“Being a woman is not about spending thousands I agree, it is about conviction, courage and standing up to patriarchy and the glass ceiling. It is about finding Leda and the Swan disgusting and hating violations of womankind, or indeed mankind. But, transwomen have to work to attain what non trans women have from birth. For the record, I have never spent thousands, I don’t have it to spend.”
A news item from Fort Worth, Texas crossed my inbox recently. Teresa Cross, a Transgender Woman, attempted to shop at a store. When Teresa asked if she could use her debit card, the clerk stated that “he” could not. This act bothered Teresa because “she’s a Woman.”
From the article:
Cross immediately corrected the employee, telling her that she’s a she, not a he. The employee said she wasn’t talking to Cross, but to the other employee. Cross said she told the employee that referring to her as a male was insulting and offered to show her documentation of her gender identity on her driver’s license. The employee then replied, “I call it like I see it.”
Cross, who said she has been presenting as a woman for seven years, has long hair and was dressed as a woman. She was wearing makeup and a T-shirt with Capri pants. She said it was obvious she was a woman.
“I look like a woman. Why would she single me out and be so rude?” Cross said. “For them to be that rude to me just doesn’t make sense.”
There appears to be a disconnect between what Trans Women see when they look in the mirror and what the rest of the world sees when they look at the Trans Women (although, for the record, I agree that the clerk was rude).
What is Being A Woman? What is A Woman? What does she look like? This is an important question. For Trans Women, this is THE question. Trans Women Are Women, they say. This means “See me and accept me as a Women. Don’t notice anything that makes you think I am a Man. Including the fact that I am actually a Man.” This fondest hope of (some) Trans Women also goes to the question of Passing. Does a Trans Woman “pass” as a (Real) Woman? That is, Trans Women and Women are indistinguishable from each other, and only a BIGOT would notice the difference (and say something).
This mind trick works fine in GLBTWTF and Liberal Communities. No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings in these communities (as it turns out, neither do I! I know, shocking, right?) and these communities have consumed a heaping dose of EQUALITY (meaning everyone is the same, even when we are different), so STFU and accept everything without question – otherwise, you, observer using your eyes, are a bigot.
This mind trick DOES NOT WORK in what I like to call The Regular World. The Regular World is where my parents and Regular People live. Regular People, going about their days, using their powers of observation and judgment, noticing things. Like the clerk in the store. I am not saying Regular People are better or worse than GLBTWTF or Liberals. Regular People can be giant assholes and bigots, and they can be rude. I am just saying that Regular People don’t care about this conversation over What Is A Woman. Regular People call it like they see it.
So, Teresa is angry and feels hurt and wants to sue – because someone (the mean clerk) needs to be taught a lesson. What are her legal claims?
Forth Worth bans discrimination based on Gender Expression – a person’s external characteristics and behaviors including, but not limited to, dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions that are socially identified with a particular gender (what what? Many commentators have talked about how this is garbage, including this one) and Gender Identity – a person’s innate, deeply felt sense of gender that may or may not correspond to the person’s body or sex listed on their original birth certificate (same garbage). The law also defines transgender as “a person who experiences and/or expresses their gender differently from conventional or cultural expectations including, but not limited to those who express a gender that does not match the sex listed on their original birth certificate or who physically alter their sex.” The law doesn’t define Gender or Sex (surprise, surprise), and a store is a “public accommodation” (as it should be).
The law prohibits the clerk at the store from discriminating against, withholding from or denying any person, because of “transgender, gender identity or gender expression,” any of the “advantages, facilities or services” offered to the general public by a place of public accommodation.
So, if the clerk said, upon seeing Teresa, “Get out of here, you are a Trans Woman,” clearly, the store would be liable (and should be). If the clerk discouraged Teresa from shopping there, without referencing Teresa’s status explicitly, liability could (and perhaps should, depending on facts) also ensue.
But that’s not what happened. What happened was the clerk “misgendered” Teresa, and Teresa got angry enough to tell another clerk that the misgendering clerk was a bigot. Upon seeing Teresa’s (angry) reaction, the second clerk kicked her out of the store (probably for reacting angrily or causing a disruption).
