Compulsory Heterosexuality, Queerified

Much has been written over the last 15 years regarding the issue Transgender inclusion within the Gay and Lesbian Movement. The argument for inclusion originates in the notion that we are all Queer, that we are all read by the larger heteronormative society as Queer, regardless of how our own identification varies on this theme.

In the last few years, however, the tenor of this discussion has changed, with Transgender people asserting different needs – and different goals – for their Community.

This is a good thing. It is imperative for all Communities to decide for themselves what their needs and goals should be. To the extent those needs and goals coalesce with those other Communities, Movements for social change can be built by a broad coalition of Communities.

There appear to be, however, some cracks in the Coalition between the G and the L, on the one hand, and the T, on the other, stemming specifically over the “inclusion” of Trans* people in the bedrooms of the G and the L.

Some prominent Transgender activists – specifically Jos Truitt at Feministing – have decided to take “the personal is political” to an absurd new level, and push the concept that Lesbians owe it to Transgender Women to consider them as sexual partners or face being labeled a bigot.

That is, it is no longer enough to be a “respectful ally” – you must now be willing to lay your body down for the Cause of Trans* Inclusion.

This theme erupted earlier this year as news of the Cotton Ceiling broke.  According to Morgan Page, a transgender activist, the “Cotton Ceiling”

“Basically … means that cis queer women will be friends with us and talk day and night about trans rights and ending transmisogyny, but will still not consider us viable sexual partners.

The term cotton ceiling is a reference to the ‘glass ceiling’ that second wave feminist identified in the workforce, wherein women could only advance so high in the workforce but could not break through into positions of power and authority. The cotton represents underwear, signifying sex.”

This sounds nice and Liberal and something that open-minded Lesbians might respect if they weren’t paying attention.  However, Page and others have further upped the ante for Lesbians by insisting that Trans women are Female and Lesbian rejection of them as sexual partners is bigotry.

“Cultural messages that code trans women’s bodies as male are transphobic, and those messages influence people’s desires. So cis queer women who are attracted to other queer women may not view trans women as viable sexual partners because they have internalized the message that trans women are somehow male,” Page has said.

It is not “cultural messages” that “code trans women’s bodies” as male – it’s Biology. As Lesbians, we have been socialized since birth – like all Females – to be sexually accessible to Males. As Lesbians, many of us work for years with internalized self-hatred and misogyny before we finally are able to confront our sexual attractions and honor our sexuality. This is a long and – for many of us – a lifetime process, as we are constantly bombarded with cultural messages that Lesbian sexuality is wrong. The younger generation of Lesbians now also face the additional pressure to incorporate “Trans Inclusion” into their sexuality or face exclusion from a Movement that has embraced Queer – rather than Lesbian – Identity.

Guilting Females into sleeping with Males by calling it a political obligation is the same manipulative behavior Males have used for eons to get Sex from Females. It’s not better now that  Trans* Women push it. It’s the same Compulsory Heterosexuality, the concept coined by Baltimore native and Radical Feminist Adrienne Rich that identifies heterosexuality as the agent that keeps Females from actualizing their full sexual and emotional capacities, an agent that denies a sexual way of being unrelated to Male pleasure – Lesbian sexuality.

Demanding that Lesbians confront their “transmisogyny” in the bedroom is demanding that Lesbians cater to Male sexual pleasure. Insisting that Male Biology is Female – based on dubious science – in service to the goal of sexual access to Lesbians is Compulsory Heterosexuality.

Why has this idea gained any kind of traction within our broader “Queer” Community? Why have so few Trans* Women spoken out at this Shaming of Lesbian Sexuality?

The Queerified pressure Lesbians feel is intense –to call a Trans Women “Male” means hurting the Trans Woman’s feelings; means, apparently, being a bad ally. The Trans* Community – like all those imbued in invisible quicksand of Compulsory Heterosexuality – denies that this pressure exists.

And yet, this pressure exists. Our Coalition can choose to ignore it, it can discount it, it can minimize it, it can cloak it on Social Justice language, but this pressure is the same pressure all Lesbians experience – the pressure to not be Gay.

We are Gay, Not Queer. Deal with it.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Baltimore Outloud


  1. This!!! A thousand times!!!

  2. GallusMag · ·

    This is SO OUTRAGEOUS and has gone on for FAR too long.

  3. MarySunshine · ·

    Reblogged this on Female Biology Matters and commented:
    Says it perfectly …

  4. MarySunshine · ·

    Says it all so perfectly. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for saying it so clearly. Lesbians are real. Females are real. Sexual attraction between real females is real.

