Gender Colonialism

Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:

No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated seeing the trans movement get taken over by misogynistic men’s rights activists; I hate seeing the misogyny of the “left” growing. I am witnessing a new, deeper, “postmodern” colonization of women. I bear no ill will towards trans people and like and love several; my concern is for WOMEN, especially those who aren’t white liberal middle-or-upper class, and especially lesbians. When an aggressive white male comes here and declares “I’m a dyke!”, and other liberal men gather round to support him, I see this colonization in action.

Do stick around, it takes a while to see, but I promise you I didn’t get to this place out of ill will. It’s so easy to just say “trans women are women!” and not deal with anyone’s hate. I’m resisting for a reason.

What do I mean by colonization? I mean the literal occupation of women’s spaces – rape shelters, prisons, locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming holes, and women-only events that women have fought very hard for. By men. Physically. But a huge component of this colonization is mental, existing in the realm of ideas and “identity”. What is a woman? 

A sex without a people for a people without a sex

In American Liberal thought, colonization is bad. But immigration is good. And taking in refugees is doubleplusgood. This is why Americans backed the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israelis weren’t regarded as colonizers; they were refugees! And Palestine wasn’t even inhabited, not really. It was a land without a people for a people without a land. The only reason you could possibly object was if you were ANTISEMITIC. Even if you were Jewish yourself, you self-hating Jew!

Taking in trans “refugees from masculinity” is also doubleplusgood. This is why Liberals back the modern transactivist colonization of womanhood. “Transwomen,” who I will henceforth refer to as trans-identified males, or TiMs, aren’t regarded as colonizers; they’re refugees! And womanhood isn’t even inhabited, not really. Womanhood is a “land without a people,” because women aren’t viewed as people. We’re an open space for men to define.

What is the difference between a refugee and a colonist?

A colonist has guns and the backing of another state.

Unlike yesterday’s transsexuals – those “refugees from masculinity” – today’s TiMs have penises and the backing of Liberal Patriarchy.

My trans pals of the 90’s didn’t have today’s backing of Patriarchy. It was riskier to be trans then, even among Liberals. They more resembled refugees, and I welcomed them. They also either didn’t insist they were women, or if they did insist they were women, they ‘disarmed’, if you will, by actually going through genital surgery. Today’s TiMs proudly keep their penises and testicles and demand to have them acknowledged as “female body parts”.

Obviously, times have changed.

Men’s Rights Activists eventually figured out they could eliminate the middleman – transsexuals – and colonize women themselves. This fits nicely with regular old run-of-the-mill male dominance. Heterosexual men “identify” as lesbians, and patriarchal Liberals enforce women’s compliance. Women are not to resist or even question this program. To write, “if a person has a penis he’s a man” is an act of resistance so powerful, it will get you widely denounced and blacklisted.

You know what else would get you denounced and blacklisted in recent decades? Questioning or criticizing the State of Israel. The thought-terminating memes, the refusal to discuss, the disproportionate outrage are all familiar to my anti-Zionist activist friends.

Under the spell of American Zionism, no right-thinking Liberal believed atrocities were happening in and on behalf of Israel. No matter how much evidence activists produced, Zionist Liberals always downplayed it, or ignored it, or justified it because whatever the Palestinians were doing was surely so much worse. Likewise, no matter how much evidence feminists produce, of death threats and rape threats, of actual physical violence, of blacklisting and purging and no-platforming, we are dismissed as “transphobic.” Even when the people presenting the evidence are trans, such as Miranda Yardley and Jenn Smith.

Simultaneous marginalization and support

Of course no males would be “refugees” if they had a home in the male sex class. But it’s in Patriarchy’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support trans people, just like it’s in Europe’s and America’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support Jews. The marginalization drives the pressure of expansion. When people are secure in their homelands, they don’t emigrate. It’s the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free that up and move to a new land. Without antisemitism, the “west” would have no colony in the Middle East. Without patriarchal gender enforcement, TiMs wouldn’t be spearheading the further colonization of women. So men simultaneously threaten TiMs, and demand the protection of TiMs as “the most oppressed.” That male-imposed marginalization is what drives the whole project.

Trans people themselves are a tiny fraction of the population. So why are language, laws and institutions being changed just for them? Because it’s not just for them, it’s for all men. TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project.