The store will have to establish facts that demonstrate that it had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for asking Teresa to leave – does asking an angry person to leave your place of business cut it? It may. The Forth Worth Human Relations Division will sort that out (my guess is that this isn’t going to be a big money damages case, as someone being rude to you isn’t cause for a large cash settlement).
Now, back to the larger question of Being A Woman. I have been “misgendered” for most of my life. Most Women who look like me (you might call us Butch) have been “misgendered.” I have yet to meet (anecdote alert) a Woman ever call someone who “misgendered” her a bigot (I haven’t). What usually happens, at least in my experience, is this: I ignore it or smile and talk with my (Woman’s) voice, and the person (usually) gets embarrassed that he “misgendered” me. It’s quite simply not a big deal. It doesn’t erase me to be called he by others. It doesn’t make me not Female. It doesn’t make the observer (of me) a bigot simply for calling me Sir (there may be other subsequent facts that would lead to that conclusion, but let’s skip that for the moment). I suffer no injury from the act of misgendering (my hurt feelings are not an “injury”).
So back to Teresa.
“I look like a woman. Why would she single me out and be so rude?” Cross said. “For them to be that rude to me just doesn’t make sense.”
I am guessing if we could hear Teresa as the clerk did, we would agree with the clerk. I am surmising that Teresa does not look “like a Woman.” I am deducing that anyone with reasonable powers of observation would see Teresa as a Trans Woman (and again, I think the clerk was rude – but I don’t think her observation was incorrect). Sadly (perhaps), Trans Women, your desire to be perceived as Female does not override how the Regular World perceives you. Your desire to “be a Woman” and have others “treat” you “like a Woman” is not subject to legal enforcement. You cannot legislate that Regular People see you “as a Woman” and respect you “as a Woman.” Because you are not Women (and let’s put aside the whole topic of how are Women “respected as Women.” As far as I can tell, Women aren’t respected as Human. But I digress). All Trans Women can expect is not to be (irrationally) discriminated against. That’s a reasonable expectation.
But why settle for reasonable when you are a Trans Woman? Demand nothing less than 100% submission to your view of the world. How very (Male)/womanly! Especially when your Identity is wholly dependent on how others see you. I can understand how this mechanism of pain/injury works. Courts, human relations agencies and legislatures need to consider this, as the harm that comes from “misgendering” is not like any other “damage” seen in Discrimination cases – because it is based wholly on the failure of others to see the Trans Woman as she wants to be seen.
Anne Lawrence has written about narcissistic rage and injury in MTF Transsexuals. Lawrence, herself an MTF Transsexual, is worth reading, for understanding how this feedback loop of demanding that others see reality as you do works.
1. The Trans Woman thinks she is a Woman because she feels “like a Woman.”
2. The world observes that She is not a Woman and acts accordingly (e.g., calling her “he.”)
3. According to Lawrence, “(a)n action that threatens to disrupt the grandiose, unrealistic sense of self that many narcissistic persons maintain is experienced as a narcissistic injury. Kohut (1972) noted that narcissistic rage—the disproportionate, compulsive pursuit of revenge that seeks to obliterate both the offense and the offender— is one of two possible responses to narcissistic injury: ‘It is easily observed that the narcissistically vulnerable individual responds to actual (or anticipated) narcissistic injury either with shamefaced withdrawal (flight) or with narcissistic rage (fight)’.”
4. The Trans Woman reacts violently, angrily, etc. towards the source of her pain (e.g., the clerk who misgendered her, radical feminists).
The whole discussion in the GLBT Community over the issue of gender identity is fueled in large part by this loop.
Trans Women get their feelings hurt when others (reasonably) see them as Men, and they lash out. Is it an injury for a Man who thinks he’s a Woman (and thinks he passes really well as a “Woman”) to be “misgendered”? Yes, clearly, it is to Trans Women. Little did the clerk know what she was getting into by using her powers of observation!
Gender identity laws are relatively new. Watching how civil rights agencies and courts will process this disconnect between how the Trans Women sees herself and how Regular People see her will be fascinating to observe. Will courts and these enforcement agencies decide that the hurt feelings of Trans Women are “injury” subject to legal redress? Time will tell. I can only hope Trans Women adjust their expectations/demands on the rest of the World. However, given that the Trans Activist community has demonstrated its utter disregard for the biological reality (and vulnerability) of Women, I am not holding my breath.
