Recommended Reading for January 7th

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post.

ACTION ALERT for USAns: Fight Inappropriate Restraint – Free Zakh Price! [h/t Sarah from Cat in a Dog’s World]

Now we’d like to ask you to help us take action to help protect an 11-year old Autistic boy in Arkansas named Zakhqurey Price, currently being charged with felony assault after fighting back when two staff members restrained him in response to behavioral challenges. The school has ignored repeated efforts from Zakh’s grandmother over the course of the last five months to obtain needed IEP supports to improve his educational options and manage his behavioral difficulties.

According to the suspension notice, the restraint was in response to Zakh destroying school property – something beyond the scope of what would be allowed under recently introduced federal civil rights legislation around restraint and seclusion in schools.

More information:

KPS4Parents: 5th Grader with Autism Charged with Felony Assault

Cat in a Dog’s World

Pink News: Gay son prevented from donating blood to dying mother

Friends and family members were asked to give blood to see if they were a match for her. Although Bentley did not know whether he was a match, he was prevented from donating under rules which bar men who have had with another man from giving blood.

She died ten days after developing an infection in her brain on August 14th.

NTs Are Weird: Are Some Service Animals More Equal?

Too many service animal activists have focused on physical and sensory disabilities, intentionally distancing themselves from animals that provide help to people with less evident disabilities, particularly those disabilities that are “in your head”. Out of this movement, there have come a variety of technical definitions for animals, like “therapy animal”, “service animal”, “emotional support animal”, “psychological support animal”, etc. Now you won’t find consistent definitions for all of these categories, but “service animal” is the top dog in this list. It’s the only category that allows the animal nearly unrestricted access. The others are, at some level, considered “pets”, at least to some people.

William Peace at Bad Cripple: O’ Canada: Citizenship and Disability:

This time a French family who were encouraged to move to Montreal by an embassy official in Paris hasve been told they cannot remain in Canada. The reason given is the same one the Chapman’s heard: their daughter, who has cerebral palsy, would place an “excessive burden on social services”.

The Independent: Disabled workers ‘worst hit by cuts in recession’: Charity accuses employers of targeting disabled for redundancy

Discrimination against disabled people is increasing in the workplace as employers target them for redundancy and unfairly turn them down for new jobs, according to a report by Leonard Cheshire Disability. The report, Disability and the Downturn, warns that the employment gap between disabled and able-bodied employees is growing as more people compete for fewer jobs during the recession.

More than half of respondents (52 per cent) had experienced discrimination in the workplace in the past year, an increase of 11 per cent since 2007. More than four in ten (43 per cent) believed that they had been turned down for a job because of their impairment, seven percentage points up on 2008.

The charity described the trend as “worrying” and warned that current regulations for tackling disability discrimination were proving inadequate.

New Jersey News: he doesn’t mince words, and some don’t like it

Today, after a swift and sometimes bumpy ascent in the realm of national autism politics, he [Ne’eman] is the first person with autism to be nominated for a seat on the National Council on Disability. […]

Some find fault with Ne’eman because, in their view, he’s not quite autistic enough. Ne’eman has Asperger’s syndrome, a relatively mild form of autism. Those with Asperger’s typically have difficulty with social interaction, a hallmark of autism. They’re often physically clumsy and intensely focused on a few subjects, almost to the point of obsession.

But they’re also typically of average or above-average intelligence, with good communication skills. Many people with more profound autism can’t speak at all, leading families to suggest Ne’eman isn’t the most appropriate advocate.[…]

“We should be spending at least as much money on improving our quality of life instead of trying to get rid of us,” he said.

NorthJersey.com: Room for special kids

All the glassware in the Alpine Suite at the Clinton Inn Hotel in Tenafly is unbreakable — the wine glasses, the water tumblers, even the glass in the cabinet doors. The furniture has rounded corners with soft bumpers. A round table has replaced a square one. Flower vases and other décor have been glued down. The iron is stored behind a safety lock, and the windows are locked. The television is fixed securely to the wall, instead of sitting on a credenza, as in other guest rooms.

