Part Three: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

This is part three of a series of essays on self-described transsexual anti-defamation activist Ashley Love. Part one of this series explains why I’ve written, and why I’m posting this series of essays.

~~Autumn Sandeen~~


Homophobia and transphobia are the ugliest when they come from inside the community. “Tranny” isn’t a word I apply to myself, nor do I find it charming. But I won’t tell other trans people what they can and can’t call themselves. And denigrating them for being drag queens, genderqueer, non-op or anything other than “your” idea of what a True Trans Person is smacks of transphobia and homophobia. “You” don’t own the word “trans” just because you went through some version of it.

…Ashley, what I’m hearing you and others express is an all-out condemnation and hateful, homophobic and transphobic jihad toward anyone who uses the word “tranny” for any reason. I don’t hear any room for any other opinion, or acknowledgment of any other trans experience than your own. It’s shrill, ugly, dismissive and typical of fundamentalism. Hopefully, your activism will mature with time. For now, you’re a bit over the edge.

~Calpernia Addams in a Facebook comment thread (November 13, 2010)

If you’ve ever seen the movie Soldier’s Girl, you may remember who Calpernia Addams is. If you know anything about the murder of Barry Winchell, you may remember who Calpernia Addams is. Calpernia Addams was a showgirl in 1999 — she came to her trans identity through drag community. Addams made her comments above after Ashley Love, in a Facebook comment thread stated this on November 13, 2010:

I’m tires of trans people who only advocate for the word “tra**y” because their gay male fans pay to laught AT them. I’m tires of drag queens, or trans women who perform alongside drag queens, advocating for the use of the word because they exploit their birth challenge in a minstrel “trans face” show where trans women are “othered”, not as women, but as harlequins, clowns, and lap dogs/pets and gay men. When are we going to take a stand for our dignity, humanity and rights? Of we are only seen as campy jokes, how r we going to be taken seriously? Not all og us want to be segregated to West Hollywood or other gay areas. Mainstream sees us as “drag queens and tra**ies”. Why would we encourage that by submitting to degrading slurs? The slur stemmed from a way to mis-gender and objectify transsexual WOMEN. Now its morphed into a term spit with hate and is often associated with violence. Its a way of saying ” you’re not *really* a woman” and knocking a trans woman into “her place”. I want more for our community, and our youth. Just because drag queens like the shock value and “coolness and comedy” of the word, doesn’t mean they should make up BS reasons why its okay. Think of the bigger picture, our movement, strategy, perceptual management and reality. We are not clowns, we are human beings, not “its, subwomen or tra**ys”. Low self esteem is common for people oppressed and dehumanized by society, so I understand why some find the term “comforting”, but that’s not authentic “comfort”, its accepting and making excuses for abuse for our oppressors. I say we rise up and take a stand for our worth. We deserve more then the “class dunce clown” pet name. We deserve to be called by our name, not a “ni**er” “tra**y” or any other dehumanizing slurs. And gay men and drag queens are not right to reclaim a word.

In her statement above, Love takes issue with gay drag performers; She states that drag performance is “a minstrel ‘trans face’”; she attacks trans performers who perform with gay drag performers as facilitating gay men laughing at trans women.

Since Addams had commented in that thread prior to that Love comment above, and Addams advocates for people to being able to self-identify — even if the self-identity is “tra**y” — Addams assumed Love was referring to her in that comment. Love assured Addams in the comment thread that this wasn’t the case, but Love made broad statements about drag performers, and transsexual performers that perform with drag performers, and those broad statements painted Addams’ life experiences as a showgirl as supporting minstrel show “trans face” shows. Addams knows, as I do too, that Love’s broad brush painting of drag performers and other showgirls applies to many trans women.

I personally know a good number of transsexual people who identified as drag queens as an interim identity on their path to embracing themselves as the transsexual women they are. Sylvia Rivera, one of Love’s heroes, identified herself as a drag queen.

One of the six people who influenced me the most on my path to becoming an activist is Amanda Watson — a trans woman who at one point in her life was known in San Diego as the drag performer Amanda Hugandkiss. Gender identity (to include gender expression) wouldn’t have been added to San Diego’s Human Dignity Ordinance (the city ordinance that protects San Diegans from discrimination) in 2003 without Watson spearheading the effort to change that ordinance. We had antidiscrimination protections for trans people in San Diego before we had similar protections afforded by state law.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from January 3, 2011: 'hey prefer drag queens, or late transitioning gender queer males'It’s pretty clear that Ashley Love doesn’t like drag performers. She also doesn’t like genderqueer identified folk much either. In a November 27, 2010 Facebook thread announcing ,her upcoming blog radio program Transcending The Blacklist, Love states the following about drag performers and those she identifies “late transitioning gender queer males”:

[More below the fold.]