[EDITED TO NOTE CROSS’ CRIMINAL RECORD]
For a minute, take out of the equation whether transwomen are women or not, yes, the clerk was rude, we both agree with that. Secondly, if clerk misgendered the transwoman in question, and the transwoman pointed that out, a simple apology from the clerk would have been the most appropriate action, again, whether me, you or the clerk sees the transwoman as a woman or not.
You’ve said that you yourself have been misgendered, and while that has annoyed or upset you, you’ve dealt with it your way, you’re secure in your womanhood. If the transwoman you’re talking about is the one in the photos above, then I wouldn’t have assumed she was trans, however, I would refer to the customer as I perceived them, and if they told me I was wrong in that perception, I would make the relevent corrections, I’ve done that before when I misgendered someone while I was working in a call centre, and I immediately apologised, and that’s the issue here. Did the clerk do their job properly being polite and courteous, and it seemed that she didn’t. Did the transwoman cause enough of a fuss to warrant being asked to leave, neither of us know the answer to that, but how much of a fuss would someone have to kick up for them to be asked to leave would depend on the people involved.
For the transwoman to sue, I would hope, that she had been treated really badly, but we live in a world where you sue first it seems, and common sense has left the building.
I know that when I’m misgendered, which doesn’t happen often now, it’s upsetting, it affects my confidence and generally puts me off balance a bit.
At the end of the day, a bit of respect for each other goes a long way, and doesn’t cost anyone anything.
I agree with much of this. But someone being rude to you doesn’t give you an “injury” subject to legal redress, and doesn’t give you the right to act like an asshole. Many Trans Women have not learned this lesson – because you are socialized male, I suspect.
No, you’re right, and the right thing to do was complain to a manager, and then to corporate if that didn’t get the right response, but that would be the way to go with any staff members being rude. You have to take into acceount, that some of us will be hyper-sensitive to these kinds of situations.
Um, yes, I am acutely aware of the “hyper-sensitivity” of trans women.
From the article in the Dallas Voice, I am left with a similar impression- specifically that Cross took umbrage with some comment that may or may not even have been directed at him, but nonetheless served as the basis to make an ass of himself. By kicking things up a notch and creating a disturbance, staff then reverted to a ‘we reserve the right…’ sort of mode and told Cross to leave. But to trans, it is perfectly acceptable in their deluded minds to make an ass and then have the audacity to claim victim status.
Sadly, my guess is that corporate will not only send down a message to the district staff to either fire or sanction the employee in question but will resolve the shakedown effort in some manner just because it is cheaper to settle these sorts of nuisance suits for a few bucks than it is to litigate it (which only encourages copy-cat litigation threats IMO).
And no…don’t hold your breath on trans ever ‘getting it’ or adjusting their expectations…I don’t envision Smurf Blue being a flattering color for you, and that is all that would come from holding your breath 😉
LOL. Poor Smurfs.
Poor clerk. A woman, working minimum wage with a total hour cutoff below the magic benefits kick in’ limit? I would like to hear the exchange. For the clerk to say “I call it like I see it” sounds way down the line of a few exchanges to me, following who knows how many abusive yelling comments from the male in a dress, and reasonable explanation only getting more yelling until, throwing hands up “I call it like I see it!!” Are these trans playing out some idea of feminine from their daytime soap opera generated book of “How to be a woman”.
Persons with anorexia see themselves as fat. Trying to look at the best case scenario here, could we say, persons with the mental illness of autogynephilia see themselves as female? Naw. They see themselves as drama queens.
Well as I put in my second comment above, the clerk should be reprimanded for the rudeness anyway, that’s bad customer service, but, you’re comments referring to the transwoman as a man, are pissing me off right now, but that’s your opinion that you’re entitled to, and I just have to accept that.