Religion

Both Zionism and transactivism have a religious component. In Zionism it’s the Torah/Old Testament, which simply states that God gave the land to the Jews, His chosen people. In transactivism it’s gender identity, as summarized by Miranda Yardley:

  • We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex;
  • This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the  physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
  • ‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.

…for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.

Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed.

I support freedom of religion, and everyone is free to believe whatever they want. I oppose forcing everyone else to believe what you believe. Everyone is welcome to their “gender identity.” If a male believes he is a female, that’s fine with me. If I have to believe he’s female, that crosses the line.

I oppose gaslighting. I oppose requiring others to deny the evidence of their own eyes and identify someone else as a sex they are not. Not because trans-identified males don’t “deserve” to be called women. But because they aren’t women. “Woman” is not a club or a prize or a reward. It’s a sex.

But it’s treated like a club and a prize and a reward. And like anything of value intrepid males “discover,” it is being colonized.

Women are not a land without a people. Women have always been people, even if men don’t acknowledge that. The trans colonization project is essentially misogynist, and is popular among male Liberals for this reason.

Why do I care?

Believe me, if I could not care about modern transactivism, I would. I think it’s my Muse’s doing, because my film Seder-Masochism is about the same story: the colonization of women.

God used to be female. All of Her attributes were taken over by the male God. Creation, fertility, vegetation, the bringing forth of food, life and death – all that was once the Goddess’s is now God’s. It’s like the male God put on Her clothes, and then “identified” as Her, and there’s no Goddess any more.

Our connection to ancient goddess worship is completely broken. There’s some art, and some ruins, and some echoes in myths and fairy tales, but we have no idea how these religions were really practiced. Modern western goddess-worship is re-built, re-invented, and re-imagined; it is immature, instead of building on thousands of years of tradition. 

The establishment of YHWH as the One, Male God effectively erased the Goddess, and most don’t even know enough to grieve. We sense there’s something missing, but most can’t even name it.

Gods and Goddesses are fictional, of course. What’s happening now is a continuation of the erasure of the Goddess: the erasure of womanhood itself. The erasure of biological reality isn’t only of concern to biological women, but to everyone who values science and some relationship to reality beyond individual “identity.”

Woman means adult human female.

Womanhood is a biological reality. That’s it. It’s not an identity, a prize, an “exclusive club”, or a land to be conquered. The more men regard womanhood as any of those things, the more inclined they are to colonize. Patriarchy regards women as property already, with disastrous consequences.

I am a reluctant feminist. I don’t particularly enjoy being a woman. I don’t “identify as a woman.” I AM a woman. It’s not a choice, it’s biology. It’s not a special club I’m trying to keep men out of.

Biology is the beginning and end of “womanhood,” the alpha and the omega. If I wear pants, I’m a woman. If I wear a dress, I’m a woman. If my hair is long or short, I’m a woman. If I take testosterone, I’m a woman. If I cut off my breasts (don’t think I haven’t thought about it, I have fibrocystic breast disease and they can be very painful) I’m a woman. If I identify as a man, I’m a woman.

And if a person has a penis he’s a man.

If you think that’s “hate speech,” the colonist is you.

Further reading:

The Colonization of Womanhood

Liberals and the New McCarthyism

Vancouver Women’s March becomes opportunity for misogynist threats against women

On Trans-identified Females: binders and misogyny

Current state of discourse on gender in the UK

Online harassment of women

31 comments to Gender Colonialism

  • Tracy

    Absolutely brilliant! And even modern goddess worship is being taken over by males. If there’s a buck to be had…

  • Malcolm Herbert

    thankyou for your explanation – I have been reading your blog for some time now and I wasn’t sure how you’d arrived where you are and this makes much more sense now as a debate I’d mostly been ignorant about. thanks again

  • The problem is we have two sexes and at least four genders. Maybe your haters would understand if you said you recognize the sexes and want a world without gender.

    I’m not optimistic about that, though.

  • Auntikrist

    I thank you for sharing your thoughts and helping me to finally understand why I have been so uncomfortable about transsexual activists who stridently insist that I follow their (whatever) political demands. Bless you for the clarity.

  • Adrian Mayuzumi

    Absolutely amazing essay. It ties so many threads together.

