With reference to my last few posts, the London TDOR has been denounced on a site called Planet Transgender for being ‘spineless’ in the face of Mzz. Kimberley’s performance, which they regard as ‘a desecration.’ In various earlier threads, I have suggested that people who are dogmatic about the t-word are showing signs of seeing themselves at once as a majority of the community and as an enlightened vanguard.

We can go on arguing about this for a good long time, and perhaps we should. The question is clearly not as settled as I thought it was.

What is unacceptable is that Planet Transgender feels competent to tell the London Trans community how we should think and act. Anyone inclined to say ‘frakking typical yanks’ is singing from the same songbook as me.

What is even more unacceptable is that they misgender Mzz Kimberley when a cursory glance at her Facebook would demonstrate that she identifies as female. They seem to have gone there, because they use a photo from her Facebook…

There’s also, if my nose twitches correctly, a nasty smell of trans female disdain for trans men whiffing off the piece.

Anyone who feels inclined, and I hope many are, should go to Planet Transgender and say so. I’d argue strongly that even people who disapprove of her song should do so, because misgendering people in the community with whom one disagrees is about as bad as it gets, as far as I am concerned.


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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42 Responses to

  1. desperance says:

    which they regard as ‘a desecration.’

    And, apparently, “an atrocity”. Which, in the context of TDOR – well. I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

  2. Interesting tack to take there, Roz, considering the post extensively quoted Helen G, who is not a “yank”, and agreed with what she said. In fact, she might well be considered a member of the London trans community. Not that I would deign to tell the London trans community who is and who is not a member of it, of course. Anyway, agreeing with a (supposed) member of the London trans community and arguably signal-boosting what she said is cultural imperialism? I’ll try to remember that the next time someone from elsewhere wants me to signal-boost what they’re saying.

    OTOH, I agree that the misgendering is incredibly insulting.

    • rozkaveney says:

      Since Helen’s own post doesn’t say that people shared her discomfort, and the Planet Transgender people have chosen to add/makeup that detail. The stuff about desecration and spinelessness is theirs.

      If Helen is unhappy, she needs to raise it with London people first – there is always someone who calls in US military advisers, that is how US imperialism has historically worked…

      • I would consider her blog post a way of raising it with London people. Or did you mean she needs to go up to the people who have twice okayed something that made her uncomfortable and directly tell them they’re wrong? And implying that Helen called in Americans for help when there is no evidence of that is pretty disgusting behaviour on your part.

      • rozkaveney says:

        Actually, yes, Helen should have raised it with the organizers at the time. She is not a delicate little flower; she is a (usually) respected member of the community.

        I don’t know for a fact that there was collusion on this between her and Kelli Ann Busey – but I don’t think it an illegitimate inference. And to say that making that inference is ‘disgusting’ is just you being high-toned for no good reason.

        A friend of mine has been publicly traduced and humiliated and I am angry with the people who did it.

      • Ah, yes, and since it was your friend it’s important to jump to your friend’s defence and cast aspersions on Helen with no evidence. *eyeroll*

        Okay, how’s this for not high-toned? It’s shitty of you to do that. If you think she did it, say so outright. Put up or shut up. Seriously, fuck this idea that rumour-mongering is the way to handle conflict. You don’t like that Helen was offended by what your friend did, tell Helen directly (like you’re saying she should do). You think she got Ms Busey to write this, say that directly. Show some spine and some character.

      • rozkaveney says:

        I already told Helen, directly, before the US angle arose, that she is being intolerant and elitist. She reads this journal – she knows what I am saying. But OK I will ask her directly as well – Helen, did you call in the Yanks?

        There…I will do the same in Twitter.

      • Ah, yes, there’s the heart of it: Objecting to having a slur word applied to one without one’s consent is “intolerant and elitist”. WTF?

      • rozkaveney says:

        Look, people have been having this discussion here for days. Go and read it and stop being a troll.

      • You can discuss it all you like, it doesn’t seem to change how Helen (and others) feels about the word and how it’s used. You can’t browbeat people into agreeing with you that they should be called a word they find offensive no matter how lovely your words. Stop being an arse and accusing people of being intolerant and elitist for not wanting to be insulted at TDoR.

      • rozkaveney says:

        So even discussing this issue is offensive, is it? I don’t call anyone anything, except in your case, where you appear to be a troll.