Everything in the suite has been designed to give peace of mind to guests who have children with autism.

Even the inside lock on the door of the suite is mounted high, out of reach of small grasping hands. Most important of all, the door has an alarm that sounds — beep, beep, beep — if a child attempts a hasty exit.

There are lots of blogarounds and drop it like it’s hots and self promotion threads about the femiblogosphere. Up till now, we haven’t had a “drop your link here” thread. I’m going to experiment with making this a space for linkdropping. So, for the rec reading, for now, here’s the rule on using the comments to drop links:

There must be substantive disability rights content, with a feminist lens; AND: the only links that can be dropped are those written by writers who self-identify as PWD and who aren’t cis men.

As always, you’re also more than welcome to talk about the topics raised in the post, instead of (or as well as) dropping links.

By 7 January, 2010.    recommended reading   



36 Comments

  1. The hotel article shows just how easy making more inclusive– and therefore safer– spaces can be. Well done, Clinton Inn.

  2. It may have been better to have an option to remove the decor instead of having it glued down. That means it can’t be moved around.
    My parents always had to remove a lot of decor stuff for us (on holidays if we stayed in hotels or cottages or with other people), especially paintings which often scared us witless, and ditto for mirrors. And I can see a mirror that isn’t in a bathroom with the article, if that can’t be removed we wouldn’t have been staying there at least (and I still wouldn’t).
    I also liked (and like) to move things around until they were in spots that felt right. Though unfortunately it’s true they couldn’t create a room that would be right for every child.
    Like putting my own stamp on things made me a lot better able to deal with not being in a familiar place. Even then it takes me a long time to get used to a place even in a holiday-ish sort of way (I mean if I move there I need to get used to it in a different way which takes much longer).

    The biggest reason I wouldn’t stay at that hotel though, is that part of their proceeds go to Autism Speaks.

    Our holidays were always sort of custom-made (or at least adjusted) to us, and that includes my mom. And she knew what to do right away because she knew herself, so we never really had that disaster holiday.

    Unbreakable glass sounds like a good idea around all kinds of children, and most adults as well.
    I dunno, a lot of that stuff just sounds like the usual childproofing to me. Rounded and soft corners, stuff that can’t break or tumble over, all that.
    Also a lot of incorrect ‘facts’ alongside some good info about autism.
    Specially trained staff would be nice, but it depends a lot on the training.
    I don’t even dare look at the link about Ari Ne’eman, I know it’s (most likely) a good thing that he has a seat, but from scanning the short with the link on here, I don’t think I want to see the article, it would probably leave me with circular compulsive ranty thoughts for who knows how long. So I’m really glad you guys post short bits on here, then I can better tell if I want to click a link or not. (Yeah, I know about the warning for offsite links, especially the comments, but I’m also more curious than is good for me).

  3. I’m curious, what do you think is achieved by allowing links to writers who are trans men but not links to writers who are cis men? Trans men are men and there are vanishingly few situations, if any, in which including trans men but not cis men is not rooted in the transpobic notion that trans men were once women or are otherwise somehow not really men, or are some kind of men lite. It’s not okay.

  4. sqrrel: What I’ve written has nothing to do with who I think are “real” men and who aren’t, and everything to do with what I personally fear being (and don’t wish to be) deluged with on these threads. If I start drowning in links from disabled trans men bloggers throwing their unexamined male privilege around while writing about disability rights and claiming a feminist lens, and I’m not happy with it, I’ll revisit the wording.

    There are also people who don’t identify as cis men, but who aren’t women or trans men either, who I’m quite happy to hear from. If you’re interested in my process, which you seem to be, this is actually what was at the forefront of my mind as I was writing this.

  5. Does it strike anyone else (I’m looking just at the quote here, not the whole article) that the hotel room alterations are all designed to ease the minds of parents of autistic children, and not the autistic children themselves?

  6. I don’t get the ‘trans men but not cis men’ thing either. Quite a few frequent commenters here, myself included, are, the last time I checked, cis men.

  7. Oh, and to clarify the above comment, because it does sound a bit flippant in retrospect and because it doesn’t really address the reason mentioned in comment 4.

