on the topic of white trans people being racist (like white people are in general), I wanna bring up something that's been bugging me forever:

Black women are by far the standout race/gender demographic in my experience of cis people's allyship to trans people. (not the part that bugs me.) if I think of cis complete strangers who have been unquestioningly, unflinchingly good to me about my transness, most of them are Black women.

white trans women, on the whole, do not return the favor.

even from white trans women who I haven't witnessed doing anything overtly bigoted, the issue for me is silence and inaction. and I know that even my awareness of the problem and my attempts to correct it in my own behavior don't except me from this quietism.

When it comes to transness, Black cis women do the solidarity work on our behalf. And, collectively and individually, white trans women are not doing the anti-racist solidarity work on behalf of Black women- cis or trans.

even if I didn't have pre-existing moral and political commitments to anti-racism, I would feel a pressure to speak up about this from a mounting sense of ingratitude.

Do the work, listen, pay attention. And speak up: be there for your Black friends and friends of color in an active way, intervene among white social groups when horseshit goes down. Bring up racism in white environments. Don't derail conversations about racism with de-raced conversations about gender/transness/gayness.

I say *de-raced* conversations about gender/transness/gayness because that is what has happened to those conversations: race has been surgically removed from white analyses about those things. what is left is an idea of gender/transness/gayness that is implicitly about how those things affect, and play out among, white people.

but manifestations of gendered violence within whiteness are distorted, made unrepresentative, by whiteness and the power given to white people under white supremacy.

anti-Black violence 

As an example, if your prototypes for gender demographics are white, it might kinda look like gender violence either does not happen to cis straight men, or it is modulated in the peculiar way of violence between oppressors. But there are forms of racist violence which are gendered & particularly target, e.g., Black cis men (& which presume straightness); take lynchings, typically organized against Black men in America 'in defense' of white women from imaginary sexual threats.

anti-Black violence 

I put 'in defense of' in scare quotes to emphasize the unreality of the 'threat,' not to excuse the white women on whose behalf this violence is enacted; white women have real forms of gendered power over Black men, and white feminist narratives which suggest that white women are secondary victims or passive in sexualized anti-Black ignore white women's deliberate participation, past and present, in their presumed victimhood and in situations extending beyond lynching.

anti-Black violence, genital mutilation; the last of the lynching discussion 

I don't want to dwell graphically on Black suffering here, but I do want to complete the thought (gendered violence against cis straight men); I half-remember a specific lynching of a Black trans man, and I have no doubt it happened more than once.

so: it's documented that lynchings have often involved castration, because of the gendered, white supremacist investment in the Black phallus as both symbol and embodiment.

at the end of that CWed section, I brought up the white supremacist fascination with the Black phallus. That serves as an enlightening segue: analyses of gender which "exclude race" (exclusively concern white people) cannot make sense of gender violence *even as it happens to white people.*

if you think about TERF rhetoric around the, like, magic privilege powers that live in trans women's genitals, and the insistent connection between our genitalia and the assertion we're inherently predatory,

only in terms of 'de-raced' talk about gender, it can be seductive to see that rhetoric as *misled* rather than malicious; maybe what is happening is a mistaken generalization about embodiment that equates an oppressor group and an oppressed group!

But there is a much more obvious connection to be made with white supremacist/anti-Black rhetoric: this investment of visceral, charged hatred into an imagined phallus is structurally akin between violent rhetoric about Black men and trans women.

Similarly, it is possible to consider TERFs as 'mistaken, but well-intentioned' when they sneeringly misgender trans women and assert that trans women's embodiment and presentation are exchangeable with cis men— maybe this is an overgeneralization from an oppressor group!

But only if you miss other groups of women who are subject to misogyny which includes misgendering and equivocation between their bodies and men's bodies: crucially women of color, though this also affects cis white lesbians.

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

Think, for instance, of a particular class of statements within racist/anti-Black misogyny (a dynamic called 'misogynoir' by many Black feminists; the term was coined by Moya Bailey) that became publicly-prominent in recent years as directed against Michelle Obama and Serena Williams, and has always been notably directed against Black women athletes.

These attacks sometimes outright assert that a Black cis women is trans, other times that she is 'really a man,' or,

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

less conspiracy-minded, simply assert that her body is equivalent to a man's. so racists pass around images of Michelle Obama with her arms raised to call her the T-slur, nominally having something to do with her muscle tone; or there are discussions about how it would be gay for a man to be attracted to Serena Williams, again fixating on her musculature. (But the other lurking variable here is shadeism/colorism, the stigmatization of those within a racial category/

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

whose skin tone is darker over their coethnics who have lighter skin; one component of shadeist ideology is the association of dark skin with maleness and masculinity, and the association of light skin with femaleness and femininity. This is part of what's meant by "hegemonic womanhood is presumed white;" womanhood and femininity are defined and conceptualized in specifically-white ways. Likewise, white supremacy's depiction of Black men as hypermasculine.)


racist and anti-Black misogyny 

should sound familiar: even beyond the use of the T-slur to describe a cis Black woman, the selection of some of a woman's physical traits to mark as 'masculine,' the use of those traits to degender her— and deny her access to services and institutions contingent on gender— is a point of common experience between trans women regardless of race and Black women/dark-skinned women of color regardless of trans status.

In 2009, a cis Black woman named Caster Semenya...

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

beat the existing women's record for the 800-meter dash, because she is an exceptional athlete. She was subjected to invasive "gender testing," including a hormone test, by those who wanted to invalidate her success and deny her rise to success as a female athlete.