A lot of feminists with a transsexual and/or intersex birth condition are not allowed a proper voice in LGB”T” news outlets, and mos def not on mainstream ones. Its seems they prefer drag queens, or late transitioning gender queer males.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from January 3, 2011: '(I)ts times to stop living in a fantasy, and face the facts. Sweeping diversity and individuality under the rug has done nothing for the sex and gender diverse communities, or at least nothing for the transsexual and intersex communities. Perhaps its done a lot for white cross dressing males and white gender queer FTMs, but it has only served white trans masculine people, and thats it. I have more in common with a non-trans woman than I do with a cross dresser or drag queen. Many TS/IS people are fed up of being bullied by PC BS. We are tired of being muzzled by late transitioning white CD and TG male bodied people who run the TG Facista non-profit world and buy their way onto the Gay(lgbt) non profit boards. Did we go through all we went through to be told we are the same thing as men in dresses? We think not.'In a more specific comment directed at genderqueer people, Love made this comment on January 3, 2011 in yet another Facebook thread:

[I]ts times to stop living in a fantasy, and face the facts. Sweeping diversity and individuality under the rug has done nothing for the sex and gender diverse communities, or at least nothing for the transsexual and intersex communities. Perhaps its done a lot for white cross dressing males and white gender queer FTMs, but it has only served white trans masculine people, and thats it. I have more in common with a non-trans woman than I do with a cross dresser or drag queen. Many TS/IS people are fed up of being bullied by PC BS. We are tired of being muzzled by late transitioning white CD and TG male bodied people who run the TG Facista non-profit world and buy their way onto the Gay(lgbt) non profit boards. Did we go through all we went through to be told we are the same thing as men in dresses? We think not.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from December 11, 2010: 'is curious why gender queer performer Kate Bornstein always attacks women who are transsexual and expresses some of the same sentiments that Janice Raymond, Mary Daly and other anti-transsexual feminists?'Again we go from the macro to the micro. Commenting about community icon Kate Bornstein on December 11, 2010 — who Love has identified as a “gender queer performer” — Love compares Bornstein to anti-transsexual feminist Janice Raymond:

[Ashley Love] is curious why gender queer performer Kate Bornstein always attacks women who are transsexual and expresses some of the same sentiments that Janice Raymond, Mary Daly and other anti-transsexual feminists?

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from November 16, 2010: Ashley Love misgenders Kate Bornstein by putting quotation marks around gender neutral pronounsOn November 16, 2010, Love stated this in yet another Facebook entry:

Who needs the mother of anti-transsexual woman sentimnet ,Janice Raymond, to bully, misgender and gay appropriate transsexual/and or intersex women when gender queer Kate Bornstein is continuing Raymonds legacy for her?

Further into the comment thread for the Facebook entry for that entry, Love inappropriately put quotation marks around a pronouns she used to refer to Bornstein:

Read her new attack on TS women on Out.com, zi calls TS women not “real women”, that are “co-opting the word women”, etc, etc. That’s great that “zi” invents new pronouns for “zirself”, and has a primarily white gay queer following, that includes the ant-transsexual lesbian women who say “ts women are fake”, but zi is throwing us under the bus with her gay psuedo gender theories that invalidate our birth condition. My “gender didn’t change” as Bornstien says of us. Not all of us want to be “San Fran queer radical fuck gender super stars!”. Some of us are just women who want to live our lives, and not have Gay Inc pay token toms like Bornstein to “put us in our place”.

And…

Its okay for “zi” to say zi is an outlaw, and both gender, but to cal ts women “fake” and “co-opters” and “wrong to be in “real womens” spaces mirrors the sentiment of Raymond. Why do you think many psuedo radical feminist lesbian professors put zi on a pedastool: they agree with how zi sticks it to ts women who “have the disillusionment to think they are real women”. Why do you think the transphobic white gay male news sites call on Bornstein when ts and tg women rise up and protest? Why don’t they call Andrea James, Julia Serrano, Monica Roberts, Katrina Rose, Katrina Fox (trans women who I respect, and who are women who call themseleves women), etc, etc- its because only Borntein will “shut us up”, talk down to our plight, and throw us under the bus and co-sign the gay appropriated version of transsexualims that say ts women are not women at all. Kate actually has the same message many transphobic LGB people have about ts women, as well as bigoted straight people. I feel bullied be “zi”, and don’t apologize that I’m not “queer” enough for “zi”. I’m a woman, and my gender is real. Also, Kate seems to not understand that male and female are sex terms, and woman and man are gender terms. I see through her propaganda when she miseducated about sex and gender.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from December 1, 2010: 'Kate Bornstein mirrors a lot of what Janice Raymond and Mary Daly 'preached'. But no one notices because the gender queer empire puts On December 1, 2010, Love again inappropriately put quotation marks around a pronouns she used to refer to Bornstein, as well as identifying why she believes Bornstein is revered in community:

Kate Bornstein mirrors a lot of what Janice Raymond and Mary Daly “preached”. But no one notices because the gender queer empire puts “zi” on a pedastool, and the radfem lesbina professors invite Kate to speak at their universitys

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love in a Facebook entry from November 12, 2010 where she misgendered Kate Bornstein with quotation marks around pronounsShe started putting quotation marks around the pronoun ze (that Love spells as zi) on November 12, 2010, in yet another Facebook entry.

Not surprisingly, Kate Bornstein is once again capitalizing off the exploitation of transsexual woman and is writing an article for Out Magazine (which has a primarily white gay male readership, the Christian Soriano types who use the T word to be “cool”) soon to be published glorifying the “T-word”. Bornstein identifies as “gender queer” and this spring attacked & dismissed the transsexual women who opposed the Ticked Off Transphobia film. “Zi’s” career is based off “shock value, aggressiveness & LG pseudo theories of gender”. All the drag queens and gay males who love the T word are going to once again be praising Bornstein as a “hero” like they did when she attacked GLAAD, MAGNET and the trans people who protested the misrepresentation of TOTWK. The sad thing is that T word is not gay mens, their straight girl BFF’s, drag queens, bigoted straight men, cross dressers or even gender queer or FTM guy’s word to “reclaim”, much like Latino people should not reclaim the “N word” just because they have dark skin too. The word originated as a word meant to mis-gender and objectify transsexual women, and has now morphed into a slur spit with hate, violence, mocking, misogyny and/or ridicule. Kate Bornstein: Our birth challenge, the slurs associated with it, and the fear and misunderstanding that provokes hate and violence against us from society is not “cool”. If you want to be “cool”, go buy a Drake or Katie Perry CD, keep your predatorily performance “act” out of our medical condition, and if you need content for another sensational article, try not oppressing an endangered minority group to do so. Just shameful.

Whether or not Kate Bornstein identifies as a she or a ze, it’s not acceptable to put quotation marks around the pronoun one uses to refer to Bornstein. The largest anti-defamation organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is the  Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and in their GLAAD Media Reference Guide the organization says this about putting pronouns in quotation marks:

It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity.

Putting quotation marks around a pronoun is a way to question a person’s gender identification; it’s a means of misgendering a transsexual, a transgender, and/or a genderqueer person’s gender identity by implied disbelief of verbally or visibly expressed  gender identity. Despite having stated on November 23, 2010 Facebook thread that “I never misgendered anyone,” Love actually had begun misgendering Bornstein via quotation marks around pronouns on November 12, 2010.

Thumbnail link to book by Janice G. Raymond: The Transsexual Empire, The Making Of The She-MaleJanice Raymond is a feminist professor and author who wrote the book The Transsexual Empire; The Making of the She-Male; Janice G. Raymond wrote a book with an antitransgender pejorative in the title. To give an idea of how anti-transsexual Janice Raymond’s writings actually have been, these are some quotes from her on transsexuals:

• “Transsexually constructed lesbian-feminists show yet another face of patriarchy. As the male-to-constructed-female transsexual exhibits the attempt to possess women in a bodily sense while acting out the images into which men have molded women, the male-to-constructed-female who claims to be a lesbian-feminist attempts to possess women at a deeper level, this time under the guise of challenging rather than conforming to the role and behavior of stereotyped femininity”.

• “I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence”.

In a quote from the book known to many transsexual people, Raymond connects transsexual experience to the rape of women:

“All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves … Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive.”

Without apparent hyperbole, Ashley Love has stated that Kate Bornstein is worse than Janice Raymond. What angers Love about Bornstein is Bornstein’s embrace of the term tra**y. In the Out Magazine article by Bornstein that Love refers to, entitled Who You Calling A Tranny?, Bornstein wrote the following:

No matter what ideas you might have about transsexuals or drag queens, if you were M headed toward F in any fashion at all, you moved into, through, up and out of the drag queen community. So there was always a bond between the drag queens and the MTF transsexuals in Sydney. The bond was so strong, they invented a name for the identity they shared: tranny. It was a name that said family. Doris Fish taught me that she and I were family.