    Dudes in mascara are not female.
    Dudes in dresses are not female.
    Dudes with fake, plastic boobs are not female.
    Dudes who spend thousands of dollars on dangerous hormones, surgeries, voice coaching, walking lessons, mani-pedis, custom-made outfits, etc. etc. etc. are STILL not female. They will never be female.

    They will never be female, hence they will never be lesbians, and NO lesbian should ever be shamed or called a “bigot” for not being sexually/emotionally attracted to a male, especially within the LGB community.

    I’ve been advocating for some time to drop the T…etc. from the LGB community. LGB is about sexual attraction and love. LGB is about forming families based on sexual and emotional bonds.

    T is about having a mental condition that makes it hard for people to accept their own biological sex. T is not about sex, love or family — it’s about the failure of the medical and psychological professions to find a cure for T that doesn’t enable their delusions and then dump them on LGB people, forcing us to cope with their obsessive madness without appropriate social support.

    1. Anonymous · ·

      That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard in my sad life.

  6. SheWhoRunsFree · ·

    I am a newly radicalized feminist (thanks, Cotton Ceiling proponents!) and just wanted to thank you for all of the work that you put into this blog. I am reading and appreciating it.

    1. Thank you, I am heartened to know this.

  7. LGB is about sexual attraction and love. LGB is about forming families based on sexual and emotional bonds.

    T is about having a mental condition that makes it hard for people to accept their own biological sex. T is not about sex, love or family — it’s about the failure of the medical and psychological professions to find a cure for T that doesn’t enable their delusions and then dump them on LGB people, forcing us to cope with their obsessive madness without appropriate social support.

    this is a good distinction, thanks!

  8. It must be terrifying to have transmuted into a neither-sexed being, Trans man or Trans woman, and come to the realization that one has severely limited the playing field in terms of sexual partners.

    Turning to women for solace and comfort during wartime, health and social crisis is an age-old practice, fraught with entitlement and panic on the part of the injured, dependant on a highly-ingrained guilt on the part of the women.

    In terms of options, it appears doubtful that men, as a group, has much interest in sustaining a partnership with a Transgendered individual…their sex drive and distorted sense of what is acceptable physically will ultimately drive them away. There are exceptions of course, but routinely, men are not compelled to stick around and caretake during, say, a cancer episode, or during the natural physical aging process, much less tolerate a mutated body.

    That the Trans gendered community look to Lesbian women for acceptance, nurturance, and sexual interaction is not surprising. Yet instead of universal acceptance, Trans people come up against a wall of resistance and simple disinterest whilst making sexual overtures to Lesbians. Which is laughable, really, when one considers the courage it takes to deny male/heteronomative privilege and make the choice of Lesbianism, which is based on our innate and natural knowing.

    As a butch lesbian (not) trapped in a woman’s body, I knew at the age of five I didn’t want to marry, or be coupled with a man. Although conflicted through much of my teens until I reached 19, I remain grateful to feminism and the feminists who showed me the way through the awful smoke and fire of sexism and the deadly need to oppress all women.
    It is distressing to witness the vicious and demeaning behavior that the Trans community emits upon learning that many Lesbians are not interested in a momentary or sustained sexual relationship with them. In fact, we are exhausted by the gender push/pull.

    Lesbians are not the solution or a bandage for the choice Transgenders have made in mutating their physical bodies. We are not responsible for ensuring the Transgender community is comfortable with that choice, which extends to a purported demand for a physical/sexual commitment. It is, simply, against our nature.

  9. CindyLouCovington · ·

    Who you decide to choose for a sex partner is purely personal,on whatever basis you choose.No one should try to tell you who you should or shouldn’t pick,for whatever reason. However, there is no need to get nasty and attack another group of people just because a few of them step out of line and try to stick their nose in your personal business.Remember all the nasty remarks outsiders make about you.Try to have a little kindness and patience, there is not enough of that in the world.

      1. CindyLouCovington · ·

        Frustrated because I didn’t give you anything to attack? Nothing that you could really disagree with?

    1. Super Dyke · ·

      Cindy why not tell that to the people who seemed us bigots or (more importantly, to them) ugly and “unfuckable” for the crimes of being lesbians who said NO to the cotton ceiling? There’s nothing “nice” about deciding the best ways to “break theough” women’s underwear. Or reinforcing patriarchal conditioning by admonishing women to “be nice and kind” to those attacking and predating and harassing them.