In the next few years, athletic "gender verification" began to focus on hyperandrogenism, the presence of unusually-high testosterone levels in someone considered female, and new regulations were passed.

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

This is horseshit. It's BIG horseshit; in order to properly untangle it, we'd need to look at colonialism and its relation to the formalization and medicalization of the gender binary, and the relationship of THOSE things to scientific racism. At the output of that tangle is a proliferation of pathologies to patrol the perimeter of categories, 'man' and 'woman,' defined to exclude the experiences of trans and gay people, of indigenous people, of people of color.

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

I've focused a lot on anti-Blackness here, for two reasons: one, anti-Blackness is a big fucking deal, pivotal to white supremacy broadly. Two, as I said at the beginning of this thread, I owe a specific debt to Black women for the solidarity work they do and have done on my behalf.

But this is not to exclude the racialized gender experiences of non-Black women of color from analysis, and racialized misogyny which features heavily-embodied misgendering is not only

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

experienced by Black women.

There is a whole genre of racist misogyny which centers around facial and body hair— a trait which is both raced and gendered in the white supremacist imaginary— and fixates on Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) , South Asian, and Latina women as targets for mockery and performative disgust; white trans women would do well to recognize that the stigmatization of our eyebrows (and brow bones), hair on the neck or around the mouth, and...

racist and anti-Black misogyny 

hair on the limbs and trunk is a shared stigma, a way in which our struggle is linked to women of color's regardless of trans status.

The systems, ideologies, images of the body we struggle against have a shared genealogy in the effort to define womanhood to exclude all of us, at the exact same time that our whiteness empowers us over our sisters of color in the struggle.

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

This is a weird one; I'd get flagged for original research if I talked about this on Wikipedia, because if this has been covered in existing literature it's hidden behind paywalls and search-term jargon that I'm unfamiliar with:

transmisogyny and Orientalism go WAY back. like, literally all the way back. the earliest, Roman texts that found the genre of rhetoric and worldview that we call Orientalism have ALWAYS used transmisogyny to construct 'the Orient.'

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

The early Orientalist polemics fixate luridly on the shame supposedly conferred on the Eastern Roman Empire by the presence of powerful eunuchs. (Which is hypocritical, because powerful eunuchs are sort of a constant of the Roman empire on 'both sides' of the East/West split, and maybe of premodern empires broadly? Eunuchs were granted access to power on the basis of our inability to found troublesome dynastic lineages.) And these polemics suggest also that the East

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

is 'soft,' 'weak,' 'unmanly,' and that the people that live in [wherever the ongoing tradition of Orientalism labels 'the East'] are pathologically undifferentiated in sex.

So in the early texts we have the Scythians described this way, with the general ambiguity of sex associated with their third-gender caste, the 'enarees'; it shows up in Dionysus's cult being associated with symbols of the East/Anatolia, and additionally 'effeminate' Anatolian garments in concert

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

with his increasing depiction as beardless, young, and androgynous; it shows up in the intersexed (and castrated!) goddess Agdistis, associated with the Anatolian culture of the Phrygians.

& this continues as 'the East' spreads and changes throughout history, so that modern anti-Asian racism features the assertion that East Asians are sexually undifferentiated, and mocks/fetishizes/sensationalizes the transfeminine gender categories of societies like Thailand.

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

Just as sexualized understandings of Black men as inherently predatory inform transmisogynistic rhetoric on similar themes, there's a mirroring to be seen between misogynistic, Orientalist fetishization of (inclusively) East Asian women and transmisogynistic fetishization of trans women.

Both groups of women are commonly fetishized as 'docile' or 'obedient,' as well as hyperfeminized; the Asian fetishists usually have some shitty cultural explanation for the belief,

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

and the chasers will attribute it (also shittily) to trans women's 'poor self-esteem'.

Cis, white feminist commentaries on Asian and trans women visit the same theme (understanding us as un-/pre-feminist women, to be pitied or condemned, 'rescued' or eradicated), and extend it in the modern era by technologizing our bodies: we are both understood through the objectifying image of the 'fembot'.

There are converging lines of inheritance here; a sometimes-feminist...

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

unease with biomedical authority over sex & with 'plastic surgery' is crystalized into reactionary positions that are Orientalist, transmisogynistic, or both in focus, and hysteria over 'replacement' of Natural, Fully-Human Women à la Stepford Wives also has forms that focus on either of those reactionary streams in particular.

But I think the modern image of the fembot stems more heavily from Western reactions to the rise of the technology industries of East Asia;

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

that is, techno-Orientalism.

Orientalism has always Othered 'the East' temporally, in addition to spatially, culturally, racially, etc.; techno-Orientalism is unusual in that it places 'the East' in the alienated future, rather than the 'backwards' past.

(Here, to further press my point on the parallelisms between Orientalism and transmisogyny, I might note that trans people are always understood as "invented yesterday," or we are buried in the past as 'obsolete'

transmisogyny and Orientalism 

social forms like the category 'eunuch'.)

Various cultural traditions of speculative fiction have tackled the constructed human for at-least centuries, and in the modern day this takes forms like 'robot' or 'android'; white feminist anxiety about 'the East' has manifested in sci-fi, frequently mangling themes from e.g. Japanese sci-fi, about the Fembot.

I feel like I'm getting repetitive. Linked struggles, asymmetric power through whiteness, etc.

I'm running out of steam. There's more that I want to say about my geographical context, the social and historical context of Black women's coalition-building and solidarity efforts, and how that plays into my experience of support from Black women that white trans women do not repay with our fair share work, but that's gonna have to wait, lmao.

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