      • WTF? You just called Helen intolerant and elitist. Do you read what you post? And your way of “discussing” is apparently to insult people who disagree with your view, that we should all accept a word that some consider a slur and that it should be okay to use at TDoR (Really, one would think *avoiding* words that *might* offend people would be the way to go with TDor). So, yes, as far as you are concerned, even discussing this issue is offensive.

      • rozkaveney says:

        Helen has now assured me that she has not been in collusion with anyone in the US and I accept that assurance. Helen has asked me to condemn Planet Transgender’s attempted outing of her and misattribution of her work, which I have done elsewhere and now do here.

        She has also condemned, at my request, the misgendering of Mzz Kimberley.

    • snakey says:

      Re US imperialism: One of the things I spoke to in my comment was that though I wasn’t at London TDoR ’10, I *was* at the one in ’09 where Mzz Kimberly sang the same song – and, unlike many other TDoR events round the world, we were *mourning losses in our own community*, including people who were friends and/or relatives of people present. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with Mzz Kimberly’s song, but someone on a US website does not get to tell us how to mourn our dead.

      There’s a worldwide problem with issues of appropriation around TDoR as it is. Planet Transgender describing our mourning for *people we have loved* as “an atrocity” is not okay, and they should be a lot more fucking careful with what they say.

      Especially when, today, it was revealed [TRIGGER WARNING, problematic reporting] that Drea’s murderer had raped another woman just before he killed her. Planet Transgender can go to hell AFAIC.

  3. snakey says:

    I just left a long comment expressing my disgust with them. We shall see if they publish it….

  4. I’m thinking that this entire thing is about people being in control of their names and the labels they use to describe themselves. Planet T is vehement about not wanting the word “tranny” applied to anyone who is transgender, but they insist on referring to Mzz Kimberly as ‘he’ and ‘this man.’ That nasty smell of disdain has a distinct undertone of hypocrisy, methinks.

    It is the height of rudeness to call someone by a name/identity they don’t use for themselves. I get pissy when someone uses the short form of my name, since I’ve been introducing myself by my full name for over 25 years. (People who knew me before that get a free pass.) If Mzz Kimberly is happy to sing “I’m a tranny” then who are they to tell her she’s wrong? She’s not singing “you’re a tranny,” after all.

    Standard disclaimer: I’m just a cis white chick trying to live outside her little box o’privilege, go ahead and tell me when I’m failing at that.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the central point

      Irrespective of the issue regarding “that” word (I don’t care for it, don’t care about it) the real issue is that PlanetTransgender has decided that the Trans Hagrid has died and appointed them as Gatekeeper Queen who decides who is and who is not deserving of the community’s respect.

      Nobody has the right to mis-gender. In this community where the struggle to own our identity is that last inch of ourselves we cannot betray, it is not just the greatest wrong; it is surely the only wrong.

  5. snakey says:

    Also have to *love* the reference to “a strip stage, pole and drinks” considering the media’s automatic portrayal of murdered trans people as sex workers….

    ETA: heh. Just noticed their tagline: “A place for everyone. No exceptions.” But not, apparently, for Mzz Kimberly.

    ETA2: (sorry, will stop soon, am just…argh) just saw the disgusting, dehumanising hatred expressed towards Mzz Kimberly here and want to punch someone.

    • khalinche says:

      Yeah, I’m completely with you. WTF is the thinking behind the use of that image?

      That blog’s hateful in lots of ways, but the FB comments…draggot? Draggot? How, in any way, is that okay?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The T Word is a form of misgendering

    this post sounds hypocritical. You are bashing Planet Transgender for “misgendering” Kim, when its actually Kim who is misgendering trans women by calling them “trannys”.

    • scattermoon says:

      Re: The T Word is a form of misgendering

      Even if Kim was, Planet Transgender is *still* misgendering her. One crime does not excuse another.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: The T Word is a form of misgendering

      If the song was “We are trannies” or some variant of, you might almost have had a point. But the song was “I am a tranny” and the only person so labeled was her.

      And whatever the rights and wrong, PlanetTransgender still don’t have the right to mis-gender her on account of that.

    • krissie_r says:

      Re: The T Word is a form of misgendering

      … and since when is it OK for Planet Transgender to tell us here in the UK how to mourn our dead?

