at MTFs, want no contact, and work to expose their lies.)
If patriarchy can’t kill us outright, then they co-opt and confuse us. They make us want to become our own enemy. Female-hatred and Lesbian-hatred lead many women to think that trying to change gender will be the easier way out. Or, as a woman in a documentary said about why she wanted to become a man, “It’s better than being an old woman.”
Notice that this individual didn’t even bother with the “I always felt like a boy” crap. It was clearly a cold, calculating decision based on measuring privilege gained versus oppression lost.
Many FTMs use the same bullying tactics as MTFs, but I will not use male pronouns for them any more than I will use our pronouns for men — just as I would not agree to mass hallucinations and demands that we call men “birds” or “lizards.” It’s wrong and, basically, it’s ridiculous. (And yes, some people do pay for extensive plastic surgery to look like other animals.)
It’s an honor to be called female. I will not insult FTMs with male pronouns. Males as a group are our enemy in this patriarchy, and I am not ready to call these women my enemy. l feel a huge difference with them compared to how I feel with MTFs. They are still women, no matter how they alter themselves. Everything about them still appears female to me, in spite of their exterior — which says to me how different they are from men claiming to be women, because MTFs feel far more male to me than many het men do. There is something much deeper than hormones going on. MTFs are as narcissistic, predatory, and nasty as the worst men. I have never seen women groping women in public and refusing to take “no” for an answer the way I have seen MTFs. FTMs are still female. Nothing can change that.
FTMs are self-hating females who mistakenly think they are rare in hating or feeling uncomfortable in their female bodies. Who wouldn’t, after being exposed to the horrific grotesque media images of objectified, pornified plastic women from when we are born, as well as all of us suffering some form of sexual assault?
I have known so many Lesbians who committed suicide because of oppression. “Transitioning” feels like a variation on suicide, except for the increased privilege. But already some have had regrets. Some are wanting to come back to being accepted as women and back into the Lesbian community. For all the misogynist propaganda in patriarchy, some of these women are realizing what many of us have known all along: There is nothing better than being a female. And certainly nothing better than being a Lesbian.
But until they do return to us, FTMs are betraying us. We are not afraid of them, we are not “phobic” about them – they oppress us. And we have the right to fight that. It’s like arguing with a religious fanatic – no thinking allowed. Of course you are not allowed to say any of this without punishment.
Some FTMs do seem like men in one way, though, which is when they don’t take “no” for an answer. Many Lesbians want female-only (Lesbian-only even better) space, without castrated men, or women who call themselves men or bois or any of the bizarre variations they come up with. FTMs still assume and demand that they have access to the Lesbian communities they betrayed.
I Love Lesbians
I’m proud to be a Lesbian. I have never wanted to be anything else. That’s why I’ve been surprised and upset by the increasing number of Lesbians who are deciding to become “men” or believe that they already are “men.” A lot clearly are simply trying to avoid oppression or want male privilege. One FTM said for her reasons for “transitioning” were, “I want more chicks and better jobs.”
When it’s that shallow, it can be easier to not care about them. But some of these women claiming to be men have heart-wrenching stories that can convince all but the most politically aware. So what’s wrong with someone doing what she wants to do with her life and body? Well, that is the liberal erosion of politics and community that makes everything all right. Where do you draw the line?
For me, it’s the point at which they undermine and hurt those I love. I love Lesbians. Lesbians are my people, my heart and soul. And we are an oppressed people. It seems like almost everyone in the world demands our love, support, time, energy, money, etc., even though, as a people, we are an oppressed group with less access to resources than men or anyone connected to men with their higher incomes and privilege. Part of what I love about Lesbians is our open hearts and generosity. But when Lesbians help non-Lesbians to our detriment, I have to protest.
We have almost no female-only space left, and we have had very little Lesbian-only space. It should be the right of all oppressed people to be with our own away from those who oppress us, don’t understand us, objectify us, use us. When we had a lot of female-only space in the Seventies, that was the time when we had a vibrant, creative Lesbian community and we felt at home at last. No more leering men harassing or threatening us. Our own space is crucial for many reasons.
But the goal of the liberal and reactionary politics of the trans movement is to destroy female-only space and Lesbian community. MTFs want what we have and want access to us, as most men do, and in the process they destroy what little we have.
If FTMs want to no longer be us, then why do they demand access to our rare space, trying to destroy it? Why do they still want what they had as women, while insisting they are men? Why do they participate in supporting the ridiculous and insulting term “cis” and the other co-opting techniques that MTFs use to harm us. Why don’t they just leave us the fuck alone?
