10 thoughts on “Disrupting the politics of etiquette: #fuckcispeople

  1. lovely!!! and so overdue! i have one to add tho, #fuckcispeople for pathologising, stigmatising and terrorising my 10 year old transgender daughter and other trans-kids and for daring to demonise and deny them basic dignity

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  3. Thank you for writing this. Much of what you write makes sense but I think it’s spoilt by some big generalizations and a willingness to judge people without perhaps much acquaintance with their work or their background.

    You write:
    “Such cis people also prefer to venerate “agreeable” trans people with whom other cis people can better sympathize in the dubious pursuit of normalizing trans people within cisnormativity — much the way homonormativity apes structural heteronormativity (homonormativity, as Duggan noted, is a conservative, white, middle-class, and implicitly cis social project). White trans women like Paris Lees, Tara Hewitt, and Savannah Garmon have expressed a willingness toward this kind of normalizing for trans people.”

    There is a massive difference between ‘normalizing’ trans people and familiarizing cis people with difference unless you see ‘normal’ as an immutable state and mean that trans people should forever be othered outside of society by a cis majority rather than be a part of society while still being exactly who they are. I cannot speak for Tara and Savannah but I know Paris well enough to view your accusation of her aping ‘structural heteronormativity’ very far off the mark. I also think you can have very little idea of where she comes from with regard to class, race or politics. Paris writes with her own voice which she is as entitled to do as you. Beyond that I have worked with her on a number of projects which have had precisely no agenda other than to facilitate intersectional equity.

    In the Pink News article Paris Is quoted:
    “This anger is very real and I think that non-trans people need to take this into account before they condemn people using this hashtag, whether they agree with it or not”.
    Sadly in a piece of epic cisgenderism this is translated into the headline:
    “Prominent trans campaigners condemn use of #fuckcispeople in Twitter argument”

    In my own view the major problem any of us face in activism in Western Society is the way trans people have forever been forced into the corner where we can do very little but shout ‘fuck cis people’. There’s a lot to be said for uniting as a group and forcing liberal cisgenderism up against the wall by shouting ‘fuck cis people’ so that they have no recourse but to strike back revealing their position in privileged indignation or engage in some (albeit perhaps wounded) introspection. I have no doubt that the more aware #fuckcispeople tweeters had precisely this intention. There is however one huge obstacle in the trans community which I observe time and time again. We tend to see everybody who is not trans as faceless oppressors and to ascribe generalized Stockholm syndrome collaboration to those trans people who engage in any manner with the mainstream. Unless and until we begin to see cis and trans alike as individuals, albeit often flawed, we go nowhere. It’s been saddening therefore to see you consign someone like Paris to a negative grouping without, I’d suggest, with litle more than a cursory investigation of their reality. This surely is precisely what much of cis society does to trans individuals every day.

    • I know Paris well enough to view your accusation of her aping ‘structural heteronormativity’ very far off the mark.

      Then re-read the passage, again, much more closely, because this is not what I explained. I would appreciate it.

      We tend to see everybody who is not trans as faceless oppressors and to ascribe generalized Stockholm syndrome collaboration to those trans people who engage in any manner with the mainstream.

      You may. I do not. This is why I respect Janet Mock’s work as an effective approach to working with cis people. This is why I respect Laverne Cox’s work as an effective, yet different approach to working with cis people. This is also why I respect Julia Serano’s equally discrete approach as effective means of working with cis people. Each speak to cis people plainly and unequivocally on the intersectional barriers faced by people who are trans, who are women, and in the case of Laverne and Janet, how those experiences interplay with the intersectional barriers of race and the many racist tropes ascribed to black trans women, as well as the tropes ascribed more broadly to trans women, black women, and even more broadly to trans people.

      With respect to Paris, she is certainly encouraged to participate in this discussion if she feels an imperative to speak on what is important to her.

      One of the wonderful experiences of being trans and GNC is our variety of world views and life experiences, which are as varied and many as the experiences of cis people. We are the living antithesis of a monolith.

      • Thank you for your reply. I would still be genuinely interested to hear where Paris has expressed any part of “a willingness toward this kind of normalizing for trans people. At its core, the project is mobilized around a conservation of class (upwardly, or of a commentariat), race (white), and politics (a conservatism of relative institutional security). Consequently, this mutes many intersectional experiences of other people who are trans and mimics a vertical approach of leadership to produce an institutionalized “equal rights” — not a horizontal social project of facilitating intersectional equity.”
        I have read this carefully again. I’m not trying to score points … only to clarify because this appears to me diametrically opposed to what I know of her or any ‘project’ she is involved in. It matters to me because I have and continue to be engaged in much of the same work… to do our best to facilitate a wide different trans and GNC voices because in my view, and I’m sure yours, nobody owns a ‘trans agenda’. As many of these voices need to be heard as possible and as you say the intersectionalities that exist re: class, race, ability etc.. Perhaps if you would give me some pointers, I might learn something. I’m sure Paris herself is happy to be judged on her writing and her activism.

        I’m delighted you respect Janet, Laverne and Julia … me too, emphatically. All three have made a large platform for themselves which they use to facilitate intersectional equity as you say.

        I’m delighted also that you share the belief, which I could not have put better, that:
        One of the wonderful experiences of being trans and GNC is our variety of world views and life experiences, which are as varied and many as the experiences of cis people. We are the living antithesis of a monolith.” .

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