Frustration: Living In A World Against You

Last night a friend on Facebook posted an article about the transgender high school senior  Lila Perry from a high school in Missouri. Lila had come out as a transgender girl the prior year, and was required to take a gym class for the credits during her tenure at the school.  She chose to wait until this year (2015), which was her senior year, so that she could use the correct locker room for her gender, which is of course female.  However, due to this many parents threw a fit, and over 150 students walked out of class to protest her using the correct locker room.  This issue has been apparently “resolved” and Lila has been bullied out of taking the class at all despite the fact that her using the appropriate locker room would do nothing to harm anyone else at the school in anyway (some parents have said that she might expose her penis to the girls, but I had to take gym class with using the guy’s locker room growing up and that stuff didn’t even happen there with men who love their penises, I’m 100% sure this would be a non issue like the supposed rape of cis women because of trans women using women’s bathrooms); however, not taking the class or being forced to use the men’s locker room would be absolutely detrimental to Lily.

To put this in layman’s terms over 150 students, and their parents bullied a teenage girl into submission for doing absolutely nothing wrong and hurting absolutely no one.

Now, any person with even the least bit of empathy for other human beings would read that last sentence and be abhorred.  However, once the fact that Lila is a transgender girl has been revealed, many people change their tune and now, suddenly, the teenage girl is the villain and those students and parents are valiant heroes who were standing up against her oppression and tyranny.  At least, this is exactly the song that was sung by a commenter on this article that my friend posted about the subject.

This person came in swinging every single ignorant transphobic argument I have ever heard.  He stated that a transgender girl in the girls locker room would be unsafe for the “real girls” because she might flaunt her penis or sexually assault them.  He argued that even if not, if anyone was uncomfortable even if there was no penis involved or actual reason to be uncomfortable, that trumped the rights of this transgender girl.  When I, and several others, challenged this person on his views he first went on about how transgender people are trying to force our lifestyles on everyone, and this is America where “cis people have rights too, not just trans people.”  Then stated that she was sick in the head and needed help, and he knew this because the Bible told him so.

Literally every backwards and completely with out merit argument that cis people ignorant to trans issues use to demonize us was listed by this person in one rather impressive, albeit bigoted go.

Yet, the worst part of it was that when he finally realized that he wasn’t going to convince me or other trans people that he was right, he said that he would “agree to disagree.”

So, what is wrong with him wanting to agree to disagree?  After all, people do have the rights to their opinions no matter how backwards, asinine, and baseless they may be.

Well, here is the issue.  When under privileged people “agree to disagree” with the privileged majority who is oppressing them, that is consequentially the same as losing.  If we look back at slavery, every slave probably disagreed with slavery.  Obviously.  That system was a horrid system to imprison a human being and force them into servitude for another human being for no other reason than the color of their skin.  We know this now.  But, at the time, many people, especially in the regions where slavery was legal and in practice, thought it was perfectly fine, and even benefited from slavery.

Of course slaves I’m sure were not allowed to speak back to or argue with their “masters” with out facing extreme punishment, but if they were or if a free person who was against slavery were to argue on their behalf, the conversation would have probably gone similarly.  The pro slavery party would make up arguments of why slavery is a good thing with no basis in reality, and be faced with facts by their opposition of why slavery is a bad thing.  But, with no legal recourse to be taken, in the end if that slave owner decided to “agree to disagree” the slaves would still be slaves and nothing would change.

This is exactly what happened to me last night, and what is happening to many people who are a member of an underprivileged group all over the world.  Whether it be from the way Saudi Arabian men make every decision for their women and decide their rights to the #BlackLivesMatter movement closer to home, oppressed people are simply flung away by the privileged majority when they become an inconvenience, and since these people don’t have proper representation in government or raw numbers, there is little they can do about it.  In fact, this treatment is why #BlackLivesMatter started in the first place because black people are being murdered by police, and in general as well, and often treated like second class citizens and the majority when asked to help ignored their pleas.

That is what happens.  If someone else’s problem is not important to the majority, or seen as an inconvenience to them like a trans girl wanting to use the right locker room or black people wanting police to be held accountable for killing unarmed black people, the majority doesn’t have to fight it.  They are the majority.  They win by default if it becomes a stalemate, because they hold the power and in any stalemate nothing will change meaning that the oppressed will lose and suffer for it.

