I’ve been quiet because I have wanted to write up a post to address how trans rights and women’s rights are the same thing, but I was really upset by what happened last week. This included a lot of misgendering, personal attacks, misrepresentation, and even mockery about me being assaulted. I told Cole that if Balloon-Juice allows that to continue, I would no longer post here. So everyone, cool your jets.
ALL trans people need women’s rights. Period. because trans women are women, and AFAB (assigned female at birth) nonbinary folks, and trans men need access to women’s medical care: pap smears, birth control, abortion, mammograms, sexual abuse counseling, safe non-sexist workplaces, schools, and public places. My uterus doesn’t care that I’m nonbinary, and as a nonbinary person, I have to deal with all the misogyny that regular women deal with as well as an extra dose of transphobia.
When trans people get their rights, cis women also get their rights because it is a matter of respect for bodily autonomy.
When cis women get their rights, trans people do not necessarily get their rights. And many cis women view trans people as a threat to women’s rights.
It’s the perfect wedge issue. And some of the worst vitriol is coming from women who use slogans like “protect girls” to strip trans people of their rights. Cis women have had to endure so much sexism, and should be our natural allies, but when someone feels like they don’t have political power, it’s much easier for fear and violence to flow across or downward. This is a tale as old as time.
Trans people experience sexism from cis men and cis women. Period. If Anne Laurie or Water Girl posted about how a man they know publicly goes around talking about how liberal he is, but then trashes women and behaves in a sexist manner behind closed doors, it would be egregious to attack them with “not all men.” The trans people who post and comment on this site have experienced tremendous discrimination, and are experiencing tremendous discrimination. Trans adults are being forcibly detransitioned in Missouri, the Don’t Say Gay Laws have been expanded to 12th grade in Florida, and today, TODAY, House Republicans passed a bill to ban trans athletes from women’s sports.
As for why I do not use the word TERF. Well, it’s because I’m trans. and when the word TERF comes out of my mouth, people stop listening. I intend to get into this further in a future post, but many people see TERF as a slur, and both transphobia and transmisogyny are far more subtle and nuanced than you think they are, so no, I don’t call all women who say transphobic things (intentionally or not) TERFs because it ends the discussion. And I need cis women who feel uncomfortable about trans people to stay in the discussion.
Furthermore, there are numerous forms of feminism. Reactionary feminism is a specific brand of anti-progress ideology that wants to bring back gender roles and only recognizes “biological women” as women. A two-second google search will show you some troubling manifestos, including an article by Naomi Wolf who considers herself, Michelle Bachman, and Sarah Palin reactionary feminists — is that who you want to align yourself with?
It is okay to not know everything, and it’s okay to ask questions. But words have meaning, and if your words have been co-opted to mean something discriminatory, then fight to get those words back! But fight the people who took the words from you, don’t fight the people who are being discriminated against by those words!
Trans rights are Women’s Rights. Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Trans Rights are Human Rights.
I don’t have a garden, so here is some art I made while I was angry this week.
What is the end game for Republicans?
Trans rights are human rights.
West of the Rockies
I love your art, Eddie!! Such a striking color pallet, form and energy.
My kid is non-binary, gender fluid. Their partner is a transboy. Fear, hatred, transphobia are all too real. Thankfully, they are in Eugene, OR, a relatively secure space.
thanks so much for sharing these pieces. They’re great! I love the contrast & the motion in them.
planet eddie – your art is beautiful! And I want you to feel supported.
Hi, Eddie. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your art, and your words, and your persistence.
Dude, I don’t have a garden, pets, or art. Where does that leave me?
I am glad you decided to stay. I think transphobia is the right’s gateway hatred these days, so it is important for trans voices. Emotions are running high at the moment and sometimes people forget that we all owe one another a presumption of good faith here (except to the obvious trolls).
I don’t know which I’ll regret more: saying anything, or not saying anything. I’m just not as optimistic about raising this issue here as before. Some of it is maybe the expected resistance; comfort zones shifting out from underneath folks and the tension of having to adjust to new and unaccustomed ways. This could have to do with outdated views on race equality or whatever, but there’s something else that bothers me that I’m not sure how to get across.
A lot of the pushback is well-meant, but I’m not sure all of it is. I think there’s another kind of social disruption in play. It’s especially hard to bring up because of my background, and I have full expectation that it will be minimized especially because of that, and because of what it involves.
Specifically: the most strident argumentation on this subject has been giving me a sense of abusive manipulation, to the point of disrupting my health. I won’t speculate on motives but it’s been a real mask-off, missing-stair experience for me. Maybe it wasn’t an issue before because things didn’t really come up in a way that posed a conflict – or hey, maybe I’m imagining it all and there’s nothing to worry about. But I have no reason to expect that it will stop until everyone (who’s left) agrees not to raise the topic. I don’t have it in me to contest the issue anymore. Just be careful, everyone.
Thank you for staying Eddie, I appreciate your voice and want to learn more. You’ve provided lots to think about and I appreciate that. Your art is striking; I love the last piece especially.
thank you planet eddie for being here, writing here, and showing us from time to time, your art.
Thank you for being direct and clear, and for this post. This is just an incredibly terrible moment where the f**ing authoritarians are going flat out. I hope we can figure out how to ally and stand together, because the right wing is counting on us to fall apart – and that needs very much not to happen.