Years earlier, when I went through my gender change from male to female, I glided through life under the commonly accepted assumption: I was finally a real woman! That worked for me until I ran into a group of politically smart lesbians who told me that I wasn’t allowed to co-opt the word “woman.” Woman was not a family word that included me. My answer to this exclusion was to call myself a gender outlaw: I wasn’t a man, I wasn’t a woman. By calling myself a gender outlaw, I had unknowingly reclaimed the right to name myself outside the language generated by the bipolar gender system. Under that system, each of us needed to fit neatly into a pre-fab sex/gender identity.

[When we were looking for submissions for Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation], [S. Bear Bergman] posted a call for submissions on his blog. In the interests of keeping the call as open as possible, we agreed to include as many trans-identities as we knew, so we used the word tranny. And that’s where the activist shit hit the postmodern fan base. People were pissed. Here’s their argument: FTMs are co-opting a word that belongs to MTFs. The word tranny belongs to MTFs, those who were hurt by our use of the word reason, because it was a denigrating term reclaimed by MTFs — ergo, only MTFs could be known as trannies. I spoke with Bear, and we agreed that’s wrong on several counts:

  1. Tranny began as a uniting term amongst ourselves. Of course it’s going to be picked up and used as a denigrating term by mean people in the world. But even if we manage to get them to stop saying tranny like a thrown rock, mean people will come up with another word to wound us with. So, let’s get back to using tranny as a uniting term amongst ourselves. That would make Doris Fish very happy.
  2. It’s our first own-language word for ourselves that has no medical legacy.
  3. Even if (like gay) hate-filled people try to make tranny into a bad word, our most positive response is to own the word (a word invented by the queerest of the queer of their day). We have the opportunity to re-create tranny as a positive in the world.
  4. Saying that FTMs can’t call themselves trannies eerily echoes the 1980s lesbians who said I couldn’t use the word woman to identify myself, and the 1990s lesbians who said I couldn’t use the word dyke.

Kate Bornstein identifies as a gender outlaw, and embraces the term tra**y. I don’t embrace the term tra**y, for myself or on behalf of others, but I’m with Calpernia Addams in believing people get to self-identify. But that said, disagreeing with Bornstein on use of the term tra**y doesn’t mean I disown Bornstein as a community sibling, nor does it mean I can use antitransgender derogatory or defamatory language to label Bornstein. Frankly, I like Kate Bornstein and many of her ideas a lot — disagreeing with her beliefs regarding the term tra**y doesn’t mean I need to hate her and all she stands for. What it means I disagree with her on an issue of importance to trans community.

Thumbnail link: Roz Kaveney's six axioms of trans activismRoz Kaveney wrote what’s become known as the Six Axioms of Transgender Activism.

1.) Display solidarity with all our trans brothers and sisters.

2.) Build alliances by getting involved as ourselves in other areas of politics.

3.) Refuse to let journalistic and intellectual attacks on our community go unanswered – we can have and keep the moral high ground.

4.) Be creative, be smart, be ourselves, and don’t let anybody tell us who we are and what we do.

5.) Refuse the pathological model – we are not sick, just different.

6.) Refuse those politics – heterosexism, body fascism – that work against all of the above, but especially #1.

These axioms are part of my personal mission and vision; these axioms guide how I approach activism. Building alliances, refusing to let journalistic attacks on community go unanswered, not letting anyone tell tell transgender people who we are and what we do, rejecting politics that divides instead of unites — these are important axioms because they address how to achieve political success at gaining community freedom, equality, and justice.

Since Ashley Love doesn’t identify as transgender, it should be as no surprise then that she doesn’t embrace any of the Six Axioms of Transgender Activism. She definitely isn’t displaying solidarity with transgender people she lists in her biography as one of her constituencies, she’s encouraging divisiveness instead of building alliances, she tells other trans people who they are and what they do, and embraces politics that work against solidarity. And, not only does Love let journalistic attacks on trans community (that she even has linke to) go unanswered, she actually engages in attacks on trans people and trans community and its members herself.

It’s just not acceptable behavior to attack any transgender identified person with antitransgender, derogatory language if one defines oneself in terms of being an activist “dedicated to educating the media about transsexual and transgender issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of trans people in the media.” A anti-defamation activist who uses derogatory and defamatory language to attack those he, she, or ze disagrees with is hypocritical, and potentially dangerous to the community that he, she, or ze is claiming to serve.

As I’ve said before, I’m finding it difficult to fully embrace Ashley Love as an anti-defamation activist. This is because in the past year she’s used derogatory, antitransgender language herself, and in putting quotation marks around pronouns for Kate Bornstein and in labeling me as a transgenderist, Love has engaged in behavior that she says she doesn’t do — misgendering people in trans community.

