Economic Aspects of "Love"

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:34 am

The transcendent bissu

In Indonesia, high ritual power is held by those whose identity goes beyond female and male. The West is just catching up


According to Peter Jackson, a scholar at the Australian National University in Canberra, gender was not differentiated in Thailand until the 1800s. Before then, Thai princes and princesses dressed the same, with matching hairstyles. But in the 19th century, to impress the British, the Thai monarchy decided that women and men should be clearly differentiated with unique clothing and hairstyles. So Thailand embarked on a strategy to make its women look like women, and its men look like men, based on a very British model of gender. By the early 1900s, Rama V, the king of Thailand, imposed Western notions of dimorphic gender, and forced the crystallisation of what a woman and a man should be; all subjects thereafter had to be clearly female or male. For Jackson, this is when gender pluralism began to increase. When gender is not strictly mandated to follow a binary, there is no need for individuals to be transgender because there is nothing to transverse. So in fact the Western gender system created ‘transgenderism’ – crossing from one gender to another made no sense in Thailand when there weren’t two strictly defined genders. Hence the most well-known transgender in Southeast Asia: the kathoey, often referred to by the derogatory term ‘ladyboys’.

For transgender Asians to lay claim to past gender plurality is one way to fight transphobia and homophobia


The position of the kathoey leads us to think about terms such as transgender and ‘third gender’, which some kathoey consider themselves to be. The crossover in these terms shows the very real struggle we have with language and meaning. At a time when even the definition of ‘woman’ – once thought so self-evident – is in flux, it becomes even more difficult to talk about transgender and third gender. While transgender often implies a crossing from one gender to the next, the use of third gender is a way to try to frame a separate and legitimate space for individuals who want to be considered outside this binary. The debate over terms and labels is fiercely contested, as any comments around the ever-increasing acronym LGBTQIA (for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) suggest.

Across Southeast Asia today, there is a severe constriction of gender and sexual plurality compared to a hundred years ago. The intensification of commerce, and the movement of power away from royal houses to governments, reduced the status and prestige of ritual transgender priests. Traditional religious leaders have been stripped of their patronage and power. Previously private affairs became public, with governments and police surveiling citizens. Homosexuality became illegal in many Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore and Malaysia when they were colonised by the British. Today, Malaysia continues to criminalise same-sex intercourse, while Singapore legalised female homosexuality in 2007.

In Indonesia, private homosexual relations between adults are not illegal, but the country moved closer to criminalising homosexuality and transgender in 2016 when United Nations funding earmarked for LGBT organisations was cancelled by the government. Universities across the archipelago have banned LGBT groups. In the province of Aceh, people have been stoned and imprisoned for what are framed as LGBT activities. Anti-transgender protests are also happening right now in Southeast Asia. Protestors frequently ‘blame’ the West for introducing these things. For transgender Asians to be able to lay claim to past gender plurality is one way to fight transphobia and homophobia, since knowledge of history can be used for strategic, present-day ends. Remember that it was the bissu who ensured that much of Sulawesi converted to Islam and not Christianity. Muslims thus owe the bissu a debt of gratitude. They have shown that Islam is compatible with an indigenous belief system.

So what can we learn from this shifting history of transgender? It is not a modern development at all – there is a rich, cross-cultural transgender history; it should retain no whiff of a mere modern innovation or novelty. This history should put to rest any arguments that transgender are not a legitimate part of our global community. Human nature is diverse, and any attempt to split all 7 billion of us into one of just two categories based on mere genitals is both impossible and absurd. Transgender people have played crucial roles in societies throughout history – not just in the West.


Sharyn Graham Davies
is associate professor in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Her latest book is Gender Diversity in Indonesia: Sexuality, Islam, and Queer Selves (2010).


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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:56 am

Racialized Erotic Capital and the New York City Strippers' Strike: An Interview with Siobhan Brooks

Sociologist Siobhan Brooks discusses the New York City Strippers' Strike, her experience organizing the Lusty Lady, and racism in sex work.

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Gizelle Marie leads an #nycstripperstrike contingent at the 2018 New York Women's March. via Support Ho(s)e on Twitter.

Strippers in New York City went on strike in November 2017, claiming “bottle girls” or bartenders were stealing their tips and managers were looking the other way. The strippers are mostly black women while the bartenders are white and Latina. Since then, the strike has expanded into a nationwide movement after it gained the attention of the International Women’s Strike USA and joined forces with the Women’s March.

New York’s race and class divisions are materialized in the distinction between the city’s upscale and urban strip clubs. Because urban clubs don’t guarantee safe working conditions for strippers, make less money, and are now threatened by gentrification, many strippers have little alternative but to work at upscale clubs. However, club managers are increasingly hiring “bartenders” — Instagram-famous women who work behind the bar in scanty attire — because they believe they’ll bring in more profit than the strippers.

“The dancers used to be the most respected women in the club, and now it’s like the dancers are at the bottom of the barrel,” Gizelle Marie, a Bronx native and one of the strike’s core organizers, told the Washington Post. “And the dark skinned dancers are all the way at the bottom of the barrel.”

Marie led a cohort of strippers in the Women’s March in January and marched with sex workers in Las Vegas. While the impact of the strike is still ongoing, powerful sex worker-led organizing all around America has trailed the movement. In February, strippers marched in New Orleans against police raids of strip clubs before Mardi Gras. Recently, hundreds of people protested in Oakland against a new federal law that places new regulations on sex work. Not yet a year old, the strippers’ strike targets the racialized division of labor in the sex industry — a pervasive yet scarcely investigated phenomenon.

In 1996, Siobhan Brooks started working at the Lusty Lady, a peep show establishment in San Francisco. Brooks was one of three black women who worked at the strip club. She noticed that she and her black coworkers were barred from the VIP room, where a dancer could make up to $60 an hour. Brooks filed a complaint about racial discrimination in the workplace, and helped spark a movement that led to the first unionized strip club in the US.

Brooks went on to become a writer and researcher of sex work and gender studies, publishing Unequal Desires: Race and Erotic Capital in the Stripping Industry in 2010. The first of its kind, the study examined how race and racism shape labor and desirability in the sex industry. Brooks utilized the concept of racialized erotic capital to reveal how the labor of sex workers of color was exploited in strip clubs.