A dear, wonderful friend posted junior prom photos of her with her nonbinariy high school kid yesterday. They both looked amazing, and happy, and it was so sweet. And I though “thank g*d they live in California” to which I then thought about our friends in Boise who are parenting a younger trans kid, and my stomach just lurches.
And I have it easy, as just a friend (and yeah, a gay man, but living in a ‘blue’ bubble and all). I won’t rest easy. My partner just preached a sermon on resisting tyranny on Sunday. Near the end he said he’s coming to terms with the realization that (us in our 50s) we’re going to be resisting authoritarianism and all this shit likely the rest of our lives.
Thank you, planet eddie, for your bravery. As an 82 yo cis woman, I ache for the discrimination that people anywhere along the LGBTQ spectrum suffers. I’m just an old hippie who hoped our “All you need is love” aspiration would really change the world, and I think it did somewhat, but it’s terrible to see this nasty recent atmosphere of hurtful, dangerous behavior. Keep on keeping’ on and know there is a lot of support for your and yours.
I just learned that one of my co-workers has a teenager who is non-binary. She seems like a very caring & devoted mom and I fear for her and her child here in Idaho.
The situation in Missiouri is sickening. TRAP laws were terrible for women’s health beyond their horrible impact on abortion access. Similar law targetting transpersons is even worse to my mind.
I’m sorry people in the BJ community attacked you. We’re all stuck on this sometimes wonderful, oftentimes miserable rock together and I wish we could all accept people as they are and who they are and just accept that love is love.
GSV Sleeper Service
@Seanly: idaho is getting harder to stay in, every year the legislature gets worse. I have a transwoman on my team, but I don’t know how much longer she’s going to stay in the state.
Hey, planet eddie. First time commenter, long time reader; I mostly don’t bother with the comment threads and just take the temperature by how grumpy the front pagers’ comments are.
I’m jumping in because I didn’t realize how bad ABL had it and I learned a lot while she was here, and I should have said something in support of her then. I thought that Cole’s post ahead of time had brought people in line, but apparently not enough, so I’m commenting to say something in support of planet eddie and any other trans people reading comments now.
I’m a cis woman, and I’m a better woman now because of the trans people I know across the gender spectrum. My understanding of my own woman-ness has only been enhanced by talking to my friends about why they feel disconnected from it or rejected by it or connected to it. Including trans people (And separately though overlapping intersex people) into our discussions of gender roles in society is to everyone’s benefit.
And the way to do that is to make sure that they’re safe to live their lives, and not leave anyone behind because they have inconvenient needs or are pointing out uncomfortable things. All trans people deserve medical care.
As the GOP ramps up the violence in its constant bigotry, it is up to the rest of us to stand in solidarity with everyone they are attacking.
@planet Eddie: I’m so sorry people were awful. I’m ashamed that you would encounter that here. Your thoughts and ideas are a valuable addition to this space. And you’re absolutely right about the overlap between trans and cis women’s issues. I’m mystified why people can’t see that having judges and legislators in the doctors office with us, and over-ruling the doctor’s medical expertise with their ignorant feelings, is bad for all patients whatever the issue. I don’t want some religious zealot who flunked 10th grade biology having a say in whether a kid should get puberty blockers or if someone whose water broke at 18 weeks should be treated before she threatens to bleed out, or any other medical issue.
@GSV Sleeper Service: I think that might be part of the plan, to make red states so inhospitable to sensible people that we all leave and cède the ground to them.
Thanks, planet eddie! I’m glad you wrote for us again. I hope you can feel welcome here.
I have for most of my life known numerous humans that didn’t live their lives according to the conventions of the masses of the genitalia that they were born with. The only effect it has had on my life is that I’ve met some great humans, not one of whom thought I was requiring them to justify their sexual lives or they mine. I’ve given memorials for some of them, including family and not once have I felt the need to justify my or their life choices about anything sexual, in any or all directions. They were human beings, their friends and partners were human beings. I’m a human being. Everything else is none of my business. Period. And I feel blessed to know them, all of them, even the ones that don’t understand. The end
And eddie, stay. Things never change without some stress. They never get better without it either. I’d bet it can be difficult but without that change it will never be better.
planet eddie, I am grateful you are here and hope you stay.
GSV Sleeper Service
@Gretchen: it used to be the rural sheep-fucking leges would just spend the session pissing on Boise, but the last couple years have been just insane – banning books, trying to ban mRNA vaccines, making it illegal for minors to leave the state for abortions…
@West of the Rockies: Us too! They (both) are in Seattle at UDub so we feel (hope) they are safe, for now.
Planet eddie, those paintings/prints are beautiful!
Rules creating special athletic competitions for girls and women are inherently arbitrary and discriminatory. A girl can become State Champion in track and get offered college scholarships when her time wouldn’t get her out of the boys District Meet. All I will say on the topic.
Sister Golden Bear
@planet Eddie: I’m also glad you decided to stay, and glad you wedge image in the room. Yes, its discussion that some people may be uncomfortable, but it’s an important discussion to have.
Absolute power. Absolute dominion over anyone who’s “not like them.”
There were a few years in the 2010s when I dared hoped we wouldn’t, but yeah….
Trans rights are human rights but even more, I agree that Trans rights and women’s rights are closely allied — they do go hand in hand. Because patriarchy.
