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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Everything Is Transphobic (But "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" Isn't)

Posted by on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

The term "vagina," as we learned earlier this year, is transphobic because its use is potentially dysphoria-inducing in trans men. And there's no excuse for using the term "vagina" when "more neutral language" is available to us—terms like "internal genitalia" and "front hole." The Nation covered the controversy:

[Some] online feminists have even deemed the word “vagina” problematic. In January, the actress and activist Martha Plimpton tweeted about a benefit for Texas abortion funds called “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas,” sponsored by A Is For, a reproductive rights organization she’s involved with. Plimpton was surprised when some offended Internet feminists urged people to stay away, arguing that emphasizing “vaginas” hurts trans men who don’t want their reproductive organs coded as female. “Given the constant genital policing, you can’t expect trans folks to feel included by an event title focused on a policed, binary genital,” tweeted @DrJaneChi, an abortion and transgender health provider. (She mentioned “internal genitals” as an alternative.) When Plimpton insisted that she would continue to say “vagina,” her feed filled up with indignation. “So you’re really committed to doubling down on using a term that you’ve been told many times is exclusionary & harmful?” asked one self-described intersectional feminist blogger.

Which brings us to this from Eva Gantz at the Good Men Project:

“Gay Men Draw Vaginas,” a project that—you guessed it—has gay men draw vaginas, has taken the internet by storm. Co-creators Shannon O’Malley and Keith Wilson have curated a collection of incredibly diverse portrayals of the ways that gay men conceive of a vagina, ranging from the realistic to the abstract. The Advocate proclaimed it, “the feel-good book project of the year," and nearly every popular sex and culture website has presented the project as fun, illuminating, and amusing. But beneath the surface of light humor, the underlying message of the project is troubling.

What's troubling about "Gay Men Draw Vaginas"? First, there's "the implicit assumption that gay men will find vulvas/vaginas ludicrous or mystifying." But Gantz's primary objection to "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" is this:

The more glaring omission—and the more dangerous one—is gay men who happen to have, or used to have, vaginas. The underlying assumption that a gay man will have rarely or never seen a vagina/vulva assumes that all men have penises, as do their partners. This project silently erases trans* and genderqueer gay men, along with gay men who have slept with a gay man who isn’t cis. Was this exclusion and erasure intentional?

For those of you keeping score at home: The organizers of "Night a 1000 Vaginas" are transphobic because they emphasized vaginas in reference to abortion services and by so doing excluded trans men who don’t want their reproductive organs coded as female. The guys behind "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" are transphobic because—per Gantz's assumption—they weren't aware that some gay men "happen to have, or used to have, vaginas" and consequently gay trans men were silently erased from their art project (and upcoming book) about vaginas. But let's say the creators of "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" had included trans men as contributors and subjects. What are the odds that they would stand accused of inducing dysphoria in trans men, ordered to change the name of the book to "Gay Men Draw Front Holes," and accused of transphobia if they refused? Pretty high.

Shannon OMalley (left) and Keith Wilson (right), co-creators of Gay Men Draw Vaginas
  • Shannon O'Malley (left) and Keith Wilson (right), co-creators of "Gay Men Draw Vaginas"

But here's a much more important question, a thoroughly obvious question, and a question that Gantz or Gantz's editors should've asked before publishing: Are the creators of "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" excluding gay trans men as either subjects or contributors?

"We aren't excluding gay trans men" said Shannon O'Malley, one of the co-creators of "Gay Men Draw Vaginas." "Absolutely not! If you're a human being who identifies as a gay man then we are interested in publishing your work. We've gotten drawings from people all over the world! We don't know what the people sending us drawings were born with and we don't ask."

One gay trans man did write to O'Malley and Wilson to ask if his contribution would be welcomed.

"He's a guy in Seattle and he wrote us a concerned letter saying that he was worried that we had the impression a gay man was one kind of thing," said O'Malley. "We assured him that didn't believe that. He made a great contribution—his drawing is of this punky, young, twinky gay guy, posing like a porn star, his hips thrust forward, and he's got a vagina. The artist explained in his letter that this was a drawing of 'a gay man with a vagina.' And we were like, 'This is awesome, we're putting this in the book.' And we are!"

So it seems to me that if anyone is guilty of "silently [erasing] trans* and genderqueer gay men" here it's Gantz. Because the assumption that "gay men = gay cis men" was Gantz's, not O'Malley's or Wilson's, which brings me to a question for Gantz: Was your erasure of gay trans men intentional? Or were you just in such a rush to draw attention to your own righteousness by leveling charges of transphobia that you couldn't pause to think things through? Or make a quick phone call?