Some “attitudes” are just plain wrong, we all know that, and others are accepted, even though they’re equally wrong. Me calling someone the N word, is totally unacceptable, (‘I’m white, it’s an American word anyway so not one I’d use). A black man calling another black man the N-word, is and isn’t acceptable, depending on the circumstances. Referring to yours as “whatever” is fine, but someone else doing it might not be. CB refers to herself as a dyke, if someone else referred to her using the same word, she may take offence at that. I wouldn’t refer to her that way, unless she indicated she was ok with me doing that, or I was trying to upset her (and I’m not trying to upset anyone, I’m going to try and make a positive effort here to build bridges). I would refer to her as a lesbian without issue.
(sorry, my bloody spellchecker doesn’t know whether it wants to use UK or US English)
You are entitled to your feelings. You are not entitled to have people rearrange reality.
I agree the clerk was rude. I don’t think her perceptions are wrong.
Please don’t claim knowing a trans woman is male as “racism.” That’s offensive to reality.
I wasn’t saying it was racism, I was saying it’s accepted to call some people certain things, and not acceptable to call them other things. Calling any transperson a “tranny” is offensive, if someone called you a “dyke” in a certain way, that would / could be offensive. It’s all down to the content and the meaning. The simplest thing to do is not go round offending people, and if you do, apologise, that’s simple manners.
The clerk didn’t use that word, and I never have, so your analogy fails. I agree that the clerk was rude. What you want me to say is that her perceptions were wrong. You are not entitled to have others perceive the world as you wish it was. That’s the point.
I didn’t say she said that word, she was basically just being rude.
Right. Being RUDE is not the same as being discriminatory in a manner that violates law.
Here are the posts on my blog that use the word “Tranny,” fwiw: http://bugbrennan.com//?s=tranny&search=Go
Based on what the Dallas Voice article reports, the fundamental claim reads as Cross having taken a comment out of context and become an ass. It was not the clerk that created the original scene nor does it read as though the employee originally intended to instigate some type of issue.
So, again, it comes back to that whole indefensible ‘hyper-sensitivity’ that goes with trans always wanting to play the role of the innocent victim. Nonetheless, it causes the City to have to divert resources from real harms in order to attend to the claimed hurt of the deluded…at least it is something that I don’t see getting real traction in a Tarrant County court if Cross actually follows through on the claim of litigating the matter (presuming that Dollar doesn’t just offer up a nuisance settlement figure).
It will be interesting to see what happens.
Michelle, you’re generalising here, painting an entire group with the same brush. It comes down to the simple fact that it shouldn’t have gotten to this stage. The customer isn’t always right, but should be treated curteously. That may or may not have happened, so I’d say to ask yourself this, if you we’re in the same situation and the clerk reffered to you wrongly (or a way that you think is wrong), how would you react? Cathy gave her answer above, I think I put my 2 cents in there somewhere too. The fact remains that it’s just gotten out of hand, but, and I don’t remember her name, that black girl that refused to sit at the back of the bus in the civil rights era, I’m sure there we’re people then just saying she was “out to cause trouble”, when all she wanted to do, was get from point A to point B.
Sarah, please STOP talking about the civil rights movement in the United States as you are. You sound ignorant.
“That black girl”? You means Rosa Parks? Here, let me google that for you. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=rosa+parks
Yeah, that’s the girl I was thinking of. Cathy, we generally don’t get taught American history in the UK, but there ARE a lot of similarities in any struggle for rights, but I’ll leave that as it is.
Sarah, Rosa Parks is a woman, not a girl. You have access to the internet. Please learn something BEFORE you post here.
And, no, the struggle for civil rights by African-Americans in the United States IS NOT COMPARABLE to trans issues.
She was a girl at the time, and yes, they are comparable, you might not like that they are, but they still are. If a transwoman goes into a female toilets, and gets attacked, thrown out etc, that’s a civil rights issue.
God, you are a fucking idiot. Rosa Parks was 42 years old when this happened.
“After working all day, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section. Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.
The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM “old-look” transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.
Blake noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, with two or three standing. He moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”
By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat.
Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the redesignated colored section. Blake said,
“Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.'”
Ok, so I was wrong about her age at the time.