In November 2017 I spoke with Brooks about her experience at the Lusty Lady, the New York City strippers’ strike today, and what it means to be a woman of color in the sex work industry.


When it comes to the New York City’s stripper strike, what exactly is at the heart of their grievances?

With the strippers, it’s a matter of segregation based on race and job status. The bartenders are the ones that are lighter [skinned]. They’re the ones that make more money than the actual dancers. I think the grievances are that the dancers need to organize to make money on par with bartenders. But the way the club owners have it, they’re competing against each other for those tips, even though they’re different job categories. [It’s] based on race and skin color and hair texture and such.

It’s really hard for strippers to unionize, because unlike most workers, they’re not employees. That makes it difficult to form a union, because legally they’re not eligible to have a union.

Right, because they’re contractors?

Yeah, they’re independent contractors. When I was a stripper, and I worked at the Lusty Lady, I was in a unique situation because we were some of the few exotic dancers that legally had an employee status. We got a paycheck every week, we got taxes taken out of it, and [that made it] easier for us to organize.

That’s different from most strippers like the ones in New York, they’re independent contractors. They actually have to pay to go to work. You work there and pay a stage fee. And they don’t want to pay them health insurance for that reason.

The racialized erotic capital works to exploit mostly black women and darker-skinned women, so they are only relegated to work in the lowest strata of the club, where you make the least money.

You speak about erotic capital in your book. Can you explain what that is?

I think when we look at capitalism, we know for instance that race and racism are part of how people are economically exploited. But I think what is less researched is what I call racialized erotic capital. Based on how attractive someone is — skin color, weight, hair texture — they’re positioned differently in the economic strata.

With black women, we know in the marriage market, particularly for heterosexual black women, there are a lot of complaints about how they’re not chosen as marriage partners. And then there are economic ramifications for black women who are looking for marriage partners because they’re at the bottom of the dating scale. That would be an example of racialized erotic capital around dating and marriage selection.

I looked at how strippers in exotic dance clubs are positioned differently than white women based on how they look. And how you look has economic ramifications for where you’re placed within capitalism and even for life expectancy.

And how much is class and gentrification related to this?

I think that’s a really good point. You definitely saw this in New York with [Rudy] Giuliani. The whole zoning laws were the result of gentrification in Times Square, which used to be seedier, particularly in the 80s when it had more strip clubs.

The laws moved the clubs further out in the city, and now they have zoning laws where [strip clubs] can only be 300 feet from schools, churches or other buildings to isolate it. When they’re isolated, abuse and worker exploitation can happen. People go far to work there, people go far as patrons. And it mirrors the segregation of communities of color when they get pushed out of very key local spaces and cities.

In the Bronx, for example, when I was doing research for my book, what I found fascinating was the strip club I had researched was in the neighborhood, where there are projects and food deserts and all the problems you have when gentrification happens to push communities out. The strippers felt that. That’s the right environment for people to go in there and feel, oh, nothing’s really gonna happen to me if I touch women and harass then.

And when it comes to this bartender phenomenon, did that exist when you were working at the Lusty Lady?

No, and the reason why is because we were fully nude and you cannot have alcohol in full nudity. So we didn’t have that issue in terms of a different job description competing with dancers. But we did have an issue within the club of dancer status, of who is going to get into the VIP room. Or what we used to call the private pleasures room. And that was very much based on race. And in my research, I’ve seen that reproduced in other clubs, where the VIP room or the champagne room — they have different names for them — that’s where you will make the most money. That is your money-maker. You can make $300 or more entertaining men in a more private space. But most of the time, black women are kept out of those opportunities.

And how pervasive exactly is that kind of racial inequality within the sex industry?

I think it’s almost ingrained. I think it’s part of the fabric of how the sex industry even functions. Even if you’re looking at phone sex operators where you don’t see anybody, but you have the fantasy of who you’re talking to, most people don’t request black women. So you have black women working on the phone, but there are other races. Even at that level where you don’t see anyone, there’s the racialization of capital happening in terms of who people are requesting.

That’s pervasive in pornography, both video and print. If you look at a lot of pornography marketed for black women, it’s very racialized, it’s very circa Lil Kim. And that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with Lil Kim per se. But it is a problem when that’s the only avenue somebody can perform in, whereas white women have different options about what kind of performance they can embody. I think that’s all very pervasive, and it functions in a way that keeps black women marginal.

If we treat sex work as a job, what do you think the importance of labor rights and unionizing is for sex workers?

I think sex workers have a lot to gain from being legally recognized as workers. Obviously, there’s a lot of discussion around decriminalization of prostitution, which I support, especially with the economy. Sex workers are an extension of the service sector. And a lot of women of color and immigrant women work in the service sector too. That tends to be the lowest-paid sector, and it’s the most female-based sector. Sex workers have a lot to gain by joining larger labor movements to get basic labor rights.


Continues: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3876-r ... han-brooks
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:40 pm

WINGS #09-18 Trans Inclusive Feminism

Leslie Feinberg made the case for inclusive feminism Length: 28:49

Rousing and reasoned plenary speech by Leslie Feinberg at the 1995 US National Women's Studies Association conference. Hir callout for trans inclusion as a tenet of feminism was well received. Leslie Feinberg (1949-2014) wrote the novels Stone Butch Blues and Drag King Dreams; also two non-fiction books, Transliberation: Beyond Pink or Blue, and Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul.

Canadian download site with full details: http://previous.ncra.ca/dspProgramDetai ... mID=205469
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:56 am

Trans Ethics, Not Gender Ideology: Against the Church and the Gender Critics

While the Catholic Church and transphobic feminists alike paint trans activists as propagandists of "gender ideology," trans people have achieved gains in recent years by working not as ideologues, but ethical instructors.

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Trans zine-making workshop at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, 2016. via YouTube.

There is an unlikely overlap between two transphobic schools of thought: the official line of the Catholic Church and the looser “gender critical” stances of trans-exclusionary feminists. These strange bedfellows both depict transgender lives as the product of “ideology," one that sows confusion and delusion.

This misconception leads to reactionaries — clerical and feminist alike — to fall short of a proper accounting of the breakthroughs achieved by trans politics.