I think the only place where I’d quibble is: I agree not all feminisms are good. Radical feminism came from a scared, vulnerable place and embraced essentialist views of persons that are just patriarchy flipped upside down. And calling people TERFs is a kind of cos privilege, I can see. But just because Naomi Wolf calls Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin feminists, doesn’t mean they are. Not all women are feminists. It’s a label they both hate, and reject. They’re not Reactionary feminists; they’re just reactionary. Wolf herself, I dunno. She’s probably a liberal feminist who doesn’t think very hard. Feminism has its goods and bands but inventing new forms and targets just gives more room for attacks against ALL feminism. Not all women are feminists. Most aren’t. It’s something those of us who are have a hard time admitting. Wanting to get ahead in your own life in some way does not make you a feminist. Being in politics doesn’t make you a feminist.
I’m glad you’re here.
Your art is beautiful and powerful.
Sister Golden Bear
I can’t say definitively whether Republicans want to things so intolerable that all “sensible people” leave, but they have been pretty open about wanting to drive LGB-and-especially-T people out of their states and out of public life. DeSantis’ spokeswoman tweeted a few days ago cheering a new article about how LGBT families were leaving Florida due to all the anti-LGBT laws being passed.
Glad you’re back on the horse here!
A general question:
We have had considerable discussions about the concepts of pronouns, but what about the concept of courtesy titles? Clearly the Mr./Ms. (And Ms took about 30 years to become the norm) Sir/ma’am dichotomy doesn’t work for some non-binary folks.
I work at the VA as a researcher and was chatting with a colleague about this. The VA is starting to encourage schedulers to refer to folks as Veteran [name] when they aren’t sure of gender. My colleague suggested that first names were OK in all circumstances.
I get the sentiment, but at the same time a courtesy title does convey respect and unless you get rid of all courtesy titles (probably not happening for awhile if at all) it seems like non-binary folks could get saddled with the old problems women/black folks had (eg being called by your first name while white dudes got the “Mr.” Treatment.)
(Any one know any non- binary elementary school teachers? How do they approach it?)
Sometimes I’ve wondered if non-binary folks should be offered a scholarship to the PhD or medical program of their choice so there’s an obvious off-the-shelf respectful courtesy title for use in formal settings among strangers. Then I realized that saddling people who already have enough to be going with in life with graduate school is likely an eighth amendment violation.
Here’s one place where the USSR really had an advantage. Wouldn’t you agree, Comrade Planet Eddie?
Comrade Fake Irishman
Preach! Thank you for continuing to post here. You’re perspective gives me a lot to think about that I’d generally be oblivious about. Thank you for your generosity.
Sister Golden Bear
Individual non-binary folks will have their own preferences, but a pretty commonly-used courtesy title is “Mx.” — at least among the non-binary people I know. At the very least, even if someone prefers something different, it shows that you recognize their non-binariness.
But I’ll definitely defer to planet eddie.
@Sister Golden Bear: Every now and then, I think about where we will be today if Hillary Clinton had become president and done absolutely nothing at all other than get a. Liberal or even center left replacement for scalia confirmed to SCOTUS. And then I have to immediately take anxiety medication so I don’t start screaming in frustration.
I use the VA and as last names and last 4 of the SS number are the way folks are identified, I’m not sure it can be any other way. Of course there are always issues, where I go there is another vet with the same last name and same last 4 SS number. I always remind folks when I check in, to save time and confusion. The only people that use my first name are docs that I see regular.
@Sister Golden Bear:
and it never hurts to ask,…….
AJ of the Mustard Search and Rescue Team
Thank you eddie. Edifying as always and I appreciate your giving us another chance. I honestly hope we ban people who cannot be kind and respectful in the face of your generosity.
@Citizen Alan: Hillary would not have been allowed to seat anyone to the SCOTUS.
Sister Golden Bear
It’s not coincidental that British transphobes, who appropriate feminism to justify their transphobia, have actively recruited in places like Mumsnet, where there’s a lot of young mothers, often first-time mothers, who are feeling isolated and vulnerable, and highly dissatisfied with their lives.
FWIW, the ideology pushed by today’s British transphobes share the gender essentialism and the extreme black and white thinking of certain Second Wave rad fems. Simple solutions to complex issues, with a convenient scapegoat to blame all problems on, a scapegoat who’s the source of all evil in the world. Obviously this is far from unique, as Eric Hoffer noted: “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.”
@Eolirin: I think you have to go one step farther (as long as this is all fantasy anyway) and imagine that sanity had prevailed and that the Republican Senate candidates had paid a price for Trump leading their ticket.
Sister Golden Bear
@Jay: Of course.
I have been heartened in recent weeks seeing some U.S. feminists explicitly drawing the connection between the rollback of trans healthcare rights with the rollback of abortion rights. Both are about bodily autonomy and keeping the state out of medical decisions made by a doctor and patient.
I’m a straight guy so I’m obviously not directly affected by any of this.
But I am curious. Other than sports, where does this actually come up legally speaking? Where are the places where trans men or women are being discriminated against because they are not considered female or “real women”?. Not dissed on twitter, but facing legal or illegal discrimination?
Obviously in red states trans people are facing existential issues that go way beyond this. But say, here in Washington State. How does this come up? in a legal sense?
I’m not trying to be a troll here. I’m honestly curious what the issues are.
Eddie, welcome to BJ! I’m so glad you’re here and I’m so sorry that some commenters made you feel unwelcome.
Please stay. You add a valuable perspective – one that is badly needed now more than ever. By bravely putting yourself out there and allowing BJ readers to get to know you as a real person rather than a stereotype, you are striking a powerful blow for trans acceptance and trans rights.
work, travel, being out in public, medical and psycological care, just to name a few.