I think it’s because they don’t get what they want, from love to acceptance to community, from men and het women. Never being able to really be what a man is, they mostly are not treated as real men. And then there’s the narcissism factor, which permeates the trans movement. It seems to be all about their performance, their being on show. “Look at me!” is not the same without an audience. They are just one more balding, hairy man, though usually quite short and often with warbly voices. They are not trendy and seemingly the center of attention, unlike at a Lesbian event where they can posture and pose with their shirts off. The young ones, who appear to some as trendy at first, seem to age quickly beyond their years. And, of course, they are missing what real men value the most, no matter how much money they spend and how much inadequate surgery they get. Most of becoming an FTM seems to be about being trendy, cool, and cultish. And this cult is based on the worship of maleness.
That gets back to the mystery for me. Why on earth would anyone want to identify as or become a man? Men, as a group, are the nasty cruel people who molest and sexually assault most girls and women, as well as torture and kill animals for fun. As a group, men are destroying the world. They build their weapons to look like their ugly pricks. They pollute and contaminate the earth, air, and water to mark their territory. In spite of the intense patriarchal media propaganda, even many men think their pricks are “disgusting.”1 I have yet to hear of a girl or woman who thought they were lovely on first viewing. (Yes, some later learn to love them as women also learn to love being tortured for pleasure, but really, that is part of the cult of male worship and is not innate, natural, or understandable.)
So there is what men do, and then there is what men are. None of a female wanting to be male makes sense if it wasn’t for wanting as much privilege as possible — or to be safer from sexual assault by men.
I do understand wanting to escape how badly females are treated in patriarchy. Of course, any female in her right mind would not want to grow up with the oppression girls get and would want access to the many privileges that boys and men are given. I certainly hated all the ways I was victimized for being a girl. But I never wanted to be a boy. Boys were those nasty, cruel small men who were obscene, tormented girls, and tortured animals. I loved other girls and they were my community.
Finding Lesbian Feminism made all the difference for me when I was a teenager. So I still do not comprehend why any female would so love males and maleness that she wants to become one – not that she can. I mean, really, it has to be clear to everyone that, aside from superficial appearances, no one can change sex any more than they can change species. And certainly the surgery that women get to become male doesn’t even come close to working. It’s all a big con, in which the big pharmaceutical industry, doctors, hospitals, psychiatrists, and then the patriarchal news media is making a fortune, once again on the bodies of women. For the women who try this, the cancer rate and other damaging health effects will be astronomical. (This is often what happens when women hand themselves over to male doctors for unnecessary plastic surgery.) But the real harm is to our women’s communities where the “new men” still demand entrance to women only space, while being contemptuous of us for still being women. New cliques have been created of FTM trannies and their admiring followers. But worse than that, young girls are now being pressured by their families, psychologists, and even governments into having surgery and hormones, affecting them irreparably. And it’s more than losing breasts or growing hair –their endrocrine system is damaged, and their facial and other bone structure is changed permanently.
One FTM told me she didn’t want to be a woman because she didn’t want to be raped any more. She’d had enough. She was trying to change the definition – the reality — of maleness by declaring she would be a different kind of man. I asked her, “Isn’t that going to trick women into trusting men when it’s not safe to?” She didn’t know how to answer. Should we then become fundamentalist christians, or nazi or klan members to give the world nice versions of dangerous bigots? Trying to become your enemy is no answer or solution for gynocide or genocide. That doesn’t stop evil. And it doesn’t make sense. It’s the philosophy of a cult member.
Who Would Want to Be an Oppressed Person If They Had a Choice?
I don’t believe any woman would even consider wanting to become a man if it wasn’t for patriarchy’s war on all females, where very few escape sexual assault in girlhood or later as adults.
If you can ignore the self-hatred involved, it could be tempting to want to become your oppressor rather than be oppressed. But then you would also have to be hateful towards others who share your oppression, breaking solidarity and community. That is how patriarchy in its most horrible forms does work. That’s where people betray themselves and those who share their oppression on behalf of their enemy. That is how resistance movements are crushed and cultures destroyed.