There's more info about "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" at their kickstarter page, and you can read a longer HuffPo interview with O'Malley and Wilson here.

 

Comments (110) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
File under: "...being so open minded that your brains fall out."
Posted by Westside forever on August 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM · Report this
2
Ah for fuck's sake.
Posted by Mindymoo on August 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
dirac 3
What a bunch of sensitive pussies.
Posted by dirac on August 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
4
I believe that picture is mislabeled, and Shannon is on the right, and Keith on the left. That or I've woken up backwards today.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on August 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
smade 5
We're beginning to approach "boy who cried wolf" territory.
Posted by smade on August 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
I never quite understood the whole "vulvas/vaginas are mysterious" thing. I mean, I guess it is just a kind of humorous social exaggeration riffing on dudes who can not be bothered to please their ladies, but it really is not that confusing down there.

More to the point, just because you are not included in everything does not mean you are being "erased." As cis guy, I have no part in the discussion involving genital issues of, say, FTM trans folks, but that does not mean I am being "erased" by their discussions just because they do not take some time to focus on MY parts.

"Trans folks" isn't a slur is it? I find it hard to keep up sometimes.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 7
If the use of the word "vagina" is triggering to a transman because he doesn't want to be reminded of his genitalia or to a transwoman because she doesn't have one, they need *therapy*, not coddling from the Left.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
8
I'm guessing it might be OK if you issued a trigger warning every time you were going to say 'vagina'.
Posted by Rhizome on August 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 9
@5,

We blew past that a long time ago.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 10
Anyone notice the total erasure of bi people from this post? Dan Savage is famous for coining terms like Santorum and DTMFA and "chocolate chip cookie". The Savagism he's expressing here, decoded, is "I have a collection of bi people in my freezer and you should too!"

Dan Savage needs to cut the charade and just file papers to have his name changed to Kill All Bis Savage.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on August 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM · Report this
11
Chalk this up on the same board about Jezebellites complaining about "risks to their mental health" from GIF spamming.

How did social activism evolve into a new form of being a weak-minded mental isolationist?
Posted by The CHZA on August 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 12
Somebody needs to write a dictionary of words we can't use.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Fnarf 13
@10, if I'm reading your comment correctly, you're accusing Dan of Bis Cis Dis? This is an alphabetic dysphoria to be reckoned with.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Fnarf 14
Also, the medical profession already has a term for patients who refer to their "front hole" -- it's "three-year-olds". Maybe next year they'll advance to "bagina".
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
15
I completely embrace the freedom of any person to be offended by someone else's expression, doesn't matter if it's is politically left or right. Whiners should man up and grow a pair. [uh oh!]
Posted by IslandGuy on August 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
16
Yes to #1, #11 and especially #2. It sounds like something good was happening (benefit for Texas abortion funds) and supported by an actress willing to speak out (Martha Plimpton) and then it gets micro-analyzed.

For fuck's sake.
Posted by westello on August 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 17
@4 - Not to assume about their gender identities, but Shannon has been known to be a man's name, and the person on the right could very well be trans (really, though, either of them could be trans (although I suppose that would have come up if trans people were accused of transphobia)). I don't see gender-identifying pronouns about the two anywhere in this post, though, so who knows.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on August 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
18
and we need to refer to the heart as the blood pumper and the lungs as our internal balloons
Posted by TominChicago on August 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
19
Is anyone's language processing capacity big enough to include absolutely everyone in everything all the time? I don't think so.

For fuck sake, why would people who are not and never will be able to get an abortion (barring a miracle of science) worried about being excluded from things that have to do with abortion?

It seems to me that the concept of trans erasure should only apply to subjects in which they can be included.
Posted by Ricardo on August 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
21
The purpose of words is to provide shorthand for definitions; definitions are exclusionary by nature.
Posted by NadgeTowne on August 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
22
This really seems to be about people trying to get attention and respect, rightly or wrongly, the only way they know how.

It is counterproductive, in my opinion, to take specific complaints like these at face value. That just leads to a cycle of dismissal, leading to people feeling more disenfranchised, leading to more misplaced outcries. Similarly, appeasement is not an option either, as that just rewards these attention-seeking outcries and encourages more and more zany demands.