@Kent: medically, most def… any Catholic or other religious centered medical care could and would deny care depending upon who runs the ship. Just because the majority of primary care givers would likely not have an issue, there’s always a select few that are less than understanding, after all, we saw people leave, physicians, nurses, technical staff walk out over masking…. during a pandemic.
Late to the party, but I just wanted to put in writing how glad I am that you’re still posting here and thank you for laying it all down so clearly.
Bottom line – the simple rule is don’t be a dickhead and try to be a friend to those in need. Everyone will make mistakes, that’s mostly what being human is all about. And though there will always be nuts to be picked on every side of every debate, and because there’s never yet been a tool the good guys built to fight evil that couldn’t be picked up and turned into a weapon in the wrong hands, once again, just remember not to be a dickhead.
Keep up the fight, Eddie.
Sister Golden Bear
The crux of the “bathroom” bills is that trans women are “really men.”
The infamous “third articles of gender appropriate clothing” laws used for decades to harass trans people — including in CA — was premised on assumptions that trans women weren’t women and trans men weren’t men.
Bans on trans healthcare for kids, and now adults, are premised on the ideology that trans women and trans men aren’t “real women” and “real men” but merely confused.
I could go on, but you get the idea…. it undergirds pretty much all of the anti-trans legislation.
I can’t speak to WA, but in CA trans protections are grounded in recognizing trans women are women and trans men are men. But that’s only pretty recent.
Sister Golden Bear
@Kent: Legal-adjacent, but only a couple years ago a Catholic hospital in CA cancelled a trans man’s bottom surgery (the day before the surgery) because they didn’t consider him to be a man.
When I was getting my body modifications, my insurance explicitly banned any coverage of any procedures. Even though if I’d been assigned female at birth, they covered breast reconstruction/augmentation for women who’d had mastectomies.
@Sister Golden Bear:
and it doesn’t prevent descrimination or harassment.
Thanks for posting; I understand a little bit more when I read what you have to say.
ETA: Someone might take the bait as a challenge when you say “if I get harassed here I’ll quit” so I think a mod might want to bear in mind that EVEN at bj where we’re all crazy libs there could be a lurking sociopath (it’s 1 in 20 of the general population after all) who takes that as an opportunity to bully you right out of here. That’s not on you, it’s on us — and I hope I’m making a case for comment mod by pointing this out.
@Kent: If you, yourself, are worried about low testosterone you can easily walk into any number of health clinics and walk away with a prescription for a testosterone supplements, basically the same day. In order to get the same medication trans men are subjected to scrutiny and requirements that cis men aren’t, even though HRT has dramatic mental effects long before it has “permanent” physical effects.
Glad you’re still here and posting, planet eddie. And thanks to Sister Golden Bear for much useful info.
How do you pronounce that? “Mix”?
I’m struck by the authoritarians, as a group, having a common movement worldwide. The billionaires have read way too much science fiction and are deadly serious about creating a world of techno-feudalist serfs.
The strategy is clearly Divide & Conquer. The carefully tuned hate campaigns are focus-group tested, not just in the media-saturated USA, but everywhere, because it’s cheap to do, and effective. We feel under assault, because we are, and the people we love and care about are being targeted by insane religious fanatics … some of them sitting on the Supreme Court. Some are in the NRA. Some are in the Kremlin.
BJ can be a shelter from the storm, and an oasis of sanity and kindness, even if it doesn’t feel that way at times. I am stunned by the courage of our front-pagers and commenters … thank you for being here. Please stay. We are stronger together.
@Kent: I had a doctor who refused to treat me for a cold because he saw that I was on estrogen. He asked me about it, and I said it was for gender dysphoria. He asked if that meant that I was trans, I said yes. He said he wasn’t comfortable having me as a patient.
@Bethanyanne: holy shit. Reread that Hippocratic oath, doc! On the other hand, good to know that right up front so you could get out and find a competent, decent human for a doctor instead of whatever that was.
Glad to see your post planet eddie. I was appalled by the threads where you were insulted and misgendered. Hopefully they’ll just not comment on your threads again so the rest of us can get on with discussion and learning from each other.
@Aris Merquoni: I echo everything you said, thanks for such clarity!
@Sister Golden Bear: love when anyone quotes The True Believer. That book more than anything else inoculated me against fanaticism from a young age.
I should add that that was just the one doctor. Sometimes I have a general practitioner as my main doctor, sometimes a diabetic endocrinologist. What like 99% of them say is “I don’t know anything about hormone treatments for transgender patients. I’d like to refer you to a specialist endocrinologist for those issues, so you get the best care.” And that’s great. The new GP here in small town Arkansas (just moved here in Feb from Houston) made sure to ask my preferred name and pronouns. Mom and I have same GP, and I go with her to make sure the care is good. The nurse walked in and said “Hey ladies, what’s up today?” at Mom’s last visit. Totally casual tone of voice, not making any sort of point or anything. It was pretty wonderful.
I’m stealing the “not all men” explanation Planet Eddie. Brilliant!
Thank you for continuing to post, Eddie. You bring a needed perspective from the front lines, a depth of understanding that I don’t get from reading the (horrific) news. It heightens awareness so that I can be an ally – be aware that there is a crisis of need for allies. I hope you are able to safely continue to post here.
I’m glad you’re here, also. And sharing your stunning art, too!