This is of course utterly and completely frustrating.  The feeling of seeing members of a group you belong to suffer and be oppressed simply because they are a member of that group is the epitome of frustration.  Living in a world that is often against oneself and being whisked off to the side like a neglected dog begging for a walk while its master is watching the game when important issues are brought up is physically painful.  I’m not exaggerating with that.  The frustration I feel in these situations actually hurts in my chest, and there is little I can do about it.

Of course that does not mean that oppressed people should give up because no one will ever listen or care.  There are those who do listen and care, people who are true allies.  And, oppressed people have made change over time, sometimes very quickly.  But, such change can not easily come when one side refuses to play the game.

Advertisements

The Truth About Transgender People

My name is Julie Langston.
I am twenty seven year old woman who is doing the best that she can at life. I live with my fiance who has been together with me for about 2 and a half years now. We moved in together a little faster than we probably should have – after being together for only six months, which I suppose is a bit cliché for a lesbian couple, but it happens. I’m glad to say it worked out and we are very happy together, and I would not trade my fiance for anything.

We rent a one bedroom apartment in Denver. Not quite in the down town area that most people think of as Denver, but still in the actual city rather than the suburbs. Just last month we renewed our lease for another year, and it was the first time in my adult life that I was financially able to renew the lease. It’s a nice area with a lot of families, and I really do hope that one day my fiance and I will be able to start a family of our own.

We have two pets – a cat with blue eyes and a color point fur pattern which I have had for over 3 years now, and a baby albino rabbit which we adopted from a friend about a month ago. They are my babies, and I love them to death, always trying to play with them, pet them, and feed them treats. They keep me company most of the time as I work from home as an accounting assistant, but I am hoping with hard work and by doing a good job I can be promoted to full time junior accountant and get a position in the office itself.

My typical day consists of making coffee and taking care of the pets food, if they need anything from the night before. Then logging into work for a while to get a few days of reports reconciled and posted. After this is usually when I take my shower, do my make up, and get officially dressed for the day. I really do like make up. For a while I would not ever leave the house with out it, but now half the time if I’m not doing anything I’ll ignore it. It has become a bit of a hobby for me now along with writing and playing the massively multiplayer online role playing game, Final Fantasy XIV in which I main a black mage, and my fiance mains a summoner – both casting classes with different focuses and strengths.

About 5 days out of the week my fiance or I will cook dinner. We both enjoy cooking, so it’s rarely an argument of who has to cook rather than who gets to. On days where neither of us feel like cooking, and we have the money to, we will go out for food. Usually fast food, but we prefer pho when possible. Pho is the best.

I’m fortunate to say that overall my health is good. I do suffer from a medical condition which I have to take daily pills and a weekly injection to treat, but overall I am well, and if I was a religious woman, which I’m not, I would say I am blessed.

We have friends, though we don’t hang out that often anymore due to adult life and schedules. Most of my social activity is online or over the phone, and one could say I’m a bit of a hermit. But, I do love to hang out with friends on those rare occasions where the stars line up and we all have the time to meet in person.

While I don’t believe in god, I do have a very strong sense of right and wrong. My morals are based on experience and observation of the world. And, I believe strongly in treating all people with dignity, respect, and to guarantee all people the same freedoms and rights. Therefore I am a feminist, and try to work to spread education through blogging.

Oh, and there is one other detail about my life. I am transgender.

This means that I was assigned male at birth, and grew up as a boy. However, my brain did not (and does not) match my tid-bits as most people’s do. So, from a very young age I wanted to be a girl. ‘Wanted’ is actually a bit of an understatement. I felt in my heart truly I was female, and that I should be female. To have to live as a boy gave me extreme depression and dysphoria. Up until pre adolescence this feeling was mild. But, when puberty was about to come and I realized that I was not going to go through female puberty, my gender dysphoria came out full strength.

Though I did try to tell my parents about my feelings, they would not let me live as myself. Leading to me being extremely depressed during my teenage years, on top of having the usual teenage angst and social awkwardness. But, when I became an adult I decided to transition and live as myself, as a woman, full time.