Instead, see these things for what they are– attempts to find and/or make a place in a society that is, in general, pretty trans-phobic. It's a shame that the biggest victims of these antics are people who are for the most part actual allies (turning these into purity tests). Help trans people find a place and voice for legitimate issues (like, you know, trans kids living on the streets, etc.) and I suspect over time these silly issues (like what you can call a vagina) will dissipate.
Posted by madcap on August 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
23
Dan sure seems angrier about a random example of a minority overplaying their right to police language related to their minority group than the larger injustices practiced against them. That's some Fox News bullshit right there.
Posted by Spike1382 on August 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
24
@ 19 - Not that the complaints aren't ridiculous for other reasons, but trans people can get pregnant and have abortions, FYI. Which is just another way that the complaint falls apart under scrutiny. Trans men (read: actually just a couple of online "activists") supposedly didn't want vagina used in an abortion funding drive because they didn't want it associated with femininity. The problem is that it wasn't a fundraiser for femininity, it was a fundraiser for abortion rights, something which could impact anyone born with whatever you want to call biologically female reproductive organs, whether they are cis-female or trans guy.
Posted by brent.b on August 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 25
@22,

Given that even relatively mainstream transadvocates feel entitled to harass lesbians for not wanting to suck cock (google Lily Cade for some examples), this goes way beyond some oversensitive people crying about things that don't actually affect them.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM · Report this
Janell8me 26
@14 you win!
As a Trans woman I find all this hubbub absolutely ridiculous, I'm not being excluded because you don't expressly include my unique parts. In fact I don't want you to see me as what's between my legs. It's nobody's damn business except mine or whoever is in my bed. I know very few T folks that want to indentify with what's between their legs and this type of self victimization just draws attention to that. I call shenanigans!
Posted by Janell8me on August 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Lissa 27
@18: I, for one, will certainly hence forth be referring to my lungs as my internal balloons. Because I love the word balloon.

BALLOOOOOOOOON!!
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Posted by Dan Savage on August 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Report this
ferret 29
There are always going to be Ellen James Societies popping up, and demand alms to their self rigtheous behavior.

(Ellen James Society, to those naughters and mid nineties hipster is from "World According to Garp", but read one John Irving Book, you read them all)
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo hide on August 21, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Report this
30
@24--19 is making the same point as you--only people with vaginas and uteri and ovaries, whatever gender they identify as, can get pregnant. Not that the uterus-less shouldn't also care about abortion rights, but the vagina-ed are the people directly affected.
Posted by fruitbat on August 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 31
this thread isn't over until Raku weighs in.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
The Beatles 32
@14: I thought they were pronounced "paginas" when I was about 4 or 5 years old. And you know what? I still do.
Posted by The Beatles on August 21, 2014 at 12:16 PM · Report this
33
@27 I have a severe latex allergy and am allergic to balloons, so I require, neigh, DEMAND a trigger warning whenever you use the B-word.
Posted by Mindymoo on August 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM · Report this
tdalec 34
The vagina is a potential space between the external genitalia and the cervix of the uterus. Unless it's being penetrated by someone or something it's not a space at all. I don't know how anyone could draw that.
Posted by tdalec on August 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Lissa 35
I think madcap @22 is pretty on the money.
I think that in a gynecological setting the term used should be discussed on a case by case basis when the patient is a Trans man, or gender queer. What ever term they feel comfortable with is the one their provider should use, and they should speak up and let their preference be known. Nobody is a mind reader after all.
But.
As a vagina haver I will continue to call mine specifically, and the organ generally, a vagina. Or a pussy. If that's good enough for Buck Angel it's good enough for me. :) I am in no way interested in erasing Trans men, but again, as a vagina haver, I am also not interested in being erased either.
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Lissa 36
@33: I bring you this peace offering

http://www.balloonplace.com/catalog/late…

BALOOOOOOOON!!
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Report this
The Beatles 37
@18: Personally, I like to refer to the rectum as our "internal shit externalizer".
Posted by The Beatles on August 21, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Lissa 39
I mean

BALLOOOOOOOOON!!
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
38
@ 24 - I never actually mentioned "trans people", just the subset made up of "people who are not and never will be able to get an abortion" among them, which are the ones being "excluded".
Posted by Ricardo on August 21, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
40
The word "trigger" is itself troublingly phallocentric in both the gun and firing device images it immediately evokes. Thus, could anyone giving a trigger warning give a trigger warning for their trigger warning? Of course, then you'll need to give a trigger warning for that last one, too. And then for that one warning about the other one. In fact, could you all just spend the rest of your lives typing the words "trigger" and "warning" over and over and over again? It will protect my psyche and I'll feel much better for it. Thank you in advance.
Posted by bobbyjoe on August 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 41
I can't wait to go see "The Internal Genitalia Monologs."
Posted by saxfanatic on August 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
42
@41 I understand it is far superior to "The Front Hole Monologues!"
Posted by Senor Guy on August 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Report this
43
@Dan, Remember when you said homophobia in the black community was a far larger problem for people who are homosexual than the racism in the gay male community was for black people? You focus on combined gay/trans issues seems to focus on trans people engaging what you feel to be ridiculous in language policing (some of it is). Personally I feel more threatened in queer spaces than general public ones that I know to be liberal, and I'm not sure I've ever seen more than a paragraph or two on it in years of reading most every article on the stranger. I'm probably wrong on that, but nothing is coming to mind.
Posted by Spike1382 on August 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 44
I wonder if Dan Savage is concern trolling this stuff. The opening quote is: "[Some] online feminists have even deemed the word “vagina” problematic."