But trans people have achieved a great deal by working not as ideologues, but ethical instructors. This is a contrast to both feminist and Catholic critics, who had previously offered the vision of a life lived against patriarchy, or in harmony with God. Now however, Catholics and “gender critics” have effectively given up on advising trans people on how to live their lives, besides encouraging them to desist from transition.

By contrast, trans circles have shared with each other manifold resources and opportunities to assist each other’s transitions in concrete ways, a process which amounts to us showing each other how we can both survive and live, as out trans people. Working in this way, trans people have achieved rapid successes, in both developing the relevant skills among reciprocally engaged members of trans communities and winning recognition from the cis majority.

This rapid development in trans politics over recent years is well displayed by a recent mea culpa by Village Voice journalist Donna Minkowitz. Here, Minkowitz expresses remorse for what she describes as her “botched” reporting on the brutal murder of a young trans man, Brandon Teena. In the no doubt groundbreaking writing that marked the biggest hit of Minkowitz’s career and inspired an award-winning Hollywood film, she has found herself increasingly uneasy with her presentation of Teena as the victim of internalised homophobia. Her account, she acknowledges now, risked compounding the misunderstanding and prejudice that Teena had faced throughout his short life.

Explaining the context of her self-described professional failing, Minkowitz writes:

At the time, I was extremely ignorant about trans people. Like many other cis queer people at the time, I didn’t know that there were gay trans men, trans lesbians, bisexual trans folks, that being trans had nothing to do with whether you were straight or gay, and that trans activism was not, as some of us feared, an effort to stave off queerness and lead “easier,” more conventional heterosexual lives.

Even in New York City, someone like me, a journalist who considered myself very involved in queer radical politics, could be massively ignorant about what it meant to be transgender.


In the mere 24 years which have elapsed since Minkowitz’s Brannon Teena reportage, the landscape of discussion around gender has been drastically transformed. A high profile journalistic account with failings of this kind would surely meet an immediate and ferocious social media backlash. It is increasingly unlikely for a young, queer journalist based in New York City not to know several trans people personally. Rather than the agents of normativity Minkowitz loosely believed trans activists to be in the early ‘90s, we are more likely to be depicted by transphobic feminists as an insidious force intent on undermining the breakthroughs of the women’s movement, or by the right as subversives intent on overturning civilisation. This eschatological turn itself is of course an immediate upshot of the breakthroughs in both formal and de facto emancipation which trans activists have achieved over the years, from the expansion of “informed consent” approaches to Hormone Replacement Therapy across the US, to the introduction of “self-identification” provisions to Ireland’s registration of gender in 2016, and more recently in Pakistan.

The pace of these changes has left many commentators baffled, and others aghast. Not all have undertaken the reflection and self-criticism demonstrated by Minkowitz — and beyond the world of wags and bylines, several political tendencies have voiced their open opposition to the progress trans people have made toward our emancipation and free expression. As trans politics has achieved seemingly countless strings of successes, an unavoidable reactionary backlash has arisen, in a number of guises.


Continues: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3894-t ... er-critics
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:31 am

Is Bezos holding Seattle hostage? The cost of being Amazon's home

Amazon is looking for a home for its second headquarters. But in its current home, critics say rising house prices and growing inequality have damaged the city

However they see Amazon, for good or ill, residents of the fastest-growing city in the US largely agree on the price Seattle has paid to be the home of the megacorporation: surging rents, homelessness, traffic-clogged streets, overburdened public transport, an influx of young men in polo shirts and a creeping uniformity rubbing against the city’s counterculture.

But the issue of Jeff Bezos’s balls is far from settled. “Have you seen the Bezos balls?” asked Dave Christie, a jewellery maker at a waterfront market who makes no secret of his personal dislike for the man who founded and still runs Amazon. “No one wanted them. They’ve disfigured downtown. Giant balls say everything about the man. Bezos is holding Seattle hostage.”

It’s not strictly true to say everyone is against the three huge plant-forested glass spheres at what Amazon calls its “campus” in the heart of the city. The Bezos balls, as the conservatories are popularly known, are modelled on the greenhouses at London’s Kew Gardens, feature walkways above fig trees, ferns and rhododendrons, and provide hot-desking for Amazon workers looking for a break from the neighbouring office tower.

“They are absolutely gorgeous. There was nothing in that area 10 years ago,” said Jen Reed, selling jerky from another market stall. “I don’t hate Amazon the way that a lot of people hate them. Seattle has changed a lot. My rent’s gone from $500 to $1,000, but outside of that Amazon have been beneficial. It’s give and take, and anyway we invited them here.”

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:37 am

Outlaw Women

The following article contains descriptions of severe abuse. I do not take the decision to publish this information lightly. The woman who shared her story want’s to denounce the system and believes that exposing this reality is the best way to ensure this abuse ends once and for all. On the other hand, I understand that this information can be emotionally unhealthy for some of our readers, so please consider this trigger warning before continuing, or consider skipping the signaled paragraph.

“if Rights were ensured to everyone, the Government would have to become something else entirely. It would have to cease to be.”

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi


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https://godsandradicals.org/2018/07/07/outlaw-women/
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:46 pm

Image

Untouchable

What is the right amount of touch? How much is too much, and how much is far too little? Who could answer such a question?

Can some evolutionary psychologists tell us what the optimal bonding time for the human species is? Can some neuroscientists tell us how much stroking and at what velocity is ideal, and mandated by genetics and evolution? Apparently, they can, with sufficient precision to say that, thanks to popular "demonisation" of physical contact, we have become "hysterical", phobic even, and thus are entering a "crisis of touch".

And, emerging in the interstices of late capitalist loneliness, is a small industry of professional cuddlers, an enterprising bunch whose service is to address this apparent problem. They give you the serotonin release that such touch apparently provides, and then send you whistling back to work. All of this is the basis for a thousand and one gross memes about how cuddling kills depression and boosts the immune system.


Continues: https://www.patreon.com/posts/untouchable-19570491
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby Elvis » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:13 pm

:hug1:
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:15 am

Monsieur Dupont

Revolutionary organisations and individual commitment



Some advice to revolutionaries from Monsieur Dupont.

You don’t have to join anything – set your own terms of engagement with the milieu.

Only give that which you feel comfortable giving.