    Particularly the “refugees from masculinity” line ties into a lot of what I’ve come to realize after just reading endless, endless stories and various transition narratives. Thank you for that.

  • Neil Rest

    p*l*e*a*s*e, by all you hold dear, do *not* get into gratuitous shit about Israel.

  • Marion

    Great article! I have long felt uncomfortable at a salon I attend where hyper-feminine trans women dominate the room and conversation with high pitched dramatic utterances bordering on hysteria. Yet, show off a picture of a child. or a moving piece of art, and the CIS women all react the same, cooing,admiring. The trans women sit stone-faced. No reaction at all. They LOOK like women, more or less, but they lack some essence, some spiritual thing. They aren’t women. They won’t know the trauma of begging a pad off a stranger, or the deep stress of accepting or rejecting, or being rejected by the biological imperative. That’s womanhood. Not Caitlin Jenner In a satin bustier. That’s just costuming.

  • Derrington

    Brilliant analysis

  • Userland

    Interesting article, but what is your opinion of colonisation / immigration the other way? Eg, female to male?

    Since you are suggesting that it’s misogyny to blame yet it is bi-directional, therefore misogyny isn’t necessarily the reason for transexuality.

    Just wondered what your thoughts where on this

    Thanks

  • Thank you for the great article, Nina! I belongs in the anthology, FEMALE ERASURE- What You Need To Know About Gender Politics’ War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights (www.femaleerasure.com). If you don’t know yet about the book, please do check it out. It’s got 48 voices speaking out against the trans ideology that is harming women and children.
    I love your work. You have immense talent and I can’t wait to experience what you do next! Blessings, Ruth

  • Anita Reyea

    Thank you. I believe the same way, I could care less what someone believes they are, I just don’t have to believe it. Why aren’t these same people fighting for the environment or equality for women. It doesn’t matter how many surgeries are done, the male mindset of women being less is still apparent, otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to push us from being second class to men in this colonalized society to third class to them. I’m more concerned about the Erasure of women and the safety of women. Why doesn’t the transactions attempt to attack hate groups such as the KKK or other Supremacy groups instead? Why? Because they’re cowards, some deem it safer to fight women over the use of a women bathroom, who is more vulnerable in the ‘going’ position?

  • Francois Tremblay

    “p*l*e*a*s*e, by all you hold dear, do *not* get into gratuitous shit about Israel.”

    What’s gratuitous in what she said?

  • Bugmaster

    Meh, I think you’re taking Tumblr way too seriously. Gender dysphoria is a real condition, which affects maybe 0.05% of humans. Their brains and their bodies don’t match; we can’t change the brain (yet), so the only option is to change the body (as well as we can given our tech level). It’s not about politics, it’s just about fixing an inborn defect — like diabetes or thyroid function or whatever.

    Just because crazed political activists jumped on the bandwagon and invented 72 genders for over 9000 oppression points, doesn’t mean that every transgender person is somehow evil or disingenuous. By analogy, my grandmother had to take insulin every day of her life, but that doesn’t make her a drug addict.

  • RositaAngulo Libre de Marulanda

    Nina, this is a brilliant piece. It is very thorough. Thank you for your vision and your clarity. I have been calling it the “Trans Invasion” for a while now. I have overheard a TIM lament that it is being called an invasion. I think his comment was meant for my ears. The poor darling, was being victimized by my calling his ideology and his actions “an invasion.”

  • Dana

    Bug: People’s brains and the rest of their bodies (the brain is PART of the body, it is an ORGAN of that body) always match. The brain and the rest of the body have the exact same DNA. People with dysphoria have a psychological issue. It’s nothing to do with the brain not belonging in the rest of the body. Think about the so-called symptoms of “brain-body mismatch”. These people don’t want to live the stereotypes imposed on them. That’s not a biological disease, it’s not a brain in the wrong body. It’s people seeing through bullshit and not wanting to live it. Unfortunately we don’t give them room to make that choice. It’s still not okay for a guy to go around in makeup and heels and not be gay, and not be trans. For instance.

  • Dana

    Userland: Females who identify as trans are not trying to colonize maleness. They’re escaping from femaleness and hiding. Big difference. A guy who takes estrogen can’t uncrack his voice, can’t shrink his pharynx, can’t make his hands and feet smaller. A woman on testosterone changes substantially and finds it much easier to “pass.” Scratch a “transman” and you’re going to find someone with other body issues, often including eating disorders. They’re not trying to get off on the idea of themselves as male, unlike what frequently motivates men who go trans. They don’t want to take guy stuff away from guys. They don’t issue men death threats for not calling “transmen” men. Et cetera.

