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Friday, January 31, 2014

"When a trans woman gets called a man, that is an act of violence."

Posted by on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Laverne Cox brought the house down at Creating Change—it's worth 30 minutes of your time. And if you like slapping down assholes on Twitter, this hater is worth a tweet or two of your time:


Comments (52) RSS

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collectivism_sucks 1
Is it mean? Yes. An act of violence? No.
And Dan Savage saying transphobia is bad? Pot: meet kettle:…

Sincerely: a life long bisexual man. Since according to Mr Savage I don't exist, I suppose he wont be offended by anything I, a non-existent person, has to say.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on January 31, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
Peter Barbera's hair is like play-acting.
Posted by Fnarf on January 31, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
I'm a cat, call me pussy.
Posted by What, no kitty litter? on January 31, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this

Dan has admitted that he was wrong about that for years, you giant fuckwit.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on January 31, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
@4: There's even an 8K-word chapter about it in my new book. Send me your address, @1 of the Buttsore, and I will send you an autographed copy. Sincerely yours,

Dan "The Real Enemy" Savage
Posted by Dan Savage on January 31, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this
@1 Wait. So you're downplaying the significance of verbal assault on trans people while using a series of out-of-context, out-dated quotations to say that what Dan is... what? So much worse? Likes to downplay the significance of oppression on pretty much everyone therefore it should be okay for you to do it?

I realize that Dan has a history of transphobic comments and it's something that he's been periodically called out for and acknowledged as a problem. I am not super well versed in trans issues (I do my best) and not super well researched in the times Dan has done his worst on this subject. But how does his history make it not legit when he does something *in support* of trans rights? Does he have to use a time machine and erase all the times he messed up in the past in order for it to be valid to think something different now? I can understand not trusting him if it seems like he's just throwing a bone. But shutting down the gesture entirely seems like a bad way to convert bigots to allies.

Also, the quotation they listed about Dan not believing that bi-men exist: How does, "Bushes, bathhouses, and sleazy gay bars are crawling with bi guys," magically imply that Dan doesn't think bi guys exist?
Posted by kellarules on January 31, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Ophian 7
As a lifelong bi man myself, I say that @1 and Raku should go bowling.
Posted by Ophian on January 31, 2014 at 5:56 PM · Report this
@1 From one life long bisexual man to another; shut the fuck up. Dan helped me realize I exist.
Posted by bassplayerguy on January 31, 2014 at 6:08 PM · Report this
brandon 9
Before you get defensive, the link he provided was to Tumblr. That should be all we need to realize he's an attention whoring jackass we can safely ignore.

Posted by brandon on January 31, 2014 at 6:10 PM · Report this
forcrimeinitaly 10
Love Laverne!
Posted by forcrimeinitaly on January 31, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
@ 5. Can I get an autographed copy?
Posted by bassplayerguy on January 31, 2014 at 6:34 PM · Report this
@ 5. Can I get an autographed copy? :-)
Posted by bassplayerguy on January 31, 2014 at 6:35 PM · Report this
Oops damn double post.
Posted by bassplayerguy on January 31, 2014 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 14
@9 wins, although having seen collectivism_sucks posting here before, I suspect he is trolling.
Posted by Doctor Memory on January 31, 2014 at 6:46 PM · Report this
rob! 15
Porno Pete always looks constipated, but maybe he's just play-acting.
Posted by rob! on January 31, 2014 at 6:57 PM · Report this
raindrop 16
Knowing a transsexual both before and after was not only wonderful for her now that she's finally happy, but it's an amazing experience for her friends.
Posted by raindrop on January 31, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Report this
forcrimeinitaly 17
People that insist on referring to trans women as "he" piss me the fuck off. SHE is a woman, a beautiful one at that and dammit, I wish my make-up looked that good.
Posted by forcrimeinitaly on January 31, 2014 at 7:11 PM · Report this
thebaytonight 18
I am in awe. Such eloquence. Thank you for slogging this.
Posted by thebaytonight on January 31, 2014 at 7:19 PM · Report this
Mr Ophian - Candlepin.
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2014 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Peter La Barbera hasn't the nuts to face Laverne Cox.
Posted by MinnySota on January 31, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Misgendering is a dickish thing to do, but a speech act cannot be an act of violence. That distinction is really important to a free society. Violence can (and should) be forbidden by law. Speech, no matter how hurtful, shouldn't be.
Posted by Fuzzy_Bastard on January 31, 2014 at 7:36 PM · Report this
@21: So there should be no limits on speech?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 31, 2014 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Looking at that blog @1, all I see are quotes out of context. This is NOT helping any argument you might have.
Posted by BG on January 31, 2014 at 8:12 PM · Report this
Who the hell is Peter LaBlowjob? Why would you give him the publicity? Sheesh.
Posted by fubar on January 31, 2014 at 9:20 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 25
@22 When the consequences of that speech are "it made me feel bad about myself" - no, it shouldn't be limited. If someone is following you around shouting the wrong pronouns, that's harassment. If they're misgendering you with a baseball bat, that's assault.

