Making Changes: Categories

I wanted to draw your attention to a cataloging change that was made on the blog two days ago. It may seem quite minor to many, but is actually really important.

First, I have added a category called “trans,” rather than just placing all trans-related posts under LGBTQ.  I have also separated out the category which was previously “homophobia and transphobia,” changing it to merely “homophobia,” and created a new category to make up that space, called “transphobia and trans misogyny.”  I have made a comprehensive effort to also back-categorize all previous posts accordingly.

The reasons are, in short, to reflect the importance and unique nature of trans issues as quite often separate from what are generally considered to be LGBTQ issues, and also to reflect a dedication to covering those issues which are specifically trans-centric.

A conversation with Voz, which occurred after she commented about my failure to use the “violence against women and girls” tag on my most recent post about Angie Zapata, spurned the action.  She noted to me that failing to have a trans category was overtly exclusive to trans readers, and made the site difficult to navigate for those looking for posts specifically about trans issues.  She also noted that lumping all trans issues under only the umbrella term of LGBTQ could easily be seen as hurtful by some, as the LGBTQ community has often quite explicitly dismissed/excluded the “T” part of their acronym and made trans people feel unwelcome.  (Currently, I am filing trans-related posts under both categories, but am open to hearing alternate views on that, too.)

In other words, my categorizing system was in many ways making trans issues invisible on this blog.

For that, I apologize.  I also apologize profusely for failing to put the “violence against women and girls” category on the Angie Zapata post.  I had a clear memory of clicking it, actually, and am not sure what happened, but it is no excuse.  I am extremely regretful for any pain it caused, or for any impression I gave anyone that I believe violence against trans women is not violence against women.  It is absolutely not the case.

Voz also told me that she had noticed the omission on several other posts in the past; when I went through re-categorizing posts, I specifically looked for these instances in order to correct them.  I found one rather old post where the category quite clearly should have been included, and one more recent one where violence was only one of many issues discussed, but where it probably should have been included as well.  For those two instances, I also apologize.

I have no illusions that making these corrections will somehow “fix” things and magically make the blog “inclusive.”  Not even close.  But this is just one step I’m taking to make the blog seem less overtly exclusive and to actively work to challenge my cis privilege.  And I wanted to share this because it’s important to openly note the gaps in feminist blogging, and the structural flaws that our spaces often have — flaws that we may not even realize exist, and that we need to call out in each other.  And if people have other suggestions in this regard, I am always open to listening to them.

The next step, of course, is to slowly but quite surely fill up the categories that have been added.

0 thoughts on “Making Changes: Categories

  1. marlene

    I’ve been reading your post at Feministe (and the comments) on and off all day at work. I decided to see what there was to see over here.

    You’ve already asked not to be given any more good ally cookies. This is not that.

    I think it’s great that you are rethinking some stuff regarding transfolk. It seems you have a good friend (even if a political friend rather than personal) in Voz. She is challenging you and you are examining your actions and adjusting them. That’s a great friend to have.

    I feel like you are doing another important public service right now. You are modeling the examination of one’s own privilege for a large audience.

    I have never read your work before today (that I remember). I won’t thank you or say that I’m impressed, but I will say that I will be keeping my tranny eye on you. I’m curious to see what you do next.

    (feel free to moderate me out. I don’t care if anyone else reads this)

  2. luke

    I found this post very interesting, especially the line “In other words, my categorizing system was in many ways making trans issues invisible on this blog.”

    I think that, in a very real way, trans issues are made invisible–or at the very least heavily obfuscated–in our society, even among progressives. It seems to be an issue which people just sidestep.

    I never learned anything about gender dysphoria in school, even from people who talk openly about other issues. There seems to be a nasty trend of hypocrisy when it comes to trans issues.

    When I was in college my friend Emily told me she was trans and since then I’ve made an effort to educate myself. But, honestly, if my best friend wasn’t trans, I just don’t think would have had the exposure/insight.

    Even my parents, who are as liberal-minded and tolerant as they come seem to have a mental block when it comes to Emily. They’ve known her for years, talked to her about her transition, read online resources–and they still male-pronoun the hell out of her. I’ve talked to them about it, and they just seem to not notice.

    This kind of stuff is so painful, even to watch from a third-party’s perspective.

    I’m not sure if this is quite the same sort of situation as the mislabeled posts–or the larger issues raised over the course of this week. In either case, I think we have a responsibility to help make these issues more prominent in whatever way we can. This is something I’ve struggled with in years past, and I know I will continue to struggle with it in years to come.

    That’s what I like about this post, and the changes to the labeling system. Like Dumbledore, we must penetrate the Cloak of Invisibility obscuring our allies and take up the cause of humanity!

    (Sorry, I can’t think of invisibility without going straight to HP.)

  3. Jenn

    The separation of the issues, just by tags, is a step in the right direction. Also, trans issues aren’t inclusive of gay or lesbian issues either (in much the same way that lesbian issues aren’t the same as gay issues). The locus upon which transsexuals are oppressed is very different from the locus on which, for example, a cisgendered lesbian is oppressed. Equivocating the two conceals very pertinent institutions of oppression and often oversimplifies the issue. Most of the time, this is at the expense of transsexuals, bisexuals, and other groups that are not included in the basic perception of what male or female homosexuality is.

    Although I do think more people separating tags like this would be a step in the right direction, the big names in the Feminist Blogosphere are still incredibly heteronormative and usually only mention the idea of gay theory and oppression when lumping all of the non-cisgendered or non-heterosexual (or both) into one. The tags need to be used in a meaningful fashion.

  4. queen emily

    That’s true, and

    Having said that, the fact that trans people sexuality’s (like my own, as a female partnered trans woman) aren’t considered legitimately gay or lesbian needs to be considered. As with not including violence against trans women as violence against women, there are times when trans issues shouldn’t be excluded from “gay and lesbian.”

  5. queen emily

    Goddamn it, I need to stop leaving open sentences. I have no idea what I was going to say.

    I was thinking however, that you might want a general “transphobia” tag as well. Cos trans misogyny isn’t relevant when talking about the discrimination trans men face with gynecologists or whatever..


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