Now that’s simply who I am. Julie, a woman like any other. I don’t own boys clothes anymore, that sort of thing is way in my past. I don’t keep contact with anyone who called me by my dead name or pronouns either. I have to take female hormone supplements, but that’s not exactly abnormal as many women with hormonal conditions or who are post menopausal take these medications. When it comes to gender divisions such as using the bathroom or if for whatever reason a room is split between men and women, I go with the women’s (and on that note, no anti trans bathroom bill will ever stop me from doing so).

Now, to my point. If I had not told you, the reader, that I was trans (assuming that you hadn’t figured it out before hand from my other blog posts or the blog description), would you have ever guessed that based on the initial information I presented to you about my life? Probably not. You would have just taken this information and probably thought I was a pretty normal woman living a fairly dull life. Which is exactly what I am, and many of you will just accept the information that I am trans along with that.

Unfortunately, however, a large number of people would read the same and disregard every single prior point to when I stated that I am transgender. They would have thrown out every time I addressed myself as a woman and replaced it with ‘man’. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t lived as a man for years and that when I did I still identified and thought as female. To those people, that would all be disregarded simply because of the parts I was born with.

That is awful.

That mindset is so sickening and backwards. That a human being with a full life and personality can just be disregarded by so many people because of an arbitrary trait. Would anyone know that I was assigned male at birth? No. Even if one presumed it, they wouldn’t know that. They wouldn’t know what parts I was born with or what parts I have now because it is none of their business. And it really isn’t.

Who else gets questioned and chastised on their parts in their day to day life? I won’t say no one, because that’s a generalization I can’t make, but I can definitely say it’s not a normal part of life for most people. Yet, for myself, and the millions of other transgender people on the planet, it is part of our daily existence.

We are harassed, questioned, misgendered, and bullied simply because of that one fact. The rest of us are ignored, thrown to the wayside because to some people none of that matters. Just how we were born, and it is sick and twisted. How people can be so shallow is beyond my understanding.

Let me make this clear: I may be transgender, but I am a woman first and foremost, and a human being worthy of dignity and respect for my life and identity before that. All transgender people are human beings worthy of dignity and respect for themselves and their identities. Sure, some trans people are bad people, just like every other group has bad people. But, like every other group they are a minority among us. The vast majority of us are like me, flawed, but overall decent, normal people.

That is the truth about transgender people.

That we are people, and that we should be treated as such. And, that includes respecting our identities, presentation, pronoun choices, and of course the fact that regardless of who we were in life before, we are who we are now, and that is what matters.

Why Homophobic and Transphobic Christians Do Not Love LGBT People (According to the Bible)

So, a lot of anti LGBT Christians claim that even though they are against various LGBT people or actions, they still “love” those people. Well, there is a verse in the Christian Bible that I actually like that describes what love means. Let’s take a look shall we:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Now let’s compare the way homophobic and transphobic Christians who claim to love LGBT people’s love to the love described here:

-Love is patient:

Well, looking at how quick anti LGBT people try to make laws against LGBT people in reaction to laws for their rights, this obviously isn’t true.

-Love is kind:

Is it kind to keep two people to love each other from marrying? Is it kind to tell a trans person they should pretend to be something they are not even if it makes them miserable? Is it kind to tell your child they are an evil sinner who is going to Hell because of something they can not control? No. It’s not kind. It’s sick.

-It does not envy:

It’s all too often that the anti LGBT right says how somehow LGBT people have special rights (which we don’t), and how Christians should have more special rights. That’s pretty envious.

-It does not boast:

Unlike those who boast about how just and godly they are for their homophobic and transphobic words and actions.

-It is not proud:

Tie in to the last point.

-It does not dishonor others:

I would say taking away and denying rights from innocent people and refusing to let them love or live as they see fit is greatly dishonoring them.

-It is not self seeking:

Trying to oppose people’s rights, lives, and identities certainly isn’t helping those people, so who are anti LGBT Christians and other anti LGBT people helping with their cause if not LGBT people? Not society at large, certainly. Many of them say it’s serving God, but I think that simply means they are serving their own interests. Check.

-It is not easily angered:

There is no way easier to anger an anti LGBT conservative than than to argue in favor of gay or trans rights.