    I wouldn’t doubt that I do have some unchecked privileges somewhere in my mind, by virtue of having been born with a Y chromosome and having remained the same sex throughout my life. But at the same time, I’m the sort of person who actually addresses these privileges whenever I’m criticized on it, rather than just ignoring the criticism like many cis males I’ve encountered.

  8. The Bald Soprano: If you click through and read the article, you will see that there are attempts made to provide diversions and certain comforts (a nightlight) to children also; and additionally that things like not being skewered on glass or run over, and being able to move around in a hotel suite without parents hovering in arms-length, are also useful to children. I’m not contending that they’ve done it _well_, or centred the needs of children over that of parents, but the kids aren’t completely ignored in the process.

  9. To those who seem disconcerted by Lauredhel’s note about dropping links: The concern which Lauredhel was trying to address here was that cis men have an entire Internet to play in. This is a space which centres the voices of disabled women [This was a misstatement, and I am editing this to correct it, since it has considerably clouded the discussion—what I meant, and should have said was that this site centers the voices of people who live at the intersection of disability and gender oppression. This is not and never has been a women-only space and includes people of all genders.], and thus, we are primarily interested in links to content written by people who live in bodies at the intersection of disability and gender oppression, with voices which are often shouted down and ignored in other spaces. This is not about policing who can or cannot comment here, it is simply a request to people dropping links to focus on links from a particular perspective. If we want to hear the voices of cis men (including disabled cis men) there are numerous places on the Internet where we can do that. This does not need to be one of them at all times in all spaces.

  10. @meloukhia: Thanks; that explanation makes a lot more sense. I wish it had been included in the actual post.

  11. Thanks for posting my links about Zahk. Much appreciated.

  12. If you want to be inclusive of genderqueer folks, why not say you’re interested in posts from women & genderqueer bloggers?
    Because as it is, I still agree with Sqrrel’s comment–it appears like you’re letting folks post links from men who are trans because we’re somehow men-lite and/or “used to be women”. That may not be your intention, but that is how it reads.

  13. To drop links you requested women, gq folks or trans men that self-identify as a pwd with a feminist lens. If you’re prescreening the links for -isms (which is sounds like you are) I don’t think that including trans men (or disregarding cis men, and do you mean cisexual or cisgender, here?) are going to make that much of a difference when the links are already being ‘screened’ (dunno a better word, sorry) for self-id as a pwd with a feminist lens anyway.

    The cis women and trans people / cis men dichotomy seems to be to keep possible sexism in links unposted – which isn’t a very good way to do it. I know plenty of sexist trans guys and plenty of feminist-aware cis guys. For that matter I know quite a few women who have internalized sexism.

    As a trans guy I’d rather it be either all or nothing wrt men who’re allowed to link-drop, please don’t separate trans men from cis men as if it were a good way to weed out sexist behavior. If you were trying to include many experiences that gq people and trans men might have in common with women, instead of going by gender identity or perceived sex for a link policy perhaps go by experience instead.

  14. If you want to be inclusive of genderqueer folks, why not say you’re interested in posts from women & genderqueer bloggers?

    Because I’m not only interested in posts from disabled women and disabled genderqueer bloggers. I have not used the word “genderqueer” anywhere in this thread.

    I’m interested in posts from disabled feminists who exist in bodies at the intersection of ability and gender oppression. This includes, among otheres, a whole world of PWD who don’t self-identify in the cis/trans binary, AND PWD who identify as genderqueer, AND PWD who don’t self-identify as genderqueer. It also includes trans PWD who identify as having experienced gendered oppression. This is a further opportunity for FWD participants to work together to decentre dominant voices.

    This is intended as one space, one tiny space, where I as a FWD contributor get to stop hearing from my oppressors.

    I used ‘cis men’ in this post because it’s exactly what I meant: cis men and abled people are the dominant voices in the gender conversation and in the disability conversation. I felt that trying to generate a laundrylist of gender IDs would likely end up in erasure of people who don’t identify within that laundrylist of two, or three, or six, or ten genders. People who are right here.