Through media propaganda, oppressed people are taught to despise themselves and value/admire/emulate qualities of their oppressor. This was once common knowledge among many people, including Lesbian Feminists. Patriarchy is full of images of people selling themselves out to be trendy and popular, and to simply fit in and feel “normal.” Even in oppressed communities, anyone who looks more natural gets harassed and told they are ugly and wrong, and how they should change themselves, although doing that makes them look unnatural and injures their health. (Michael Jackson is one example of the extremes an oppressed person will go to in order to stop being subjected to racism.) This self-help solution to oppression also creates multi-billion dollar businesses. In the Sixties and Seventies, there was more pride for oppressed people, just as there was more pride for Lesbians of all backgrounds to be out and look like Lesbians. But these are reactionary times. And those who don’t know their own history are condemned to repeat it.
One of the main tricks of the trans movement and their supporters is to present trannies as more oppressed than anyone else could possibly know or be. Suddenly, men who grew up with all the privilege of het men, many with salaries far higher than most women can get, and married for decades with children — as connected to the power structure as possible — are said to be far more oppressed than any Lesbian. Similarly, FTMs who grew up fitting in as “normal” girls and who did not feel like freaks, who were “feminine” in male-defined terms and/or who were acceptably het, are said to be far more oppressed than lifelong or Never-het Lesbians or Butches.
Recently, I was at a Lesbian brunch where I was told that I had no idea what it was like to grow up knowing I was different and never, ever feeling I fit in. This Lesbian was lecturing me on how much more oppressed FTMs are than I could possibly imagine, yet she herself was extremely feminine and no one seeing her would dream she was a Lesbian except that she was at this Lesbian event. She was giving me the cult line while completely ignoring who I am. She was objectifying me because anyone who looks at me can tell immediately that I had never fit in as a “normal,” proper feminine girl. I look like an obvious Dyke and I have always felt like an outsider because I hated and rejected male-identified “femininity.” I am a lifelong Lesbian and Butch. I had no politics or words for how I felt growing up – not one book or film that showed Lesbians in anything other than the most horrible, degrading, terrifying stereotypes. You certainly couldn’t turn on the television like now, and see much-loved public Lesbians. It was uncomfortable and humiliating when I was forced to wear dresses or skirts and look the unnatural ways it was demanded that girls look. This was a case, at that brunch, of a more privileged Lesbian oppressing a less privileged Lesbian on behalf of FTMs who had betrayed us both.
Further proof that transsexualism is more privileged than being Lesbian or even gay men is that it is welcomed and encouraged in such a religious fundamentalist country as Iran, where being a Lesbian or gay man is a crime punished by death. The method of eliminating all Lesbians and gay men in Iran is to force them to change their sex (or to appear to.) More sex change surgeries are performed in Iran than any country other than Thailand, and they are actually paid for by the government.
The fact that transsexualism is so welcomed by such a religious country that is so incredibly destructive to Lesbians, does make me think that some US government funding and support is being given to the trans movement. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the US government deliberately tried to destroy and co-opt radical movements.2
Why Would Any Girl Want to Be a Girl in Patriarchy?
I hated femininity as a girl. I had no Feminist politics and awareness, but I hated everything my family, school, and church pushed on me that was supposed to be for girls. I hated being humiliated by boys when they pushed me down at school to look at my underwear. I hated that they could have their shirts off in the summer while I was verbally assaulted by a boy when I was 4 because I dared to be outside with my shirt off. Our chests looked the same, but he humiliated me anyway, to teach me that girls weren’t allowed to be as free as boys. I hated dolls and being told I would have to marry a man and have babies. (I got my mother to shut up by threatening to become a nun.) I hated when my mother put my hair in curlers, which made trying to sleep painful, and put me in shoes that hurt, and sent me to school in a dress that was indecent for a little girl.
But I also loved girls and NEVER wanted to be a boy. I didn’t hate being a girl – I hated male-defined femininity. I hated the humiliation that came with being a girl and how constrained we were. I hated most boys and men for their cruelty, except for my father. Adult male relatives and neighbors were often prurient, drunk, and violent. I can remember how my friends were afraid of their fathers, and one friend obviously was being sexually assaulted by her brothers. (This wasn’t an unusually dangerous place – this was a “nice” working class neighborhood with tract houses in a Midwestern suburb.) So I don’t understand any female wanting to become one of them. Why? As I said, it makes as much sense to me as a Lesbian wanting to join the klan or another openly evil organization. Where is their loyalty to girls, women, and Lesbians?