Never tolerate moral pressure to participate in ‘actions’. In response to activist holy-joes say, ‘we should do nothing’ to establish different grounds.

The revolution does not rest on your conforming to a set ‘consciousness’, so don’t feel bound by orthodoxies or demand it of others.

All groups only really survive on the work of one or two individuals, so if you do make any contribution at all you are doing more than most – and always speak as yourself and not as the group.

It is possible to be pro-revolutionary and lead a normal life; don’t run away to Brighton; don’t adopt an extremist personality; don’t confuse pop/drug/drop-out culture with revolution.

If you try and ‘live’ your politics you will separate yourself further from other people, thereby limiting shared experiences and perspectives.

Try and commit yourself for the long term but at a low level intensity, understand that early enthusiasm will fade as everything you do falls on deaf ears and ends in failure.

Remember the role of the pro-revolutionary milieu is not to make revolution but to criticise those attempts that claim to be revolutionary – in other words: push those who are politicised towards a prorevolutionary consciousness.

Just because in the future you will become disillusioned and burnt out, and you will think prorevolutionaries are tossers, it doesn’t follow that revolution is hopeless.

Remember that revolution does away with revolutionaries, it does not canonise them.

Begin by criticising all cliques. If you are on a demonstration and you look around and everyone is dressed the same as you and they are all the same age then there is something wrong – expect there to be hidden agendas and personal fiefdoms.

Groups should only exist to achieve a stated short-term purpose. All groups that have existed for more than five years have outlived their usefulness.

Don’t get sucked into single issue campaigns unless you personally want a particular reform; revolution cannot be conjured from animal rights, legalisation of cannabis, peace, etc.

There is a cyclical tendency in groups to ‘build up’ to big anti-capitalist events – resist this, consider why groups are so keen on spectaculars, then think of the day after May Day.

When someone makes a statement, think to yourself: who is speaking, what do they really mean – what do they want from me?

Many pro-revolutionaries have decent jobs and come from comfortable backgrounds and then lie about it/adopt prole accents, etc. They’ve got a safety net, have you? Don’t give too much.

Don’t look for ideological purity, there is no such thing. If it suits you, if you have a reason, then participate all you want as an individual in any reformist political group or institution, so long as you do not attach to it a ‘revolutionary’ importance. Your pro-revolutionary consciousness must be kept separate from all personal and political activity.

There is no need to go looking for ‘events’ – they will find you. In this way your effectiveness will be magnified because you will be ready and you will act in a certain way which the people around you can learn from, eg, solidarity, ‘us and them’, and ‘all or nothing’ perspectives, etc.

If it helps, think of it this way: you are an agent from the future; you must live a normal life in the circumstances in which you find yourself. Maybe you never talk to anyone about all of what you think but that doesn’t matter because when the situation arises you will be in place to tell everything that is appropriate because that precisely is your (and nobody else’s) role. All the time you are getting ready to make your contribution, one day you will do something, and you have no idea what it is, but it will be important.


https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library ... commitment






American Dream » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:23 pm wrote: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Jam ... itics.html

Jamie Heckert

Maintaining the Borders: identity & politics


Identity is the process of creating and maintaining borders, creating different kinds of people. This keeps the world packaged in tidy little boxes. These boxes, in turn, are necessary for the violence and domination of hierarchical societies. There cannot be masters or slaves, bosses or workers, men or women, whites or blacks, leaders or followers, heterosexuals or queers, without identity.

Social movement [1], both past and present, often attempts to use identity as a tool of liberation. Movement based on gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnic and ability identities all have some success in challenging hierarchy and oppression. By no means do I mean to diminish the impact of past and present activism. Personally, my life would have been much more difficult before feminist and gay liberation/equality movement arose. I argue that identity politics is inherently limited in its ability to challenge hierarchy because it depends upon the same roots as the system it aims to overthrow. “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”[2]

Does that mean we should all be the same?

Identity is also the answer to the question, “who am I?”. This is different from answering, “what kind of person am I?”. Labels like “woman”, “white” and “heterosexual” tell us about someone’s position in various hierarchies. These positions, these identities, are significant to how a person thinks of themselves. But, they don’t answer the question, “who am I?”. Each of us is unique, both similar and different to everyone else in various ways. Working to eliminate identity in the hierarchical sense (e.g. some animals are more equal than others) isn’t the same as eliminating identity in the individual sense (e.g. I’ll still be Jamie). When I talk about the problems with identity, I mean the “boxes” rather than individuals.

Let me use “sexual orientation” as an example. Supposedly people can be put into three boxes, depending on whether they fancy women, men or both. While this is a popular idea, it seems to cause an awful lot of suffering. People worry a lot about their image, and try very hard to make sure that others realise “what” they are. We also worry about “what” other people are — are they like me or are they different? Some people are so unhappy and anxious about these things that they attack others, either physically or verbally. Even people who think of themselves as heterosexual can be attacked. Finally, people suffer when they desire others of the “wrong” gender, or if they worry that others think they do. One alternative is that we all try to be “equal opportunity lovers” and fancy everyone. Those who succeed could then feel superior to those whose desires are less politically correct. Another alternative is that we try to give up thinking of people (including ourselves) in terms of sexual orientation and instead recognise that everyone’s sexual desires are complex and unique. This would mean being yourself rather than a heterosexual, a queer or whatever, and to recognise people as people instead of members of categories. We could never all be the same, even if we tried!

What is wrong with political identity?

Identity separates people. It encourages us to believe that “we” are different from “others”. Identity can also encourage conformity. How else do I show that I am one of us other than conforming to the accepted codes prescribed to that identity? This construction of similarity and difference exists whether we are talking about traditional identity politics groups like “disabled people” or political identities like “environmentalists”. This separation of us from them has serious consequences for political movement.

Identity encourages isolation. Political ghettos cannot exist without political identity; and their existence reinforces it. Not only are the “activists” separated from the “non-activists”, but within a broad political ghetto, anarchists, feminists, and environmentalists (amongst others) often see themselves as involved in separate struggles. People who consider themselves politically active are separated both from each other and from others who do not share an “ctivist” identity. Effective movement for radical social change cannot be based on such divisions.