Are there really that many people who consider the inappropriate use of the word vagina an issue or are we talking about a lunatic fringe whose views should just be ignored because they are irrelevant as to power and influence. Is this sort of like how, for example, one can scroll Jezebel, find an angry commenter that believes the first drop of alcohol validates consent, and then make a blog against the angry feminists among us?

I admit that I live in a relatively insular bubble - I have never heard the term privilege or patirarchy outside this website, so there are obviously subcultures of thought outside the mainstream that exist that some take seriously. But assuming attitudes about vaginas being offensive are limited to a small subset of crazies, best to ignore them rather than waste time debating them and in the process giving legitimacy to their insanity.

Posted by Tim Horton on August 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM · Report this
BostonFontSnob 45
If there's one thing that social justice warriors excel at, it's attacking their allies.
Posted by BostonFontSnob on August 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM · Report this
46
@36 What a darling you are. I used to have kids throw balloons and erasers at me to watch me break out in hives and sometimes need an epi pen when I was in middle school. Pre-teens are assholes.
Posted by Mindymoo on August 21, 2014 at 1:14 PM · Report this
47
In case anyone is wondering why the left can't get anything accomplished, this. This is why.

A popular, mainstream actress on two popular shows who just won an Emmy is open about the fact that she's had an abortion. And is criticized for using the word "vagina". (And "front hole"? For real? I wouldn't even let my three year old niece call it that).

I'm pretty sure most "social justice warriors" are far-right loons running an elaborate trolling on the rest of us. It's the only thing that makes sense.
Posted by statetheobvious on August 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 48
"some people on the internet said some stupid stuff"
Posted by Unregistered User on August 21, 2014 at 1:24 PM · Report this
Lissa 49
@46: Ah yes, the Thunder Dome that is Jr. High. I am so sorry they did that to you.
But now! Through the Miracle of Science! You too can know the joy of making carnival poodles and giraffes with BALLOONS! And fuck those rotten kids! Fuck them right in the side of head hole (more commonly known as the "ear")
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
50
This is the new SJW thing, I guess.
I got called out by someone (either a transman or baby butch) because I wouldn't go along with the statement "Both men and women have vaginas. Both men and women have penises. It's just the truth.” And I was trans-phobic because I asserted that a vagina was, by definition, female.
And for "I have issues with Dan Savage" AKA Spike1382 1) Dan is a columnist who's supposed to be keeping up with what's going on. 2) If Dan shouldn't be reporting on stupid shit people do--then they shouldn't be doing it. 3) Why do these kinds of things always have the perps carrying on like trash whenever there's any push-back. Just because you claim a higher moral ground doesn't mean you're exempt from people telling you it's stupid.
And if I had the nerve to tell any woman I know that they're supposed to say "front hole" for vagina--just thinking about the reaction is enough to make me want to lie down with a cold compress.
And Glanz' article gave me a headache because I can't stand the "so sincere" tone of that kind of thing. Jesus Christ--is humor a lost art?
Wonder what would happen if someone started a "Good Woman Project" website?
Posted by sfhally on August 21, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
52
Is anyone else reminded of the Ellen Jamesians from World According to Garp? Fucking insanity.
Posted by mitten on August 21, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this
53
@51: Yeah, maybe you could argue that point. If this was the only thing I'd written about trans stuff this week.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Savag…

Sorry, but I don't think it's fair to stand by and say nothing when people are maligned with false charges. Spoke up for myself when I was, happy to speak up for others when they are.
Posted by Dan Savage on August 21, 2014 at 2:18 PM · Report this
UK_Nurse 54
I don't even. . ."front hole"?! Really?!

I do not understand what is transphobia or exclusionary about the term "vagina". A woman can have a vagina. A transman can have a vagina. Therefore, isn't "A Night of 1000 Vaginas" inclusionary by not specifically inferring that abortion provision is only for women? Or am I missing something?