But of course a dramatic change in privilege is attractive. A friend told me how happy her ex was, now that she had become a man, but, really, who wouldn’t feel better with such a massive increase in privilege? At a reading for her book, “Body Alchemy,” FTM Loren Cameron described how, as what appeared to be a working class older man, she was treated with respect by the female and gay male staff of a San Francisco clothing store – but when an obvious Butch came into the store, all the staff ridiculed her. And, of course, as we age, old men get far more respect and privilege than old women.
In a documentary, a Lesbian described how much better her life was as a man. She was more accepted at work and by her lover’s family. Her lover’s father said how angry he’d been that his daughter was a Lesbian, but now his daughter was “normal” because her lover had become a “man.” As he said, “It’s better than being a Lesbian.”
But what is the most disturbing is that young girls are being pressured to become transsexuals. I saw a documentary in England about girls who didn’t want the male-defined feminine role that patriarchy insists we conform to. The girls liked the comfortable and more protective clothes made for boys instead of skirts and dresses, and they liked doing the active things that boys are allowed to do rather than playing with make-up and hair styles, posing, and flirting with boys. Instead of understanding that being naturally female includes liking to do things considered male, and that femininity in patriarchal cultures is actually a male invention, the girls were encouraged to believe that they were really males inside of females’ bodies. One of the English girls went with her family to Amsterdam to enroll in the Dutch transsexual program so she could begin treatment, which included a hysterectomy, a double mastectomy, surgery to alter her vulva, and daily injections of testosterone – all before she reached puberty. Nothing was said about what if these girls changed their minds later. And not once was the word “Lesbian” ever mentioned as a possible alternative to explain their feelings. No other explanations were suggested either – not even basic Feminist ideas about gender equality.
Around the same time, a friend sent me a taping of a U.S. radio program in which a mother described her little girl wishing she were a boy from the age of three. Again, everything the girl said about why she wanted to be accepted as a boy made sense in the context of male privilege. She’d been disappointed when her grandmother gave her a frilly dress for her birthday, so she asked her mother, “Why don’t you tell grandma I’m not the kind of girl who wears dresses?” When that didn’t work, she tried, “Why don’t you tell her I’m a boy?” When the girl was six, her mother told her she couldn’t be a boy since she didn’t have a penis, so she said she wanted one. If the conversation had ended there, that would have been used by the transsexual lobby as proof that the girl truly wanted to be male. But when her mother explained to her what a penis was, the girl said she didn’t want one. Still, her mother, who seemed unusually aware and caring, explained to the interviewer how she’d accepted, with “professional” help, that her daughter was a transsexual and would have to face surgery, testosterone injections, etc. Again, not once was gender equality or the word “Lesbian” mentioned.
I don’t know why I’m surprised that many hets would prefer that girls mutilate themselves and damage their health rather than become Lesbians. But why is this also happening among Lesbians?
Wiping out females certainly seems to be the goal of the trans movement. FTMs and their Lesbian-hating supporters are trying to appropriate every female who fought against male oppression, from Teena Brandon to Joan of Arc. I saw from the beginning that the trans movement used Teena Brandon, like they do so much else. Teenaged Teena Brandon was a young Butch in a terrible situation in a small town in Nebraska who changed her name to Brandon Teena so she could pass as male to survive and to be able to love other women — as so many women have done throughout history. When she was found out, a group of men raped and murdered her. The only quote I’ve read by an actual friend of hers described her as a “Lesbian.” The interviews I saw with her friend and mother also showed clearly that she identified as a Lesbian, not as a man. But everything I’ve read and heard since in the gay/queer and mainstream media describes her as a “Female to Male Transsexual.” Transsexuals simply have stolen her for their own use and are again re-writing our Lesbian history. I wish she could speak for herself.
Liars know that if you say a lie often enough, it’s believed. The right wing, from Josef Goebbels to Karl Rove, used this tactic successfully.
What those who push transsexual politics forget is that many of us know what most males are and hate them as a group for their violence and raping. Many females have passed as male to survive, and they’re more likely to know about how disgusting males can be and so would never want to actually identify as one permanently. But then many, if not most, FTMs grew up obeying the male rule of femininity.
Self-betrayal for Privilege
Some females take the privileged way out by choosing to be with men while others choose to be with females but identify as “men.” I believe both those choices mean self-betrayal and betrayal of other females.
Too many females believe the simplistic lies we are told that keep patriarchy and heterosexuality going – such as that we’re all supposed to be heterosexual. But I don’t believe any female is naturally heterosexual. If we were, why are we so relentlessly pressured to believe what is an obvious lie? Again, this mass delusion acts like a cult where you are not to dare question it – or if you do, you will be severely punished.