  15. @A.W.: That’s another thing that does still bug me: “cis men” is ambiguous. Would this include cissexual male-bodied individuals who identify as gender-neutral?

  16. Clarifying question on the dropping links policy: does that apply only to blogs or to mainstream news articles? Because a lot of the links above are from mainstream news sources, and I just found one I’d like to share, but I want to follow the policy.

  17. I would like to back up here, for a moment, to address some issues being brought up in this discussion about Lauredhel’s wording; her request has sparked some robust discussion in comments and I want to make sure that everyone’s concerns get addressed. I also want to correct and clarify a few points.

    Lauredhel is not saying who is/is not allowed to linkdrop! She is making a request about the authorship of the content in linked materials. People of all gender (and nongender) IDs are welcome in comments here and are welcome to linkdrop away!

    Lauredhel’s specific mention of cis men stressed that she wants to give readers a chance to centre the voices of disabled people with gender experiences which differ from that of cis men. Nowhere did Lauredhel mention the word “genderqueer,” so I’m not sure where that came from, and nowhere did she say that trans men are really women in disguise, are men light, or should be disregarded because they “used to be women.” She wanted to stress the fact that women and gender nonconforming people with disabilities are often excluded, marginalised, and silenced.

    This is being turned into a discussion about whether or not there was embedded gender essentialism in Lauredhel’s wording which is also ignoring an important aspect of Lauredhel’s request: That links also be written by people with disabilities. In effect, people with disabilities are being erased in a discussion about gender identification on a disability-centred website.

    On a personal note, as someone who does self identify as genderqueer, I am extremely offended by the suggestion that “genderqueer” is an acceptable label for all nonbinary folks.

    Some specific responses to particular commenters:

    A. W., Lauredhel’s request is not about screening for -isms. It’s about centering voices. Voices of disabled women and gender noncomforming people with disabilities.

    Codeman: No, it doesn’t.

    tg: This is a request (not a policy) specifically focused on blogs, so mainstream media stories of interest are welcome here (or can be emailed to us for inclusion in a link roundup in the future).

  18. tg: The policy right now for post links and comments links are completely different – mostly because, if they were the same, there simply would be no Rec Reading at all. Or maybe one every month or so, instead of every day.

    To clarify the purpose of the Rec Reading a little, the links I put in posts are chosen as a broad range of bloggy and newsy items and jumping-off-points and food-for-thoughts, some of which are written in line with general social justice principles, and many of which are not. I pull from fellow contributor tips, reader tips, a bevy of Google alerts, and my own completely out-of-control blog subscription list which is heavily smartlisted for keywords. I try to make an effort to create some balance in terms of different disabilities discussed and different places on the globe, also; there is quite a broad range of considerations in putting the posts together. Some of it is just “stuff in which I found one line interesting”. And it’s surprisingly hard work, as anyone who’s done a regular linkfest or Carnival knows.

    The Chatterdays might be good places to put all sorts of other links, if you like?

  19. OK, thanks, Lauredhel. I’ll look for a chatterday post later today and drop it in.

  20. lauredhel, would you be open to changing the OP to reflect just what meloukhia said?

    “It’s about centering voices. Voices of disabled women and gender noncomforming people with disabilities.”

  21. Hey all, I just wanted to leave a note to let you know that Lauredhel is sleeping right now, so if comments on this thread get held in moderation for a while or aren’t responded to, that would be why!

  22. http://erynn999.livejournal.com/527418.html

    I don’t know how erynn999 self-identifies with regards to her disability status, but essentially this is a post passing along the saddening and enraging story of a disabled pagan woman who experienced both religiously-based harassment and some extreme disability fail from a subcontractor for United Airlines. It should go without saying that the story is majorly triggering, but I also think it’s worth passing on.

  23. gamerchick: Thanks for passing on that link. It’s deeply, deeply disturbing. To be spat on and preached at by someone who is literally strapping you to a chair and has you trapped… horrible.

  24. I hope it is all right to post about the cis thing – if it’s a derailment at this point, then please feel free to delete.