As for Gay Men Draw Vaginas - I'm a gay man who works in works primarily in women's sexual and reproductive health. I have seen *a lot* of vaginas. . .
Posted by UK_Nurse on August 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM · Report this
55
Perhaps they could redefine the term "pie hole" for their purposes. Just a thought...
Posted by Senor Guy on August 21, 2014 at 2:23 PM · Report this
56
@20 Gestation takes place in the uterus, or what we should all be calling now the "baby place"
Posted by carnivorous chicken on August 21, 2014 at 2:23 PM · Report this
57
Tim @44, yes I think these are sub-sub-cultures! I work as an administrator in a University department where we teach courses called (for example) "Reproducing Gendered Bodies" and I do think lunatic fringe is not too far off the mark.
Posted by busy_quilting on August 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
58
Some gay men do find vaginas mystical, most probably don't give them a second thought. And as far as front holes are concerned, it amuses me to think of all the front holes around that the next generation of boys will be sticking their front sticks into.

Why don't we simply abandon language altogether. Nobody has a vagina. There! Solved. They don't exist because we don't speak it.

There is nothing 'phobic' about using appropriate terminology for body parts that many (not all) people have. I simply don't have one.

Furthermore, everybody seems to generalize. It doesn't say ALL gay men. Just gay men. Frankly, I've never seen one, will never draw one, and probably won't even understand jokes about one.

But 'Front Hole'? What does that make a Man Hole? Seattle City light employees crawl in and out of those everyday!
Posted by rshoff on August 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Allyn 59
Front hole.

Jesus.
Does no one understand basic biology? WTF. There are three holes. The front one is *not* the vagina.

*headdesk*
My two-year-old had a more comprehensive understanding of her body parts.

Posted by Allyn on August 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
60
So, how's the whole identity politics thing working out? Today's normal word is tomorrow's hateful slur, people always having to step around eggshells just to appease neurotic freaks on the internet...isn't dealing with the left's version of the Westboro Church such a fun experience?
Posted by William F. Fuckley on August 21, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Lissa 62
@59: No, no, no! There is your "Back Bottom", and your "Front Bottom". Babies come out of the "Tweenie", (from the descriptive phrase in regards to the reproductive process "Weenie in Be Tweenie").

Ta da! You're welcome!
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM · Report this
63
But did Dan contribute his drawing of a canned ham?
Posted by chi_type on August 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
64
@59, I was just about to post that but you beat me to it. These people need to lighten the fuck up and stop making themselves ridiculous, because this shit only makes it harder for trans* people to be accepted in society. "Vagina" is the technical term for a goddamn body part, and we have technical terms for good reasons. Using baby talk isn't "inclusive," it's fucking stupid. It seems like trans* people have more than enough issues on their plate as it is, so why dream up dumb shit to be offended about?
Posted by chicago girl on August 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
65
which brings me to a question for Gantz: Was your erasure of gay trans men intentional?

Thank you for using Gantz's words against her.

I wonder why there's so much anger, hostility, and a willingness/expectation to see bigotry everywhere, even places that are clearly safe havens for them. I worry that one of two things will happen: they (with the help of their feminist, lesbian, and bisexual allies) will destroy all of our organizations, festivals, and groups from within or they'll be ostracized from the LGBT umbrella.

Either way, this isn't sustainable. It can't stay like this.

Also? They're no fun to be around.
Posted by jade on August 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
66
#11 A lot of it has to do with the millennials. They're not the only ones to blame, but they're a large part of it.
Posted by jade on August 21, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Ophian 67
Jane @26, +1. Thank you.

I'm starting to think we need a NALT trans movement. I've know and lived with some trans folks [FTM & MTF], and while all of them had some sensitivities here and there [I think that pretty much goes with the territory of being trans in this culture], none of them had a moments patience for this kind of inane pettifogging.

We certainly need to educate the gender-normative mainstream, and work socially and legally for trans rights and acceptance, but the twits who pitch a fit no matter what are only alienating allies and weighing down the effort.

[And there is no way in hell I am ever going to use term front-hole, thankyouverymuch.]
Posted by Ophian on August 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
chaseacross 68
I don't see why we can accept a bipolar gender paradigm that is nonetheless non-normative. You need to be able to say the sky is blue before you can say it's other things.
Posted by chaseacross on August 21, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
69
The saddest consequence of all this is that Gavin McInnes is gonna start to seem intelligent in comparison.
Posted by Ricardo on August 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM · Report this
70
"Front hole" makes it sound like a disgusting object or something that I should be ashamed of. I'll be sticking with calling it "my vagina" thank you very much.
Posted by treehugger on August 21, 2014 at 4:33 PM · Report this
71
@17: Sure, but I have a quick counterpoint:
http://static.squarespace.com/static/503…
Posted by Hanoumatoi on August 21, 2014 at 4:56 PM · Report this
72
"The feel-good book project of the year"?????