The patriarchal power structure and every individual male benefits by females choosing to be het. Even gay men benefit from the het patriarchal power structure that’s based on keeping women in a subservient position and which gives higher wages and other privileges to men.
We’ve had heterosexuality shoved down our throats as soon as we were born — from the media to families to schools to religion – but that doesn’t make it true. Look at what else they lie to us about. How many know the real story about “the birds and the bees?” Their euphemism for human reproduction is a lie. You are unlikely to ever see a heterosexual or even male honeybee. Honeybees have an almost all-female society in which the “queen” only creates a tiny amount of males when starting a new hive and those males live for just a day. The “queen” has only one het experience, from which she produces her multitude of Never-het daughters. Ants are bee relatives (Hymenoptera) who also are almost all female. You might occasionally see a winged male ant, but he doesn’t live long, and the rest are all female. True sisterhoods, ants and bees give their lives for each other and feed each other intimately from their mouths. Yet children are indoctrinated with animated movies about male bees and ants. Was it a coincidence that one of the most popular of these movies had the main character voiced by a famous child molester?
Finding the truth in the maze of lies makes it much harder to not internalize the Lesbian-hating that they teach us. Many species of animals live in female communities and they know to keep out the males because the male are rapists and murderers of the babies.
If you ever doubt how patriarchy has invaded almost every woman’s mind, notice how most women refer to animals they don’t know as “he.” Some even call obviously female animals “he.” Making maleness the norm reflects deep acceptance of male rule and lies, including the inferiority of females. Real Feminists stop participating in this. It also reflects how few women question or are even aware of patriarchal mind control.
Het brainwashing is also the norm. I saw my friends in high school working very hard to make themselves feel attracted to boys. It didn’t come naturally, like their attractions to girls did. Of course most women today say they love being het, but notice how focused the media is on training all females what to feel so they can fit in. Just a few decades ago, it was common knowledge that most women made a reluctant deal to be fucked by their husbands in exchange for having security and het privilege. Many, if not most women, make a cold economic decision to marry men so they won’t live in extreme poverty. This form of legal prostitution used to be common knowledge until the Twentieth Century media bombarded women with the propaganda to marry for “love.” But I still hear women talk about marrying men simply to increase their standard of living. Women would be far less compelled to marry otherwise, which is why we can never expect true equal rights in patriarchy.
These days, males have had to learn some tricks to keep females entertained, but they still can’t love the way a female can – no matter how much “Lesbian” porn they watch.
I can remember making the choice to be a Lesbian when I was three – I didn’t need to know the word “Lesbian” to live my life as one, although most of us do hear the word “queer” while growing up. In this era, when people are often told the outrageous idea that they choose to get cancer by having the wrong attitude, the mainstream as well as Gay media line is that we don’t have a choice about being Lesbian or Gay. The cult line is: “We hate being queer and would do anything to be normal like you, but we were born this way, so pity poor pathetic us and give us equal rights.” It’s as if the entire beginning of the Lesbian Feminist movement never happened. Yet, it’s obvious that we do make choices since most Lesbians once chose to be heterosexual. And many ex-het Lesbian Feminists used to make it clear that they chose to be Lesbian as a political decision.
So, if being het isn’t natural, why do so many women choose it? Notice how many people will betray themselves in other ways when the alternative is to be unpopular, criticized, and ridiculed. There’s also the higher standard of living that males provide, but choosing to be intimate with men is like choosing death over life. What other group almost entirely chooses to be so intimately involved with their oppressor, even to the point of reproducing their oppressor? And then most women become heavily invested in the continuation of patriarchy, supporting males over females. When anti-Feminists say that women can be as cruel as men, they forget to notice that those are usually the women who’ve chosen to be dedicated to males – sometimes so much so that they will protect their rapist husband, boyfriend, or son over their victim daughter. Feminist arguments in defense of such women, saying how they are trapped and can’t leave their abusive men ignore that the same women would leave immediately if their husband/boyfriend brought home another woman to fuck.
Being het means being accepted by society, family, and strangers in a way that Lesbians are never fully accepted. With few exceptions, we are excluded from almost any media representation of love or relationships. Harassment and ridicule in schools is constant. I’ve known women who hated the thought of having children, do it in a desperate attempt to finally be accepted and loved by their Lesbian-hating families. Never underestimate the desire to be “normal,” and never underestimate the deep shame many feel for being Lesbians. That explains FTMs as well as all the unhappy het and bisexual women.