Cis gay and white here, living in Stefanikland in the Adirondacks. Former educator and debate coach. I think I learned most that listening is crucial. My own experiences do not reflect everyone else’s even of they might resemble those experiences. I’ve been been blessed to know quite a few young non- binary and/or trans folks — one along with their fiance has asked be to co- officiate (along with fiance’s rabbi) next year.
i know i need to hear and listen to your voice, and those of others here. Thank you.
I missed the misgendering and mockery of you being assaulted. Criminy. The hair trigger overreaction on liberal issues I at least understood, but I would never have expected those two things here.
Delurking to say: Eddie, thank you. I’m grateful for your voice and work and wisdom. Trans rights are human rights!
It seems to me that being a lefty or a liberal is all about trying to create a more lateral world, but it looks like there are people who just want to move themselves a little higher in the hierarchy and are willing to step on people lower in the hierarchy to do that.
We need to understand and act on the fact you write about: when the most marginalized people get civil rights, then we all get civil rights — and remember that the reverse is not necessarily true. So the work of creating a more lateral society alway requires us to make sure the people forced to the bottom of the hierarchy get their civil rights. It’s not going to work for anyone otherwise because then we all remain stuck in the hierarchy.
And also! Trans people are people! I value you, Eddie, and all my trans and queer friends / family. You are a wonderful thinker and writer and you make the world better.
@rikyrah: To make everywhere comfortable for themselves so they never have to encounter a concept or person that makes them uncomfortable, and to try to make sure none of their kids are gay or Trans. It’s an impossible goal, but that’s what they want.
@Bethanyanne: what an asshole — I am sorry this happened to you.
I’m sorry about that hideous mess last week. I’ve been thinking about you, hoping that you would not leave, because I want and need to listen to you and learn from you. Thank you for being here!
To me, trans women ARE women. The biology we are born with is one thing, but our brains are the most important. I don’t know what it feels like when your body biology doesn’t “match up” with what you feel you are in your heart and soul, but you know what? It doesn’t matter that I haven’t experienced that – all that matters is that I honor and respect those who have the bravery to live their lives in the way that makes sense to them, that makes them happy and complete.
I’m a Missourian and I am so angry that there is a law forbidding medical care for trans people. This is a gross violation of privacy and will cause great harm to innocent people. Trans people are the intended target, but this law may also harm anyone who needs hormonal treatment. Those assholes in Jeff City don’t think about how their evil, punitive laws have a ripple effect.
I hope this evil they have unleashed comes back on them threefold.
I have learned so much just from two of your posts. I hope to learn more. I understand if your efforts are attacked or not accepted that you would stop. Reading the comments here, I trust that the support displayed swings the weight in favor of you staying. Thank you for sharing your art, the emotion it invokes is palpable event to these untutored eyes, and I hope it brought you relief, perhaps even peace. The alchemy of fashioning art from anger is a superpower.
I don’t know — things can even go to shit. But I don’t think the current authoritarian wave will be as strong as it is now in a decade or two. Just see PA, MI, and particularly, WI. They went really far in the de-democratization process, the demographics seemed to be against us, and yet, they were stopped.
I am feeling something in the air in Florida with the last, vast overreach of DeClown. Let’s see what happens with abortion. As soon as there is a credible group pushing for a constitutional amendment for 2024, I am all in. I have felt really despondent about the state of the Democratic Party here, but think that this will unify everyone against the authoritarians (really about a 1/3 of the population).
My rather sunny disposition is influenced by being communism fell and gay rights win so thoroughly so fast.
I’m also somewhat optimistic for the long term, but here in the short term we have these coercive laws being passed, and legislatures bold enough to silence members for speaking frankly on the floor of their meetings. Places to be heard are premium things. Let’s work to keep this blog one of them.
Thanks for the views from your planet Eddie. They are haunting and beautiful.
Emerging briefly from my mostly lurker state… just to say please stick around and keep writing, planet eddie! I’ve gotten a lot out of what you’ve said so far, and I’m the better for it.
Also, I like the art. I don’t have a garden either. Nor do I have the kind of talent you do, but I’m an avid, hungry consumer of the visual arts, so please post more!
@Sister Golden Bear:
I’m using the same hormone patch that many trans women use. It’s the exact same medication. The journey to get treatment for menopause is a whole other adventure in how poorly women are treated.
Ironically, my HRT is covered by insurance (thanks Obama) but the entire time I had a uterus and needed contraception it wasn’t covered even though I needed birth control pills for treatment of my blood disorder and not just because I’m a hot slut who couldn’t rely on aspirin between my knees. I share this just to point out that it’s bullshit to think that attacking trans women is somehow to defend cis women. They are attacking women’s bodily autonomy period. Trans women are women. We need each other.
Thanks for coming back and reminding us that we are all hurt by those punching down. Obviously, the targets are hurt most of all, but it really does hurt everyone, not least because we all have limited time and energy and we should when possible use them to make things better “for ourselves and our posterity”…
Thanks for sharing your powerful art.
I often comment after everyone else has moved on and rarely deal with replies to what I’ve said.
In day to day interactions (is that what IRL means?) I don’t need agreement or praise but I do expect respect and to be heard. Doesn’t always happen.
At times it seems that here on Balloon-Juice, respect falls out when a commenter is driven by their own need to be right or to justify themselves.
I’m working on learning what’s going on with me when I need to prove I’m right. Therapy is a great help with that life-long project.
It is hard enough to choose words when emotions aren’t in the mix. I’m having a tough time now figuring out how to say this knowing that what I write lives on and can be dissected.