Identity reduces social phenomena to individuals. Concepts like anarchism and racism are social. They are not embodied by individuals as terms like “anarchist” and “racist” suggest. Rather, they exist as ideas, practices and relationships. In most societies, racism is inherent in our institutionalised relationships and ways of thinking. We can and should be critical of racism, but to attack people as “racists” can only further alienate them from our efforts. [3] Besides, it is a dangerous fantasy to believe that “racists” can be separated from those of us who are non-racist. Likewise, anarchism exists throughout every society. Every time people co-operate without coercion to achieve shared goals, that is anarchy. Every time someone thinks that people should be able to get along with each other without domination, that is anarchism. If we only see racism in “racists”, we will never effectively challenge racism. If we only see anarchism in “anarchists”, we will miss out on so many desperately needed sources of inspiration.

Identity encourages purity. If we believe that concepts like feminism can be embodied in individuals, then some people can be more feminist than others. This leads to debates about “real feminists” and how feminists should act (e.g. debates regarding feminism and heterosexuality). Feminist purity allows for hierarchy (e.g. more or less and thus better or worse feminists) and encourages guilt (e.g. asking yourself “should real feminists think/act like this?”).

Political identity simplifies personal identity A related problem for feminist identity, for example, is that it demands we focus on one aspects of our complex lives. Feminist movement has often been dominated by white middle-class women who have a particular perspective on what is a “women’s issue”. Many women have had to choose between involvement in a woman’s movement that fails to recognise ethnicity and class issues, or in black or working class politics that did not acknowledge gender. But, the alternative of specialised identity politics could get very silly (e.g. a group for disabled, transgender, lesbian, working-class women of colour). Likewise, if I describe myself as a feminist, an anarchist, and a sex radical, I am suddenly three different people. However, if I say I advocate feminism, anarchism and radical sexual politics I am one person with a variety of beliefs. [4]

Identity often imagines easily defined interests. Feminism is often presented as for women only; men are perceived to entirely benefit from the gender system. Many men do clearly benefit from the gender system in terms of institutionalised domination. If we perceive interests as inherently stemming from current systems, we fail to recognise how people would benefit from alternative systems. If we want to encourage and inspire people to create a very different form of society, we should share with each other what we see as beneficial. We must recognise that different value systems (e.g. domination versus compassion) result in very different interests.

Identity discourages participation. If people are worried that they might be excluded through labelling (e.g. racist or homophobic), they won’t feel welcomed and won’t get involved. Likewise, people do not get involved if they believe that it is not in their interests. If we pepetuate the idea that feminism is for women, men will never see how it could also be in their interests to support feminism. Or they might support feminism, but feel guilty for their male privilege. Either way, men are not encouraged to be active in feminist movements. Radical social change requires mass social movement. Identity politics, by definition, can never achieve this. Political identities, like “environmentalist”, can likewise become a basis for minority politics.

Identity creates opposition. By dividing the world up into opposing pairs (e.g. men/women, heterosexuals/queers, ruling class/working-class, whites/blacks), identity creates opposite types of people who perceive themselves as having opposing interests. This opposition means that people fail to recognise their common interests as human beings. The opposition of two forces pushing against each other means that very little changes.

Identity freezes the fluid. Neither individual identity (the “who am I?” kind) nor social organisation are fixed, but are in constant motion. Political identities require that these fluid processes are frozen realities with particular characteristics and inherent interests. In failing to recognise the nature of both identity and society, political identity can only inhibit radical social change.

It may not be perfect, but can’t it still be a useful strategy?

It is a very good strategy if you don’t want to change things very much. Identity politics fits in nicely within the dominant neo-liberal ideology. Groups created around oppressed identities can lobby the state for civil rights. This idea of trying to protect individuals without changing relationships or systems of organisation is compatible with the individualistic basis of capitalism and representative “democracy”.

I would never argue that a strategy has to be “perfect” to be useful, but it must be consistent with its aims. Ends and means can only be separated in our minds. If the aim is to reduce or eliminate hierarchical social divisions (e.g. gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, class), a strategy which depends upon those very divisions can never be successful.

If political identity is such a poor strategy, why is it so common?

On a personal level, political identity makes us feel part of something larger at the same time that it makes us feel special were different. In the short-term, this can be very successful defence mechanism. For example, I’m sure I would have been a lot more damaged by the sexist and homophobic environment in which I grew up if I had not been able to convert stigma into pride. However, feeling yourself to be different and separate from other people is not a successful long-term strategy, either psychologically or politically.

What’s the alternative to political identity?

If borders are the problem, then we must support and encourage each other to tear down the fences. Two crucial tools for dismantling borders are systematic analyses and compassionate strategies.

We should recognise oppression is not simply a practice of individuals who have power over those who do not. Instead, we could see how forms of organisation (including institutions and relationships) systematically produce hierarchies and borders. People will only see an interest in getting more involved if they realise that their individual problems — anxiety, depression, exhaustion, anger, poverty, meaningless work,unsatisfying sex lives, etc — are not unique, but are systematically produced. Furthermore, their action will only be effective if they work to reduce all forms of hierarchy and domination. Constructs including gender, sexuality, capitalism, race and the nation state are interdependent systems. Each system of domination serves to reinforce the others. This doesn’t mean we have to solve every problem instantly, but we must recognise that all issues are human issues. At the same time, we must not imagine that a particular system of domination (not even capitalism!) is the source of all others.

Radical politics is rarely appealing because it focuses on the evils of the world. This offers little that is hopeful or constructive in people’s daily lives. If we want to see widespread social movement for radical change, we have to offer people something they value. Listening to people’s concerns, caring about their problems and encouraging and supporting them to develop systemic solutions requires compassion. Offer people a better quality of life instead of focusing so much on depressing aspects of our current society.

We should also recognise that people positioned in more privileged categories may in some ways suffer. At the very least, people who feel a strong need to dominate and control must suffer deep insecurities, the results of competition and hierarchy. Insecurity, domination and control are not conducive to fulfilling and meaningful relationships with other people. Attacking people in “privileged” positions does little to dismantle these systems. It also gives entirely too much credit to people in those positions — they are both products and producers of systems, just like the rest of us.

To radically reorganise our society, we should aim to both diminish systematic domination and suffering and encourage systematic compassion. Just as apparently disconnected and often incoherent forms of domination can reinforce and maintaining each other, so too can a compassionate organisation of society become systematic and self-sustaining.

