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Would you believe transsexuals are an insidious male plot to undermine the women's movement? So says Janice Raymond, lesbian, feminist, and alleged scholar--who originally wrote this scathing condemnation of transsexuals in as her doctoral thesis. If her professors were addled enough to accept this 200 plus-page diatribe as scholarship, I consider myself fortunate not to have attended the same university as she. To paraphrase a statement I remember from Jean-Paul Satre's "Anti-Semite and Jew", all bigotry has a grain of truth to it--and that's what makes it dangerous. Bigots take a minor fact and blow it out of proportion, and that is precisely what Raymond does throughout her book. She contends, for example, that male-to-female transsexuals symbolically rape women's bodies by attempting to acquire one for themselves. There is, in fairness to Raymond, a condition which transsexual therapist Anne Lawrence calls "autogynephilia"--people with this condition are aroused by the change itself. But on further examination, this argument falls apart. Post-op transsexuals find themselves as much in danger of ACTUALLY BEING raped as any biological woman--why would transsexuals willingly risk being the victims of real rape merely to degrade women? And what of those who are not aroused by women's bodies at all, but are attracted to MEN? Raymond, as usual, is blind to these Grand Canyon-size holes in her logic. One might wonder what she thinks of female-to-male transsexuals. Simple--they don't exist. They are, in her view, lesbians in denial, thus exonerating all biological females from the insidious evil of transsexualism. She never asks herself why the numbers of female-to-males are so low.Read more ›
For Janice Raymond, transsexualism isn't a theoretical issue, it's personal. When The Transsexual Empire first appeared in 1979, she tookd the show on the road, attempting to convince the government and anyone else who would listen to outlaw sex reassignment. According to an interview in the late magazine TransSisters, all this bile and malevolence came from an unrequited romance with a transwoman. Considering the hostility she shows toward transsexuals in Empire, it's difficult to imagine Raymond doesn't have a personal issue, whether with having been attracted to a transsexual or having inclinications in that direction herself. Raymond's invective is apparent in the first few pages, when she says, of physician and tennis player Renee Richards, "it takes castrated balls to play women's tennis." No bias there. Uh-uh. Raymond's primary problem with transsexuals is that she expects them to singlehandedly destroy the binary gender system-- while she constructs her own gender identity so as to appear unambiguously female. News flash, Janice Raymond-- transsexuals have no special obligation to fight your fights. Most want only a little personal happiness and have no responsibility to tear down gender barriers for you (although many do). I could understand Raymond's rant if it were published as opinion-- but it purports to be a scientific study. There's evidence that contrary to her claims, she did no interviews at all. What's scary isn't that Raymond is so crazy, but that so many people listened to her, that so many have lacked the ability to differentiate vendetta from science.
Janice Raymond apparently hasn't met many transsexuals. She would have us believe that transsexuals are frustrated men who can't possess women directly as they would wish, and who therefore conspire to appropriate the female body by becoming women themselves. She paints all T*s as reactionary perverts who want to force "real" women deeper into their traditional gender roles. Nowhere in her book does she admit of the possibility that transsexuals may be seeking some sort of inner peace for themselves in their private lives. Raymond is an embarrasment to the feminist movement.
This book if you can call it that is a prime example of a manuscript that should have never gone to print. The author believes that Male to Female transsexuals are nothing more than a plot by a male society to infiltrate the womens movement and somehow take control. Pat Califia cover the ravings of Ms. Raymond quite well in her book "Sex Changes, The Politics of Transgenderism". To quote Ms Califia, "It takes a monumental amount of arrogance for her to seriously suggest such a self-hating and self destructivee program. But her hatred and fear of transsexuals is so great that she would rather have them suffer, even die, as long as she doesn't have to run the risk of seeing them, sitting next to them, talking to them, working with them, or sleeping with them. This is transphobia, pure and simple and it is as dangerous a social disease as the fear of homosexuality or unapolegetic racism. Raymond is a gender supermacist." Originally written as her dissertation it just goes to show that an education doesn't necessarily mean one is educated. Don't waste your money on this one. And don't think that all lesbian feminists are like Ms. Raymond. Most are very friendly and caring people. Thankfully they didn't buy into Ms. Raymonds line of BS.
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