All together now...

Gimme an L
Gimme an M
Gimme a B...

Still, at least the book people get a good-on-them for inclusion.
Posted by vennominon on August 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
73
The only hole which faces front is the eating-food-and-speaking-and-grunting-hole.

The vagina is the pointing-down-at-the-ground-in-front-of-you-as-you-walk-hole.

A friend of mine calls hers Mona. Maybe I should just start calling them Monas.
Posted by ECarpenter on August 21, 2014 at 7:52 PM · Report this
74
Fuck the Word Police. Seriously, Fuck Them.

Where do they get the idea that it is OK to suddenly declare a commonly used word, which has been part of our linguistic heritage for centuries and was never considered offensive before, "exclusionary"? Where do they get the idea that it is for them to decide what a word means, when they are very much in the minority?

"Vagina" is the ordinary word we use to denote the female genitalia in the English language, when we wish to avoid connotations of either vulgarity or euphemism and ensure that there is no confusion about what we are referring to. It was never intended to have a transphobic connotation and the people who claim it does are seeing something that just isn't there. The problem is with the people who are choosing to be offended for reasons that are completely made-up.

This kind of arbitrary linguistic policing has the effect of mangling the language and making it hard for people to say anything. Take your umbrage and shove it up your back holes.
Posted by Always east coaster on August 21, 2014 at 7:55 PM · Report this
76
Also, "front hole" and "internal genitalia" are poor replacements for "vagina" because they are too vague. "Front hole" could, depending on context, be misconstrued to mean a mouth, a front door, the front entrance of an animal's burrow, a port on an electronic device, or a whole bunch of other things. "Internal genitalia" could be construed to refer to the uterus or ovaries, or even a male part like the prostate gland. "Vagina" is the only word in the English language that is precise in its meaning and avoids vulgarity and euphemism. It is the one and only "pure" word to refer to this particular body part, and taking it away would do immense harm to our ability to talk about anatomy and sexuality.
Posted by Always east coaster on August 21, 2014 at 8:54 PM · Report this
77
Having viewed some of the drawings submitted to this project, I didn't get any message (implicit or otherwise) that these guys all find vaginas "ludicrous or mystifying". Many were realistic in a way that suggested real-life experience, and others were more abstract but beautiful and even appreciative. There were definitely drawings from guys who do not find vaginas appealing (often hilarious!), or have probably never really seen one before, but I don't see how anyone could assume that none of the artists could possibly be trans, or the partners of trans-men.
Posted by Haley on August 21, 2014 at 9:25 PM · Report this
Lissa 78
@71: How do you do that? How do you do that thing where you click and a picture shows up instead of taking you to a website? HOW? I am old and want to learn this new thing that is of the intertubes.
Posted by Lissa on August 21, 2014 at 9:51 PM · Report this
79
Just a note that front hole has a real problem due to location. That particular opening is the middle of 3 holes down there. People seem to forget about the urethra for some reason. I realize it is a far smaller opening but it is indeed in front of the Vagina. So instead of the stupid sounding "Front Hole" it should be called the just as stupid sounding "Middle Hole"
Posted by Romial on August 21, 2014 at 10:07 PM · Report this
yucca flower 80
(1.) I see this "art show" as just more immature misogynist "Dur, hur, hur, vaginas are gross!" bullshit. Goes along with calling women breeders and children "crotch fruit". Queer male privilege is no more "cute" or "funny" than straight male privilege. (2.) Those are not vaginas. Those are vulvas.
Posted by yucca flower on August 21, 2014 at 10:21 PM · Report this
81
@78: So generally speaking if you see a picture on the internet, by right-clicking, one option will be "copy image URL", and using this URL, we go straight to the image.