Those who share theirthoughts in front page posts are brave and thoughtful. I respect and appreciate all of you. Right now I appreciate Eddie for your courage and openness.
Eddie, your art is amazing and I’m grateful you are here. I hope we will be more worthy of your time and wisdom.
Other than having a trans sister, I am not forced to feel the fear or sting of this backlash. It’s from that privileged perch that I get to feel really good about where we are and where we are going. I know that, so know that I know that before jumping me for having slappy happy sunshine coming out my ass on what follows here:
This backlash is coming because we are winning, because we are rapidly expanding the basic human freedom to be who we are. Things are much much better than they were 27 years ago when my sister finally had the courage to be who she was… and almost paid with her life. It’s a night and day difference, and the troglodytes are turning to the legislatures and passing hate laws because it’s their last futile hope. Society is waking up and marching forward, culture is changing. And things are going to be so much better 20 years from now, because we are going to make them better.
It is still deadly serious business to beat back the revanchist crap wherever we see it. I think it’s also a good idea to remember that what we’re seeing now is what the process of winning looks like.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Gretchen: That is absolutely their plan.
Nothing specific to add to the wonderful comments but this place is made richer by your posts and I am enriched as a human by reading them. Thank you, Eddie.
Dorothy A. Winsor
I’m a big believer in the power of fiction to help readers understand other people’s experiences. Next month, one of the most conservative members of my book club is leading a discussion of MAD HONEY, by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Boylan. One of the book’s main point-of-view characters is trans. I’ll be interested to see how the discussion goes.
Anyway, I can see why the anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-anything-not-white-straight-Christian folks want to ban books. Books are powerful
Eddie, I’m very glad you are still here. I’ve been worrying that the worst possible outcome was that you had left without there even being a post from the other front pagers acknowledging that and supporting you. I’m very relieved that’s not the case.
When I was still working in tech I had a friend and colleague who was very talented and reached a point in her career development where it would be good for her to travel to overseas offices. She confided in me that she was afraid she would be challenged about the gender on her passport. I have no idea whether she was trans, she never said and it was none of my business to ask. Trans rights are incredibly important for everyone, because the alternative is horrific policing of compliant gender presentation that plenty of cis people can’t achieve either.
Thank you for persisting here! I’m grateful to be learning quite a bit from your threads. As a cis male, welcoming of trans-folk, I just had a mini-breakthrough.
I considered the task of trying to medically discuss a problem with what, for me, feels entirely abnormal, such as having a uterus. Can not imagine how disorienting and difficult this can be! The (often hidden) challenges for trans folk somehow became even more poignant during this exercise.
Late to the party, planet eddie, but I just want to say to you and Sister Golden Bear, to please stay and continue to post and comment. I have already learned so much from you and am anxious to keep on learning. I will be eighty years old this year and still feel I’m not as educated as I could be. You are a gift to this community.
@Bethanyanne: wow, that is unbelievably fucked up.
@Sister Golden Bear: That health insurance must pay for breast reconstruction for female (at birth) breast cancer patients is a federal law (though rare, men (at birth) can also get breast cancer).
Every insurer has to cover it, no matter what type of breast reconstruction the patient opts for — implants (silicone or saline, and the implants only last about 15 years, then it’s another surgery to replace them), or autologous surgery, where tissue from another part of the body is used to build a breast.
There are various techniques for this last option, and the techniques have evolved, but when I had my mastectomy ten years ago, it was about a 10-12 hour surgery costing $250K.
I will leave it as an excercise for the reader why our country thinks paying a quarter of a million for what is cosmetic surgery to replace a breast is an absolute requirement.
Meanwhile, a prosthesis is about $400 and a mastectomy bra to hold the “foob” (fake boob) is less than $100. And I don’t have to list here any of the details about all of our fellow citizens without any health coverage at all, or what a struggle it has been to enact laws to make sure insurers cover the most basic preventative care.
@Gretchen: I don’t really think there is a “plan” or even a readily identifiable “they.” But I do think the sorting that is happening absolutely plays into the hands of those who oppose the expansion of human freedom. And that the hyperbolic, obscurantist rhetoric we on the left tend to use as regards “red states and blue states” is toxic to the cause.
Very late to this and I missed the previous discussion. I’m truly sorry that happened here and hopefully it will not happen again. I hope you will stay. We need your voice and to offer our full support of trans people. The vicious, genocidal attacks against trans people must be stopped here and now.
Bodily. Autonomy. THAT is the whole ballgame.
planet eddie, thanks for continuing to post here!
What is nonbinary?
Thank you for your post, planet eddie. It enlightened me. Thanks, too, for your images. They say so much, so effectively. I am glad you’re here.
An umbrella term for someone whose gender identity isn’t male or female, but rests somewhere on a sliding scale between the two.
Oh, and a Happy Birthday to planet Eddie!
Bruce K in ATH-GR
@Bupalos: The closest I’ve seen to a rational guess at a plan presumes that they’re trying to make the states they control so inhospitable to people less reactionary than themselves that it renders those states solidly red, and if enough states are that solidly red, they can call a Constitutional convention to change the Constitution to what they think it should be.
