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Holy shit, G&R has finally released an article about what happened at Pulse, Orlando! I can’t wait to look at this. Let’s see, will these Pagans have the guts to stand up to monotheistic homophobia and terrorist violence? Will they speak about the need of the Gay community to rise up and defend themselves from a new form of violence out to suppress their lifestyles and sexualities? Who know! Let’s go on the adventure!!!!!

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Orlando, Transphobia, and Culture-Shaping Violence

Wait…

Transphobia? But the Pulse shooting was about Homophobia. I’m sure there were transpeople there that were killed, but something doesn’t seem right here. Why are we talking about Transphobia in this situation when it was the larger Homophobia of Islam which was the primary cause of about fifty people dying and another fifty being maimed…

Oh dear…

Orlando wasn’t unique because a racist homophobe attacked queers during Pride week…

Racist…

Look, Omar was a Muslim, who swore himself to ISIS. And yes, he was an Arab and yes, it was Latino night at the Pulse I believe but…

Okay, you know what, I’m not going to question it. He was a Religious homophobe who attacked gay people, but hey, I’m egalitarian. No reason an Arab can’t be racist against Latinos.

…What made it different was the degree to which the shooter pulled it off; hate crimes, especially during Pride, are depressingly routine. Double-digit body counts, though, still rattle us. Once the news broke, I started receiving (and sending) texts, calls, and Facebook messages: comrades and partners locally, queer friends online, chosen family back in the South, all checking up on each other. Perhaps someone’s social network would extend to Orlando. Even if not, for many of us, it felt personal because hate violence always does. Shooting up a nightclub exists on a comparatively short spectrum with the ambient violence that informs queer consciousness. We know to reach out and offer emotional support. We’ve had practice.

You know, I always thought Queer was a derogatory slur towards the Gay community. Like the N word with black people. Of course, Queer is now also it’s own “gender” if I remember correctly so…

I have the impression we’re going to have a very confusing article on our hands this time folks. Still, it is apparent (regardless of what is or is not an appropriate term) that the community in question apparently faces its share of violence in this world. Which, honestly, is why I join in with @Nero in wishing for gay people to arm themselves so that they can protect themselves. As the saying goes, “armed gays don’t get bashed.”

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For trans women and nonbinary transfemmes, we do something similar every few weeks. Someone will have vanished from the internet, or posted a note; a body will be found (and misgendered) in the news. We contact each other with fear and urgency, because it’s even odds that someone we know has died by suicide or murder, been attacked, or landed in a psych ward after an attempt. Our communities have developed the social and cultural infrastructure to acquire and share that type of information very, very quickly. Living under such precarious material conditions, we have to.

You know, the philosopher in me has a question. If a transperson is a person of one gender trapped int he body of the other gender, and that person dies and their soul is no longer in that body…can the body be misgendered?

Look, I’m honestly asking here because I deal with people mostly after their dead so the whole “transgender issue” isn’t really an issue (though I think there have been a few times when a “transgender” person discovered their soul was in fact the same gender as their body and they were not in fact transgender. Hilarity ensued I assure you.

But seriously, the body has a gender, the person is gone, and if all the cops have to go on is a body without someone inside telling them their “true gender” then…biologically speaking…

Oh…oh gods no. Please tell me this is not where we’re going…

And of the women and nonbinary people that I’ve had any degree of closeness with, I can’t think of more than two or three who haven’t dealt with some experience of rape and/or abuse. I certainly have. I can’t think of one who hasn’t been harassed, sexually and/or transphobically – sometimes, both at once. Trans or cis, queer or straight, binary or nonbinary, gender violence pervades our lives and profoundly inflects our psyches, politics, theologies, and relationships.

Well, I have read studies that say that Lesbian households are some of the worst when it comes to domestic violence levels. And that lesbians (if women were legally considered capable of rape by the law) are actually some of the most rape happy people when it comes to sex. It’s actually kind of surprising when you start looking into it, how many Lesbians will secretly admit that they were raped by other lesbians. So…I don’t question our author here on the sexual violence and rape. Everything I’ve read does suggest their community is rife with it. Which isn’t a surprise, supposedly most abusive actions come from a place of powerlessness, rather than power.

Still, I’m not sure what this has to do with Islamic homophobia and a terrorist attack on a gay night club. You know, for an article I thought was supposed to be addressing the Orlando situation, this one isn’t talking so much about Orlando as it is the author’s personal sufferings as a transperson…and with nary a sign of Islam homophobia in sight yet either.