-It keeps no records of wrongs:

Do I even have to explain this one? All these people do is keep the wrongs of LGBT people. Or at least their perceived wrongs.

-Love does not delight with evil, but rejoices with truth:

While I know many of the people I’m addressing say they are the ones with the truth (the Bible). However, let’s look at the facts. Study after study on LGBT people has shown that it is not a choice. That gay couples can raise children just as well as straight couples. That transgender people are mentally the gender that they are. etc, etc. Yet anti LGBT people ignore these truths in favor of their own which goes against all common sense, science, and available evidence. Not to mention they delight when they can take away or deny happiness from LGBT people, which sounds pretty evil to me.

-It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves:

Homophobic and transphobic anti LGBT rights people do not protect nor preserve LGBT people. In fact we need protection from them. They definitely don’t trust us. And, the only thing that they hope is that we go away.

There, in the words of the Bible from a man who was a homophobic person himself. This homophobic misogynistic pharisee (Paul the Apostle) who wrote this verse is who most of the anti LGBT Christians look to instead of Jesus (since Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, but Paul did) disagrees with the claim that these people love LGBT people. By his own words.

Anti LGBT Christians are not patient. They are not kind. They do envy. They do boast and are proud. They dishonor and hurt others, and keep a record of their alleged wrong doings and sins. They delight in their misery and ignore the truths presented to them. They do not protect, trust, or preserve us, and they hope for us only to go away or stop being the way we are.

This is not love. By the Bible the way anti LGBT Christians act towards LGBT people is NOT love. Not in one way shape or form. So, hate LGBT people if you want, but don’t say you love them when your own gospel tells you that you don’t.

 

Not a Matter of Opinion: Why Trans People’s Chosen Name’s and Pronouns are not up for Debate

One of my first posts on this site was regarding Caitlyn Jenner, who at the time was still going by her dead name Bruce Jenner.  As soon as Caitlyn came out to the public as a trans woman, blogs, people magazines, and Facebook newsfeeds blew up with both support and resistance against Jenner’s newly revealed identity.  In the fuss I wanted to write a piece to reflect how, while I still supported Jenner, as a fellow trans woman my experience and the experience of others of us could be very different from Jenner’s.  During that article I used male pronouns and the name ‘Bruce’ to address her, but that was because at the time she had not specified what name or pronouns she wanted used and had told the press to for now continue using male pronouns.  As of today, Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, announcing officially that her name is Caitlyn.  With this announcement came the critics and the reminder that there is something that Caitlyn, I, and all trans people face – misgendering.

With in hours after this news hit the internet, the has been Drake Bell posted on twitter that he would still call Caitlyn by her dead name.  On top of this many other people agreed with this ploy, refusing to properly gender Caitlyn by her true name nor by her female pronouns.  The argument’s ranged from that in their opinion Caitlyn is still a man to that in their opinion her name and gender is based on someone else’s opinion.  Basically all their arguments boiled down to the logic that it does not matter what Caitlyn thought or felt or says, it only matters to one’s own opinion, at least when it comes to her gender.

This mindset has been a bane of mine ever since I came out as trans myself several years ago.  Almost immediately after I bared this part of myself that I had been hiding for so long in large part due to fear of how I would be treated over it and I told the world, “I’m Julie, this is who I am, and this is who I want to be with out hiding it anymore,” – many of the people close to me retorted back that that was fine but they would still see me as a guy or as my old name.  Of course this hurt.  A lot.  It tore me apart emotionally.  At first I was patient, but as time went on few of these people made an effort.  In fact a couple of them even convinced other’s who did gender me correctly to stop doing so.  I kept trying to reach out to these people, but they would show no respect for me or my identity, so I stopped trying and now I no longer speak to any of them.  It’s sad too because besides their transphobic attitudes most of these people were people I really liked.  Not to mention, that on top of losing them, I also now don’t keep as well in contact with a lot of mutual friends in part because of the rifts driven between us by my would be friends.

