Zinnia Jones/ Zachary J. Antolak @ZJemptv (USA)

Anti-gay “transwomen” have targeted Calpernia Addams and Andrea James, two transsexual women who had the temerity to point out how abusive the Transgender Movement has become. In yet another “open letter,” chief straight man Zinnia Jones/ZJ Antolak sets forth how any objection to transgenderism is wrong. Unsurprisingly, many abusive men signed the letter, including Daryl “Sophia” Banks, Chris “Sabine” Makin, Autumn Sandeen, Ryan “Meryl” Fortney, and Dana Lane Taylor.

The letter appears below. Gay people have every right to reject the misogyny and homophobia of the Transgender Movement – and we will continue to do so.

We, the undersigned trans women and trans-feminine individuals, are appalled at recent attacks on trans woman journalist Parker Marie Molloy published by Calpernia Addams and Andrea James on The Huffington Post and Boing Boing, respectively. Addams’ and James’ hit pieces exhibit a pervasive hostility to young, queer trans women, and indeed any trans woman who is uncomfortable with the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag queens like RuPaul. They display homophobia, transphobia, ignorance, dishonesty, and hatred throughout.

We believe that these pieces should not have been published, and that they are not representative of the views of trans women as a community. Calpernia Addams and Andrea James do not speak for us.

1. Absence of good-faith arguments

James variously describes trans women who take issue with RuPaul as “hecklers,” “shut-ins” who “spend their waking lives online,” “victim cultists,” “self-haters” engaging in “attention-seeking behavior,” “elitists,” “the language police,” “finger-wagging schoolmarms,” “fucking stay-at-home transactivists,” and “trans separatists” with “internalized transphobia” who “transition from male to female with the zeal of a religious convert.” Unlike James, we do not believe that objecting to transmisogynist slurs makes someone any of these things. We also find it doubtful that James genuinely seeks to “resolve this dispute like professional journalists,” as her column exhibits very little sense of professionalism at all. If, as James says, “experienced activists seek to build bridges and establish empathy,” we are skeptical of her experience.

2. Misleading personal attacks

Addams and James have chosen to focus on an individual trans woman and personally attack her at length. In doing so, they give the impression that opposing the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag performers is an isolated and marginal position held by, as Addams puts it, “nutty trans hacktivists.” In reality, the conduct of RuPaul and others has been widely criticized by vast swathes of trans women. This is not a new critique that has only arisen due to a lack of experience among young queer trans women. It is a longstanding and well-supported objection, one that has been articulated by trans women of all ages and sexualities. Addams and James ignore this in favor of needlessly inflammatory rhetoric, a regressive defense of gay and lesbian transphobia, and unmitigated contempt for the gender and sexuality of queer trans women. Their columns do not contribute to this discussion in any meaningful way.

3. Traditionalism and ageism

We reject Addams’ portrayal of young trans women like Molloy as “newcomer[s] to transition and lesbian/trans issues,” a description that suggests that young trans women are less informed, less competent, and less qualified to argue their viewpoints on these topics. To the contrary, young trans women can offer a fresh and contemporary perspective to balance the traditional and stagnant views of those like Addams and James. Whatever decades of experience with trans issues Addams and James have had, it has not served them well in these recent columns.

4. Misgendering and accusations of “privilege”

We find it completely unacceptable that Addams would accuse queer trans women of being “conditioned to bully and take by a lifetime of white, heterosexual, male privilege,” using “the gains and habits of this privilege,” and having “lingering ‘cis-het privilege.'” It is baffling and incomprehensible to imply that an out queer trans woman is somehow capable of wielding heterosexual, cisgender, male privilege to her advantage. This isn’t a new tactic; it is commonly used by transphobes to misgender trans women and dismiss anything we say as coming from a place of supposed “maleness.” Here, Addams has done exactly that. This is not a meaningful argument; it is only more of the same classic transmisogyny.