http://slog.thestranger.com/imager//b/sq…
Posted by Hanoumatoi on August 21, 2014 at 11:29 PM · Report this
82
Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 22, 2014 at 1:33 AM · Report this
83
That's one book I'd like to get.. Really, everyone of us was intimately, in out gestation, connected to the vagina..That pesky sperm our dad shot out, had to enter our mothers vagina and travel up that dark warm passage and crash land into an egg..
What the hell is going on in the US? This stuff really seems way over the top.
Hail to 1000 Vaginas...
Front Hole, Yeah, no thanks. Vagina is one cool word for one amazing part of a woman's body. And the Vagina is not the front hole on a woman . Maybe you guys want us to go with second hole? Yeah, again, no thanks. What a hide.
Please, trans folk- feel free to call your body parts any name you choose. Ok? But stay the fuck out of what I call my body parts. Deal?
Posted by LavaGirl on August 22, 2014 at 4:27 AM · Report this
84
We've had men for so many many yrs, pushing us women around. Now we've got trans-women ( people who have XY chromosomes ),
Trying to tell us we can't acknowledge and celebrate our vaginas? Wtf? What next, pregnant women should hide away for nine months cause the sight of their fat, pregnant with child bodies , might offend trans- women?
Yeah well, nice try...
Posted by LavaGirl on August 22, 2014 at 4:40 AM · Report this
85
Didn't read the comments before I put up my own. Cheers @79, you
Picked the problem also. Guys have got two holes, guess nobody bothered to check hole nos in us women, before the outrage..
Posted by LavaGirl on August 22, 2014 at 5:23 AM · Report this
87
All I can say is: if anyone asks me what my "preferred pronoun" is, I'm going with "anus".
Posted by jasha1 on August 22, 2014 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Lissa 88
@84: The people who are pushing this "Don't Call it a Vagina" agenda are not Trans women but Trans men. They have vaginas but don't want they genitals coded as female since they are men. Trans women who have GRS to get a vagina are more than happy to call them by that name. Just as you and I are. :)
Posted by Lissa on August 22, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Sea Otter 89
As someone from the Canadian prairies, I propose we use "Regina" as a trans/non-binary-gender-inclusive term. (Side note: my friend's little brother thought that babies came from Regina.)
Posted by Sea Otter on August 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
90
Thanks Lissa.. Apologies to trans- women. Though I'm sure my points can cover some of the militant voices coming from trans- women. So, I'll leave em..
Trans- men. And some modern Feminists( no wonder the name is so on the nose these days), I say to you. Er, No.
Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Report this
91
Pretty much anyone who uses language like "intesectional policed gender binary" is likely to find pretty much everything transphobic. It's best to ignore such far left idiots, along with the far right bigots.
Posted by ryanmm on August 22, 2014 at 2:32 PM · Report this
92
Vagina Vagina Vagina

This is something trans activists better just drop and get over real quick.
Posted by mcwjimbo on August 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Philophile 93
"Indeed, there’s a nascent genre of essays by people who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in it—not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists." is from the Nation article. I don't think a newsflash that women can be sexist trolls writing internet essays too helps, why link that stuff? And I don't get the importance of this rant from some spanking new bs Good Men project. Maybe reporting a recent piece from a credible news source?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteveryt…

It's short and to the point. If you want a transgender topic:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entert…
Posted by Philophile on August 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Philophile 94
Since you can't read the full links:
washingtonpost
/women-who-hate-on-feminists-hurt-all-women/

independent uk
bbc2-commissions-britains-first-transgender-sitcom-boy-meets-girl
Posted by Philophile on August 22, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
96
trans activists getting upset at VAGINA is insane

Posted by mcwjimbo on August 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
97
@ 47 and others assuming trans people are liberal/ left wing/ progressive

They all most certainly aren't

There are many conservative repub trans people. Heck, born frank Maloney / now Kellie Maloney is anti gay, racist, and an anti semite. Just check his wiki page from when he ran for public office

Please stop assuming all trans people are liberal.
Posted by mcwjimbo on August 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM · Report this
99
"My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina."
Posted by seilo on August 22, 2014 at 6:33 PM · Report this
101
Lissa@88 " they have vaginas but don't want their genitals coded
as female , as they are men." Cognitive dissonance burns my brain with that line.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 23, 2014 at 3:02 AM · Report this
102
@22 I agree. The best way to deal with Social Justice Warriors is too ignore them. Still I wonder if they realize that in the end the only people they're hurting are themselves. You can carve out a space for yourself without taking away from other people. And I think incidents like this make it harder for people to get help for real problems.

How is 'front hole' not insulting? It's not a 'hole' it's an organ that performs several important functions. I'm sorry if you wanted a vagina and didn't get one, or had a vagina and didn't want it, but you don't get to make the word vagina disappear to support your issues.
Posted by msanonymous on August 23, 2014 at 6:40 AM · Report this
103
So, if the word "vagina" is transphobic, can I safely assume the word "penis" is as well?

Also, fuck this. (I haven't read all the comments, but in the article at least) No one pointed out the obvious point that trans folk with vaginas (re: born with penises) don't have ovaries or a uterus, thus the abortion fight is a bit non-applicable, no? Just because a woman has a vagina, doesn't mean abortion is an option for her, since (realistically), abortion has much more to do with the uterus/ovary combo than the vagina. This whole thing is, frankly, ridiculous.