It is YOUR opinion that transwomen are men, and it is MY opinion that we are women. Some share that opinion and others don’t. Whatever, we are all people deserving of equal treatment, respect and rights. You’ve said it yourself that you’ve had issues with how people treat you based on your appearance, and that is dead wrong. Let me state for the record, that when I saw transwomen are women, I am being very specific in that I am referring to transsexual women of any op-status, not transvestites, not cross dressers, not drag queens, but men and women who have made a commitment to live the remainder of their lives as the opposite physical sex of their birth. In my understanding of things, sex is the physical body, gender is the mind, and that sex, gender and sexuality are 3 separate things that too often get confused together.
It’s not an opinion that trans women are male. It’s fact. If it wasn’t a fact, we wouldn’t be embroiled in this boring convo.
We’re not going to agree on this, but let me ask you this, what possible harm could it do to you and to anyone else, to just treat others with a bit of mutual respect? That’s all anyone wants or needs. You might not want to refer to transwomen the way they’d want you to, be deliberately referring to them in a way that you know is going to cause upset is just causing upset for no good reason.
Sarah, I do (and have) refer to people respectfully in my day-to-day dealings. Further, my first proposal on gender identity laws was extremely respectful. I got death threats for that respectful proposal. Subsequent events, including the Cotton Ceiling debacle, confirmed for me that as a political strategy, respect is not something I am going to be doing at the moment (politically speaking).
Your community has been incredibly disrespectful of women and our needs. You look at yourselves. Radical feminist activists are simply pushing back against overreaching. Maybe stop doing that. See http://pretendbian.wordpress.com/im-a-trans-woman-how-can-i-not-be-a-pretendbian/
But there you go using opinion as fact. Look, I’m not going to tell you how things are in the USA, but as I see it here in the UK, it’s not as major an issue, maybe that’s for cultural reasons or some other reason, I don’t know, but not all transpeople are the same, just like not all lesbians are not the same, just like not all feminists & radical feminists are the same, we might have similarities, but so does everyone.
Is biology different in the UK? Are babies made differently in the UK?
Sarah, I am sure you are a lovely person when you’re not relentlessly trolling lesbians and demanding they call you a woman. Quite frankly, I don’t care about you or your day-to-day life. I am interested in the class analysis that animates patriarchy. Try a class analysis! Go on, dares ya!
Trans women are MEN. It’s not a civil rights issue to give men access to women-only space.
“But there you go using opinion as fact.”
what a crock! It is reality that many who have been critical of trans and their never-ceasing attempts to erase female-only space have been subjected, both online and in person, to threats of various physical harm. That is FACT, not opinion.
Cotton Ceiling issues are real and have been documented. FACT, not opinion.
Biology. FACT, not opinion.
You further claim that “but not all transpeople are the same” yet rare is the instance that we EVER see trans speak out against the nonsense spewing forth from the significant majority of the online trans presence. Rare is the instance that we see trans speak out against the threats of physical harm. Rare is the instance that we see an acknowledgment that biology matters. And even rarer is the open acknowledgement by any trans that females, as a class, have issues that warrant space that is available ONLY to females and that is NOT available to trans.
Instead we get trans who grew up with male privilege telling us how WE are supposed to carry out our day-to-day lives as it may happen to involve trans. Again, FACT, not opinion.
what the hell is it with trans always wanting to compare their perceived slights with the civil rights movement…the pervert in Washington did the same thing after being run out of the locker room and was trying to claim it should have been an opportunity to ‘educate.’ Trans is NOTHING like the issues associated with the civil rights movement of the 60’s. But again we see trans trying to play a victim role…why am I not surprised?
As to what I would do if I were in a situation where someone said something that made me do a double-take, difficult to say. I certainly would not be an ass about it at the counter though. And from the report, that is what Cross decided to do. One can work through channels after the fact and still get results to remedy a situation- the only time I remember having any sort of an issue that really offended me was when I had a Trooper make a derogatory remark about lesbians during a mid-80’s traffic stop in an area of the State that wasn’t the most friendly to lesbians and gays. What he had forgotten was that the stop was being recorded, to include his body mic, and that the tape was viewable by staff in Austin- perhaps the biggest bastion of open-mindedness in the State. I got my apology when all was said and done…and I got it without being an ass at the time of the event.
An individual is free to dress however they please. The public at large is also free to interpret and make sense of the image being presented.
Oh my eyes, do they deceive me?