5. False hierarchies of trans women

We oppose Addams’ and James’ oversimplification of queer trans women’s sexualities, unique personal histories, intersectional experiences, and self-understandings. Addams describes her own “feminine and soft nature” and experiences of being “rejected from participating in heteronormative culture” while claiming that queer trans women “presumably lived most of their lives with the tacit approval and support of a society that viewed them as heterosexual, white men.” Her presumption is unwarranted, as is James’ description of these women as “newly-minted queers.”

If a trans woman is attracted to women, this does not mean that she always lacked a “feminine and soft nature” (whatever Addams thinks this means), that her sexuality was never called into question by others, that she was not “a participant in LGBT culture,” or that she was never attracted to men. Many queer trans women who are attracted to women share these experiences; their queerness is not “newly-minted” by any stretch of the imagination. Addams’ and James’ false dichotomy uncomfortably echoes the long history of straight trans women being judged as more legitimate in their womanhood and more “feminine” than queer trans women. This constitutes the same kind of implicit misgendering as Addams’ claim that queer trans women possess “lingering” privilege while Addams herself supposedly does not.

6. Hypocrisy and feigned offense

While any use of “drag queen” to deny or delegitimize a trans woman’s gender is obviously unacceptable, we decry James’ hypocrisy in taking offense to the accurate description of Addams’ history as a drag performer. James herself notes that trans women have a history of “working alongside drag performers,” and that there “was no separation of drag and trans” in “pre-Stonewall Manhattan LGBT social life,” but then claims that “drag queen” is a “transphobic slur” when referring to Addams’ involvement in drag performance. This is, at a minimum, inconsistent. It is absurd that James would denounce this accurate statement of fact as “transphobic” while she and Addams promote false generalizations about queer trans women and implicitly misgender them with accusations of “male privilege.” We particularly note the hypocrisy of Addams’ call to defend “trans people who choose to … associate with gay and lesbian people,” given her own hostility toward queer trans women.

7. Siding with mainstream prejudice

Contrary to James, we do not accept that drag performance is itself a valid excuse for cisgender people to use transmisogynist slurs. James believes that “taboos around language” — language such as “shemale” — are “practically begging drag queens and kings to violate these taboos,” and that drag is an “art form with countercultural subversion at its heart.” Such a rationale is nonsensical. When a word becomes so closely associated with open hostility toward a marginalized group that it is widely considered a slur by the group it targets, this is not itself a justification to continue using this word. It is rather obviously a compelling reason not to use it.

Cis people using transmisogynist slurs are not violating a taboo when the use of such slurs is already broadly accepted among cis people. Most of society does not consider it taboo to refer to trans women in these terms; there is no taboo to break. Repeating a one-word distillation of a culture’s hostility to trans women is neither countercultural nor subversive. It is mainstream. In light of this, James’ commitment to “siding with offensive artists” is hardly a laudable choice.

8. Disingenuous conflation of “transgender” with drag

We reject James’ classification of RuPaul as transgender, as well as any implication that cisgender male drag queens are therefore entitled to use transmisogynist slurs. Cisgender male drag queens are assigned male at birth, and they neither consider themselves to be women nor live as women in their everyday lives. Unlike trans women, they are not the ones who regularly face the consequences of widespread transphobia and transmisogyny, and they are not confronted with the fallout of normalizing transmisogynist slurs. Likewise, Addams’ statement that she “hate[s] the term ‘cisgender'” shows a lack of understanding of the importance of this distinction.

9. Hiding behind “homophobia” to defend transphobia

We further reject Addams’ argument that trans women’s criticism of the use of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender drag performers is a form of “homophobia” or “hatred or derision for gay and lesbian culture.” Trans women’s objections to transphobia do not become any less legitimate when that transphobia comes from “gay and lesbian culture.” This transphobia is no more excusable; it is equally deserving of scrutiny. While Addams recognizes that “being trans is not a free pass to be transphobic or homophobic,” she appears to believe that being gay or lesbian is indeed a free pass to be transphobic. We do not share this belief.