The US is something of an outlier in that unless your expression is an immediate cause of violence or harm, the US recognizes few Constitutional limits on speech. If you don't like it, I recommend moving to say, Germany, where printing Mein Kampf is illegal. Yet somehow that hasn't slowed the spread of neo-nazism.

The policy that some ideas are "too dangerous" to be expressed is invariably more dangerous to freedom than the idea itself.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 31, 2014 at 9:39 PM · Report this
Peter LaBarbera is at best a trifling idiot and a damned fool. He is human excrement aspiring to fallow ground.

Act, do not react.

When you react you become part of - rather than apart from - the original action. It determines and defines you.

Our reactions allow others to define us.

What you chase governs the race.

The inherent value of the stronger position is that it endures and grows while its opposition withers in its shadow.

To react to the lesser person you must bow in their direction. Remain upright when yours is the greater position.
Posted by Lessons in power on January 31, 2014 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 27
Some people are fixated on other people for very unhealthy reasons. This LaBarbera person is one such. His mind dwells in the lives of those people that he finds titillating. He's like a real life real world stalker that goes out of his way to get deeply involved in something he claims he finds repulsive, but can not stop moving toward. He's sick. Very very sick.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 31, 2014 at 9:51 PM · Report this
Mein Kampf is not illegal in Germany; the State of Bavaria as copyright holder does not give permission to reprint. But the copyright is running out soon.

To display the symbols of illegal parties is prohibited and incitement to hate crimes are illegal in Germany, though.
Posted by migrationist on January 31, 2014 at 10:05 PM · Report this
I agree with @1. Calling a trans woman a man is bad and harmful but it is not violent. "Violence" does not mean just any kind of harm. It suggests a physical attack or at least the same kind of visceral aggression that would underlie such an attack. Calling a trans woman a man is just as likely to come from ignorance and the desire to imagine the world as simpler than it truly is. Those are mental issues, not visceral ones.
Posted by DRF on January 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM · Report this
Posted by Voxpop on January 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM · Report this
forcrimeinitaly 31
For anyone not reading the unregistered comments 26 is worth a click.

"To react to the lesser person you must bow in their direction. Remain upright when yours is the greater position."

This. Exactly this. Thank you for that. I for one needed to read that today.
Posted by forcrimeinitaly on January 31, 2014 at 10:15 PM · Report this

1. swift and intense force
2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment

I believe it was somebody on the stranger who just the other day was saying that violence had to be against an actual person, when defending somebody who had allegedly destroyed property.

I, myself, really don't get what's so complicated about the word that people misuse it
Posted by GermanSausage on January 31, 2014 at 10:53 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 33
@28: I'm not an expert in copyright law, but since the State of Bavaria does not give permission to reproduce the work, printing it would be a violation of copyright right? So like I said - printing Mein Kampf would be illegal. At any rate, my point was that in most other Western nations restrictions on hate speech as incitement are much more loosely defined. Considering the growth of far-right extremism in the last 20 years, I don't see these as particularly effective.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 31, 2014 at 11:03 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 34
@7 & @8 - as a lifelong bi *woman*, I think if I ever make it back to Seattle, we should have a Bi (& Bi-friendly!) Slog Happy somewhere, so we can all prove to each other that we exist. ;)

I <3 Laverne Cox, she's beautiful & a great actress.

Dan has gotten better about talking about weak spots he's had in the past; he's been pretty open about his views shifting somewhat on transgendered people & on the existence of bisexuals.

If only I could forget that canned ham & the "oogies" that phrase generated, then we'd be all set.

..but that could've be written about in the new book too. Mebbe I should read it before kvetching too hard. ;)Happily, there's not too much record of stuff *I* said over a decade ago, I'm sure some of it would be found wanting.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on February 1, 2014 at 1:40 AM · Report this
Still Thinking 35
Bi Slog Happy - may it not exist merely in our imaginations!
Posted by Still Thinking on February 1, 2014 at 2:10 AM · Report this
It's an act of aggression....but it is not an act of violence,
Posted by ABW on February 1, 2014 at 6:11 AM · Report this
In Slog world calling a fish a fish? Violence!