Now this isn’t as much of an issue for me.  Except for my parents I have either cut contact with anyone who refused to gender me correctly or they have come around.  I still face the occasional purposeful misgendering when ignorant people find out that I am trans, but it’s fortunately rare.  The fact still stands though that I am pretty hurt about losing people I loved because I tried to be patient with them, but they made no effort to treat me with enough respect for me to keep trying.  I have also seen this with every trans person I know or know of, and the hateful and ignorant comments against Caitlyn Jenner that I have born witness to today prove that her case is not an exception.  The question remains, at least to some, why does ‘misgendering’ someone matter so much?

This really is for the most part a problem trans people tend to face.  Cis people get misgendered too sometimes, but usually there will be an apology issued to the person immediately after the mistake is found out.  However, this is often not the case with trans people who will often continue to be misgendered by someone even after they have been educated that they are wrong.  And, wrong they are.  A lesson that a lot of people need to learn is that someone else’s gender, identity, pronouns and/or name are theirs and theirs alone – and therefore no one else gets an opinion on it.

Yes, I just told the internet that they don’t get an opinion on something.  Before I have whiny trolls, trans exclusive feminists, and men’s rights activists cry about me suppressing their freedom of speech, I would like to remind everyone that this does not mean people don’t have an opinion on it.  Someone can think and feel anything for whatever reason, and no one can stop them.  If I think the sun is a giant light bulb sitting atop the Empire State Building, that is what I think on the matter, and I can refuse to be educated to think anything else.  In the same way no one can make someone else stop thinking trans women are men or that trans men are women or that non binary people do not exist.  I really wish we could make people stop thinking such things because those thoughts are problematic to society.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  However, while one can think anything they want about someone else’s name or gender they have no right to dictate that opinion as fact.

Let’s try an example.  Let’s say I was (magically) pregnant with a baby and the entire time I thought the baby was going to be a girl, so I tell everyone that she’s going to be a girl and that I’m going to name her Lilah.  The time comes and the baby is born, however the baby is a boy (we’re going by cisnormative assumptions for this example).  So, I adjust and name him Jim instead of Lilah.  Of course most people accept this and just treat him as a boy named Jim even though for a few months we were assuming the baby was a girl named Lilah.

Then Uncle Twatbrain comes along and is like, “You know what, she will always be Lilah to me because that’s what I knew her as.”

Obviously Uncle Twatbrain is being extremely ignorant, selfish, and ridiculous.  And, the family would shun Uncle Twatbrain for his rude and childish behavior.  Yet, I can guarantee that if 18 years later Jim came out that he was actually trans and a woman and wanted to go by Helena now, half of the people who ridiculed Uncle Twatbrain for misgendering “Jim” would now flat out continue to wilfully misgender “Helena”.  This is obviously a double standard, and not right.  I know some critics will sit here and say that Helena is a guy because they took sixth grade biology and that is enough to discredit the majority of psychologists and scientists whose studies have indicated over and over that trans people’s gender identities are valid and based on their mental gender, but once again those critics don’t have a say.  Because it’s someone else’s gender, not theirs

Misgendering trans people is hurtful to them, as well as harmful in general.  Because this isn’t letting people discover who they are and be respected for that.  When someone misgender’s someone else they are spitting on their identity and on their person and saying, “What you are deep in your heart is not what I see you as, so I’m not even going to attempt to respect you.”

That’s really what deliberate misgendering of a trans person comes down to – disrespecting them as human beings.  It would not be appropriate for me to call people who deliberately misgender trans people by the names I want to call them.  Instead I have to suck it up and address them by their name or title because that is the humane thing to do, even if in my mind they are a complete and utter pile of cow manuer, I can’t address them as such and claim to have respect for them.  Yet, somehow these people can misgender a trans person and claim that they are not disrespecting them by doing so.

It does not work like that.  Other people’s gender’s name’s and pronouns are not up for me to assign and dictate, yet many think that my gender, name, and pronouns, as well as many other trans people’s  are theirs to dictate.  Well, trust me, they are not.  Regardless of one’s opinion, someone else’s gender, name and pronouns are not a matter of opinion.

Feminism: As Nazi as Matza

As a self identified feminist I hear people use terms like ‘feminazi’ very often.  I also hear people who compare feminism to Nazism quite often.  In fact this comparison between feminism and Naziism is so prevalent that it’s not just whiny anti feminists who think women’s only job should be to make them a sandwich.  You hear the comparison from all directions including women, former feminists, and people who are feminist in ideology but refuse to think of themselves as such because of the extremism now so commonly associated with feminism.

