Internecine Transgender Tribal Warfare Exposed!

I meet many eloquent people on Twitter. I just loves my twibe. One of them, @ShamanOfHedon, maintains a kick-ass blog that bears subscribing to. I admired her take on the film, Ticked Off Trannies With Knives. And I am LOVING her take-down of internecine trans-tribal warfare.

Yes—believe it or not—there are some trans people who despise other trans people, purely for the kind of trans people they are. And yes of course this sort of internal hierarchal transphobia has been going on for a long time. Well, Shaman of Hedon exposes a nest of that hatred on Shaman's latest blog. It got me all fired up, so I wrote the following comment (which is way longer than a blog comment should be, so I'm posting it here.)


 Wow, Shaman. You sure do manage to ferret out some of the juiciest cuts of our sprawling trans culture's carcass. Firstly, thanks for your eloquence and passion. It's a satisfying kick-ass response to the soul-less vitriol spewed by Miss Josephine, who believes she is more of a "real" woman and a better transperson than YOU.

But heck, there are still a LOT of people in the world who think that Hispanic, African-American, and Asian people are not "real" people like Caucasians. Those scary racial bigots use *science* to justify their claims. Well that's what I think you've unmasked here, oh far-seeing Shaman: a trans sub-culture that uses science to "prove" their ultimately self-directed bigotry. Here's their mission statement:

TS-SI is dedicated to the acceptance, medical treatment, and legal protection of individuals correcting the misalignment of their brains and their anatomical sex, while supporting their transition into society.

I've been checking out TS-SI's website for people who believe there's a both a biological imperative and a cultural classist mandate for real gender, real humanity. The only good trannies—the better ones, anyway, for the TS-SI mindset holds as self-evident that we're all diseased—are the trannies who comply with both the biological and classist imperatives.

The TS-SI website is SMART. There's all sorts of political ramifications to the science they believe in. In fact, it's so smart that I bet ya can't read all the words in the headlines of their home page without using a dictionary. Smart = educated = well-monied = so much more to lose = more frantic to defend the ground they stand on.

So it's boiling down to class again. Poor things. No, I mean it. They haven't been able to find the sustaining joy of breaking free of biological and classist imperatives. They've opted for the life-sucking security of class superiority.

Angel Distilled into Devils OK, so the class argument for "real" gender can easily be torn apart by compassion. But I still don't get the science argument. Really, not being snarky here. Aren't all our different organs and body structures based in the same bio-goo? Sure, the bio-goo shifts and recombines over time into mostly male and mostly female, but it's still the same goo. It's like the argument about when is a fetus a human being. Well, you can start measuring life at any time. Ditto biological gender. 

I think the important thing to keep in mind is that while yes, of course there are two major biological genders, that life itself goes well beyond just that—and it's life itself that has yet to be respected by the majority of people on the planet. 

Once again, Shaman, I bow to your wisdom, passion, and eloquence.

kiss kiss

Your Doting Aunt Kate 

(who begs you to forgive her for using the t-word. I just had to, I was on a rant.)


  1. Feel free to come to TS-Si ( , read the thousands of articles and various opinion columns and make up your mind for yourself.
    BTW, if you are troubled by the big, scientific words, most all of the are hyper-linked to a definition or an explanation or both.
    Kate: TS-Si invites you to write an opinion piece for us.
    Lisa Jain Thompson

  2. Dear Lisa Jain, thank you for your gracious response and invitation. I’m trying to figure out what it is that’s fracturing our little world of trans, in hopes of figuring out what’s fracturing the great big world all around us. Once I can make myself articulate on all this, I’ll take you up on your invite to write an opinion piece for TS-SI. Thanks again. K

  3. My last comment on the original T-Si blog piece was censored. Supposedly for a TOS violation. Which I’m confidant I did not even come close to. I DID however thoroughly trump all oif Josephine and Evangelina’s arguments by pointing out how eerily like Peter LaBarbera they sound when using the “My bigotry isn’t really bigotry because I’m only attacking the sin, not the homosexual” type of argument. The supposedly offending comment was also nowhere NEAR the level of crass, aggressive, swearing-laced or blatantly derogatory as many of the comments that remain uncensored. I can only assume the Site owner realized that I had made a point they could not defend against, and had to censor me or admit that she violated HER OWN Terms of service by allowing that bile to be published on her site to begin with. Tsk tsk. I don’t censor comments I don’t like. Proof is as easy to find as simply reading most of the comments Jezebel left on my blog on certain entries. Only a coward who knows their position is indefensible censors those who outargue them rather than let the winning argument be seen.
    Apparently on T-Si, outdebating an indefensible opinion is a violation of their Terms of Service. They just lost the last thread of respect I once had for them before they greenlit Josephine’s hateful elitist bile in the first place.