    I guess I just wanted to say that I’m a trans man with disabilities, and this blog is the only major one that I have ever felt safe with; I have severe social anxiety. When I saw the bit about cis men authors, I felt grateful and included that lauredhel had phrased it that way. Not that I am brave enough to mention writings of mine yet, but it feels warm to have the option. And I saw it as a focus on nondominant voices.

    Of course, I’d be happy to withdraw should that change. I do walk around with more privilege these days, and want to be sensitive to that.

  25. I’m slow on getting back to this.

    There are also people who don’t identify as cis men, but who aren’t women or trans men either, who I’m quite happy to hear from. If you’re interested in my process, which you seem to be, this is actually what was at the forefront of my mind as I was writing this.

    I know, I’m one of them. Why not say no links from authors who are men? That would do the job nicely, without resorting to a “laundry list” of identities. Conversely, if you’re interested in only excluding the more privileged group, which is argued in the comments here, why is cis/trans men a more relevant distinction than straight/GBQ men? Or white/POC men?

    You have the idea that cisgender transsexual men are less likely to engage in male based privilege and oppression than cisgender cissexual men. It sounds as if it’s coming about here due to a conflation of two types of gender oppression under a uniform ‘gender’ marker: the oppression of trans people by cis people and the oppression of not male people by male people (as well as possibly touching on the oppression of non binary people by binary people). These are two (three) separate things. The problematic part comes with the fact that to get from this conflation to the earlier assertion, it is necessary to go through the idea that genders of cisgender trans men are somehow different from the genders of cisgender cissexual men. Whether you realize that this is entailed in the assumptions you’ve made or not, it’s still busted.

  26. Oh, and:

    Lauredhel’s request is not about screening for -isms. It’s about centering voices. Voices of disabled women and gender noncomforming people with disabilities.

    Trans men aren’t inherently gender nonconforming.

    To be clear, I am not suggesting that decentering male voices is a bad thing to do, which seems to partially be the suggestion you’re defending against. It’s great! It’s just that “no men except trans men” is a bad way to do this.

  27. Not all trans men are gender-noncomforming, though, and some cis men are. A women + trans men policy is inherently busted. Why not just say “women and non-gender-conforming people”?

    – a binary trans man who totally has male privilege

  28. i honestly can’t see this move as anything but transphobic and based in the assumption that trans men aren’t real men (or are men-lite, as someone else mentioned).

    i’m not sure how trans men are automatically “gender non-conforming” any more than cis men are.

    i understand the concept of woman-centered (and support it — as has been said, women’s voices are often drowned out in a sea of dudes), but i didn’t realize this was an exclusively-woman space. it’s difficult to come to a feminist perspective when one is not a woman, but it is possible.

    the whole thing just makes me really squicky. :-/

  29. Can I please ask that people read this entire thread before responding? Although it is long, it is important for context, and some of your concerns may have already been answered. A FWD contributor is also working on a response to the specific concerns raised after the initial conversation which occurred several days ago.

    I would also like to ask people to please remember not to erase the disability aspect of this conversation! This is a disability-centric blog.

  30. @meloukhia – vaguely tangential (and yes, I have read the whole thread): there is some interesting discussion in parts of the disabled trans community here in the UK about the fact that Gender Identity Disorder can meet the criteria of the DDA, though iirc this has yet to be tested in the courts….

  31. i read the entire thread. i did not see anything that justified this “no real men” policy. no one argued with the disabled thing — or mentioned it — because that much is obvious.

  32. Julian,

    Women do get drowned out, quite often. I’m still largely read as female or other, and I loath getting talked over. Happens quite often as a matter of fact. I’ve been under the working idea that the blog centered disabilities and wwd, and others were welcome to comment. As it’s currently stated to my understanding, it’s ‘no cis men’ for authorship of the content in links drop, and not the comment policy. Dunno if that’s cisgender or cissexual, though. I just don’t understand why cis is getting noted when the other qualifiers that can be included in men (poc, trans, disabled, gender nonconforming, et cetera) aren’t. All men experience male privilege, but not all are ‘created equal’ when taking into account other oppressions people experience as men. Separating cis from trans seems to me to put one experience of someone in a minority groups above the rest. Since all oppressed groups have unique difficulties that often overlap in generalities, to my understanding, to take trans men and say “And you, too, are for the links-drop, but not the other men, of which you may also be a part” I disagree with. That’s like saying “Well, A.W., if you write something relevent to the FWD community and it’s interesting, someone can link it here, but it hinges on your gender identity (or lack thereof) and/or presumed sex.”