Michelle, we, the trans community, speak about things that affect us. Some of the things you mentioned do affect us, but others don’t, and you want us to agree with things that we’d never agree with?
And I’m sorry, but “male privilege”, really? I’ve had to work dam hard for everything I have in life, nothing’s been given to me on a silver platter just because I was born with a male body. I come from one of the most deprived areas of the UK, and the number of jobs I’ve lost simply for being trans is ridiculous, so please, do not talk about some bullshit idea of male privilege that you want to throw around for your own failings.
Sorry for the nasty tone there, but that just pissed me off.
That’s class. Class is different from sex.
for “my own failings”? Wow, that’s rich of you…and a classic case of a male (you) talking down to a female (that would be me) in an attempt to insult. I could go on about the other issues of how you just proved the points some of us try to make in our discussions about this subject, but Cathy’s sandbox is NOT the place for it. In the meantime, I am left shaking my head at the whole ‘failings’ thing…
As Cathy aptly notes, where one grew up has nothing to do with the biological realities of sex and the impact of life that exists as a direct consequence of that biology. With rare exception, almost every instance of middle-age trans that exists seems to include a history that was built in some manner upon opportunities that very likely would not have been immediately available to females, no matter what economic class one was in. For someone who claims to have a ‘condition’ that allows you to hold (however tenuously) to a position that is generally articulated as ‘always _felt_’ or ‘always _thought_’ like a woman, it amazes me how you miss the realities that females had to deal with throughout the entirety of our lives for no reason OTHER than we were born female.
From the Dallas Voice article: “They just don’t know any better and they need to be educated,”
It must be very comforting for trans proponents to believe this.
I think this is why people like us piss them off so much. They truly believe that if they just “educate” or shame us enough that we will all somehow magically accept that males can become females (and everything else that follows from that premise–that lesbians have penises, that lesbians who won’t have sex with a penis are bigots, for example.) We just need to be educated, and then we will realize that males can become females either through surgery, hormones, or simply by declaring that they feel like females.
And then they meet women like us. We are educated. We have read Julia Serrano. We know what queer theory. And we reject it, eloquently, rationally, and emphatically. How devastating this must be to those who hold on to the myth that “if only we were educated.” Cognitive dissonance sets in. They lash out at anyone who threatens their cherished beliefs.
You know what happens to most people in doomsday cults when doomsday comes and nothing happens? Do they yell out, “I was wrong. I was misled.” Nope. They cling even more desperately to their beliefs. Because letting go of their beliefs is more difficult than facing the truth.
A male can’t become a female. I can provide archaeological, evolutionary, biological and chemical evidence to prove this. But no amount of evidence will ever be enough to convince a transperson to face this truth. Just as a religious extremist clings to his beliefs in the face of concrete evidence against those beliefs, It is much easier for trans males to sue, harass, shame, attack and beat people who threaten their cherished belief system.
How are people supposed to know that a person wearing a dress thinks they are a ‘she’? If she walked into a store wearing sweats and a tee, as I often do, would she have been so upset? Or is it only because she herself believes make-up and long hair makes a woman that she thinks everyone else must subscribe to this erroneous belief?
“How are people supposed to know that a person wearing a dress thinks they are a ‘she’?”
They can’t know, but it’s not an unreasonable guess. There are of course a multitude of reasons why someone who seems to have a biologically male body may be in a dress; I’d have said that the three most likely would be:
(a) They may identify as a woman
(b) They may be in fancy dress
(c) You’ve guessed their body sex wrong
For all three options, the safest option to avoid offence would seem to be to use female pronouns.
In case (c), female pronouns is definitely correct. In case (a), whether female pronouns are correct is a matter of debate centred around your views on trans issues, but if you’re in a customer service position then you probably ought to at least humour them. In case (b), female pronouns are incorrect but it’s all in good fun anyway.
(d) He is a man in a dress.
Women wear trousers all the time, and it’s a non-issue, like it should be. If a man wants to wear a dress, it shouldn’t be an issue, but a transsexual woman is not a man in a dress.
It is not the responsibility of store personnel to cater to the delusional whims of a customer making an ass of themselves. Once said customer has become disruptive over some perceived slight, the question of whether they take offense to further comment becomes moot.
