It’s alive…

October 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m working on a very long piece I plan on publishing here in the next couple of weeks. I figure if I give myself a deadline and post it, I will stick with it.  So: 11/11.

While I think the stuffxlike meme is obviously very dated now, I still think it has a nice flow.  Though the rest of the blog could use a hardcore redecoration.

see ya soon,

yr pal Jay.

scaffolding

September 25, 2008 at 7:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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I’m not sure if this is kosher for writing a blog, but I’m putting something right here that doesn’t have much substance but *is* some scaffolding for future posts.

Topics I hope to cover in the future:

The term ‘transmasculine’ (and perhaps ‘transfeminine’?  i don’t want it to just be like, “and for transfeminine, the opposite applies.”), a response to Julia Serano’s excellent http://www.juliaserano.com/frustration.html essay, a critique of trans men / transmasculine (ugh) participation in MWMF and other transmisogynist spheres, male privilege without cis privilege, tran men / transmasculine adoption of the slur “tranny”, the thorny issue of “visibility”, trans men / transmasculine participation at women’s colleges (and the decade of media attention this phenomenon has garnered), and other things too!  I’m working on it.

Trans men like craigslist’s w4w

September 18, 2008 at 7:58 am | Posted in dating | 21 Comments
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The subject pops up and simmers for a few days and then dies down, only to be revisited three months later. The place? San Francisco’s w4w category of craigslist.org. Check it out for yourself, right now: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/ppp?query=ftm

From a recent entry in this interminable debate:

Of course, Craig’s List could make this real easy and set this up in the posting process, but until they do… with the exception of the male-identifying biological men that post or search for their cheap thrills, I think we can say we’re all women seeking women (regardless of what label works best for us)

Except, of course, male-identified trans men–living life as men, receiving varying degrees of male privilege based on other factors–are not women seeking women.

On a usual day cruising the craigslist SF bay personals using the search term “ftm”, up to half the ads (and most of the ads specifically seeking female and not male partners) will be posted in w4w. The way it’s justified differs by trans man, but generally it’s a combination of “misc romance sucks” and “I never get any responses in m4w.”

Craigslist in general is kind of slim pickings for m4w. It has a sleazy reputation. It’s the bottom of the barrel as a dating site, no membership fee or vetting process, full of ill-disguised porn ads and other bait and switch come ons, no way of interacting with another person besides the ads themselves and the emails that result. While perhaps a hasty assessment, it is the dark alley of internet dating and hooking up. Many women (and men, for that matter) steer clear.

W4W gives women who date and have sex with women a place in particular in the craigslist world. Trans men’s continued participation in it even after their presence has been questioned is problematic for a few reasons.

  • As the quote above indicates, it reinforces transphobic ways of looking at trans men. It reifies our place in the category “women”, and how could it not?
  • it encourages a binary world based on the birth sex assignment. It assumes vaginas=women (see below on what this means for trans women), even though the genital status of anyone posting is unknown.
  • It reinforces the special snowflake syndrome of some trans men, who like to view themselves and other trans men as “not like other men” and indeed something of mascots of the young, urban, hip, technologically agile lesbian scene.
  • It solidifies the erroneous view of a lesbian gender scale that goes from femme-andro-butch-ftm, as if all trans men are just butches who took it a step farther, as if trans men themselves don’t have a wide range of gender expression.
  • it has a chilling effect on any trans woman’s claim to women’s space, to lesbianism. In fact it is just one example of many of this phenomenon. If trans men clamor to be included in women’s space regardless of their gender identities, if they purposefully lean on their (arguably untrue) female socializations and girlhoods and (some of) their histories in the dyke community–it draws that big biologically determinist line in the sand that tells trans women they should stay out and rewards some non-trans women for continued policing of the space based on birth sex assignment. It sows the seeds of transmisogyny.

Some more points I’m not going to bullet point include: It sets women who just want a space free of men up to claims of transphobia even though there is nothing transphobic about it; the fervor it creates diminishes actual transphobia; it engenders continued hostility towards trans men as fakes and opportunists; it creates this weird atmosphere where coding trans men under the rubric “women” seems like the nontransphobic thing to do.

Life isn’t fair. The relative paucity of good m4w catches is no reason to justify all this. If you are into queer women, deal with posting in misc romance, and identify yourself as ftm in search of queer woman. Similarly one could easily set up a m4w ad that reveals the trans status and specifies the sexual orientation of your desired partner. Continue to bug craigslist to add a t4w or ftm4w section, and encourage your friends to write emails too. Check out other websites like butchfemmematchmaker and okcupid.

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