The existence of my vagina is not transphobic. At some point, I would appreciate my body (parts) not being used to make a political point.
Posted by twiggn on August 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM · Report this
lifesart 104
people People PEOPLE!
Posted by lifesart on August 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM · Report this
106
Can we please just ban feminists from all LGBT-related events and organizations already?
Posted by DD0000 on August 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Lissa 108
@106: As a feminist I'm afraid I'll have to say that no, you cannot. That would just be more eating of one's allies after all. I, and other feminists, are going to continue to advocate for LGBT rights, related events and organizations and you will just have to lump it.
And may I remind you that the Night of 1000 Vaginas was a feminist event that was attacked by members of the LGBTQ community, not the other way around.
So there's that.
Posted by Lissa on August 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM · Report this
109
@108:

http://paganpressbooks.com/jpl/DTF.HTM

Yeah, cause you Feminists have been sooooo supportive of LGBT people in the past. With allies like these...
Posted by DD0000 on August 23, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Lissa 110
@109: Never the less, despite your displeasure, we shall abide by you.
It is the right thing to do.
Posted by Lissa on August 23, 2014 at 7:03 PM · Report this
112
@109; I just skimmed thru this link you gave. Seems to be speaking of past times quite a bit. It was radical central , and
Militant ideas were being thrown around by all. And really, Feminism obviously is under a wide umbrella. Ratbags abound in the LGBT community as well.. So, one brings ones intelligence in as one deals with issues thrown up.
Vagina.. Vagina..Vagina..Vagina..Vagina
Posted by LavaGirl on August 23, 2014 at 11:45 PM · Report this
113
Why do people insist on using the wrong word for female genitalia? It's like "vagina" is the grown-up version of "down there."

The book should be titled Gay Men Draw Vulvae. VULVA, people. A vulva consists of two sets of labia and a clitoris. NOT a vagina, which is the orifice through which babies are born. No one drew vaginas for that book. They drew vulvae.

Please, please, please stop with the obfuscation. It is helping no one.

Women's bodies are not some deep, dark, unspeakable mystery. We have accurate and useful words for our sexual parts, including "vagina" when we mean an actual vagina.
Posted by womenbatlast on August 24, 2014 at 8:09 AM · Report this
114
[?]

It's not just body parts, apparently. I got caught up yesterday reading a discussion about an attempt to redefine orientations, the primary example given being that a lesbian who would not have as a sexual partner another woman with a certain primarily-coded-male member should no longer identify as a lesbian but as a Gynesexual Homoromantic.
Posted by vennominon on August 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM · Report this
115
@63 for the win ... although it should be "canned ham dropped from a great height" ...
Posted by Robby on August 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
116
The book is called "Gay Men Draw Vaginas", not "Everybody Draws Vaginas" or "Gay Men Draw Females" or "Gay Men Draw People Who Self-Identify As Female". *Gay men* and *vaginas*, period! That's the book they wanted to make, they shouldn't be bullied into making something else (though it turns out they've been pretty open about accepting submissions from a broad spectrum of people).

@114 That's like arguing about people referring to the abdomen as the "stomach" because technically a stomach is just an internal organ. Sure vulva might be the clinical term but people call them vaginas! Come on...
Posted by barts on August 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM · Report this
117
Sorry I mean @113, not @114, in comment @116...
Posted by barts on August 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM · Report this
118
Vulva.. Vulva..Vulva..Vulva..Vulva..Vulva..Vulva.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM · Report this
120
The people who are erased in all of this are women and especially lesbians, who are reduced to genitals and treated as ultimate, weird, appropriate-able nothingness. All u men can get bent. You're misogynists one and all, and that includes you, Dan.
Posted by Radical Feminist on August 25, 2014 at 6:14 AM · Report this
122
^^^ 1/10 made me reply.
Posted by DD0000 on August 25, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
124
#116 wrote:
That's like arguing about people referring to the abdomen as the "stomach" because technically a stomach is just an internal organ. Sure vulva might be the clinical term but people call them vaginas!
______
No, it is not the same. A vagina is an orifice. A vulva is the external structures, including the clitoris, that are central to women's sexual pleasure. Vagina and vuvla are different things.

Your analogy does not work. A stomach is inside an abdomen. A vulva is not inside a vagina. Vulva=/=vagina. Vulva is not part of vagina. Different things.

And if your body was considered unspeakably shameful, you would understand why this is important. What if you had spent your whole childhood and adolescence with no word for "penis"? Think about it. What if you were instead told to call it a bladder or an anus?

That is the situation women find themselves in.
Posted by womenbatlast on August 27, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this

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