10. Elitism and exclusion of queer trans women from queer culture

Addams attacks trans women who object to RuPaul’s slurs as “hate-filled, angry and inexperienced folks” who “hop the fence at this late stage and try to dictate our culture rather than learn and build and participate in it.” We believe that trans women have every reason to be angry at the mass media’s legitimization of transmisogynist slurs by cisgender men, and we question the value of learning from this culture or participating in it, let alone building upon it. It is no point of pride to tolerate a transphobic culture. Accusing young queer trans women of trying to “dictate our culture” implies that they have less of a claim to gay and lesbian culture than Addams, and lazily dismisses legitimate objections to the harms of this culture and the attitudes it has normalized.

Our aims

We ask that Calpernia Addams and Andrea James refrain from publishing further columns exhibiting this variety of homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, misgendering, ageism, and unwarranted hostility toward other trans women. We further ask that The Huffington Post, Boing Boing, and other outlets refuse to give a platform to any columns endorsing such prejudice, whether by Addams and James or by others. As Addams notes, “you choose your community’s voices and heroes.” We reject Calpernia Addams and Andrea James as voices of our community.

Signatories

  • Lauren McNamara, defense witness, United States v. Manning
  • Amelia June Gapin, software engineer
  • Thorin Sorensen, activist and writer
  • Katherine Prevost, software developer, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Anne Cognito, activist and author
  • Kat Haché
  • Andrea Borquez Brito, law school graduate
  • Sarah Brown, politician and trans woman
  • Kristina Foster
  • Teri Dawn Wright, student and activist
  • Lauren Voswinkel, software developer
  • Bobbi Joseph, activist
  • Dr. Mirah Gary, physicist
  • Vivian Doug, public speaker and systems analyst
  • Breanna Clayton, Web content strategist
  • Danielle White, SAS platform administrator
  • Rachel Ripstra, software engineer
  • Jessica Reardon Smith
  • Kimberly Horne, software developer
  • Josephine Doggett, artist
  • Dr. Aoife Emily Hart, lecturer
  • April Daniels, writer
  • Morgan Smith, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies student and activist
  • Sabine, activist
  • Chelsea Tera Boyhan, field support engineer
  • Fallon Fox, mixed martial arts fighter
  • Sophia Banks
  • Sarah Foreman, activist and software developer
  • Josefina Vineyard, graphic designer
  • Rebecca Hargate, software developer and university student
  • Schell Carpenter, vice president of engineering
  • Kayley Whalen, trans activist
  • Carol Holly, scientist and global business development manager
  • Erika Sorensen, software developer
  • Laurelai Bailey, journalist for TransAdvocate.com
  • Emily L Kwolek, activist
  • Adele Sheffield, social media manager and Web editor
  • Winter Hardin, student
  • Skye Arixe
  • Melissa Savage, activist
  • Dana Lane Taylor of TransAdvocate.com and the University of Pennsylvania
  • Rhianne Stevens, lecturer, activist and transgender support group officer
  • Willow Dobmeier
  • Katie Anderson, software engineer
  • Chelsea Richards, emergency medical responder
  • Emily Prince, Esq.
  • Morgan Rose, artist
  • Casey Coughlin, student
  • Zoe Gagnon, software engineer and activist
  • Kathryn Anna Fortunato, IT systems administrator and activist
  • Rebecca Putman
  • Ellie Green, artist
  • Coda Gardner
  • Jayska Teag
  • Eleven, filmmaker and writer
  • Alisha G, information technology
  • Greta Gustava Martela, software engineer and TGSF board member
  • Nina Chaubal, software engineer
  • Annetta Gaiman, trans feminist
  • Diane Tejera Monaco, scientist and educator
  • Alex Ray, Web administrator
  • Claire Siegely
  • Ally Clarke
  • Aria Smith
  • Devi Smith
