Monday, May 9, 2011

Really Camille Paglia? Transphobia Much?


Interviewer: What do you think about this need to have a surgery in order to reinforce your gender?
Camille Paglia: I'm very troubled, very troubled for example Chastity Bono's announcement, which is going to mainstream obviously the issue of transgender. I mean, Chastity Bono has many many issues in her life and to think that this is the answer - I mean, everyone can see that this is not the reason that Chastity Bono has been unhappy her whole life and now at the age of 40 to make this transition to mutilate the body in effect, I'm concerned about it because when I was young okay, I was convinced I was the wrong sex, convinced of it.  If these things were in the air okay, I could see myself going down that road.

Dear fellow cis people, please, please stfu.  Who is Paglia to decide that because her own gender confusion was not based in a trans identity, that she has the right to dictate to others what their gender is?  This is some of the most failed logic I have seen on trans issues I have seen in awhile.  It smacks of cis privilege, even as it others and completely belittles trans people.  Notice how she fixated on SRS and deemed it mutilation. The following is a passage from Whipping Girl by Julia Serano on this phenomenon:
The objectification of transsexual bodies is very much intertwined with the cissexual obsession with "passing."  While our physical transition typically occur over a period of a few years - a mere fraction of our lives - they almost completely dominate cissexual discourses regarding transsexuality. The reason for this is clear: Focusing almost exclusively on our physical transformations keeps transexuals forever anchored in our assigned sex, thus turning our identified sex into a goal that we are always approaching but never truly achieve.  This not only undermines our very real experiences living as members of our identifies sex post-transition, but purposely sidesteps the crucial issue of cissexual prejudice against transsexuals (akin to how some heterosexuals focus their interest on what gays, lesbians, and bisexuals do in the bedroom - i.e., how we have sex - in order to avoid contemplating whether their own behaviors and attitude contribute to the same sex discrimination.
This is further problematized by the fact that Palia continually misgenders Chaz and uses his former female name.  This is cissexism at work folks.  By declaring Chaz female, Paglia completely ignores Chaz's right to define himself and this is absolutely oppressive.  A large part of cis privilege is not simply having the ability to identify as one pleases, but having this identity accepted by the world at large.  This means that every time one is correctly assigned the appropriate gender eg. sir or ms. one has been accepted.

Furthermore, no one transitions because there is a media story talking about someone's experience.  This is especially true when we consider the gatekeepers who control who has the ability to transition.  Why is it so hard to believe trans people when they decide to share their experience? Oh I know, cis people think that they have the right to sit in judgement of others and enforce the gender binary.  Well, here's a tip, a trans person is not taking your body to do their business and therefore it is none of your concern.  If transition bothers you so much, that you feel the desire to spread trans hate, the issue is most likely linked to power and privilege than anything else. There is more to gender and more to trans people than their transitions and Paglia's statements are the perfect example of the way that cissexism is absolutely corrosive.