      … incidentally, last time I looked, “tranny” wasn’t a slur because it misgenders people, but instead is considered by many to be a slur owing to the way it objectifies and characterises people… hence the possibility of “he’s a tranny, she’s a tranny, it’s a tranny…” etc, depending on the thoughts of the mind using it. It’s really quite versatile.

    • rozkaveney says:

      Re: The T Word is a form of misgendering

      Kim called no-one except herself anything. What you are actually saying is that those people who object to its being spoken by anyone can play victim and saying that its mere use misgenders them. This is just silly because it means that one side in this argument can silence the other just by saying ‘oh I am being so oppressed by the fact you don’t think the same way.’

      On the other hand, calling Kim a man is absolutely and straightforwardly real misgendering.

  7. Anonymous says:

    its a sad day when trans people support the mocking and gay appropriation of transsexual women

    TDOR is a day we honor ur dead, not have drag queens exploit trans women, and gender queer people be insensitive about trans women bullying. White people shouldnt use the N word. Gay people and drag queens should not use the T word. Our humanity is not a punchline for opportunists to make laughs and entertainment on.

    • snakey says:

      Re: its a sad day when trans people support the mocking and gay appropriation of transsexual women

      You really think every single person memorialised at TDoR identified as a transsexual woman?

    • rozkaveney says:

      Re: its a sad day when trans people support the mocking and gay appropriation of transsexual women

      Can I politely ask you to mention your identity?

      It’s just that you seem to think yourself entitled to describe trans women as drag queens, and read gender queer people out of the broad spectrum of the trans community, while not putting yourself on the line.

      And, as you would know had you been there, the point of the song was not just laughter or entertainment but to raise our spirits at the end of a harrowing ceremony.

      Don’t you think it is a bit precious to assume that somehow you know what a correct response would have been better than the trans women and trans men who were actually there?

      • rozkaveney says:

        Re: its a sad day when trans people support the mocking and gay appropriation of transsexual women

        And raises another good point. Which leads me to challenge you, would you have accepted every one of those dead women as trans? Or would you regard half of them as drag queens or whatever?

    • swarmingness says:

      Re: its a sad day when trans people support the mocking and gay appropriation of transsexual women

      …’cos genderqueer people never get called “tranny”, and drag queens don’t experience transphobia. Oh, and trans men don’t exist!

  8. rosefox says:

    Pff, they polled ALL TRANS PEOPLE EVERYWHERE and that poll says YOU ARE WRONG. End of story.

    …I do not understand people.

    • Unfortunately there are a lot of people who self-identify as oppressed who find it a lot easier to attack friends and allies than enemies. I’ve come to suspect that this is because:

      a) The narrower the circle of oppression you can draw around yourself, the more self-righteous you feel;
      b) The power to declare those close to you to be enemies may be a self-appointed one, but it turns out to be a very effective and addictive power despite this; and
      c) It requires moral courage to attack your oppressors, but only bitter small-mindedness to attack your co-oppressed.

      (Yes, I know that I fit into no possible category of the oppressed or disadvantaged. But I have friends who are one or both, and it pains me to see them attacked by other people in similar positions who seem to have much larger reservoirs of bile available for allies than enemies.)

      • cmcmck says:

        I couldn’t have put it better than _major clanger_ myself and I do fit into more than one category of oppression. While Roz knows me, she’s also aware that this is why I have as little as possible to do with ‘the community’ however defined. This is not to say that I haven’t lent assistance where I can over more than three decades.

        A little basic acceptance of one another and the fact that we are ALL different would go a long way to being helpful. I don’t tell anyone else how they should live their life and I’d be more than grateful if people didn’t tell me how to live mine.

  9. noirrosaleen says:

    …before I go back into lurk mode, and fervently praying I don’t get verbally reamed for this…what is “cis” when it’s at home? I know “vanilla”, and I know “straight”, but clearly there’s not enough gender fluidity in my circles (especially considering I was unaware until VERY recently not only that “tranny” is apparently a bad word, but that there’s a shitstorm going down about its use). I’m actually missing a lot of this debate due to not receiving my vocabulary packet in the mail. Where does one sign up for that..?

    Hiding nao. Please don’t chew my tail. 0.0

    • rozkaveney says:

      Cis – recentish coinage for non-trans.

      As in CisAlpine Gaul and TransAlpine Gaul – the bits of Gaul the Italian side of the Alps and the bits the other side. Who ever said Latin was a language of no use.

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