I’m stunned by the otherwise trans supportive queer folks who are buying into the anti-trans arguments around the cotton ceiling. This is coming from a woman who wrote a letter to the UN asking that gender identity non-discrimination not be instated. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that she has a strong anti-trans agenda. Her writings and the comments her friends leave on them are bordering on hate speech. Bottom line: there is a huge difference between what trans activists are saying when we talk about the cotton ceiling and what she claims we’re saying.I can understand anti-trans folks who pick up her argumentation, but everyone else? I mean, check your sources. If NARTH or Focus on the Family was railing about some horrible presentation Ellen Degeneres or Lady Gaga was giving, wouldn’t you be extremely skeptical? Wouldn’t you want to hear directly from Ellen/Gaga what she was doing, rather than take NARTH’s description of it on face value? Please use the same discretion here.
Like · Tuesday at 8:24pm
15 people like this.
COMMENTER: But strawmen make it easier to shoot your opponent down. :PTuesday at 8:30pm · Like · 1
COMMENTER: Okay, I have to admit that I hadn’t heard that term before recently and was so confused, thinking it was related to some sort of menstrual/tampon related hierarchy of womanhood. So I did some googling and think I understand better now.ANYWAY, yeah. What you said.
Tuesday at 8:36pm · Like
COMMENTER: This whole cotton ceiling thing seems to be a tempest in a teapot anyways. O.O
Tuesday at 8:43pm · Like
COMMENTER: Tobi, can you post link? Need to research this.
Tuesday at 10:15pm · Like
COMMENTER: ahh found it on your wall
Tuesday at 10:17pm · Like
Tobi Hill-Meyer There’s a few things that you could read. The on that inspired this line of thought was http://1ladyface.blogspot.com/2012/03/i-dont-hate-you-and-neither-does-my.html. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a good complete presentation of the concept — everything being written now is reactive or focusing on refuting the strawperson argument rather than a general overview. The place it was discussed most in depth was the No Apologies conference in Toronto, and the keynote presentations were filmed but are not yet online. I’m eagerly awaiting them. Yesterday at 12:52am · Like · 1
COMMENTER: After review I think original email exchange, and the analogy are all a mess. This realyl isn’t helpful at all. Any valid points to be discussed are understandably overshadowed by this impossibly misguided notion of a “cotton ceiling.” I think the queer community as a whole would be best seved if Ms Deveraux recanted the usage, stated she does not speak for the feelings of all trans* folks, and stepped back to allowe a more sane discourse to emerge that can hopefully be framed in less loaded language. And yes, I am trans and this impacts me. I am trans, thid is not internalized self loathing, and this sounds like entitled bullshit. Yesterday at 1:52am · Like
Tobi Hill-Meyer I wonder how much re-branding would help at this point. The metaphor was never supposed to explain the concept by itself, but to be a tagline under which to mentally file the larger discussion of multiple related issues. So how do we explain that the tagline means something different to me than it means to someone else and that we should focus on the larger discussion rather than interpretations of a metaphor that’s already making reference to another awkward metaphor? If we come up with a different name for the concept, there’s no way that Brennan or any of her followers will back down, they’ll just launch a new campaign against the new term, and use it as evidence that we’re “sneaky” “deceiving” and as proof that the term- and the concept – is “rapey.”Ultimately, I don’t think we gain anything by capitulating to those who will never compromise with us. They may feign ignorance, but they fully know what they’re doing and are willing to be disengenious or do whatever else they need to in order to fight against trans acceptance. What we need to do is realize that they aren’t our audience and never will be, and direct our work and our thoughts to those who will listen. One name or another won’t make a huge difference if someone is willing to listen to the full discussion, and those who aren’t willing to listen won’t listen no matter what we name it. Yesterday at 4:51am · Like · 1
COMMENTER: I think the problem is the name as well as the presentation in the emails themselves. The name invokes images of breaking through and into something, unfortunate… because it all to mind images and acts and attitudes which are “rapey.” It feels cohersive and gross. Above all, I think its offensive to women both cis and trans.So, transwomen aren’t seen as desirable in some cicles.. well it will change with greater acceptance and time. It will come as more transwomen interact in queer women’s circles *as* women. it comes with normalization. I imagine the feelings are similar to how African American women may have felt in the 60s as objects of fetish among men outside their own race, for example. Interracial relationships are more normalized now than they were in the 50s and 60s but that came through exposure, time, and education. Its now a “normal” relationship rather than a fetish or oddity
The whole “cotton ceiling” is a poorly chosen analogy. Also, changes in attitudes like this aren’t going to come through tactics like that. It looks and feels shaming and disingenuous to cis women and frankly I think they have every right to be put off by it. As a transwoman, I am deeply offended by it and saddened to think its an attitude that is now being taken up and defended by spokespeople for this community. No one says that trans-women have a right to be desired. Cis women certainly don’t and spend many spend their lives feeling undesirable for a variety of externally imposed reasons. By all means work to change that but try- for gods sake – to consider the language and how it might be offensive to even allies. I don’t care how “radfems” feel about this. I feel it is offensive and presumptuous to women in general. This is an unfortunate turn of phrase and a misguided complaint I for one ont want to see ascribed to be a community wide attitude. 22 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: My wife and I are both on the trans* spectrum, and she and many if the transfeminie people I have spoken about this with have said it is hard to be seen as a viable dating partner by cis women, and I feel this is a real problem that does deserve to be talked about. Just hoping for time alone to change it is a bit overly optimistic in my estimation. I think talking through things is a valid way to reach understanding and gain acceptance. Even if the verbiage isn’t your favorite, it brings the problem to light and fosters that discussion. I believe all human beings are worthy of being seen as desirable and having a place in a community where they feel most comfortable and at home, irrespective of their gender, skin color, bodytype, etc., and I think all anyone is asking for is to not be dismissee automatically as a lesbian and a potential date because of the configuration of their genitals and chromosomal makeup. It might seem like off putting language, but it’s giving people a voice. 22 hours ago · Like
Tobi Hill-Meyer ”As a transwoman, I am deeply offended by it and saddened to think its an attitude that is now being taken up and defended by spokespeople for this community. No one says that trans-women have a right to be desired.”That right there is the most difficult part of the smear campaign to overcome. I don’t think you’ll find any of the spokespeople for our community defending the idea that trans women have a right to be desired. That’s not what I’m doing, I don’t believe that’s what Drew or Morgan have been doing.