  • Bethany Turner, market researcher and Webcomic author and artist
  • Cristan Williams, senior editor for TransAdvocate
  • Madison Turner, singer/songwriter
  • Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor, author and activist
  • Amy A. Dobrowolsky, trans feminist geographer
  • Autumn Sandeen, editor for TransAdvocate
  • Christina Ann-Marie DiEdoardo, Esq., criminal defense attorney
  • Melissa Jensen, sex worker
  • Octavia Reising
  • Naomi Ceder, IT director, pythonista, and advocate
  • Kris Simon, disability, gender, and sexuality activist
  • K.L. Tremaine, author and publisher of Artemis Flight Books
  • Kelli Anne Busey, contributor to TransAdvocate, blogger at planetransgender, and activist
  • Serana Storey
  • Kylie Brooks, gender, disability, race and sexuality activist
  • Amber Dawn Redman, international media, commercial aviation, communications, and equality journalist
  • Reverend Erin Fish, professional Twitterer
  • Sarah Noble, transgender and equality activist and university student
  • Paige Sullivan, software engineer, trans* activist, wife, and parent
  • Amélie Erin Koran of the Executive Office of the President of the United States (Detailee) and the President of U.S. Department of the Interior GLOBE
  • Morgan Mullaney, software engineer
  • Lisa Harney
  • Meryl Scarlett Fortney
  • Dani Pettas, videographer and advertising creative
  • Forth Sadler, queer trans woman
  • Ayasha Pope, writer and musician
  • Sara Ross, activist and game developer
  • Kylie Jack, ux designer and activist
  • Kathryn Long, technical artist and software engineer
  • Kaitlyn Richardson, system administrator
  • Hannah Cutler, archaeologist
  • Miranda Lukeman
  • Karin Engström
  • Harriet de Kok, student and aged care and personal care worker
  • Freja Falson, student, writer, and trans feminist
  • Shadi Petosky, creative director
  • Jennifer Kitney, student chef
  • Megan Danielle Turcotte, software developer
  • Annie Mei Shen
  • Lauren Moffatt Ph.D., professor of physics
  • Rani Baker, noise musician and freelance artist (destroyedforcomfort.com)
  • Amy Wilhelm, trans activist, network engineer
  • Amoreena Crees, interior designer
  • Zoey Marie Bedenbaugh, student and writer
  • Dominica Deal
  • Eva Odland, IT worker and author
  • Mara Emily
  • Phoenix Lee
  • Katherine Cutting
  • Cassidy Drake
  • Drew Stroud, Web and game developer
  • Amara Sugalski, geneticist
  • A.J. Hunter, activist and writer
  • Rhea Vichot, graduate student
  • Trinity Pixie, blogger
  • The Right Honourable Max, Lairde Harmony
  • Dr. Myriam J. Johnson, physicist
  • Charley Matz, trans lesbian artist
  • Jess Rowbottom, IT consultant
  • Zoė Alexandra Adams, physics student and trans woman
  • Frida Viñas, architecture student at the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya
  • Sabrina Kane, elections project officer
  • Maria Ramnehill, trans feminist
  • Addie C.
  • Rebecca Turner, software engineer
  • Colin Sandel, indie games developer
  • Anathema Jane McKenna, journalist and poet
  • Stephanie Springflower, self-employed bookkeeper
  • Michelle Emily Cloud, student, poet and lyricist, and musician
  • Julie Rei Goldstein, actress and voiceover artist
  • Samantha Llywela Thornton, photo technician and student
  • Alice Wilde, drafter
  • Erin Susan Jennings, trans liberation activist

2 thoughts on “Zinnia Jones/ Zachary J. Antolak @ZJemptv (USA)

  1. What is it with IT and transgenderism? Do these men spend so much time on-line gaming, chatting and foruming in a false female persona that they hypnotize themselves into believing that they are women?

  2. This. Is. Rich: “. . . we decry James’ hypocrisy in taking offense to the accurate description of Addams’ history as a drag performer.” Oh, yes. Decry that hypocrisy, but then freak out and accuse people (women, mostly) of being “transphobic bigots” when they dare acknowledge transwomen’s (accurate) history as males. Absurd.

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