    2. Is this a rare example of womansplainin’? I stand in awe of your stupidity.

  10. Firsty, I am a post-op transsexual lesbianwoman – whatever anyone thinks of me, that is how I think of myself. Secondly, before I consider being intimate with anyone, I tell them that I am transsexual. Some will already know, others won’t, but if someone is attracted to me, then they are attracted to me. It wasn’t so long ago that homosexuality was classed as a mental disorder, but we know that it’s not. Why we have varying sexualities is still a mystery for the most part, but there’s nothing wrong in whatever sexuality you are.

    Please don’t tell us that we aren’t the men and women we say we say we are. People have been doing that to gay men and women for years by saying “you’re not gay / lesbian, you just haven’t met the right woman / man”.

    I have no interest in putting anyone down, in making others feel bad for whatever reason, I just want to be happy and healthy in my life.

    Fwiw it’s worth, as a child of the 70’s, images of women / girls where not the most positive of role models, but the first one to me was a kids tv program called “Marmalde”. Here was a girl that didn’t wear pretty dresses, that wasn’t prim and proper or bitchy as girls on tv we’re portrayed at the time. Here was a girl that stood up for herself and wasn’t just a nice little thing all the time. Yes, she was basically a trouble maker, and not really a positive role model for anyone, but positive in the way that she said you don’t have to be how society expects you to be.

    Lastly, if there’s something in society that you don’t like or you don’t agree with, do something to change it. Don’t just sit at your keyboard complaining about it and not doing anything else. If you try to influence people in a positive way, people listen. If you scream and shout and throw a tantrum every time you don’t get your own way, people are going to switch off and you’ll do your own cause more harm than good.

    1. Hey everyone – I approved this comment because of the mansplaining it contains. Can you point out the mansplaining?

      Also, commenter, you clearly don’t know me.

      1. Tired Old Radfem · ·

        Ooh, Ooh! I know! ALL of it?

      2. I think the last paragraph qualifies as great example of mansplainin’… you see, you’re “shouting” and making a “tantrum” (because all radicals, no matter about what, are angry, ugly harpies) and women should always be proper and dignified. So you should stop talking against the trans’ attempt at sexual repression. It’s simple, really.

        Don’t you see that by attacking them, you’re being exactly as mean as they are? Take the higher ground, bla bla bla bullshit. 🙂

  11. Mansplaining? WTF is that?

    1. What you did in your earlier comment.

  12. erm, you’re going to have to clarify that then, because that just sounds like a made-up word to me.

    1. Much like “transphobia,” “cisgender” and “translesbian.”

      1. Transphobia – a fear of transpeople
        Cisgender – non transpeople
        Translesbian – a transsexual woman who is also a lesbian.

        Simple enough, your turn.

      2. Sure, dude. Keep talking. It’s helpful.

      3. Don’t call me dude, and please explain “mansplaining” if you can.

      4. I’ll call you whatever I like, dude, and you are doing mansplaining RIGHT NOW.

      5. And why call me “dude”, are you trying to upset or offend me? Can you now show just a little bit of mutual respect that everyone should be able to expect from other people?

        Seeing as you’re not going to explain “mansplaining”, I looked it up on wiki. You don’t see me as a woman, but I do, so I can’t haved been mansplaining from my point of view.

        What I was doing in my earlier post, was explaining something as simply as possible from my point of view, as the meaning can be easily lost in a forum type enivronment, which I’m sure we’ve all encountered.

        When you want to have a sensible debate about something, then maybe people will listen, but it just seems you want your audience all in nice wolly jumpers eat grass and running round in fields saying “baaaa”.

    2. Dude (i.e. male who is oblivious of his privilege), mansplainin’ is when a man patronizingly “explains” to a woman why she should stop speaking the truth or believe something that’s true because it hurts your widdle feelings, usually with stereotypical reasoning. Read the last paragraph you wrote again, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

  13. Tired Old Radfem · ·

    I recently stumbled across this blog, and watched the video of Dyke March, and read lots of other blog posts about the issue of trans* folk, feminism, lesbians, etc.

    I gotta say: I don’t know how you maintained your cool, Cathy Brennan. You were set upon by people who refuse to let go of their warped idea of who you are and what you stand for, just so they could pile up a bunch of straw and set it aflame.

    I would have been freaked out and triggered for days. I don’t know if you were, but I definitely would have been.