    Apples and oranges.

    I’m still not okay with it, of course, but not because I think men are going to lose “being a man.” (You don’t even know what that means, you make it into a fucking merit badge and it’s not, it’s a biological state.) Rather, it upsets me that any woman considers this a reasonable solution to their personal problems or to patriarchy or whatever. Because believe you me, no one gives a shit about “transmen.” The entire bathroom debate is about “transwomen,” and most people fail to realize or, if realizing, to point out, that “transmen” are not safe in men’s rooms, nor safe with actual men in general for the most part. I think it’s actually more likely for dysphoric women to identify as “genderqueer” than as “men” for that reason. If they’re just weird, they’re safer.

  • Dear Nina,
    You may pronounce whatever theories you want. You may shout from the mountain tops your beliefs but, what is incredibly clear is that you think men and women are an entirely different species. This scientifically unsound premise based on your own prejudice. Facts are that they are indeed both the same human derived form the same female fetus. When one is immune to testosterone (AIS) , even while XY they manifest as female. Magic If we were to delete your FOXL2 gene within three weeks your ovaries would be producing testosterone.
    Just to clear up the misconceptions, no I asked if you knew any transgender people because you are a horrible bigot. Not as a coded message to attack you. Trumps a bigot like you but I have never asked anyone to attack him. Bigots are bigots. Any time you feel up to a 2 sided debate lets go. The echo chamber must get boring , validating yourself endlessly with non facts and conspiracy theories.

  • Anna McCormack

    Thank you Nina, this makes great sense. Of course you’ll be called a bigot by the woman haters. Because the only way they can impose their deluded ideology is to further silence and invisibilise actual women. And to totally reverse the feminist understanding of gender as a tool of oppression by reinforcing gender stereotypes and punishing those of us who reject them. It’s no accident that school-reinforced gender stereotyping is way more rigid and intolerant against girls today than it was in the 1980s.

  • Iceberg

    Navel gaze yourself into a panic attack, stupid bigot. You’re not going to stop us, none of you are. Even with reactionary conservative men on your side, you don’t have the strength to stop us.

  • I’m letting the attack comments stay because they support my point.

  • RositaAngulo Libre de Marulanda

    ” it will get you widely denounced and ‘blacklisted’.” I’d like to suggest an alternative to the word ‘blacklisted’ to relieve black from its ever-present language usage in negative connections. I’d like to suggest ‘whitelisted’ as it would a) share the burden of the negative; and b) it is more accurate because ‘white’ on a list written on a white paper would be immediately be rendered invisible.

    “It will get you widely denounced and ‘whitelisted'” is more accurate. I know, it will take time before it catches on. Just keep using the alternative.

  • ali

    Nina, I just wanted to thank you for writing this. Something clicked when I read it — I think it was the sound of my mind’s door being unlocked.

  • Thank you, thank you for taking time to write this. You have written exactly what I have been feeling and thinking about for a few years now. It makes me heartsick to be on the “wrong” side of why my community is saying, but I knew that it is never right to erase women. The metaphor of refugees and colonizers is what I’ve needed to settle the question.

    You are a treasure.

  • Matt Penfold

    “The problem is we have two sexes and at least four genders. Maybe your haters would understand if you said you recognize the sexes and want a world without gender.

    I’m not optimistic about that, though.”

    Well since wanting to be rid of gender roles, since it is through those roles that patriarchy operates, is a goal of feminism I must assume you have not been paying attention.

  • Susan Stevens

    I’m physically and genetically male, lifelong gender dysphoric (yes, that exists and it’s very, very painful), sober alcoholic and attempted suicide survivor. That’s just to lay out that life-in-the-wrong-skin man is not a bowl of sumptuous cherries. I came to the edge of surgical transition and backed away because a) I was quite old by then b) philosophically, it seems like cosmetic surgery rather than ‘sex change’.

