defending the right to oppress...
April 9, 2015
Days later and I still find myself irritated by this exchange on twitter:
I’m not surprised how that person decided to explain their defense of ‘women’s right to be transmisogynist’ via ‘free will’ (I had blocked this person by this point and only saw the explanation just now).
But do you see how explanation is disingenuous and displays a real lack of understanding of power and oppression?
In the first response, we see that they “defend cis women’s right to be inclusive or not”. Then I ask them straight out ask if they really mean they defend cis women’s right to be transmisogynist. They concur.
Now. The greater context for this twitter exchange is my post about free loaders/bad actors and legislation being written to exclude trans women from accessing gender appropriate public accommodations. So, to be clear, we are talking about real and actual policies and legislation. The context for this is actual stuff happening in the real world that has a material impact on how trans women (of colour) are marginalized.
Suddenly I’m indirectly being accused of being the ‘thought police’ and we are talking about ‘opinions’.
When in reality, the thing we are talking about is stuff like Vancouver Rape Relief and the cis women there excluding trans women from accessing the service. When you “defend cis women’s right to be inclusive or not” this is what you are talking about. This isn’t theoretical or just about people’s opinions and thoughts. Sure, the person says they don’t have the right to act on this…
But again: this demonstrates a dangerous misunderstanding about power and oppression. Transmisogyny isn’t an ‘opinion’ but a system of oppression. Cis women excluding trans women from institutions, spaces, etc. is a part of this system of oppression. Indeed, they are enforcing and perpetuating it. Happily participating rather than passively supporting.
No one has the ‘right’ to be oppressive. End of story.
And acting like the ideologies people subscribe to has no actual impact on the real world is both contrary to fact and a way to elide the responsibility oppressors have to STOP OPPRESSING PEOPLE. Ideologies structure and determine how our actual institutions and social structures. They have real world impacts and lead directly to things like Vancouver Rape Relief and the exclusion of public accommodations in Bill C-279 bc of the supposed danger trans women pose to cis women.
Cis women have no right to be transmisogynist.
White women have no right to be racist.
Able women have no right to be ableist.
Etc and so on.
No such ‘right’ actually exists. Even in the most liberal of shitty discourse, there is no right to oppress. And, no, trying to back peddle and make this about ‘opinions’ while evoking 1984-esque ‘thought crimes’ is fucking bullshit. You’re bullshit.