Again let me state that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) doesn’t accomplish their anti-defamation work by defaming others, nor does the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Again let me state that the tactics and language that Love has been using for the past year are more akin with how the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and Family Research Council (FRC) do their work than with how other anti-defamation focused organizations — and other anti-defamation focused people — do their work. And, that is just unconscionable behavior for a self-identified anti-defamation activist.

~~~~~

Related:

* Part One: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

* Part Two: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

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Part Two: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

This is part two of a series of essays on self-described transsexual anti-defamation activist Ashley Love. Part one of this series explains why I’ve written and I’m posting this series of essays.

~~Autumn Sandeen~~


“We want our humanity to be respected, and to shake the toxic and oppressive stigma off our community, stigma like this film inspires,” said Ashley Love of Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People (MAGNET), which organized the protest with other transgender advocates. Love said MAGNET met with festival organizers in late March, but Tribeca refused to remove the film.

~Ashley Love quoted in The Advocate‘s Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives Protested

Thumbnail link: GLAAD Media Reference GuideAs an anti-defamation activist, Ashley Love has expressed noble thoughts regarding how trans people shouldn’t be defamed as a class of people. Her Blogger biography states the following regarding her work:

[Ashley Love] is the Organizer of Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET). MAGNET is an anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual and transgender issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of trans people in the media.

So with that as a measure of how to look at the body of written work, it’s rather sad to discover that as a writer, a blogger, and a Facebook participant, she’s also engaged in using derogatory language against members of the transgender community — couching her complaints against transgender identified community members in terms of derogatory, antitransgender terminology.

For example, there’s Love’s use of the word “transvestite” without acknowledging that within the United States the term is most often considered a derogatory term. The largest anti-defamation organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is the  Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and in their GLAAD Media Reference Guide the organization says this about the term:


Transvestite

Derogatory see Cross-Dressing



Under Cross-Dressing, the guide states the following:


Cross-Dressing

To occasionally wear clothes traditionally associated with people of the other sex. Cross-dressers are usually comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth and do not wish to change it. “Cross-dresser” should NOT be used to describe someone who has transitioned to live full-time as the other sex or who intends to do so in the future. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity. Cross-dressing is not indicative of sexual orientation.



Examples of where Love has used the term “transvestite” without acknowledging that the term has been identified as derogatory is found the January, 22, 2010 Trans Forming Media essay Thoughts On Transsexual (not to be confused with CD/TV/GQ) Inequality In A Diverse “Transgender” Umbrella (which she crossposted to her Facebook account under the title Are Transsexual Women Being Bullied Into Signing A PC Contract That Strips Them Of Thier Identities & Sexualizes Them?). The excerpts are included here with emphasis added for the term “transvestite”:

If a man gets satisfaction putting on a dress and using the woman’s restroom, who am I to judge him? I may not feel safe if I was in that bathroom when he was in there, but whatever strokes one’s boat, I think, or maybe he should use the man’s bathroom, just to be respectful. So some of my trans feminist friends plead not to include the transvestites in our mission, but would we really want to start a war with transvestite men just because we have nothing in common with them?

And:

Now I do have friends in the trans community, but I still think more attention needs to devoted to “transsexuals” who personally identify with the binary, and who feel that “transgender” and “transvestite” new politics are ignoring the wants of many “transsexuals”. I know today’s youth wont forget “transsexuals”

And:

A few transsexual women friends of mine contacted me and wanted to know why I seemed to be so wishy washy on the whole transvestite inclusion/separatism from “transsexuals” issue. I do not think that transvestites should use the women’s restroom just because they have decided to dress up in women’s clothing. Transvestism is a lifestyle, an expression. Where transsexual is gender, and not sex or entertainment related.

In the  August 17th, 2010 Trans Forming Media essay Attention all Women Born with a Transsexual and/or Intersex Birth Challenge: You Have The Right to Vote Too! Happy Women’s Equality Day! Love used of the term “transvestite” in a derogatory manner:

[More below the fold.]

TS & IS women are NOT drag queens, fetishists, transvestites, gender dismantlists and gender queer activists. These are people who were born with a medical condition, and it’s high time the sexist and transsexual-phobic practice of misrepresntation stops.

And:

Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.

In a December 27, 2010 entry on Facebook, Love linked to a TS-SI opinion essay by Evangelina Carters, entitled Transvestism Is a Narcotic Drug. Her header for the essay link was:

A new article that discusses the vital differences between transsexual women and cross dressing males.

There were those in the comment thread for Love’s Facebook entry that questioned why she linked to that essay. She answered them this way:

Many people here have missed the point. The point is that there is a difference between a medical condition and a fetish. The author of this blog generalized too much, but she still had some points

Here are some of Evangelina Carters’ points from that TS-SI essay (emphasis added):

The male transvestite who begins by gaining sexual gratification through wearing items of female clothing and will progress slowly through multiple stages and levels of cross dressing to obtain ever higher levels of excitement. Transvestism acts like a narcotic drug.

• I’ve watched as men in the early stages of cross dressing gradually progress from occasionally wearing their wives underwear for sexual kicks, through to creating a full female image. It seems never to stop there but instead tends to progress, ever closer to creating a more convincing feminine image until there is nowhere else to go, save hormones and SRS to create the ultimate pass. In other words naked in front of a mirror or better still in sexual intercourse with either sex.

It may take years in some cases as the individual becomes ever more curious about even greater levels of cross gender activity until eventually and seemingly inevitably they seek more permanency to the cross dressing. In other words full time and eventually may even move on to surgical procedures.