I’m not going to debate the gender of trans people. The appropriate information and points of debate are easily available for anyone who wants them and I have nothing new to add to that conversation.
I do think that people working in a customer service environment should no more argue over a customer’s choice of pronouns than their title or martial status.
An individual employee’s political objection to a possibly male-bodied person’s use of female pronouns should be no more open to debate than some chauvinist’s objection to use of the title ‘Ms’ or some homophobes’ objection to the concept of same-sex marriage. They’re entitled to their views but they need to keep their personal politics to themselves whilst at work.
What we are talking about is a situation where the likelihood is that the customer prefers female pronouns and an employee is being paid to provide good customer service to that customer. That employee thus needs to grit their teeth and do their job properly.
In most situations, that will involve just taking a customer at their word. In some more limited cases, we may need confirmation of what their legally recognised gender/title/marital status is. However, there’s no situation in which one’s personal beliefs should overrule both what the customer claims and what is legally recognised.
If they then want to go home and blog about how they consider invalid any gender identity not reducible to body sex then they can knock themselves out, just as they can blog about whether the title of Reverend is valid when issued by the ULC, or whether all legally recognised marriages are ‘real marriages’. However, they should not let their beliefs bleed into their work.
For someone who has “nothing new to add to the conversation,” you sure do speak a lot.
I agree the clerk was rude. Not sure what you’re point is. I will tell you that working in customer service does not mean that customers get to shit all over you.
If you had taken the time to quote me accurately, you’d have spotted the error you just made before having replied. Whether I had add anything to ‘that conversation’ doesn’t have any bearing on whether I had anything to add to ‘this conversation’.
If you had followed the thread, you’d also see that the question I was replying to was how the staff member could have been expected to know what gender pronouns the customer preferred.
The point being that the staff member did have good reason to believe that the customer would prefer female pronouns and did have a professional responsibility to respect that. At the point in which you are arguing with a customer over their gender, it’s -you- that has caused the problem, not the customer.
This isn’t about demanding that everyone be legally obliged to share this trans person’s views on gender, it’s about demanding that customer service staff treat trans customers with respect.
People writing on their blog should have a protected right to be needlessly insulting to trans people, just as a necessary protection of freedom of speech. There’s no right to be a dick to trans people when when working in customer service. People who do behave that way deserve all the criticism they get.
Awesome, you should blog about that.
And furthermore: “I am a lady”. From British comedy series “Little Britain”. (One of these actors is gay.)
One of my favorite shows. Thanks for posting it!
Haw haw! I love that show.
How did I miss that Rosa Parks analogy? She came from the American Slave class, she and her forebearers not only had no rights, it was legal to own them, rape them, kill them. She was Black and had no other way to be. YOU on the other hand are Male, and have chosen to pretend to be a woman, and don’t suffer anything like what women and especially BLACK women suffer. YOU have always been and will always be MALE. You have never been the Slave class, the oppressed class, the sex class or the underclass. Which is why you can barefaced make such an assinnine privileged braindead RACIST analogy.
I’m going to try to stay calm here.
A lot of people at the time, would not have viewed black people as being equal to non-black people, and so they treated them as such. A lot of people now, see trans people, as being less than human, or at least thinking that it is fine to treat them as such.
I am not MALE. Transsexuality is a condition where the body and the brain do not match. I’m also diabetic (type 2), and I take the appropriate meds for that, metformin ie tablets in my case, and as a direct result of that, I’m on the large side, but, since being diagnosed about 7 years ago and being on meds, I am losing weight & getting healthier. I sought medical help for BOTH conditions, and as a results, I am better off healthwise and happier. I don’t need you or anyone to acknowledge my womanhood, and judging by your comments, shouldn’t expect you to anytime soon either.
I can no more change the fact that I’m diabetic or transsexual, than someone who is black can change the fact that they are black, and neither of us are less of a person because of it.
I am not pretending to be a woman, I am not choosing to be a woman, I am a woman. You on the other hand, are choosing to treat me as less than an equal member of society, based on stereotypes, and general misinformation regarding trans-issues. Try treating me how you find me, as an individual, the same way we should all treat each other.
