The year is 1912
The Conciliation bill is up for debate in the English Parliament, success would mean women are granted the right to vote. Viscount Helmsley argued vehemently against the law as you can see below:
“I maintain that the whole position and functions of Parliament would be altered… the fact of the two sexes sitting together in an assembly such as this would no doubt alter the whole tone and whole feeling of this Parliament. I do not think that any man will deny that he is conscious when he is debating in common with women of an extremely different feeling, a feeling of reserve, which is very different from the feeling which men have when they are discussing freely and debating freely with one another…
The way in which certain types of women, easily recognized, have acted in the last year or two, especially in the last few weeks, lends a great deal of colour to the argument that the mental equilibrium of the female sex is not as stable as the mental equilibrium of the male sex. The argument has very strong scientific backing… It seems to me that this House should remember that if the vote is given to women those who will take the greatest part in politics will not be the quiet, retiring, constitutional women… but those very militant women who have brought so much disgrace and discredit upon their sex. It would introduce a disastrous element into our public life… One feels that it is not cricket for women to use force… It is little short of nauseating and disgusting to the whole sex…” (These views are eventually rejected as sexist and bigoted)
The year is 2015
And the leader of a Pagan educational institution proposes the following in a conversation about Trans rights.
"I know for a fact that individuals with male genitalia have attended clothing-optional all-women gatherings, causing a great deal of fear and distress for abuse victims who came there seeking healing." In a recent thread TERF’s chime in talking about the bad behavior of Trans women and how their unconditional inclusion will change the face of feminism and grant Trans women more rights than they have. They include accusations that the extremism of Trans activists is unacceptable. (Sound familiar?)
The Year is 1867
In the wake of the collapse of the south a new movement arises called the “Lost Cause” as part of their reasoning they offer
The Lost Cause proponents also maintained, often with considerable venom, “that prostrate South after the Civil War was victimized during Reconstruction by unscrupulous and barely civilized blacks.” The inferiority of Blacks which was described in both cultural and biological terms was used to justify segregation.” (Americans reject these arguments as bigoted)
The year is 2015
Opponents of Transgender rights clam Trangendered individuals are in an unscrupulous manner, men trying to invade women only space. There argument includes statements about how Trans women are not real women described in cultural and biological terms (Sound Familiar?)
The year is 1950
Inter racial marriage is a highly contested issue. Opponents argue that:
“It should be obvious to any thinking person that he mixture of different peoples, substances, chemicals, races weakens all its altered parts…..Deeper than the obvious, race mixing serves an obtuse political purpose that tends to undermine the social stability of all races.” (America eventually rejects these views as bigotry)
The year is 2015
Opponents of Transgender rights argue that:
It should be obvious to any thinking person that men who dress as women being allowed to identify as women will undermine feminism as a movement and weaken the unity the effort for equality. (Sound Familiar?)
The Year is 1969
"Lavender menace." That's what National Organization for Women (NOW) president Betty Friedan called the "threat" from lesbians to the newly formed second-wave feminist movement. Friedan, bolstered by other straight feminist leaders, believed that butch lesbians would damage the image of radical feminism with their "mannish" looks and "man-hating" behavior. (America rejects these views as homophobic and bigoted)
The year is 2015
Transgender individuals are demonized, by Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists (TERF), as a threat to feminism. These arguments include statements that Tran gendered individuals will damage feminism with their mannish looks and man like behaviors. (Sound Familiar?)
The year is 2012
The sanctity of marriage argument proposes that: marriage is a "sacred" institution that only heterosexual couples should have access to. Allowing same-sex couples to marry apparently poses a "threat" to "traditional marriage" They further state that gay marriage will erode the rights of heterosexual couples. (The highest court of the land soundly rejects this argument)
The year is 2015
Those opposing Transgender rights argue that the definition of ‘women’, as they define it, is sacred and that granting Transgender individuals the right to self identify as fully women will erode the rights of “real women” (Sound Familiar?)
Before someone attempts to paint this post as an attack on Feminism, let me acknowledge that the vast majority of feminists in our community do not subscribe to the above views. Unfortunately, there is a group of “so called” Pagan leaders who do. These individuals are correctly highly respected for their efforts over the years in achieving equality and fighting for social justice. This very fact is why it is so important for the community to confront these views. Their influence is wide and varied.
By some strange turn of events, people who have fought for social justice for years are now using the very arguments that were engaged in opposing their considerable accomplishments. Let me state clearly: Granting rights to others does nothing to erode the rights of other already established groups! To even take such a position is to embrace the logic of those who have opposed social justice and equality for centuries.
These individuals risk the destruction of their reputations and legacy of having supported equality for a lifetime by embracing bigoted arguments. We have an obligation to call on them to closely examine their views and apologize for their offensive words in the community.
Let me further address the idea that this is a “women’s issue” that men should stay out of. There are Transgendered men and women in our community. If these individuals prevail in their toxic argument that Trans gendered women are not real women it will logically follow that Trans gendered men are not real men. This is a Transgender community issue. My voice is not authoritative and neither are the voices of those claiming it is a women’s issue. The authoritative voices on this issue are the voices of the Transgender community, the voices of those oppressed.
I would urge those who’s views I am writing about to do what I did when I became involved in feminism as a man, shut up, deeply listen to the Transgender members of our community and evolve!
Calls for evolution will only last for so long, eventually the community will engage in direct social activism, books will be boycotted, events where these individuals present will be protested and institutions which embrace these individuals will be called out for supporting hateful bigotry. Which brings me to my Grandmother (by marriage).
Years ago I lived in an apartment next to my Grandmother, I love her deeply now as I did then. What became very apparent to me living there was that she would often use the “N” word when talking to and about people of color in our town. When confronted about this she would say “I don’t mean anything bad by it”. I believed her, it was part of the lexicon of her youth. Eventually, we sat her down and explained that she would not be welcome in our home if she used such language and nor we would we be coming to family gatherings if she used such language.
While she grew up in another time, she never again used such language; she had the wisdom to recognize that society had evolved past a place where such language was acceptable. Do I still believe she thinks such things? Yes I do, but I love her and respect her for her ability to listen and her desire to not cause offence.
Here is the thing, If you have Transphobic views, I understand how hard it is to self edit, I witnessed the process with my grandmother, Yet, today I invite you to join her as a respected Elder able to change her behavior when she realized the offence she was perpetuating upon people of color.
The choice lays with those oppressing the Transgender individuals in our community. Will they destroy all they have built with bigoted language or self edit and one day join the ranks of the many respected elders that manifested our collective Pagan community. Their time to decide grows short!