    I understand that the mods are trying to be inclusive of gq and trans people, but separating trans guys’ experiences and gender identity from cis men as if there was automatically an insurmountable gulf between ’em isn’t the way to do it. There may be similarities, too, and they also count.

    Meloukhia,

    You told Codeman that being ‘cis men’ wasn’t ambiguous. With all due respect, you’re wrong. Cisgender and cisexual are not the same. There’s at least two meanings for cisgender. One is that ones gender identity is static, the other is that ones gender presentation is accepted as valid. Quite a few trans people consider themselves cisgender, and many cisexual people are on the trans spectrum.

    My writing is vaguer than I would like because I don’t know if people are talking about accepted cultural norms wrt dress and behavior along gendered lines, a static gender identity, a malleable identity, gq people (using gq as plural for the various identities, both static and non cuz the comment is too long as it is, et cetera and so forth.) There seems to be at least two convos going on, partly because of various and multitudional privileges and partly because vocab for trans people is still kinda messy.

    I’m transgender and transexual, poor, disabled and nuerodiverse. I’m also white, live in a rich country and not currently homeless. To cut along a cis divide on who is and is not privileged enough to author a piece for link spam isn’t going to work when there’s so many issues being discussed on one blog. I might just be a bit lost, though.

  33. “multitudional” should be multidimensional.

  34. More later, people (it’s the wee hours), but just to say now that the comments here assuming that gender is binary, trinary, or quaternary are not ok. If you’ve read this comments thread and this site before posting, you know why; you are erasing some PWD completely and making current contributors unwelcome and unsafe in this our space. Please stop it. I think we can move this conversation forward if people respect/recognise each other’s identities; that goes for everyone in the conversation.

    There are some PWD who do not identify as cis men who also feel they do not experience gender-based oppression. But there are others who do experience this oppression. We want to raise their voices, too. There are also people labelled with medical conditions who do not feel they experience disability-based oppression. However, the fact that some disabled people feel this way does not mean that other disabled people who _do_ feel they experience that oppression should be ignored, excluded, or otherwise erased from the conversation.

    People who are privileged enough to identify as our oppressors are cordially invited to be quiet.

  35. (I want to note that there are multitudinous words and terms used to discuss gender issues, words and terms which are used and defined differently by different people. This can make discussion of these issues a bit tricky. I am doing my best and am using the language I understand best, but I know there will be differing preferences, and I wanted to acknowledge that from the start.)

    It seems like there are a couple distinct objections being raised here.

    There are people who are unsettled by the centering of unprivileged voices. These people may sit on certain axes of privilege (abledness or cisgender maleness, for example) and are not used to not occupying the center of the conversation. This makes them uncomfortable, which is an understandable reaction. However, this discomfort is a feature, not a bug.
    There are people who feel that their experience is misrepresented by the original stated policy, or the way it was first stated (they may or may not have an objection to the very idea of centering typically-marginalized voices, but they definitely have an objection to the way it was presented).

    First, I want to clarify: We were not trying to police who can comment/participate in this space. Rather, we asked that commenters focus on promoting links from authors (of the linked pieces) who identified as living at that intersection.

    Second, I want to expand on the direction we were wanting to go with this feature.

    We want to center voices that have always sat at the margins of the conversation, along both of the axes this blog focuses on: 1) disability, and 2) gender.

    (I’ll note that there doesn’t seem to have been much conversation around the first aspect. I do think there is a lot to explore there, but this conversation has mostly been avoided. And that does reflect certain assumptions about disability.)