No one here thinks you are less than human. Being male doesn’t make you less than human.
We are having a political discussion. We are not actually concerned about you specifically.
If you have a hard time keeping calm reading a blog, stop reading it.
Ditto that. Oopster, it’s not your humanity or human rights that are being questioned, it’s your self-proclaimed “womanhood.”
You can’t have a womanhood, because you never had a girlhood and you never had a girlhood, because you were born a male.
@oopster74: “A lot of people at the time, would not have viewed black people as being equal to non-black people.”
A lot people still don’t view black people as equal to white people. Therefore, you can imagine what a black person would think if some person born white went on blog by and for black people, saying things like:
“I am not WHITE. Transethnicity is a condition where the body and the brain don’t match . . . I don’t need you or anyone to acknowledge my blackness . . . I am not pretending to be black, I am not choosing to be black, I am black.”
If you’re going to misquote someone, at least have the brains / sense not to do it when the original quote is still there, and a few comments up. I never said I was black, I never used the word “Transethnicity”, was that word invented by the same people who invented “mansplaining”?
I said, that me being transsexual, me being diabetic, are medical conditions and I treat them as such. Did I want to be transsexual, hell no, do I want other people to be transsexual, hell no, you have to put up with all kinds of shit, but I would rather by happy and honest about who and what I am. I won’t ever deny that I’m transsexual, but I’m a transsexual and a woman, a transsexual woman. ALL the information you have about me personally, is information I’ve given openly and honestly.
You can think whatever the hell you want about me, that’s you right, as is my right to think whatever the hell I want about you, just don’t spread your lies and bullshit about me and others like me, and we won’t have a problem.
Anyway, back to the original topic, the store clerk was rude, she should be disciplined, the customer was upset, may or may not have kicked up a fuss about it, end of the story. Mightn’t you kick up a fuss if a store clerk was rude to you?
You are a male transsexual, yes.
No, I am a transsexual woman, it’s not upto you to tell me what I am and am not.
You are a male who thinks he is a woman. You call that transsexual woman. Same diff.
I know what I am, and I’m not going to play this game of ping-pong with you over it. Show some decency and respect for your fellow humans.
This from the guy who says things like this to women: “You don’t have to worry Cathy, seriously, no one with eyes would fuck you anyway.” – Sarah Davis. http://pretendbian.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/because-trans-is-about-fuckability-amirite/
Not a guy Cathy, and you know full well those comments I made about your appearance, we’re in direct response to your comments about Paris Lee’s appearance, so before you go calling me out on something and saying how bad I am, check you’re not guilty of the same thing yourself, otherwise you just show yourself up as being a hypocrite.
Sarah Davis, you are a man and a liar. If you are going to repeat a lie, back it up. Please show me where I commented on his appearance.
oopster, cathy is correct. Goes back to that little two word tidbit that “biology matters.”
And to your other question, bottom line is that it matters not whether one feels the clerk was ‘rude’- it does not excuse the customer making an ass of themselves. I realize that such common sense flies in the face of the victim mentality that trans wants to clutch onto like pearls around the neck, but facts are facts. Oh yeah, and biology matters.
Oopser isn’t satisfied that I have said the clerk was rude. He wants me to also say the clerk’s observations were wrong. This I shall never do.
The way trans demands rigid adherence to its world view is very similar to cults.
I am not in your gender cult, Sarah.
Cultish but also not dissimilar to their very male upbringing and actions. Both descriptions that they tend to pretend don’t exist…
@oopster: “If you’re going to misquote someone, at least have the brains / sense not to do it when the original quote is still there, and a few comments up. I never said I was black”
Look again.. There are no quotation marks because I didn’t quote you. It’s called an analogy. But thanks for assuming that when YOU don’t understand something that a woman says it is because that woman has no sense or brains. Your male socialization is really shining through here.
“I never used the word “Transethnicity”, was that word invented by the same people who invented “mansplaining”?”
You haven’t heard of it? Oh my, go look it up! There are transethnic people, transabled people, and otherkin (people who are born with the brains of other species but the bodies of humans). These people are your comrades. These people were born with brains that don’t match their bodies–just like you!
[…] That’s entitlement. […]
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