This is an exceptional thread, there are dimensions to these issues you just can’t see until they are pointed out. I am grateful for the trans members of the BJ community sharing their experiences, and the very thoughtful responses above. I learned some new things from the post and comments. We have a spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community across our family and friends. For myself, all of this has been a process of moving evermore toward trust, agency and autonomy. It’s granting each person agency over themselves, to trust that they know themselves better than anyone else can know them, and thereby granting them agency and autonomy over themselves. That agency and autonomy extends from their own preferences for things as basic as their name and pronouns, to agency and autonomy over more complex issues as their medical needs. Wrapped around this protection from discrimination as they exercise their autonomy and agency. Over and over again, a lot of these cultural issues come down to these basic issues. Trust people to know themselves, and allow them to express that knowledge free of discrimination. That strikes me as the core of actual freedom, from that other freedoms flow (trust people to express themselves, trust people to practice their own religions and so on). Planet Eddie, Sister Golden Bear and everyone else, thank you for being here and keep up the good work.
@Tony Jay: Thank You.
@Frankensteinbeck: yeah, that. 😳
I think there are so many issues in how people (as a whole) generally relate to one another and someone else’s experiences that become magnified when the subject of discussion is the treatment of trans individuals. We are trained from birth in comparative suffering – that one’s harm, whether physical or emotional is not valid unless it is greater than the (usually imaginary) suffering of someone else, e.g., “oh please, that’s just a scratch, there are hundreds of children who break their legs every day and don’t cry as much as you”. It literally pushes people to maximize their pain and the best way to elevate one’s self over someone else is to minimize what other’s go through in order to validate our hurt. This. Is. So. Wrong.
I am not saying everyone does this, but there are enough people in this world who practice and preach comparative suffering that it poisons what should be a simple matter with a simple solution: treat EVERYONE as an individual. But, because toddler’s are taught this and it becomes a part of their personality, you won’t easily change adults who act this way.
I stood on the subway yesterday, next to a person who really stood out. Green eyebrows, different nail color on every finger, hair had color highlights, etc. This person stood out. This person did not seem to want to be considered the gender born. I’ve known people of all persuasions, gender wise, this was the first who was trying not to blend in whatsoever. Very interesting, very different, actually nice that someone could go that far to deliver their identity to the rest of the world.
I haven’t read the thread yet, but reading your post then seeing your art brought me to tears. Thank you.
Welcome back PlanetEddie. So glad you decided to stay because we definitely need voices like yours here at BJ. I’m so sorry you (and everyone else) had to deal with that bullshit.
I’ll try to keep pushing back when I see commenters writing things that could make this space unwelcoming for Transgender/NB People, and I’d encourage other Cis commenters here to do the same so that work doesn’t fall entirely on PlanetEddie and other Trans/NB commenters. Every little bit we can do to lighten that load, helps a lot and I’ve heard from many people from marginalized groups (Women, PoC, LGBTQ etc) over the years that they really appreciate when allies step up and help with this never-ending, clean-up work. Obviously, you can only do it once you have a decent understanding of the issues and can recognize subtle transphobia, but a good way to start is just to follow the lead of Trans/NB people here and notice the things they call out and why, and then keep an eye out for stuff that looks similar in the future so that you can call it out yourself, when they aren’t around or just don’t have the energy to engage. Try not to let your fear of making a small mistake hold you back. If you get something slightly wrong or overreach, people who know better will nicely correct you and then you’ll know better for next time. It’s really a collective responsibility for all of us to make BJ a community that is safe and welcoming for all. If you are at a beginner/Trans 101 level of understanding, it really helps if you do some research: read some articles, listen to Trans podcasts, follow Trans/NB people/pages on social media, watch some YouTube videos etc. You’ll very quickly start learning the do’s/don’ts of how to navigate these topics respectfully. You don’t have to be an expert to be able to See Something, Say Something. But like Feminism, and Anti-Racism etc., for most of us people of privilege(s), it takes a little effort on our part to educate ourselves by listening first. But the one upside of the mess from last week is that there were some commenters jumping in and pushing back and trying to “collect our” Cisgender People, which was very encouraging to see.
Please stay Eddie. I’m an old cis white guy living in a red area so misogynists, transphobes, homophobes, racists and republicans (but I repeat myself) just assume I’m one of them and feel free to spew their hate in my presence. Ten years ago I might have just rolled my eyes and let it slide but thanks to wonderful people like you, and discussions like this, I have grown. I’m also old enough that I have completely run out of fucks to give so I now feel free to call them out. Oddly enough it turns out they are all just joking!… but seriously, they know they have lost the fight and are lashing out.
The point is, liberalism is winning, and I will continue to fight for you. Be well, keep up the fight, and stay safe, as the situation allows.
And your art is inspiring.
(Rasies hand) I have a question though, maybe good for your future post: are there any besides Intersectional Feminism that actively try to be inclusive? It’s the only one I ever see/hear about that seems to make the effort (when done right) to avoid exclusion/erasure of groups. That’s always the way I’ve interpreted the phrase: “If your Feminism isn’t Intersectional, your Feminism is bullshit.” That without active and conscious effort to be intersectional, every brand of Feminism will ultimately slide into perpetuating existing hierarchies, Isms, Phobias etc. Like even Black Feminism can have its’ issues with erasing LGBTQ women/people as we saw when the lady who invented the term Womanism, expressed some unfortunate views that were very tied to the Gender Binary.
No One You Know
@Bethanyanne: I’m sorry that doctor was that way.
@satby: X2 on the The True Believer. It was the most approachable book on thinking I came across in my teens and I still have it on my shelf.
