Monthly Archives: July 2013

Your Purity Does Not Concern Me: So What If The Definition of Bi is the Same as Your Definition of Pan.

In the last few years the bisexual community (edited especially on tumblr)has been working to root out transphobia¬† and cissexism from our community. (edited: though the communit has defined itself in trans inclusive ways since the very begining. See the “Bisexual Manifesto” available on BiNet USA’s site. H/T to Camille of The Bisexual Organizing Project for reminding me of this fact)One way we have done this is by working to use non cissexist and non transphobic definitions of our sexuality. Definitions such as ” the romantic/sexual attraction to genders similar and different from your own” or as ” attraction to more then one gender”. These definitions are what most bisexual organizations use and what most bisexual activists and writers are now using.We have been going out into the wider LGBTA world with it, contacting organizations to have them change from the cissexist definition of “men and women” or of ” both genders”
As I have mentioned before the only definition that should count is the one that is generated and used by the community.
I have in the course of my activism come across a interesting and worrying phenomenon.
Recently on tumblr user gohomebiphobia posted this definition of bisexuality. It is 100% how the modern bisexual movement conceptualizes bisexuality. It is an amazing informative post.
Sadly it has received back lash, not from straight bigots but from other LGT people and most worrying from other non monosexuals, especially pansexuals.
This has come in the form of really horrible identity policing and gohomebiphobia and other bisexuals being told that they are not allowed to define their sexuality or that pansexuals/omnisexuals know more about bisexuality then actual bisexual people.
At other times this backlash has taken on the form of cis pansexuals/other non monosexuals talking down to or over trans* people ( like me) to prove the bisexual communities definition “wrong”. I’ve also seen people engage in gross tokenisim of trans* people by these people.

The real important thing is this:
so what if the the definitions are the same or extremely similar? Why would that be a problem?

If I go over here and make a definition and call it Bi and someone goes over there and makes a definition and calls it pan but the definitions are the same similar then what is the problem? As long as the two do not really on things like transphobia ,misogyny or the negation of the other ( example definitions of pansexuality or omnisexuality that rely on a negation of bisexuality or the need to forcibly define bisexuality back into cissexist terms ) then it should be fine.
Both describe the same thing, non monosexual desire.

People who show up on posts like gohomebiphobias screaming about how the definition is wrong because it is to similar to pansexual need to sit and think about why that is a problem.

I guarantee that behind these peoples desperate need for the definition to not be similar is ideas of biphobia and purity.Many people who eschew the label Bi do so because of ” the stigma of being Bi” so they use a different term for their non monosexual attraction. By having the non cissexist definition of Bi becoming more and more popular and accepted it in cringes on the purity Bi stigma free zone they have tried to create.

But part of this stigma is that bisexuality is inherently binary or transphobic.These accusations are often couched in nice sounding social justice language so for the longest time it was considered a legitimate reason. But as Bi activists challenge and change that the only reasons left will become increasingly biphobic.

But your need for purity, for a Bi free zone, the need to have a sexuality that you can crap on to make yourself look good does not concern me.

Actively working towards an end to cissexism and transphobia does. And as pan/omnie/polysexuals claim they want to help end these things so they don’t use Bi.

One way to help would be to help propagate the inclusive definition.Instead they resist and fight. Simply playing around with Latin and Greek prefixes is not enough to make you a trans* ally. If you want to be one you need to support communities that are actively trying to fix transphobia and cissexism like what the bisexual community is doing now.
The only reason not to support this effort is through a need to keep distance and “purity” from contamination from being associated with bisexuality in any way.Biphobia.

So if you are pansexual,polysexual,multisexual or any other non-monosexuality and when you come across the same/other genders definition or the more then one gender one and your immediate response is to shout ” no it’s not!” And then try and derail or otherwise try and stop that definition in favor of a cissexist one then you need to stop and examine why this is and your commitment to trans* issues.