    So, I agree with quite a lot of this and am not a huge supporter of LGBTQ+ etc. However, on the other side, adopted femininity is almost certainly a spectrum, ranging from guys who like to wear a dress from time to time and are totally heterosexual, fetish folks and up to those who wish to be re-assigned but may end up in girl/re-assignee relationships or boy/re-assignee relationships. So I am very keen on tolerance and recognition of the diverse nature of male ‘femininity’ rather than overarching theories.

    The same goes for spaces, a) first no harm or threat of it b) negotiated or not by the participants without ideological pressure.
    Lastly, although, as one can see from the above that I actually (like a traitor, not!) agree with some of the TERF logic, their rhetoric is bitter and spiteful, channeling Valerie Solanas. Having finished with that last sentence, I’ll hide.

  • Lucy

    As a transsexual who was comfortable plodding along, minding my own business, enjoying a certain level of acceptance based on a condition that I feel is very much medical, I agree with a lot of what you say. After all if the Tories de-medicalise me then surely it follows that the NHS pathway I’ve followed should no longer exist? Being transsexual with a Bsc in Health Science and Msc in Public Health I do sometimes struggle with the so called progressive posture of Joe down the road who wants to identify as Jean without even giving a second opinion a though. Who am I to question it all though?

  • Nina,

    My doubts about some trans assertions come from the opposite direction as yours. I’m just not convinced that gender is a real personality trait.

    Think about it. What personality trait is a man allowed to have that a woman is not allowed to have? Sports? Trucks? Attraction to women? No matter what you pick, millions of women would disagree.

    Outside of my body, my gender is just a list of coordinates that define my location in society. Change society, and my ‘gender’ changes without me even moving.

    I don’t have to believe in Yahweh to know that Jews need protecting from Nazis. So I don’t have to 100% buy mental gender to know that trans people also deserve protection and respect.

    And thanks to science, in the long run the trans movement *will* conquer gender. But at the same time, the differences between men and women will go the way of the Star-Bellied Sneetches.

  • Blasko

    Have been thinking about this for hours and hours since I read it. As a fan of your art, it’s an additional pleasure to share in your thoughts on issues related to your life and work, too.

    This reminded me of a paper I read years ago (apologies, lost the citation). The author centered her paper on the film 9 to 5, and questioned why, after so much publicity, workplaces in the US really didn’t change that much when it came to systems, policies and infrastructure that would support the retention and advancement of women in corporate work. By doing content analysis on corporate trainings, she found that the men in these companies essentially decided that they, too, had “feminine sides,” and that rather than work to be more inclusive, they could simply take (or develop) those relational traits/skills often associated with women and make them their own. Again, reminded me very much of the colonization you refer to here.

    Like you, I support and applaud movements to protect and support human rights for all trans people. But because of you, I now better understand some of the voices of resistance and concern when it comes to women’s spaces, women’s autonomy and women’s rights, too. Thank you.

  • Catty-Atty

    Utterly brilliant analogy.

  • Peter

    TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project. Did 53% of white women voters vote for Trump? I hope they voted for the protection of women’s spaces.

  • Anwyn

    I do and don’t agree with you. I have no issue with the idea that a person’s brain may develop in such a way that their self-perception does not match societal expectation of their physical gender (and there is scientific evidence to show physical differences between female and male brains.) And if someone identifies as female, fine, I’ll refer to them as female.
    What I have a real problem with is that we don’t seem to have any room in this space to talk about why men who want to peacock, who want to be expressive, emotional, gentle, who want to behave in ways traditionally described as ‘feminine’ feel the need to then identify as female or gender-fluid, instead of embracing those things whilst still being happily male. When women began wearing trousers in the early 20th C, there was a small amount of gender/sexual ambiguity implied (think of Marlena Dietrich), but it quickly disappeared and women stayed women, just women wearing what had been for several centuries exclusively male attire.
    That’s why I hate this shutting down of discussion. We aren’t being allowed to discuss why our concepts of “masculine” should change, to the point where men wanting to shift the boundaries for themselves find it easier to identify as women/gender fluid rather than challenge what it means to be male. Why have they internalized *so* hard that to be vain, to be focused on appearance, to desire to push fashion trends, to feel more comfortable in female company, to want to escape the bullshit of society’s pressure to “be a man” means they have to not be male?
    I want this to be a conversation about challenging our ideas of maleness, instead it’s a fight about what “real” women are, with no conversation or debate allowed if you don’t agree.

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