@planeteddie: I love your writing and your artwork. I’m not up to speed on what got said, but I am sad, tired, and frustrated with people who can’t give room to the very best that others can offer. You have to do what’s good for you, but you are making us better.
@UncleEbeneezer: That’s a really interesting question, hopefully one that can inspire some posts!
Thank you for your stories. It is always a battle to be who you are. As you mention, just because you fight for x does not mean you are for y. We have to be alert for those type of people. In my experience, they fight for x because x directly affects them. It is not out of a higher ideal. Too often we correlate the two to our disadvantage. Those who fight for x but also a fight for y, z, etc., believe in a higher principle. A fight for any of those is part of the fight for human rights for all. The first group acts out of selfishness the latter selflessness.
J R in WV
thanks for your information, planet eddie. Valuable perspectives to everyone willing to listen/read about. Same for Sister Golden Bear and all the other folks posting here today.
I’m an old white guy who doesn’t know much about the trans community, but I’m glad to learn more and to support all of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters of whatever ID they currently feel is their real existence.
Thanks eddie for sharing your perspectives with us. All people have their own perspectives into life, some more even handed than others. Everyone take care of yourselves and each other, please!
JR in WV
Paul in KY
@Balconesfault: So what.
This long time reader and very occasional poster just wants to say how much I have enjoyed reading all your posts, and how I particularly enjoyed your introductory video. I direct a graduate program at my university, and as we are starting to mentor more trans students / students in the process of transitioning, every bit of information, advice and recounting of experiences I can get helps me and my colleagues support our students. So thank you.
Paul in KY
Great art, Eddie. Thanks for sharing it.
@livewyre: I feel you, and I relate. I had a really bad few mental health days after the last time. I’m mostly choosing to stay away from the comments and let the community moderate with reminders that this work is supposed to make us uncomfortable. Growth involves discomfort.
For what it’s worth, I really hope you stick around.
And I am glad to see that I am not the only one.
@UncleEbeneezer: generally, intersectional feminism is closely tied to Black feminism and transfeminism (no I don’t know why one has a space and the other doesn’t). My understanding is that both ideologies are generally intersectional but center the primary thinking around Black women in the former and trans women in the latter (which of course has overlap). There’s a commitment to also investigating the voices that were erased in the past in both forms of feminism.
I want to do a longer post, but I actually need to consult with some folks who are more well read in gender and critical theory to make sure I structure the information in a comprehensible but comprehensive manner.
Late to the thread. I hate everything about this post.
Thank God this blog has a pie filter for people coming here with bad intentions, causing trouble with every post. I have trans relatives that I love. I had a gay high school boyfriend I loved who died of AIDS. I have had innumerable assholes confront me as a professional woman. I am white and have black grandchildren whose future terrifies me.
Every comment I have posted in eddie planet threads has been misinterpreted by them and put me down and presented me as hostile. Trying to be patient but my patience is gone . They came here to cause trouble and they have succeeded. I am pissed and I think they are here to cause trouble. I have actual trans relatives I love and support. This isn’t helping and I am disappointed that Cole lets this person keep picking fights online alienating everyone who jumps through their hoops, because those hoops change with every post.
@sab: I think eddie planet is a performative twerp who convinced Cole they were sincere. Everything they have done on line has been to piss off the regulars. If you think the regulars like Kay are a problem you need to go to another blog. I am hugely pro trans and I am beyond furious. Eddie smeared me a lot with bullshit. Yes I noticed.
@sab: I don’t like conflict much, and I have a hard time arguing without being furious first. It’s unfortunate, and it’s why I read much more than I ever comment. I also am trans, and I’m disinclined to attack a fellow trans person.
But you are right. You are simply right. Titling a post “The Problem with White Women” is shitty. It’s just shitty. It is not tone policing to note that. I’m terrified of the backlash we are in the middle of. But I read the two threads. Kay had every right to be mad. She saw bad behavior and called it out and got dogpiled. She was *far* kinder than I would have been. She made errors in good faith, and corrected goddamn immediately when they were pointed out and it looks like that got her precisely zero credit.
I honestly was going to simply let this go and not accept the invitation to a fight I don’t want to be in. I want more trans voices at Balloon Juice. And I’ve got so much survival level bullshit going on in my real life that an online argument is a luxury I can’t really afford. But you and Kay have been good eggs here for years. It’s simply wrong for that to be glossed over.
Thank you for saying some of the things I was feeling.
I want to encourage more trans voices at BJ, but I would like for the discussion to be inclusive and constructive.
I see general agreement with the premise that trans rights are womens rights on these threads. Let’s accept that as a positive and try to move forward, without focusing on a description of a group of people to blame.
Planet Eddie (love that nym!), you have a lot to offer. It would be great if your next post started with some fresh insights without referencing previous discussions. As a front pager, please help us to move on.
I really don’t have any issues with you, and you’re welcome to email me to hash it out. We can agree to disagree about Kay’s intentions, but she consistently attacked me well before I ever got into the mix, and when I calmly and patiently explained what my intentions were in the first thread, she willfully misrepresented them.
The Problem With White Women is a book that discusses how in the feminist movement, black women were left behind. I consistently said how there are white feminists who are not looking out for other marginalized groups, and I was told to source it, so I did. There were women of color and trans folks who were upset that Kay continued to center everything on her anger at literally misreading what I wrote, so I continued to re-center that. I also posted a thread that was about the feminist movement’s long history of transphobia since apparently people are unaware of that.
Cole has known me for 15 years.