  4. Apissedoffpeon

    I do not think she did violate your TOS. I think maybe perhaps you got a tad defensive and reactionary? To err is human. Anyways I am a complete newbie, I have been in transition for 8 months what I have garnered is that there are about 6 camps of trannys with 2 camps at the vangaurd. The bickering and hatred between factions really puts me off. I have very little desire to align myself with people who are bassicaly putting there fingers in thier ears and going lalalalala anytime the other person is talking.
    Sound familiar?
    Maybe the right thing to do is listen and accept that as long as you people fight you are very wrong. You need to listen to others and evolve or we die. Listen means you listen and not automaticaly fire off rebutals, searching for any morsel to discredit eachother.
    Persoanly I am fed up with petty semantics warfare in the trans comunity. I am tempted to just drop out of the culture and pursue a vocation in tranny porn and just capitolize on my disorder and make some bank from it. It would be allot more honest and producetive than the fights I read in tranny blogs daily. Fights between people that should be role models.
    just sain’

  5. Its hard for me to articulate how this relates to what you’re talking about here, but I promise I’m trying to stay on point.
    When I became aware of the “just look down your pants” answer to the question of “are you a real man or a real woman?” it was a really positive liberating affirming thing for me, I suspect the “rad fems” who come in and out of this conversation feel the same way, I can also imagine that for transsexuals that way of looking at things felt all wrong, but for cissexual people like myself it opened up a whole world of possibilities for infinite different gender expressions within the uncompromised identity of man or woman.
    The view of transsexualism as a condition all about people simply having the wrong genitals to match some biolocally predetermind body map is a little easier to absorb from that point of view, even if radical feminist don’t buy it. To be honest I don’t really fully understand what people mean when they say they feel like the wrong gender but they aren’t talking about their genitals (I’m not saying I don’t respect it, just that its a mystery to me)
    So my point is…I guess I don’t really have one, I’m just trying to shed some light on maybe why people feel the way they feel. (but not neccesarily condoning what they say or how they treat others)

  6. Love this rant!
    Funny thing about gender…it’s a social construct. Just compare Euro-American gender roles with Native American gender roles. Many Native American tribes had more than two gender roles, and actually lifted those who embodied both male and female to higher standard. They were the medicine people, etc.
    I get so irritated when people link gender and sex. Boys like blue because we teach them to like blue. And vice-versa.
    Oh society.

  7. I was just banned from TS-Si and I, too, invite you over to read the discussion thread on Sodomese’s hit piece. (I’d skip the article if I were you; it’s pure bile.) The watchdogs over there brook no challenge. Ugly, ugly. The site looks nice. At first. But once you get below the surface it’s Crazyville. Lucky for me, their hatred of Kate (and pretty much anybody who isn’t them) showed me the way here. I’m sitting here with my last post that I didn’t get to put up before Lisa Thompson blew a gasket (huh huh) and blocked me. It pretty much lays out the situation and I’d love to share it, if for no other reason than to illustrate what will get you banned, but it’s 650 words and I don’t want to presume. Hey, I learned everything I know from the Outlaw!

  8. Writing an opinion piece for TS-Si that doesn’t conform to their extremely narrow bias would be a little like wearing a meat suit in a shark tank. Those folks do. not. like. to. think!

  9. LISA THOMSPSON _Please answer this question:
    What empirical evidence do you use for denying others’ gender identity?
    You wouldn’t answer it on your own site and banned me for asking it.
    Why won’t you answer the question?

  10. @devinkay – Hon, sorry, but Lisa will NEVER answer your question because she CANNOT answer it truthfully without conceding her stance on the subject is wrong, fulled by self-loathing and fear. As long as she can stick to the “No True Scotsman” defense, she can continue to believe her hatred is an honest justified opinion based in her version of facts. ACTUAL facts consistantly defy her viewpoint and she must therefore ignore their existance completely or intentionally misinterptert them to support her worldview.
    A reasonable person adapts their worldiew to the established facts and evidence that shows the world as it is. An unreasonable person tries to twist and distort the facts and evidence to justify and conform to their worldview.
    And Lisa Thompson is very much an unreasonable person, as are most of TS-Si’s contributors and supporters.

  11. Kate Bornstein I really wanted to find and message you but on Twitter(where I never go) but i am only allowed to reply to you there in like 120 characters and i like having better grammar than Sarah Palin so I’ll just message you here, I hope that’s ok. I also would have messaged you on Myspace but you haven’t been on in 2 years i guess, how sad.
    Anyways, I’m 21, and live in Olympia WA and awhile back I bought your(my) gender workbook. It’s been quite interesting and helpful, for I’ve always wanted a vagina but have never been certain I wanted to “become a real woman” so to speak, I’ve just never liked my genetalia, but I’ve never known if I really qualified as a transsexual or if i was just a faker who was slowly fooling myself into thinking I was. I’ve even started warming up to the idea of breasts, which I’ve never really cared for either way, but I probably slouch more than I should anyways, and i kind of like having a flat chest(I’m skinny so it’s great) and I don’t want to get boobs just because it’s the only way for society do deal with me even though my body is only my business.
    Recently I started once in awhile going into a transgender chatroom to talk to people and see if anyone had had any experiences like me, but even there I felt oddly out of place, and the transgendered people I meet in transgender chatrooms, i find them to be oddly closed minded about things, have you had any encounters as such? If not, I’m happy for you. I don’t go to those chats anymore, I always feel like I’m the only unicorn in a sea of men who want to get sex changes because that way no one will ever expect them to chop wood for the fire, y’understand what I’m saying?
    Now I’m beginning to feel more and more comfortable in the nongender world, even though I’m still not sure about what I should do about that stuff in my pants, but really I just wanted to thank you for being the person who waves this flag and writes these books, and has embarked on this voyage, for it’s difficult to think about these things without you there to help me.
    I have a myspace and a Facebook, because my myspace is more personalizable than facebook, and if anyone knows me, they know I can’t help but express myself! I’d tell you to look at them but I don’t think it would be of any consequence, other than you knowing what I look like or what my favorite cancelled tv series is or something.
    PS: The “girl” on the background of your twitter page looks like Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman with yellow colored into her hair. Do I win anything?

  12. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t delete that first ‘but,’ that partially ruins my Sarah Palin joke. Partially.

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