And then of course, most women have no idea of who Lesbians really are. Even many celibate Radical Feminists have become so disconnected from their hearts. When they hear or read “Lesbian,” they think of sex, rather than love. Their awareness of the heart connection that draws us to each other seems to be lost. When I asked an acquaintance if she was a Lesbian, she said she’d tried it when her ex-husband had once brought home another woman for a three-way. She didn’t like it, so no, she wasn’t a Lesbian. An actor who was asked if she’d ever tried being a Lesbian said that she had once, but when the other woman put on a dildo, it repulsed her. These examples have nothing to do with Lesbianism, but show how sordid, repulsive, male fantasies and male propaganda affect and control women.
The Myth of FTMs Being Butch
What has been heart-breaking to so many Lesbians is the belief that we are losing Lesbians, and particularly Butches, to “becoming” men. But this is a myth. Most of the Lesbians I’ve seen “transitioning” are Fem, though they try hard to present as male. This isn’t as strange as it sounds since “femininity,” as we know it in patriarchy, is a male-defined, male-identified invention devised to confuse and weaken females. It’s unnatural and artificial, and, so, in that way, is not so different from identifying as an FTM.
Some women go through bizarre lengths with plastic surgery to look acceptable to male standards, while others just try to look male, but I believe it’s the flip side of the same coin and is rooted in male-worship and self-hatred. Della (Volcano) Grace the photographer/pornographer/trans-activist is an example. At first, she gets breast implants to fit in more with the male image of women, and then has them cut off and becomes a “man.”
I’ve also seen a “Radical Feminist” collaborative site, run by a het woman (there’s an extreme contradiction) which allows Butch-hating comments, such as the myth that FTMs are Butch, but which censors any attempt to say the truth. When a Butch member of the group posted my short article about FTMs, she was banned. Again, who does this Butch-hating, Lesbian-hating serve?
I believe that a lot of the insistence that it’s Butches transitioning is rooted in Butch-hatred – believing that Butches are more like men and unnatural anyway. The more het-identified and more Fem-identified a Lesbian is, the more likely she is to believe this. Meanwhile, Lesbian-identified, Lesbian-loving Lesbians, whether Butch or Fem, whether Never-het or ex-het, know that Butches are closer to what all females would be without patriarchal rules and indoctrination. Butches are the Lesbians who break most of the rules of what a “real” woman, a male-identified woman who obeys male orders, is supposed to be.
When Butches are treated as equals and with respect in Lesbian communities, then you know that is a strongly Lesbian-identified and Lesbian-loving community. (I’ve never seen this, but if you have, please tell me!)
In Loren Cameron’s book, “Body Alchemy,” the “before” photos of those who’ve become FTMs look Fem – not drag queen-style Fems, but certainly not Butch. Some of the YouTube videos of FTMs that I’ve seen also show extremely feminine-looking women before they begin to take testosterone. It’s interesting how similar they look to photos on internet sites by MTFs claiming to be Lesbian Butches – and I have never seen an MTF look remotely Butch. Many FTMs also show their shared culture with gay men and the genderqueer community by having picked up pretentious exaggerated gay male mannerisms.
Chaz Bono also looks clearly Fem in her earlier photos. (She seems to be a sad case of never feeling accepted as a Lesbian by her mother, and so I wonder how much that affected her decision to “transition.” Not to mention that her bisexual lover will now feel more comfortable as well.)
A new trend is occurring among FTMs: Many of the women who want to be men have been so brainwashed into worshipping males that they want to both be male and be sexual with men. Many of the early FTMs, such as “Patrick” Califia and Loren Cameron are now identifying as “gay men.” It’s also a myth that all FTMs are Lesbians since some are ex-het Lesbians who have gone back to men and are therefore actually het or bisexual women. Some of these women are doing a mind-fuck on gay men too, by identifying as gay men. A lot of FTMs are a new, trendy version of fag hags — het or bisexual women who want to be fucked by gay men (which I’ve heard that gay men describe as having a “bonus hole.”) The result has been some FTMs becoming pregnant and/or getting AIDS.
Re-writing our past is also hurting us. I know a Butch who was two years old in 1970, yet she angrily repeats the myth that Butches were badly treated in the Lesbian Feminist community in the Bay Area. It doesn’t matter to her that I was here and know it’s not true, and she wasn’t.