Encouraging people to be more comfortable with sexuality in general has been a key focus of my own political efforts. But, sexuality is only one area in which a compassionate and systematic approach has much more radical potential than politicising identity.

Find sources of suffering, whatever they are, and support and encourage people to find ways of relating to themselves and others that reduce that suffering. Help build compassionate, co-operative institutions (e.g. social centres, support/discussion groups, mediation services, childcare support, food not bombs). Tell people when you admire or appreciate their efforts. Support people trying to change their environments (e.g. workplace resistance). Offer alternatives to people who are involved in or considering authoritarian positions (e.g. military, police, business management).

Demonstrating the pleasures and benefits of co-operative, compassionate organisation offers a strong threat to the world of borders and guards. I suspect that fragmented groups, anti-whatever demonstrations, unfriendly, exclusive meetings and utopian “after the revolution” lectures will never be quite as enticing to people outside the activist ghetto.

Further Reading

Anonymous (1999) “Give Up Activism” in Reflections on June 18th. http://www.eco-action.org/dod/no9/activism.htm

Begg, Alex (2000) Empowering the Earth: Strategies for Social Change Totnes, Green Books.

CrimethInc. (2002) “Definition of Terms” in Harbinger (4). http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/harbing ... nition.php

CrimethInc. (2002) “Why We’re Right and You’re Wrong (Infighting the Good Fight)”in Harbinger (4). http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/harbing ... ghting.php

Edwards, David (1998) The Compassionate Revolution: Radical Politics and Buddhism. Totnes, Green Books.

Heckert, J. (2004) “Sexuality/Identity/Politics” in J Purkis and J Bowen (eds) Changing Anarchism: Anarchist Theory and Practice in a Global Age. Manchester, Manchester University Press. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=etb2 ... CA4Q6AEwAg

hooks, b. (2000). Feminism is for Everybody: passionate politics. London, Pluto Press.

LeGuin, U. (1999/1974). The Dispossessed. London, The Women’s Press.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:25 am

Julia Serano
Author of Whipping Girl (now in 2nd edition!), Outspoken (her latest book!), & Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive. juliaserano.com


Leftist Critiques of Identity Politics

Image
a few straw man arguments were harmed in the making of this essay

This essay is intended to be a thorough response to leftists who express opposition to “identity politics.” I will be using the term “leftist” here in a broad manner to refer to people whose political views generally fall to the left of mainstream Democrats in the U.S. (or analogous liberal parties in other countries), regardless of whether the individuals in question identify as progressive, socialist, communist, anarchist, green, or what have you. I am not a big fan of the term “identity politics” for reasons that will become clear, but it is one of the more commonly used terms to describe social justice activism intended to reduce prejudice and discrimination toward historically marginalized groups, such as women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and other minorities.

There are numerous reasons why one might expect leftists to be pro-“identity politics” almost by default. After all, leftists tend to be egalitarian, are opposed to hierarchies among people, and recognize that the injustices that plague our society are systemic and can only be remedied through activism (e.g., collective organizing, working to elicit change). However, despite this apparent overlap in concerns and understanding, I have increasingly encountered criticisms of “identity politics” (IP) from leftists, particularly those who focus their analysis and efforts primarily on economic class (EC). In this essay, I will respond (as both a progressive/leftist and a social justice activist) to some of the most common complaints along these lines. The purpose of this piece is not to defend all expressions of IP, as there are some that I feel are misguided or counterproductive (as I have written about in great length in my book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive and in subsequent essays collected here). Rather, I will be making the case that a left that focuses solely on EC to the exclusion of IP will result in a far less robust and righteous movement, much to its detriment.

A quick note about this essay

I will be using “IP” and “EC” mostly as convenient shorthand, since many of the arguments I refute here are structured upon an imagined EC-versus-IP distinction — I reject this distinction and have absolutely no desire for these acronyms to catch on. Obviously, EC-centric leftists who have issues with IP activism may believe different things or have different concerns, so whenever I say “EC-centric leftists say fill-in-the-blank about IP,” I’m not implying that they uniformly say or believe these things, just that I’ve heard some EC-centric leftists make this particular claim. Some sections of this essay address problems with what has been called “class reductionism,” while others tackle more general complaints regarding “identity politics.” This essay is fairly long, as I wanted to be comprehensive, so feel free to skip ahead to sections that are of particular interest to you.

The “economic class”/“identity politics” false dichotomy

There are numerous forms of marginalization that exist in our society: racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and so on. If you happen to be on the wrong side of any of these hierarchies, you will face many inequities and injustices. Notably, EC-centric criticisms of “identity politics” often rely on a very specific framing, one in which classism (i.e., marginalization based on economic class; I elaborate on what I mean by this in this thread) is plucked out of that list, and pitted against all the rest (which are lumped together as “identity politics”). I will hypothesize as to why this occurs later on in the essay. But I want to begin by pointing out that this is a false dichotomy. Many of us (perhaps even most of us) who are concerned about social justice matters that fall under the umbrella of IP are also concerned about, and engage in activism regarding, EC.

Here, I will forward what I believe is a more accurate framing: Some people are single-issue activists that are only concerned about a single form of marginalization, usually one that impacts them personally. Single-issue perspectives create a distorted view of the world, and lead activists to propose solutions that will help some people while hurting others and leaving countless more behind. When EC-centered leftists complain about Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” feminism and Caitlyn Jenner’s trans-respectability politics (both of which ignore classism and other critical issues), or less renowned activists who only seem to recognize male privilege, or heterosexual privilege, but not upper/middle-class privilege (I will be addressing the notion of “privilege” shortly), what they are actually critiquing is single-issue activism, not IP more generally.

In contrast, others of us take a more intersectional approach, recognizing that all forms of marginalization intersect with and exacerbate one another, and that we must challenge all of them simultaneously. This includes both EC and IP issues. Intersectionality is difficult in practice, but necessary if we are sincere about helping all marginalized people, rather than a select few. (My thoughts on how we can be good intersectional activists without excluding others who have a stake in the movement are detailed throughout the second half of Excluded).