    How is “Would you like to sit in my lap?” as a sarcastic rejoinder to someone who is so far into your space she might as well sit down, “sexual harassment”? Only someone who has not gone through life truly being sexually harassed would claim it was. And how does “I am not sexually attracted to penises” “erase” anyone? Only someone who feels entitled to sex with any partner s/he chooses would be outraged at that statement.

    No lesbian has ever insisted I have sex with her. For that matter, no lesbian has ever indicated she WANTS to have sex with me. Boo-hoo, I guess lesbians don’t believe heterosexual women exist! (Or, wait – maybe lesbians choose their own sexual partners, thankyouverymuch?)

    Anyway, I know I am late to this game & preaching to the choir, but I was impressed with your behavior and dignity. With the behavior of the ex-dude who insists lesbians are required to want to have sex with her? Uh, not so much. But it was clear where Allyson learned her behavior.

    1. Okay, I’ll call you…, actually, I’ll not stoop to your level, but you still have not explained “mansplaining”, if you’re accusing me if doing something wrong, I’d like to know what it is so I can not do it again.

      1. Tired Old Radfem · ·

        Excuse me, I think you put your reply under the wrong post.

      2. tried posting this on my phone while I was out, and it was being as reliable as FaceBook, delete it if need be, when I checked it looked like it hadn’t posted or wasn’t waiting to be approved.

    2. Great post, Tired Old Radfem.

  14. The tranny on here making a fool out of himself just drips with male entitlement. Surprise.

  15. So now you’re resorting to name calling, that’s a major step forward.

    1. Ugh, troll somewhere else, please.

  16. I’m trolling? What are you doing?

    1. Um, this is my blog, sir.

      1. and you don’t like anyone disagreeing with you, I’d hate to live in your version of the world, so I’ll leave you’re little blog, just don’t bother me anymore either.

      2. I have no idea why the fuck you think I am bothering *you,* as you are the man who has come to piss all over us for disagreeing with you. Maybe if you didn’t pee all over the seat we could dialogue.

      3. You just don’t know when to stop do you, for the last tmie, I am not a man. When you spout your bullshit about transpeople I will object, again and again. The LGBT community thankfully, are more open minded than you, and thankfully more inclusive, and you don’t like it, well I’m sorry that you don’t like it, but again, you don’t suggest an alternative, you just complain about what is. You don’t have to have sex with anyone you don’t want to, that’s your right, that’s my right, and that’s everyone’s right. The percentage of transpeople in the world is tiny, yet you want to use us as scapegoats for your life being so miserable and fucked up, when it’s not my fault, it’s not the fault of other transpeople either. Get over yourself, stop with all the negative shit, and do something positive.

      4. Wow, I don’t know when to stop. Ok sir.

  17. “You don’t have to have sex with anyone you don’t want to, that’s your right”,

    Exactly. Now get lost.

  18. at one stage in reading these comments i had something serious to say – now i’m just too busy pissing myself at, “um, this is my blog, sir”.

    lesbians are attracted to women. men mutilated or not, filled with synthetic hormones or not, are not women.

    i’m baffled as to what the t is doing in lgbt – l, g and b are all sexualities. t is not.

  19. Feminist Retread · ·

    Woman: One-time JonBenet suspect recruiting kids

    AP. SanFrancisco

    Check out this article from 2010. According to a 19 year old woman, John Mark Carr, a suspect in the Jon Bene Ramsey murder case, now goes by the name of Alexis Valoran Reich, and is claiming to be a woman. The 19 year old has accused him of forming a cult of little girls to have sex with him. She says that Carr brainwashed her and is speaking out to help other potential victims.

  20. […] has this manifested, exactly?  We have seen, for example, the Cotton Ceiling, in which Lesbian sexuality is framed as somehow “bigoted” against trans women, because […]

  21. […] by Political Lesbianism in the here and now.  Indeed, the biggest threat to Lesbians is the Queerification (i.e., elimination) of Lesbian culture and community and the erasure of Female […]

  22. […] What I want to talk about in this post is when the Reality of a Trans Woman’s anatomy/physiology (i.e., He is Male) meets a space that’s intended only for Women (e.g., Women’s bathrooms and showers, Women’s colleges, Women’s music festivals, any place that a Woman says “go away” to a Man, including our Vaginas). […]

  23. […] Cotton Ceiling is the same old Compulsory Heterosexuality, just in a Queer form. It’s amazing to me that anyone with a feminist analysis defends it. And yet they […]

  24. […] telling me about this thing that’s happening (which also makes sense in light of all the Cotton Ceiling discussions), I reactivated my OK Whatever Account to see exactly what they were talking […]

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