There was also a TV movie trilogy that included a story about how young Lesbian Feminists in the Seventies harassed one of their group for becoming lovers with a Butch. They looked silly and not like any Lesbian Feminists I ever saw, and the “Butch” was played by a feminine woman. I am Butch and I was a radical Lesbian Feminist from 1970 on. Who does re-writing our history hurt and who does it help? It’s propaganda against the most radical of Lesbians and reminds me of the lies spread about Lesbian Separatists. Of course, some newly out, ex-het Feminists were Butch-hating, but so are many anti-feminist Fems in the Butch/Fem role-playing community. I find their sexual objectification and sense of ownership of Butches and desire to use us more offensive. It actually reminds me of how men treat women — as if we belong to them.
It’s true that Lesbian Feminists mostly are against role playing, but that isn’t the same as being anti-Butch. I’m also against role-playing. (For me, identifying as Butch is like identifying my class background, and is about fighting role playing, which means resisting patriarchal orders to be feminine.) What I saw in my old community was that Butches like Pat Parker and Judy Grahn and Willyce Kim were loved and respected, and that the now ridiculed and vilified tradition of wearing flannel shirts and jeans was wonderful support to all of us who had grown up being humiliated by being forced into wearing dresses and other revealing and uncomfortable feminine clothing by our families or even just to be allowed to go to school.
Notice how males in the media are allowed to look relaxed and natural, and how even the ugliest men are considered attractive, while women are expected to be in pain and look like caricatures in order to not be ridiculed.
It was such a relief being in a community where most Lesbians looked like Lesbians – unlike now where many Lesbians will say even about Dykey Fems, “She’s so ugly, she looks like a man.” Patriarchal influences had always been there, with male worshipping and admiration of male-created femininity, but now it began to be more open and bragged about. Instead of pride in looking like visible Dykes, more Lesbians reverted to passing as het. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that sado-masochism and porn began to be trendy. The first three books I know of that were about “Lesbian” sexuality were actually written by bisexuals, and were Lesbian-hating in their het-minded focus. Instead of being proud to be Lesbians, and looking and acting like a Lesbians, too many imitated and valued male and het women’s male ideas more. This supported the return to male-identified femininity, as well as directly leading to the trend of Lesbians wanting to become “men.”
Males’ obsession is to mark territory, whether by rape, by ownership of females or of other cultures, by war, and by genocide. Being a Lesbian is about love, loving another female deeply enough to risk the hatred and danger that comes from such a revolutionary act. Lesbians threaten patriarchy at its tedious, evil core. When Lesbians agree with male rules that we’re only about sex, it reveals how linked they are to male ways of thinking. And in spite of anti-Lesbian lies from the male-identified in the old Lesbian “sex wars,” true Lesbian love is far more exciting and passionate than the boring, disconnected sex which imitates hets and male objectification. The irony is that Lesbian “sex radicals” are in reality pathetically mainstream and submissive to male rules and restrictions. But the damage done to individual Lesbians and our communities is real.
We early Lesbian Feminists questioned and rejected the unnatural “feminine” role men set up for us where we’re expected to alter our voices, body size and posture, wear demeaning clothing that make us more vulnerable to harassment and attack, wear shoes that damage our feet and backs, and that prevent us from running or defending ourselves, mask our faces with lurid toxic chemicals, alter our hair texture and color with chemicals, burn, cut, or electrolysize our natural facial and body hair, etc. – all in order to be “normal” and “feminine.” We understood that we were expected to give up our dignity in how we look and act because only men are really allowed to be their natural selves. (For those who think things are much better than in the past, picture a man in the role of a woman in a movie, using the same gestures, expressions, and movements, and wearing the same ridiculous shoes and restricting revealing clothes. Animated films for kids are even more revealing in pushing female stereotypes, which is training girls for their roles. Animation of animals is probably the most extreme. Contrast those female-hating caricatures with how real wild animals act and it becomes clear just how false femininity is.)
Even many Lesbians believe these lies. I’ve seen Lesbians too often describe such ugly, unnatural femininity as “beautiful” or “hot,” while describing natural females as “ugly” or “masculine.” Many females will do almost anything to not look naturally female (Lesbian) because that’s interpreted as being “male” and “masculine.” Even some of the few who are openly against femininity still accept the propaganda by describing themselves and others as “masculine,” when, in actuality, being a Lesbian is as far from that as possible. Looking like a Lesbian isn’t masculine – and it’s not feminine by patriarchal definition either. Both are male-invented terms. We are above and beyond both – unthinkable and free – unless we fall for the lies. Not enough Lesbians allow themselves to think past all the lies. Yet it’s not so hard.