• At this point in old terms they would be described as “transgender” Currently everyone claims to be “transsexual.” It seems it is forgotten that transsexuals are born and that it is not a stage that transvestites progress towards.

Evangelina Carters made the argument that many late transitioning transsexuals — transsexual people who transition in midlife or later — are really just “transvestites” that aren’t “true transsexuals.”

Transgender scholar and activist Joelle Ruby Ryan made this comment about the Carters’ essay in the comment thread for the Love’s Facebook entry:

[T]his article = epic fail. It would do J. Michael Bailey, Anne Lawrence, Ken Zucker and Ray Blanchard proud. It is typical junk science exemplified by anti-crossdresser bias and hatred towards late transitioners AND lesbian-identified trans women. The author is on a serious ego trip to make herself feel superior by degrading others in the larger trans community. She is also very erorophobic by slamming those who receive pleasure from cross-dressing. This is just another tired refrain of the “primary” transsexuals versus the “secondary” transsexuals with her being primary and therefore more genuine and authentic. Hooey.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from December 28, 2010: 'There is nothing wrong with transvestism, just don't try to pass it off as being transsexual.'Instead of promoting that comment from Ryan, Love promoted comments (here and here) by Margaux Ayn Schaffer to Love’s Facebook front page.

There is nothing wrong with transvestism, just don’t try to pass it off as being transsexual.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from December 28, 2010: 'Millitant transgenderists are guilty of paradigmal piracy. The point being that it has taken years for transsexualism to be understood and accepted, then a bunch of people are storming the gates purporting to be transsexual because the stigma appears to be breaking away. Transgenderism is a legitimate lifestyle, but it's very unethical to simply annex transsexualism and colonize it just to build your numbers for the sake of activism.'And:

Millitant transgenderists are guilty of paradigmal piracy. The point being that it has taken years for transsexualism to be understood and accepted, then a bunch of people are storming the gates purporting to be transsexual because the stigma appears to be breaking away. Transgenderism is a legitimate lifestyle, but it’s very unethical to simply annex transsexualism and colonize it just to build your numbers for the sake of activism.

The term “transgenderist” is defined in detail here, but in short the term is referring to crossdressers who still identify with their natal sex, but who dress and live full time in clothing associated with the opposite sex.

These promotions of statements of Margaux Ayn Schaffer were accompanied with Love selecting the “Like” button for these comments, meaning that she liked the comments herself. With the promotion and the “liking” of the Schaffer comments, it seems pretty clear that Love agrees with the essay points of Evangelina Carters regarding “transvestites” and late transitioning transsexual people. And, of course, that is born out in other comments that Love has made that are included in this series of essays.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from December 30, 2010 on TS-SI Article Autumn Sandeen (Did Not) Die For Your Sins: 'FYI: I did not write this article, nor do I co-sign all the ideas mentioned in it. I just want 2 acknowledge that many women w/ a transsexual condition do not subscribe 2 some in the gender non-conforming or cross dressing (or transgender) mission statement. Transgenderist Sandeen has proven time & time again that they r willing 2 bulldoze over actual transsexual women 4 unethical political reasons.'And, Love took the idea of who is a true transsexual and who in it from the macro to the micro in labeling me as a “transgenderist.” In a December 30, 2010 Facebook entry, Love posted a link to the TS-SI essay Autumn Sandeen (Did Not) Die For Your Sins (that I responded to at PHB here). This is the header that Love attached to the essay link (emphasis added):

FYI: I did not write this article, nor do I co-sign all the ideas mentioned in it. I just want 2 acknowledge that many women w/ a transsexual condition do not subscribe 2 some in the gender non-conforming or cross dressing (or transgender) mission statement. Transgenderist Sandeen has proven time & time again that they r willing 2 bulldoze over actual transsexual women 4 unethical political reasons.

The final paragraph of the piece to which Love links to concludes in this way:

Women of history should be thankful that at least none of the photos of Sandeen show a tented skirt. Tell me again why transvestic fetishism needs to be removed from the DSM.

Love, who has literally made news in battling media use of the term “tra**y” to describe transsexual identified and transgender identified people, linked to an essay which refers to me as a tra**y. She did not object to use of that term to describe me.

And too, the essay misgendered me as “he” nine times, and Love didn’t object to that either. The GLAAD Media Reference Guide states this about misgendering:

Whenever possible, ask transgender people which pronoun they would like you to use. A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or had some form of surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender.

And:

The Associated Press Stylebook provides guidelines for journalists reporting on transgender people and issues. According to the AP Stylebook, reporters should “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly”

Ashley Love has used the term “transvestite,” as well of variants of the term, without pointing out it’s a derogatory term. She’s used the term and its variants in a derogatory manner herself, and linked to an essayist with whom she agrees with who made a case that late transitioning transsexuals are often not true transsexuals, transvestites. And then, Love called me a “transgenderist” — intentionally misgendering me as male by her use of that term to describe me.

This is in contrast to what the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation states about the term “transvestite,” and in contrast to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation states regarding how crossdressing terminology shouldn’t be used for people who have transitioned.

I’m finding it difficult to fully embrace Ashley Love as an anti-defamation activist. This is because in the past year she’s used derogatory, antitransgender language herself, and links to essays that use derogatory language without highlighting that derogatory language has been used in the essays.

As I’ve said before, Love’s mission and vision — found in her blogger biography — reads quite nobly. But, what I’ve found in looking at Ashley Love’s writings over the past year is that although Love claims to be an anti-defamation advocate, some of her commentary is derogatory towards members of the transgender community she identifies herself as working on behalf of.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) doesn’t do their anti-defamation work by defaming others, nor does the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The tactics and language that Love has been using for the past year are more akin with how the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and Family Research Council (FRC) do their work than the tactics and language of other anti-defamation focused organizations and people do their work.