From my perspective, the majority of the issues in this discussion have to do with messages internalized by trans women. Trapped in our own underwear even at parties where everyone else is naked. As well as the social mechanisms that will actually enforce that occasionally – i.e. if the trans woman at the party does take her underwear off too, she’ll be yelled at for invading, trigging cis women survivors, etc, etc.
The part that has to do with cis women is not who the desire but a) how they discuss that desire, and b) the assumptions they (often falsely) make about that desire, and c) the overall community dynamic arising out of a and b.
For example, I once was in a discussion with someone who said “I’m attracted to people of ALL genders, bio women and trans men.” (emphasis theirs) When I asked they said they weren’t attracted to trans women. So of course I and a few other trans women got upset. Immediately we were accused of feeling entitled to being desired, we were told it’s a sign of male privilege, that it’s creepy, etc, etc. It was incredibly frustrating because I had no desire for that person. All I wanted was to be considered a person with a gender. If that person wasn’t attracted to trans women, so be it, but don’t declare you’re attracted to people of all genders. It’s invisibilizing, demoralizing, and just plain rude. I’m running out of steam so I’ll stop here, but that’s the kind of thing I’m referencing when I talk about the cotton ceiling. Not the right or entitlement for that person to desire me, but for them to not say fucked up things about me in the process of not desiring me. 15 hours ago · Like · 1
COMMENTER: “well it will change with greater acceptance and time” yeah, that’s what they’ve been saying for years now. guess what, trans women in the queer community aren’t new. trans women have been fighting for our rights since before cis gays have. compton’s in 1966 and stonewall in 69 predate the entire second wave of feminism and radical lesbian separatism. cis women began systematically excluding us from both the queer liberation movement (that was started by trans women of color) and the women’s liberation movement around 1971. 14 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: Well put Tobi. I can see the perspective re-framing it this way. The analogy is out there and the discussion should happen. I do feel like it loaned itself to being misinterpreted at bet and misrepresented at worst but pandora’s box and all. I do hope good discussion comes from it and the signal rises above the noise. 14 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: yes … but there are more transwomen in queer spaces now than there were in the 90s due to education and visibility. People have experienced tranwomen as, well, people! I understand your frustration and your point but I think that openness, visibiloty, and dialogue change things. I get frustrated when I see what I consider to be a poorly conceived analogy “muddy the waters” as it were. 14 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: and there is a Freudian slip in my own post which does highlight your point Jules. Transwomen are experienced as “people” and not “women” who are viable partners. I take your point it is important to discuss this. I just hope, like I said, the signal rises above the noise because the discussion is packaged in the worst wrapper I have ever seen 🙂 14 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: “Trapped in our own underwear even at parties where everyone else is naked. As well as the social mechanisms that will actually enforce that occasionally…” I feel like this is an overlooked aspect of this argument, and well-put. 14 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: Do transmasculine people find this same issue with queer men? I often wonder how trans men find themselves treated as potential partners in gay men’s circles. 3 hours ago · Like
Tobi Hill-Meyer Yes and no, the same dynamic certainly happens, but it’s a very different context. For example, there is significantly less concern about “intruders” or “deception.” \ 3 hours ago · Like
COMMENTER: Im writing from New Zealand so Im a little isolated. How common are play parties that are geared toward trans/cis interaction – meaning focus on people who are attracted to genderqueer bodies or people who are not as preoccupied with these feelings of “invasion”… just a thought… Lead and change by example maybe 🙂 6 minutes ago · Like
COMMENTER: its a drop in the pool, I know but the blogging around this has haunted me for a couple days and been intensely triggery…espcially the factcheckme blog which is just…. **shudder** 5 minutes ago · Like
ED. NOTE: This was sent to me by a “friend” on Tobi’s Facebook page. Zie indicated this was posted on Tobi’s Facebook wall, and zie did not appreciate Tobi’s willingness to bend the truth regarding the position I and other opponents of the Stereotyping Definition of Gender Identity take with regard to gender identity legislation. You can read about what we actually support in numerous places, including here. I will also note Tobi has put this same post on her Tumblr.