As a feminist, I believe this is something we should take into consideration and look at.  I know a lot of my fellow people who call themselves feminists point out that the definition of the word feminism is, ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.’  The last part is key, ‘equality to men’.  Not superiority, not inferiority, not situational equality, just equality.  I take it one step further and define it as the equality of all people regardless of gender.  True feminists know this definition and that is what we use to define our movement.  And, by that definition we stand proud and true to the feminist label, even though some have a negative connotation with the word and movement.

Still, is it wise to completely ignore the association of Nazism to feminism?  Obviously, the feminist movement, even the most extreme and radical members are not really comparable to Nazi’s.  Nazi’s systematically killed millions of people.  This is not a sentiment any true feminist would share, and even the most man hating, trans bashing, womyn born womyn only far right ‘feminist’ radical probably isn’t out to set up concentration camps to put all non cis women in (not that I would ever want such a person to hold a seat of power where they could attempt to do so).  But, while we can rest fairly assuredly that feminists are not literal Nazi’s, for all the negativity the word has, should we as feminists move away from the word ‘feminism’?

First of all, let’s look at the main alternatives: ‘egalitarianism’ and ‘humanism’.

Egalitarianism is ‘a philosophical thought system that emphasizes equality and equal treatment across gender, religion, economic status and political beliefs. One of the major tenets of egalitarianism is that all people are fundamentally equal.’  Okay, so this looks promising.  That is very much what I believe.  However, while egalitarianism is great, there is something missing.  That being a lack of purpose.

Egalitarianism is the goal that feminism and many other similar philosophies strive for.  Any true feminist who wants equality for all people regardless of gender could probably be also considered an egalitarian as well – assuming that they are inter-sectional, at least.  However, while egalitarianism is awesome and a great goal to strive for, we must realize that in order to build the whole car you’re going to need to make sure all the parts are functioning.  Oh, sure, the body of the car could look amazing, but if the car has no wheels, it’s not really a car then, is it?

Feminism could be considered the wheels of the car in this very bad analogy that I am making.  Egalitarianism could be considered the car as a whole.  When all the parts are equally working together to make it go.  But, you don’t just make a car out of thin air and out of one block of metal.  The car has many parts.  I don’t know what all parts because I do not know much about cars other than they are expensive to buy and maintain and I would rather take the train most places, but I do know they are made out of multiple parts that make them work and one main part is the wheels.

In the same way egalitarianism may be the end result, the full car.  But, we need the different parts to make that.  The car can’t drive with out wheels.  Just like we can not have egalitarianism with out equality between genders.  However, in the world there is an overwhelming amount of power given to men.  In less developed countries women are often treated completely as property by the law.  In more developed countries we are not usually treated as property by the law anymore, but we used to be, and because of that there is still some problems left over, meaning that while the patriarchy may not be (in the West) what it once was, it still exists.

If you don’t believe that the patriarchy still exists in the West, let’s take a look at femininity.  By the majority of Western society ‘femininity’ is considered weak, frilly, and not a valued or respected trait.  Masculinity, however is considered strong, and is valued by most people, men and women.  Despite the fact that femininity is considered negative by our society, women are still expected to be feminine.  That says something.  It also says something that women are allowed to take on masculine roles (as long as they don’t get ‘too masculine’, whatever that means) and be respected for being able to partake such a role, but men who may be more inclined to take on more feminine roles (even if they aren’t ‘that feminine’, whatever that means) are demonized and looked down upon.  There are also problems for women such as the pay gap, rape culture, and anti choice proponents.  As well there are ways in which men have it uniquely hard too that are also caused largely by traditional patriarchal mindsets and customs.  Such as being expected to be tough and emotionless, being often considered lesser parents than women even though that’s often not true, not being taken seriously about domestic violence or being raped, and being expected to do ‘tough’ jobs like go to war that while we are letting women do now, we are not expected to do, while your average man is.   These are just a few problems that men and women face because of the patriarchy.  A very short list indeed, and this is only addressing a couple things with men and women, I didn’t even start to address the multitude of problems unique to gender non conforming people because of the patriarchy.