Smashing a window at Starbucks?

Not violence!
Posted by Can I call anarchists cunts? on February 1, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
This post is already old news, and chances are that no one will see this, but I have to post.
#1, as one bisexual to another, stop. Please, just stop. You're embarrassing all of us. What you're doing: it's old and tired and not even truthful. You're hurting, not helping. You look foolish.

Just take a deep breath and stop.
Posted by jade on February 1, 2014 at 8:22 AM · Report this
If you guys set up a Bi Slog Happy, and I'm in town, I'll totally be there.
Posted by Dan Savage on February 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
venomlash 40
Calling a Jew a "kike" or a black person a "nigger" could be construed as violence, given the history of violent oppression using those terms as weapons. Calling a trans person a "tranny" could qualify as violence under that logic. But calling a trans woman a man, while spiteful and feelings-hurting, isn't really violent.

@39: "Don't Worry, Bi Happy"
Posted by venomlash on February 1, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Ms Hopkins - An excellent idea. I don't think I'll ever make it to Seattle, but, if the Guest Admissions Committee decides to go with Majority Vote instead of Unanimous, I shall happily give you a subscription.
Posted by vennominon on February 1, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
@34 I'm in Tucson so that'd be quite a trek just to get a drink but maybe I can Skype in. :o)

@40 Holy smokes, that's a song that needs to happen! This thread will long be defunct by the time I get it done but if you ever hear it pop up on the radio then you can be content in the knowledge that you inspired it. I'll give a song writing credit to "Venomlash."
Posted by bassplayerguy on February 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Report this
And just to bring things back around to trans issues and progress that's been made, one of my friends is teaching the first ever Trans and Genderqueer literature class at the University of Arizona. Still a long way to go but to have an official class in Arizona (Ari-fuckin'-zona!) is pretty big deal.
Posted by bassplayerguy on February 1, 2014 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Ophian 44
Bi Slog Happy! Absolutely...uh, we just have to have it down here in Austin.
Posted by Ophian on February 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
lark 45
Posted by lark on February 1, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Agreed with many above -- it's not an act of violence, but could be an act of ignorance, aggression, or hostility. And it's fucking dumb and rude.
Posted by Amanda on February 1, 2014 at 11:51 PM · Report this
One exception to calling a trans person a man being an act of violence/bigotry. If they're a F-M transperson.
Posted by Kotre on February 2, 2014 at 7:10 AM · Report this
@ 21/22/25 - There generally shouldn't be laws to prohibit speech (there are exceptions: fire in a theater, slander, libel, etc)--but that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be consequences for speech. The consequeces just aren't dished out by the government (the first amendment/free speech only applies to the government). Losing your job, for example, is a perfectly appropriate consequence for stupid and offensive speech.

Other people got it perfect. The words are an act of aggression, but not an act of violence.
Posted by brent.b on February 3, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
We've come a long way baby.

I am all for maintaining the actual meaning of words like violence, but as someone who has seen and felt the reactions of family members who lived through the Civil Rights Era to having those words flung at them, I am unwilling to refuse members of the Trans community that description of their experience.
Posted by Just Words on February 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 50
@48: Losing your job, for example, is a perfectly appropriate consequence for stupid and offensive speech.

I find that statement offensive and stupid. Should you lose your job now?
Posted by Eudaemonic on February 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Guys, I think you're taking the whole "misgendering is an act of violence" thing too literally. Think about how weak "misgendering is an act of aggression/stupid and offensive/a dickish thing to do/bad and harmful/etc" sound in the context of a speech. The point is not to be literally or legally correct, the point is to explain what misgendering feels like to the person receiving it: it hurts, sometimes just as badly as more literal violence. It's an act of metaphorical violence. And if anyone asks why she didn't use qualifying language instead, ie using simile instead of metaphor or saying that it's metaphorical violence, the answer is that those qualifying devices sound just as wimpy as using any of the words that other people used. It wouldn't have been nearly as powerful a line if it had been written another way.
Posted by alguna_rubia on February 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@alguna_rubia, you've got it wrong. It doesn't make it more powerful, it makes it weaker because many people who believe in free expression recoil when they hear anyone claiming offensive speech is the equivalent of violence. It makes us question the honesty and validity of the entire argument and the person making it.
Posted by kai9 on February 10, 2014 at 7:52 PM · Report this

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