From an intersectional perspective, not only is EC-versus-IP a false dichotomy, but leftists who wish to jettison IP and focus solely on EC are clearly promoting a brand of single-issue activism. I’m sure that their agendas seem internally self-consistent from their very specific vantage point. But from the perspective of people who are marginalized in ways other than (or in addition to) EC, it’s glaringly obvious that focusing solely on EC will not do much if anything to reduce sexual assault on women, end racist police practices, allow people with disabilities to enter inaccessible buildings, or to prevent LGBTQ+ children from being bullied in school or subjected to conversion therapies (to name but a few issues).

People usually gravitate toward single-issue activism because they are unconcerned about forms of marginalization that do not personally impact them — this surely applies to some (albeit certainly not all) EC-centric leftists who denounce IP. Those who claim to be genuinely concerned about these other forms of marginalization, yet dismiss IP anyway, usually forward one of the following rationales.

Contradicting the “principal contradiction”

The “principal contradiction” refers to the idea that there is some original or primary form of oppression that gives rise to all the others. Apparently, this is a Maoist concept, and he believed that the principal contradiction was the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. I first learned about this concept upon reading Alice Echols’s book Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–75, which discusses how radical feminists back then often argued that gender (not class) was the “primary contradiction.”

Of course, there is really only one purpose for making such a claim: to persuade others to join you in your single-issue activist campaign, under the pretense that once your pet oppression is eliminated, all other forms of marginalization will subsequently fall by the wayside too.

But the thing is, there is simply no evidence for a principal contradiction. In fact, it is quite clear that people who denounce classism are still quite capable of being racist, or sexist, or ableist, and so on. (Indeed, Echols’s book chronicles how the radical feminist movement began when women split from existing leftist organizations due to the rampant and unapologetic sexism they experienced there.) Similarly, people who denounce sexism are still quite capable of expressing classism, or racism, or heterosexism (as Echols’s book also chronicles). Because there is no primary contradiction, just lots of different hierarchies that people may or may not endorse.


Continues: https://medium.com/@juliaserano/leftist ... 7cb57af277
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby dada » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:05 am

there is no primary contradiction, just lots of different hierarchies that people may or may not endorse


There may be no 'principal contradiction,' but these 'lots of different hierarchies' point to something primary, in all forms of oppression. Authoritarianism is the diseased current that runs through all politics. Every group is lousy with it. Even the anarchists? You betcha.

I prophesy that the final, global political clash will not be between classes, ideologies, 'civilizations' or whathaveyou. It will be authoritarians vs anti-authoritarians. To the death, of course.

Naturally, the anti-authoritarians will win. We've known the secret to our victory since the cubists first experimented with visual perspective, and modern literature with narrative perspective: Identity is fluid.

And that isn't a knock at Identity Politics. Identity Politics is necessary, will be necessary for as long as there is discrimination based on genetics, class, belief, or lack of it. As long as there are authoritarians, basically.

Still, the fact is, identity is a fluid thing. How do we use this to our advantage? By creating IDMs. Identity mutations. We've bred IDMs that can live inside volcanos, in the lightless trenches of the ocean, even in the airless vacuum of space. When the war comes, we will already be everywhere.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:08 am

Yes but can organization and anti-authoritarianism exist in the same place at the same time. Last night at the party, they were seen together making out in the corner but that may only be a rumor.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby dada » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:55 am

Those rumors are spread by us. The authoritarian enemy is hopelessly confused, and we aim to keep it that way.

Actually the most stable form of organization is anti-authoritarian. In fact, it may be the only arrangement that can rightly be called 'organization,' since accurate communication is only possible between equals.

Authoritarian disorganizations are inefficient, artificial constructs, constantly needing power from outside to maintain any semblance of structural integrity. It's a vampiric model, a junk model. Anti-authoritarian models are self-sustaining.

But I've said to much. The internet is no place for a discussion like this.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:02 am

Don't worry, the secret is safe!
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:10 am

Transphobia is a class issue.

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An article by Anarchasteminist arguing that transgender rights are a working-class issue.

[Content warning: In addition to transphobia in the abstract, this piece discusses harassment, violence and abuse. Some sources linked to for reference purposes feature transphobic abuse and slurs.]

Transphobia is a class issue. By this I mean that in a class society that is also deeply transphobic, it is impossible to talk about transphobia in a meaningful way without also talking about class. Trans people are more likely, all other things being equal, than our cis peers to fall into the most exploited and oppressed sections of the working class and the extent to which transphobia will negatively affect any given trans person’s life will be mediated by their economic class. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of every aspect of this issue, but to contribute to an ongoing conversation around it and illustrate a class struggle perspective on transgender issues.

By transphobia I mean two related phenomena:

Overt, intentional hostility to or disregard towards the wellbeing of trans people and;

Social structures and systems which put trans people at a relative disadvantage to cis people within society.


These two types of transphobia are not strictly distinct and one often creates or reinforces the other.

Often when discussing transphobia popular discourse focuses on overt, interpersonal hostility and street level violent hate crime. While these are indeed real and very serious issues, this focus on the interpersonal and the overt often leads to a failure to recognise the measurable economic effects of transphobia on trans lives. This constitutes a form of hidden, endemic, systematic violence against working class trans people.

A 2015 EU report found that trans people in the EU were more likely than their cis peers to be in the bottom 25% of earners and that around a third of trans people reported experiencing workplace discrimination in the year leading up to the survey and a similar proportion had experienced discrimination while looking for housing. Unsurprisingly, given high levels of workplace discrimination and general social stigma, trans people are disproportionately more likely to experience unemployment. Emma Rundall carried out a survey of trans people as part of her 2010 PhD thesis and found that 14% of respondents were unemployed, around two and a half times the then national unemployment rate (pp 139 of thesis), this is consistent with a general trend in the literature for higher rates of unemployment amongst trans people.