Forgive the digression, I knew that there would be challenges to my claim that patriarchy still exists, therefore I had to put forward examples to provide evidence for my claim.  But, back to what this has to do with egalitarianism…

With this patriarchal system, and obvious gender inequality in multiple directions, just saying everyone is equal and leaving it at that helps no one.  If everyone said that and truly believed and acted like that, we would be an egalitarian society that would not need movements such as feminism or civil rights.  We are not that society.  Therefore to try and accomplish the goal of egalitarianism, we must work to fight inequalities through various methods, including gender inequality.  Fighting gender inequality is, well, feminism.

The other word recommended to replace ‘feminist’ with is ‘humanist’.  But, humanism is already it’s own philosophy completely distinct from feminism (I am actually both a feminist and a humanist).  Humanism means, ‘an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.’  Basically, humanism is more of an areligious moral and philosophical concept than having to do with equal rights.  So, that would not work either.

At this point in time the only word that truly defines feminism is in fact ‘feminism’.  Once again, and I can not stress this enough, ‘feminism’ ultimately means the pursuit of equality of all people regardless of gender.  Once we look at it for what it is, there is no reason to change the word.  There is no reason to be ashamed to call oneself ‘feminist’.

Still, despite the fact that the word ‘feminism’ is fine in essence many people fighting to hurt others have used ‘feminism’ as their excuse.  I’m a trans woman.  There is an entire section of feminism known as ‘trans exclusionary radical feminists’ or TERFs for short.  These TERFs tend to hate trans people with a passion to the point that they deny us basic human rights.  They refuse to see trans women as women, but they do for whatever reason see trans men as women, which makes no sense to a person who is not completely clueless.  TERFs are one of many groups that give feminism a bad name because they actively fight against anyone who isn’t a ‘womyn born womyn’.  They don’t believe in equality, they believe only in their own power and rights.

But, those people are not feminists by definition.  Perhaps they are ‘feminists’ as they call themselves such.  But, does this mean that feminism is evil?  Because of a few whack job extremists who are full of hate and malice?  Let me ask a question, are all Catholics evil?

Hitler was a Catholic.  He was in many ways a very devout Catholic, and from his writing and speeches he seemed to truly believe what he was doing was ordained by God, yes the Christian God.  The second this is brought up, a lot of Christians and Catholics will say, but Hitler was not a ‘true’ Christian.  Well, looking at what feminism has done for the world, and looking at what Christianity has done for the world, I can conclude that Christianity has probably done far more harm than feminism (though  certainly it has done a lot of good as well, let’s not dismiss the good things Christians have done in the name of their faith).  But, besides Hitler being a Christian, the multitude of pedophile priests, the many Christian hate groups (including anti feminist ones), and lovely little points in history like the crusades and the inquisition, most Christians will still call themselves Christian even though they themselves may be completely horrified by what others in their religion have done.

I am horrified by what some people who call themselves feminists have done, and are trying to do.  But, they are the minority.  Yes, there are feminists who are white only.  Feminists who hate men.  Feminists who hate trans people.  Even feminists who would kill said people if they had a chance.  But, those ‘feminists’ are rare.  They are the most vocal of feminists, because the most horrendous people tend to be the loudest (says the girl writing a blog).  But, should we dismiss all of the good feminism has done either?

With out feminism I would not be able to write this blog today with out facing a lot of harassment over it.  Women would not be able to vote in most countries with out feminism.  Men would still be considered the sole providers and warriors even if that was not their path, but a woman who wanted that path could not have it.  Feminism in itself is a great thing.  The equality of people regardless of gender is a great thing, and ‘feminism’ describes both the philosophy of this equality as well as the action taken to reach this goal.

Feminism is not bad.  And, feminism is not Nazism.  Nazism is the belief that one group of people – particularly white Aryan straight cognitively and physically able and “normal” gentiles stands above everyone else by divine right.  Feminism says ‘no’ to this concept, and in feminism no means no.  Feminism says ‘no, all people are equal, regardless, and we must fight for this by uplifting those who have been down trodden.’

That is what feminism is.  And, that is why I will stand by it for the time being.  After all, why should we let hateful people and anti feminists define our movement for us – as the latter says ‘feminism is evil’ and the former give them proof for their claim?

We should not.