    There is much attention given, already, to privileged voices. Even within anti-oppression movements, the dominant voices are often the people who are not affected by that oppression. We find the same systems reproduced within a movement meant to deconstruct that system.

    We want to raise the profile of the people who are directly affected by both of these two oppressions (the axes of ability and sex/gender). By requesting that people limit links to authors who identify as having experienced these oppressions, we feature them in a way that might not happen if their voices are mixed in with the voices that already receive disproportionate attention and far-disproportionate legitimation. We want our movement to be a bottom-up movement, one that organically derives from the very people affected, one that is created by, run by, affected by, refined by, the people it is meant to focus on. Not a movement that is co-opted by people who hold the very privilege we mean to tear down.

    In this case, this means temporarily abled, binary, male-identified cisgender persons.

    The reason we did not explicitly exclude trans men with disabilities is because trans men are not cis men. (This does not mean they are not men.) It is not “men” who hold the power in our society: it is cisgender men. Cisgender men hold the majority of seats in almost every governing body in the world (if they don’t hold every seat). Cisgender men dominate the medical profession. Cisgender men make up the majority of officers in almost every law enforcement group in the world. Cisgender men are disproportionately represented in popular media. Cisgender men are positioned as the default human being, and cisgender men’s experiences are positioned as default experiences.

    Disabled trans men are often granted male privilege (privilege, remember, is a thing granted by the outside, not a thing intrinsic to the inside). Disabled trans men, however, can still face a great amount of gender-based oppression. They can face it during their lives before transition. They can face it during the transition itself, and they can face it even after the transition, in those assumptions of a cisgender default, and if they have the misfortune of encountering a person who perceives them as not “passing” and attempts to enforce their binary-cissexist understanding of gender on them. And they can face it if they don’t transition at all. Throughout their lives, trans men with disabilities can experience gender-based oppression because they live in bodies that are hotly contested by the society they live in, and by the medical and psychiatric systems with which they are forced to deal.

    This is why we did not explicitly exclude disabled trans men: because those people who identify as disabled and as trans men do live on the intersection of disability and gender-based oppression.

    Additionally, a few of the responses to this post (remember that responses have not been limited to this comment thread) have misconstrued this as being about three genders and three genders only: cis men (excluded), women and trans men (included).

    This is frustrating, because there are many, many gender identities out there, identities that are congruent with the sex/gender their bodies were assigned and identities that aren’t, identities that conform to the presumed binary and identities that don’t, identities that fit on a spectrum of gender and identities that challenge the spectrum and imagine a great potential of genders across many, many more dimensions than simply one. It is positively impossible to list all of these genders without erasing some people and misrepresenting others.

    Even the category “men” is not restricted to cis and trans only, as many responses seem to imply.

    I would also like to remind readers that while some of our founders are cisgender and binary-conforming, multiple contributors are not, and limiting this conversation to that binary contributes to their erasure from a space they helped create.

    All of that said: the initial wording of the proposed feature clearly conveyed to many people the idea that trans men are not men, that trans men are either “really women” and/or some sort of third gender. We are working to correct this: the wording clearly needs to be changed to more accurately reflect the focus on marginalized voices that we wanted to encourage and not risk perpetuating harmful conceptions of gender.

    We do hope that this experiment will turn out well in the end: that people will reflect on the attention they pay to different voices and notice the way certain voices always seem to gain a higher profile than others.

  36. This thread is being closed at the request of 5 FWD contributors. Due to the availability issues discussed in our comments policy, it wasn’t possible to wait for everyone’s consensus before responding.

    Thank you to everyone who participated in this vigorous and thoughtful discussion. It is very clear to us that while our intent was to center the voices of feminism and of people with disabilities, the way it was expressed hurt and angered people. We regret and apologize for that. These discussions have made it clear to us that it is impossible to have these discussions with language created by the kyriarchy. We are also aware that there are an equal number of issues to explore around defining “voices of people with disabilities,” as we wish to include voices of people with or without engagement with or belief in the medical system or any of the myriad of models of disability, and we look forward to continuing to explore those issues in the future. Thanks again to everyone for their enthusiasm and commitment to helping us ensure it is a safe space.