The reclaiming of the worship of male-defined femininity and the accompanying role-playing and sado-masochism in the late Seventies did not feel at all liberating for many Lesbians. It felt like our precious community was being undermined and destroyed. Equally frustrating is hearing Fems from that era saying how oppressed they were by the pressure to look like Lesbians. They had the whole world supporting them in following male rules, but they wanted to impose their patriarchal values on our beleaguered communities. And those values are so entrenched that many Lesbians think Lesbians who look like drag queens are more attractive than Lesbians who look like Dykes. Personally, I loved seeing all those short-haired Dykes in flannel shirts and jeans. I still do.
Sometimes Lesbians will say, “Well, how does a Lesbian look anyway?” It’s true that many Lesbians look no different from het women, but there is clearly a recognizable Lesbian look, which means looking more Butch and which means you’re more likely to get harassed on the street or be unable to get a job. But it’s also a way to identify a stranger as one of our own, and is the way we’ve been able to find each other through the ages and across all cultural lines. If we all looked like Lesbians, het could no longer pretend they don’t know any of us or aren’t aware of us.That would be easier on all of us to not be so singled out in Lesbian-hating ways. Every Lesbian who is out benefits all Lesbians, as a culture and individually.
If we refuse to believe anti-Lesbian and anti-Butch lies, then we’ll help make the world and our communities a safer place for females to be our natural selves, and we’ll make it easier for girls and adult females to not think that they have to torture their bodies, including “changing their sex,” in order to be accepted. It also helps to know that being a Lesbian is a choice. I think that it’s the natural state of all females, but because of growing up with the tremendous patriarchal pressure to be het, many go against their nature – which means that it takes a lot of courage to choose to be a Lesbian. In spite of the oppression we get, and harassment and attacks, and in spite of not usually even having the support of our families and neighborhoods that other oppressed groups get growing up, I can’t imagine giving up how wonderful it is to be a Lesbian – not for any privilege in the world.
Saying we choose to be Lesbians gives us pride in ourselves and gives us the power to change mistakes. Instead of begging for acceptance or wanting to be something we’re not (whether it’s being het or trying to be male), we can know the revolutionary truth that being a Lesbian is the best choice of all.
1. On the “Survivor” television show, macho “Boston Rob” referred to another man’s body showing in his revealing tight underwear as “disgusting.”
2. Don’t assume this attempted destruction of Lesbian community is just coincidental. Sometimes I forget how deep a threat we are to the mainstream culture and government which represents patriarchy in our immediate lives. What better way to wipe us out than to make the definition of Lesbian become meaningless and to support the introduction of our enemies into our last remaining spaces as a Trojan horse strategy? African American Lesbian friends have been the most vocal about saying to not forget that the government still has agents in our community. Some European-descent friends scoff, saying, “I don’t want to hear conspiracy theories,” but it’s not a theory – it is reality. African American Lesbians witnessed how the government worked to destroy the Black Panther Party and even christian civil rights organizations with the Cointel program. This is well-documented, and the damage continues, with drugs brought into African American communities. If you have any doubts, look it up. One website says “Cointel-Pro created or instigated several intra-and inter-group disruptions for the Black Panther Party.”
I remember a documentary showing interviews with several of Malcolm X’s bodyguards who were FBI agents. They were there when he was assassinated. Although they reported on him to the government, they were crying because they could not stop the assassins (sent by Louis Farrakhan and the Black Muslims). These agents loved Malcolm and didn’t want him to die, but it was amazing that he didn’t know several of his closest bodyguards were agents.
Some question, “Why would they bother with Lesbians?” Well, there were Lesbians in the Weather Underground, and the FBI went through another embarrassment when they had no idea who the SLA were when the SLA kidnapped Patty Hearst, I would think they’d rather not be caught like that again. At least two SLA members had been in our Bay Area Lesbian community. A friend of mine had briefly been lovers with Camilla Hall. (Another good reason to not join male-run organizations – what a way to die – burned alive. Not to mention that since Patty Hearst says the men in the SLA raped her, they likely raped the other women also.)
Government agents in our Lesbian communities report back, but also work to disrupt any kind of strong movement we create. Just one determined individual can do tremendous damage with lying. One publication taken over by the trans or genderqueer lobby also does tremendous damage. Laws are already being changed. We have almost nothing left that we once had as a revolutionary Lesbian Feminist movement.