Koyama, I’m glad you finally reread your “Manifesto”

In all honesty, I was extremely excited when I first read the title of Emi Koyama’s piece. I thought, “Hell yes! Something I can congratulate and praise!” Then I read it. Although I was not disappointed by Koyama entirely, I was not as impressed as I had hoped to be. Throughout the Manifesto, she makes an average effort to attend to those who are not transwomen, but mostly she uses them as add-ons, merely to lengthen her argument. Koyama addresses sexism, homophobia, abuse, medical issues, and even body image; yet she fails to make just as strong arguments for the “others” as she promises early in the introduction. And yes, I realize she speaks to this lack of inclusion in the Postscript, but c’mon!

Apart from the disgust I feel, I have to admit there were a few sections I absolutely loved, and others I wish I could have deleted and never read again…

“The suggestion that trans women are inherently more privileged than other women is as ignorant as claiming that gay male couples are more privileged than heterosexual couples because both parents have male privilege.”

First, I appreciate this sentence because whoever is that ignorant (either claim) is a fool. Second, this is one of many failed attempts Koyama makes to provide the necessary support for her highly inclusive claims.

“Transfeminism views any method of assigning sex to be socially and politically constructed, and advocates a social arrangement where one is free to assign her or his own sex (or non-sex, for that matter).”

I was just confused by this sentence. I understand she was trying to say that any person should have the right to choose. However, it comes off as suggesting a newborn has a say in what happens when she/he is born.

“…trans people are much more vulnerable to attack because they are often more visible than gays. Homophobic terrorists do not look into people’s bedrooms when they go out to hunt gays; they look for gendered cues that do not match the perceived sex of their prey, effectively targeting those who are visibly gender-deviant.”

First, the visibility of trans people vs the visibility of gay people is not measurable. Second, how does she know what “homophobic terrorists” do? I am sure there is plenty of evidence to suggest gay people have been abused, arrested, terrorized, etc. because someone happened to look in their bedroom window or barge into their home (i.e. Bowers v. Hardwick). Third, she is suggesting that all gay people (non-trans folk more broadly) are gender conforming, and thus never the victims of attacks based on gender deviance. I don’t know about everyone else, but I (a non-trans person) was under attack many times in my younger years for not being as gender conforming as my peers would have preferred.

Now, if my take on Koyama’s Manifesto was not your cup-o-tea, I’ve found some other blogs which may interest you. (Note: I neither agree nor disagree with any and/or all of these blogs. I am merely providing further opinions.)

http://transcolumbia.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/the-transfeminist-manifesto/

http://jenrogue.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/strengthening-anarchisms-gender-analysis/

http://writingforstrangers.com/writing/non-fictionopinion/trans-exclusion-and-the-feminist-movement/

– Jocelyn Crizer

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