~~~~~

Related:

* Part One: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Part One: Ashley Love And Anti-Defamation

Thumbnail link To Trans Forming Media Essay: 'Attention all Women Born with a Transsexual and/or Intersex Birth Challenge: You Have The Right to Vote Too! Happy Women's Equality Day!'

Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.

~Ashley Love, in the Trans Forming Media essay Attention all Women Born with a Transsexual and/or Intersex Birth Challenge: You Have The Right to Vote Too! Happy Women’s Equality Day! (August 17, 2010)

I met Ashley Love a number of years back, having eaten meals with her at a couple of the California Transgender Leadership Summits in past years in Los Angeles and San Diego. She’s young and very attractive, and had ambitious goals for herself and her community. I was impressed by her goals and her determination.

And Love is a visible member of community. Love has been on Logo; she writes for the Huffington Post, she’s done modeling; she has a blog called Trans Forming Media; she’s formed an anti-defamation group, and she was quoted in mainstream media as an activist who organized protests against the film Ticked Off Tra**ies With Knives. In other words, she has mainstream media, social media, and web presences that are significant — Love has a significant public profile.

It’s been over two years since Love and I have been at the same event or conference at the same time, and times have certainly changed us both. I’ve grown into a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community activist who engaged in arrestable direct actions, while Love, as mentioned above has organized public protests over the use of the derogatory term tra**y in the film Ticked Off Tra**ies With Knives. And just last November, Love was afforded the honor of introducing keynote speaker Amanda Simpson at Washington DC’s Transgender Day Of Remembrance memoriam on November 20, 2010:

Love has framed her activism in terms of anti-defamation. Love organized Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People, or MAGNET specifically to address defamation of trans people. From Ashley Love’s Blogger biography (emphasis added):

Ashley Love is a woman born with chromosomical and anatomy diversity (which transpired into a medical condition), and is an advocate for LGBT humanity. Ashley is a poet, novelist, activist, journalist, host, media specialist, film maker and spoken word performer. She is the Organizer of Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET). MAGNET is an anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual and transgender issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of trans people in the media.

Thumbnail link of an Ashley Love Facebook entry from January 3, 2011: '(I)ts times to stop living in a fantasy, and face the facts. Sweeping diversity and individuality under the rug has done nothing for the sex and gender diverse communities, or at least nothing for the transsexual and intersex communities. Perhaps its done a lot for white cross dressing males and white gender queer FTMs, but it has only served white trans masculine people, and thats it. I have more in common with a non-trans woman than I do with a cross dresser or drag queen. Many TS/IS people are fed up of being bullied by PC BS. We are tired of being muzzled by late transitioning white CD and TG male bodied people who run the TG Facista non-profit world and buy their way onto the Gay(lgbt) non profit boards. Did we go through all we went through to be told we are the same thing as men in dresses? We think not.'But, she’s been using derogatory language for some subgroups in transgender community since January of 2010 — the opening quote from this Pam’s House Blend essay is one example. Another example is something she said as recently as January 3, 2011, where she stated this about trans community diversity:

[I]ts times to stop living in a fantasy, and face the facts. Sweeping diversity and individuality under the rug has done nothing for the sex and gender diverse communities, or at least nothing for the transsexual and intersex communities. Perhaps its done a lot for white cross dressing males and white gender queer FTMs, but it has only served white trans masculine people, and thats it. I have more in common with a non-trans woman than I do with a cross dresser or drag queen. Many TS/IS people are fed up of being bullied by PC BS. We are tired of being muzzled by late transitioning white CD and TG male bodied people who run the TG Facista non-profit world and buy their way onto the Gay(lgbt) non profit boards. Did we go through all we went through to be told we are the same thing as men in dresses? We think not.

Her mission and vision reads as quite nobly, but what I’ve found in looking at Ashley Love’s writings over the past year is that although Love claims to be an anti-defamation advocate, she has on multiple occasions done her work by defaming others. This includes deriding and defaming subgroups that fall under the transgender community umbrella, as well as deriding and defaming individual trans identified people who have points of view different from her point of view. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) doesn’t do their anti-defamation work in that way, nor does the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The tactics and language that Love has been using for the past year are more akin with how the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and the Family Research Council (FRC) do their work.

In other words, Love’s significant profile as a transsexual woman and activist puts her in the position of being a significant positive force for trans community members, as well as a significant negative force. Over the past year, the thrust of her evolving message has become significantly more negative for trans people and community who don’t fit into Love’s narrowing view of who counts in community. This is in large part because she’s been engaging in deriding and defaming others in community.

Tomorrow begins a series of essays on what Ashley Love has been saying about transgender community over the past year. I remember former International Federation For Gender Education president Dallas Denny’s famous commentary about how well the trans community eats their own, so I don’t take on web publishing this series of essays lightly.

However, I can’t help but feel that Ashley Love’s pattern of writing derogatory and defamatory commentary needs to be exposed to the light of day. It seems to me that her views are outlier viewpoints, and she’s too much of a public figure — both in and out of trans community — to ignore what she’s been writing over the past year about transgender identified people.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Charges dismissed in alleged attack on gay teen in Kentucky

Associated Press

MCKEE, Ky. — A judge has dismissed charges against two eastern Kentucky teens accused of attacking a gay classmate.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports prosecutor George T. Hays said Thursday, Aug. 19 that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Corinne Schwab and Ashley Sams, both 18. They were charged with fourth-degree assault and menacing in the alleged attack on 18-year-old Cheyenne Williams.

Earlier this week, District Judge Henria Bailey-Lewis acquitted a juvenile who also was charged in the case.

Williams had accused the others of taking her to a rural area of the county on April 16, hitting her with sticks and threatening to push her over a cliff because she is gay.

The four teens attended Jackson County High School at the time of the alleged attack and had been friends.

—  John Wright

1 of 3 teen suspects acquitted in attack on gay classmate in Ky.

Associated Press

MCKEE, Ky. — A judge has acquitted an eastern Kentucky teenager on charges she attacked a gay classmate, but two other teens remain charged in the case.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that District Judge Henria Bailey-Lewis handed down the verdict after a trial on Monday, Aug. 16. The girl’s name has not been released because she was younger than 18 when she was charged. Her attorney, Sharon K. Allen Gay, said she received permission to release information about the verdict.

The teen and two 18-year-old friends, Corinne Schwab and Ashley Sams, were charged in April with attempted murder and kidnapping in a case involving 18-year-old Cheyenne Williams. Schwab and Sams were set for trial on misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree assault and menacing on Thursday, Aug. 19.

Williams, who had been friends with the girls, said the three girls took her to a rural area of Jackson County, assaulted her and threatened to push her off a cliff and bash in her head with a rock

—  John Wright

Judge allows gay Ky. teen to testify against alleged attackers

MCKEE, Ky. — A Jackson County judge will let a teenager who says she is gay testify against friends charged with attacking her.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported District Judge Henria Bailey-Lewis ruled Monday, Aug. 2 that Cheyenne Williams will be allowed to testify against two other female teens. Defense had asked that Williams’ testimony be barred, saying her story to police was inconsistent.

Williams had Corinne Schwab and Ashley Sams charged with kidnapping and attempted murder. The court reduced the charges to fourth-degree assault and menacing.

Schwab and Sams face trial Aug. 19 in the incident, which took place April 16.

A third girl, who is a juvenile, is also charged.

—  John Wright