Housing discrimination and high rates of family rejection and abuse also lead to higher rates of homelessness for LGBTQ people as a whole and particularly LGBTQ youth. A 2015 report by the Albert Kennedy Trust found that LGBTQ youth were “grossly over-represented within youth homeless populations”, stating that one in four young homeless people were LGBTQ, the report also found that a majority of young LGBTQ homeless people reported rejection or abuse at home as a major factor in their homelessness, with an overwhelming majority of housing providers failing to recognise the unique and specific needs of this marginalised community for housing support. Specific figures for trans people alone in the UK are difficult to find, however in Canada, a culturally similar developed nation, the research and community organisation Trans Pulse carried out a study of health outcomes in 123 trans people aged 16-24, with a view to measuring the effect of parental support. All respondents reporting “strongly supportive” parents reported being adequately housed, however, almost half of the two thirds of respondents who did not have strongly supportive parents were “inadequately housed” (homeless or in a precarious housing situation), around one third of the total sample.


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(Albert Kennedy Trust, 2015)

As well as the economic effects of transphobia itself, we can also consider the intersections of transphobia and class, i.e. the ways in which class and transphobia interact and magnify each others’ effects; the greater financial resilience of the middle and boss classes, the ability of wealthier trans people to buy their way out of some forms of transphobia, the classed nature of the bureaucracies that trans people are often forced to navigate and the elevation of privileged voices within the broader trans community as the authentic voices of all trans people.

A core component of transphobia at present is medical gatekeeping, the process by which trans people are forced to jump through semi-arbitrary hoops in order to access certain kinds of trans specific healthcare. In Sex Educations: Gendering and Regendering Women Lisa Milbank discusses real life experience (RLE), a period of time in which trans people are expected to present “full time” as their gender in order to access certain kinds of healthcare, as a form of socially enforced “breaking” in which trans women are subjected to “an experience of public freakhood, composed of constant stares, transphobic harassment and potentially violence, without access to much of the (intensely double-edged) training given to cissexual women on how to survive this”, while Milbank focuses on the experience of transsexual women in particular, this also applies to some extent to the experience of other trans people. One’s ability to pass as cis (to be read by most people as a cis person of one’s appropriate gender) will heavily influence the extent to which RLE is a dangerous and potentially traumatic experience. Since passing as cis takes the form, in part, of being able to perform conventional cis norms, which are themselves heavily classed (and racialised), a trans person’s ability to do so will be mediated by their class status. I.e. the wealthier a person is, the more likely they are to be able to afford to take additional, elective steps (extensive hair removal, specialised clothing to hide or accentuate particular gendered body traits, etc.) to increase their chance of passing as cis. In this way, middle class and boss class trans people are more easily able to navigate gatekeeping in order to access healthcare and sidestep the harmful effects of RLE in a transphobic society. Similarly, since transphobia often takes the form of institutional and economic discrimination and/or family and community rejection, an individual trans person’s financial security becomes their ability to cope with isolation financially and to remove themselves from harmful situations (e.g. a neighbourhood in which they are frequently harassed or a family home in which they are rejected or abused) is key to their ability to survive and thrive in a transphobic society. While all trans people experience and are harmed by transphobia, the extent of that harm will inevitably be strongly classed.

To live as a trans person in today’s society is to frequently find ourselves bumping against the various bureaucracies that serve as its basis, from things as theoretically simple as changing one’s legal name to navigating the complaints procedures of government departments or companies in order to secure some kind of accountability for another instance of transphobia. While this is, in theory, something anybody can learn to do, these bureaucratic institutions are complex and exclusionary by design and often function to favour middle class people. In this way, yet again working class trans people suffer an additional burden from transphobia.

So given that trans people are disproportionately more likely to live in poverty and transphobia’s worst effects are experienced most by working class people, why is this not a part of the media discourse on trans people? Why are some of the most prominent media trans voices wealthy, right wing figures like Caitlyn Jenner? Part of this is precisely because transphobia is strongly classed; as discussed above the wealthiest people will find it easiest to “pass” and meet the standards of conformity to cis-heteronormative standards expected of professional voices in the media. Equally it is the case that middle class and rich trans people are simply more likely to have the necessary connections to be a major media presence. Where it includes trans voices at all, mainstream discourse on trans issues is dominated by an unrepresentative minority of wealthy, white, middle class, trans women. It would be remiss of me not to note an obvious irony here since, while I am far from wealthy and never have been, as a white postgrad student I am myself far from representative of the majority of trans people and, in my defence, I do not claim to be.

A common means of dismissing trans people’s attempts to raise issues that affect us or criticise institutions or public figures that have harmed us as a group is to dismiss us as privileged. Trans people are a bunch of middle class kids or a load of wealthy university students who are just looking for something to complain about. For example, after the well-established journalist Suzanne Moore went on a bizarre, transphobic tirade on Twitter in response to criticism over the wording in one of her articles, fellow career journalist Julie Burchill wrote a piece, initially published in the Observer but eventually withdrawn and then republished by Spiked, which while largely consisting of a series of transphobic slurs also perfectly illustrated this ideological tendency. After claiming that she and other transphobic journalists are “part of the tiny minority of women of working-class origin to make it in what used to be called Fleet Street”, Burchill goes on to depict trans people as academics with “big swinging PhDs”, attempting to silence working class cis women by arguing about “semantics” (the semantics in this case being Moore’s use of “Brazilian transsexuals”, a group plagued by particularly high levels of poverty and violence, as a throwaway pejorative). While trans academics certainly exist, we are far from the majority of trans people or even trans activists, nor are we necessarily as highly privileged as Burchill would like to suggest. By engaging in this erasure of working class trans people, transphobes are able to both trivialise the serious, material effects of transphobia as discussed above and rhetorically exclude trans people from the working class.

In her excellent 2008 essay ‘Liberal Multiculturalism is the Hegemony – Its an Empirical Fact’ – A response to Slavoj Žižek, Sara Ahmed points out that racism is often projected onto the white working class, with liberal prohibitions on overt bigotry serving merely as a means to locate bigotry in some marginalised other. We see a similar process with transphobia, bigotry against trans people is positioned as definitively working class, and thus the existence of working class trans people can be ignored as impossible by definition. A well paid Observer journalist can mock trans people en masse as middle class kids, obsessed with identity politics, because everybody knows that real working class people are white, cishet and hostile to anybody who is not white or cishet. The reality, of course, is that this image of an “ordinary” working class as the default is a fantasy, the working class is a weird, wonderful and diverse class and only a politics that recognises the many and varied ways in which we experience exploitation and oppression can allow us to build a movement to end oppression, end exploitation and ultimately abolish class itself.

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