When Trans People Use Transphobic Narratives — The Buck Angel Tragedy
Trans separatist Buck Angel and his friends has published a letter attacking trans female activists. Trans men and women world wide have pulled their arguments apart and revealed the transphobic basis of their arguments.
Can transgender people be transphobic? They most certainly can. On their life journeys many go through periods where internalized transphobia causes shame, guilt and confusion.
And yes, some even take their fear out on other trans people, in desperate attempts at living up to the expectations of cis/straight family and friends. That is understandable, even if it is not defendable.
The tragedy of transgender separatism
But what is not is understandable is when trans activists start using anti-trans talking points against other trans people, in attempts at distancing themselves from other parts of the transgender community.
That is exactly what transgender activist and porn star Buck Angel and his friends have done in their “Trans Men Fight Back” letter, which was recently posted over at Gender Dysphoria Alliance Canada.
The letter is a list of anti-trans talking points, which could have all been copied from any TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) web site out there. The whole point seems to be to distance straight trans men like themselves from lesbian and bisexual transgender women.
Like TERFs and right wing extremists they use the transphobic and debunked “autogynephilia” theory of Ray Blanchard, presenting transgender women as deceitful sexual perverts. They misgender trans women. They support conversion therapy for trans kids and adults. They use the LGB acronym instead of LGBT, a trick normally used by transphobic gay and lesbian people.
Yepp, it is that bad.
Julia Serano strikes back
Trans philosopher, scientist and activists Julia Serano looks at the use of the bad pseudo-science of “autogynephilia” over at twitter (republished with permission):
I think I’m gonna step back from here for a few days, or maybe even a couple of weeks. I’ve been increasingly bummed out in the wake of the whole “Trans Men Fight Back” letter, but for reasons that may not be obvious to everyone. I want to get this off my chest, so here we go:
Circa 2009–11, the DSM revision committees were formed and began putting out their recommendations. the trans community and trans health advocates en masse raised fears about GID (now Gender Dysphoria) and the role Zucker might play in shaping it.
A few of us kept pointing out how Blanchard had been named to head the Paraphilia section, which was home to the TF [transvestic fetishism] diagnosis (now Transvestic Disorder). unlike GID/GD, TF/TD serves no purpose other than to pathologize trans female/feminine ppl.
Despite a few of us being very vocal, the rest of the community didn’t give a shit, mostly b/c they felt it didn’t impact them. as a result, we got a somewhat improved GD diagnosis, and a *GREATLY EXPANDED* TD diagnosis, because most people were looking the other way.
It crushed me at the time. & I’m feeling that same way yet again, with this f-ing “Trans Men Fight Back” letter.
The reactions I’m seeing (by & large) are really frustrating. most of them are anti-Buck Angel. some touch on divides between transmasc & transfem communities, but almost none of them are talking about the *CONTENT* of the letter. which is almost entirely “autogynephilia” (“AGP”), a disproven theory that anti-trans campaigners have *embraced* because it essentially asserts that most trans women are merely “heterosexual men with a sexual fetish”.
This of course perfectly dovetails with their “bathroom predators” & “protect the women & children” themes that have become the foundation of their moral panic campaigns. I’ve seen lots of ppl critique the Shrier & Joyce books w/o even mentioning that they prominently cite AGP in their anti-trans theses.
Now, if you consider yourself to be a trans activist or ally, but you haven’t pushed back strongly against this false, pathologizing, & highly sexualizing theory, can I ask why not?
Is it because it doesn’t impact you b/c you’re AFAB or a cis person? or if you’re a trans health practitioner or researcher who’s been outspoken against “ROGD”[the pseudo-science of “rapid onset gender dysphoria”] , “conversion therapies”, & other pseudoscience, but remains silent about AGP, are you really in my corner?
All the anti-trans laws being pushed now by conservatives & “GC”s impact all of us. put the political campaigns they wage in order to justify these laws rely almost exclusively on the scary sexually-driven “man in a dress” stereotype that AGP reinforces & incites.
I’ve spent more time than I care to admit to create these resources. if you want to challenge AGP, feel free to share them & employ them. as for me, I’m going to take a break for a while.
Adding this footnote: if you want to critique BA for his role in this, that’s fine, he’s proven himself to be a bad actor numerous times. but if you think this one trans individual is a bigger threat than a theory that’s long been peddled across anti-trans activism, you’re naive.
I will add the following:
3. The “autogynephilia” theory is used by TERFs and right wing extremists to invalidate and harass trans women.
Make note of the names Aaron Kimberly, Scott Newgent, Buck Angel, Ken Pirie, and Aaron Terell. These trans men are now actively harming the lives of other transgender people. They do not speak for the transmasculine community, they do not represent the FTM community and they have little to zero support in the transgender community.
Other trans activists are actively fighting back against this betrayal. See for instance this Statement on Buck Angel and “Trans Men Fight Back”.
See also Toby Hill-Meyer’s twitter thread.
Anyone can sign the Statement on Buck Angel and “Trans Men Fight Back”
Top photo of Buck Angel via Instagram video. Photo #2: Julia Serano (Wikimedia).
Originally published at https://trans-express.lgbt.