Odds are you have some biphobia to work on

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Being An Activist Is Not A Pass At Disney Land: Why being an LGBTQ Activist Does Not Give You Access To Trans Spaces

I’ve noticed a very upsetting trend recently. The idea that if you are an¬† cis LGB activist or cis het LGBT ally you are through your work then rewarded with access to trans* only spaces and discussions, and that trans people telling you that you are not welcome is an offense.
This is the height of cis privilege. Cis people are conditioned in our society to believe they are the ” normal” and “right” way to be. Everything in discourse, from music to bathrooms and jobs is built to celebrate and accommodate cis people.
We trans people go through a lot. We often need space to feel safe, a place where even for five minutes being trans is the dominant way of being.

Being an activist is a wonderful thing. But only the oppressed get to declare who is an ally and what ally behavior looks like to them as a group. Members of the dominant privileged group do not get to determine what these standards are.
Ally is not something you can just slap on. It is something you have to earn.

Cis LGB and Cis het people are not allowed into trans only spaces and discussions because they are not trans.The amount of activism or their hrc sticker or the fact that they partner romantically and sexually with trans people STILL does not give them access. These spaces, whether in real life, internet forums, Facebook groups or comment threads designated as such are off limits.
Barging in and yelling about how it is unfair, how you are an activist and deserve/have a right to be included is oppressive, cissexist behavior. Derailing discussions trans people are having with posts and shouts of ” what about me!” Or worse yet passive aggressively using activism and the idea that you have ” done so much for the trans community” is oppressive. The second type shows what internalized cissexist attitudes you have.
As an activist, as an ally you should never do this. It shows that your ally ship is conditional upon the compliance to your needs and ideals by trans people.
This behavior is immensely problematic and oppressive.
Trans people owe you as a cis person jack squat.
You are not given a magic pass when you become an activist.
Activism and ally ship requires constant self analysis.
If you feel that trans people not including you in trans only spaces is upsetting or wrong you need to do self analysis as to why you feel entitled to that access.
It’s probably unchecked cis privilege.

Being a good ally is knowing when to shut up.
If you are cis and in a trans space or see a trans space sit down and shut up.

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You Can Not Use the T slur.

In my area their has been a huge ongoing problem with people, even self styled allies have used it and it has been used in supposed “safe spaces” such as gsa’s and resource centers. Each time this has happened the harmed trans* person has been asked to educate why this is hurtful and should not be used. That attitude is highly problematic, entitled and transphobic/cissexist. It is akin to shooting a friend and when they scream ” you shot me! Why did you shoot me!” Demanding to know WHY it is wrong to shoot them and when they say they are too busy tending to the fact that they are currently bleeding you scream at them about how they are terrible to you.
So I will do it while I am currently not as the metaphor earlier goes, I’m not shot.

TW: Trans slurs

Tranny is a slur. It is a word used to dehumanize and harm transgender and transsexual people.
By calling someone a tranny you are removing their humanity. By taking away someone’s humanity it becomes easier to do other types of violence to someone. Physical or verbal. Using a slur is the first step in this process that has the ultimate end of death for the victim.
Don’t take that first step

Tranny is used much more against trans women. Trans women of all the LGBT community are the most likely to have experienced or experience violence, rape or to be homeless. This is trans misogyny. The idea behind this is that trans women and cis women who are called this word are not really women.This is transphobic and misogynistic and wrong.

You also can not use it to talk about trans people in porn. Porn is about creating objects for a person to consume. It turns people into things. Especially in trans porn starring trans women they are packaged as not really women but as freaks, as an exotic object. Not as human beings.

We should not take language cues from porn. If you must talk about trans porn or people in it do not use words such as tranny, she male, chick with a dick etc. Especially the last one reduces trans people to simply their genitals. This is cissexist and transphobic. It also is another way to dehumanize and oppress trans people, specifically trans women.
If you must talk about it you could say ” transgender porn” instead.

Trans people suffer disproportionate rates of violence and death. Words like “tranny” are often the last words a a trans person hears before they die. Do not ally yourself with murderers or rapists.
Here is an info graphic detailing the types of violence and oppression trans people face. Often seen or argued to be ” just a word” it is really the first step on the path of dehumanization and oppression that allows such horrors as these numbers to exist.
Words have power.Words have meaning.And a word like tranny can be the foundation for unspeakable horror against others.

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In a perfect world a trans person simply saying ” that is a slur please don’t use it near me” should be enough.
If you consider yourself an ally or friend of trans people that should be enough.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.
So be a good person, a good ally and don’t use it.

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