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For women and for gender and sexual minorities, as for people of color and disabled people and impoverished people, violence shapes our communal lives. Subjectively, I’d call it the predominant discursive theme in transfemme subcultures. Beneath the discovery of identity, coming out, and navigating the world as trans, there’s the threat and practice of violent punishment. It’s not by chance that violence from a male authority provides the basis for the apotheosis of Attis in otherwise-quite-different versions of the myth. How could gallai realize holiness through our transness if we didn’t come to terms with this daily ordeal? Sure, painful trials can bring power and gnosis. I’ve spent enough time around other transfemmes, seeing their wisdom and power and tenacity, to realize that. However, there’s only so far that sacralization can carry us. At a certain point, even the most spiritually rooted of us stops getting anything from traumatic conditions besides more trauma.

Wait…Sophia…you’re losing the thread. Orlando was about Gay people. It wasn’t about women as a whole, or transwomen, or anything like that (escept in those individuals being gay and being gunned down for being bay by an Islamic Homophob). A goodly number of those slain at Pulse were men. Gay men. And probably some Transmen. So…why are you erasing victims based on their gender and erasing sexual orientations as the reason for the same of your transwoman/woman thing here…

I know we’re only about three or so paragraphs in, but I’m starting to write this off as yet another person using the deaths of all those gay people at Pulse to push their political agenda. I mean, we’ve gotten this far and the religious motivations of Omar haven’t even come up in regard to it, Homophobia isn’t really mentioned, instead it’s transphobia and…we’re not even talking about the events of Pulse…

All we have is Sophia talking about the trauma of being a transwoman…but not the trauma of being gunned down by a mass murdering terrorist.

When I heard about the latest nonsense from Ruth Barrett and the introduction of Cathy Brennan to the picture, I felt as if we still haven’t escaped from the field sprinkled with Attis’s blood.

Wait, Ruth Barret and Cathy Brennan…were they there too? I’d heard reports that there could have been other shooters at Pulse, were these women there too? were they acting for ISIS as well? The public has a right to know, damn it!!!!

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Barrett and Brennan are both women deeply embedded in lesbian and feminist communities. While I lack direct knowledge, I’d be stunned if either has managed to avoid these pervasive types of gender violence. One would have hoped that a shared position of disempowerment and danger under patriarchy would provide a sufficient basis for feminist solidarity. Sadly, unlike other radical feminists of their generation, neither has approached trans women as sisters in the struggle.

Oh Hela, Goddess of Death, Queen of Helheim, Goddess of the Fallen. Give me the strength to endure this day, oh beloved wife. For I fear we have passed all realms of stupidity known unto man….

Lesbians. Barrett and Brennan are lesbians. Well, I guess that answers the question of if they were at Pulse killing people.

Still, it seems that Sophia (ironic name there) in her wisdom has come to believe that the best thing she can do on the G&R platform in the wake of Islamic Terrorism enacting one of the worst cases of homophobia in a century or more…is to attack Gay women. So I see we’re solving the problem of homophobia with….more homophobia. And that G&R has officially joined so much of the mainstream media in throwing gay people under the bus when it comes to Islamic violence and homophobic bigotry. Apparently, we have to remember that gay people are the problem here. Gay people with their transphobia.

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They deny the bare material truth that transfemmes are at least as victimized by gender violence as any other population. Instead of joining with us and resisting sexist violence, they’ve joined in. They’re doing patriarchy’s work, just as much as every misogynist, rapist, or MRA out there. TERF discrimination isn’t just cruel. It’s redundant.

Forty-nine gay people are dead. Another fifty plus wounded. Who knows how many traumatized. And Sophia here is…trying to use those dead souls in an extremely tangential manner in order to attack gay women.

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That shapes our subcultures, too. For instance, I’d heard of Cathy Brennan long before finding her websites or meeting anyone she’s doxxed. In transfeminine oral culture, she’s a synecdoche for the worst kinds of TERF violence, harassment, and discrimination. Brennan has served as our folk villain for years now. Now that she’s targeted some well-known cis Pagans, I halfway wonder if this is her ticket out of the folkloric niche market. While her actions certainly produce immediate destructive consequences for individuals, at the same time her power as a cultural figure far exceeds anything she could actually do. Harassment doesn’t only victimize its targets. I think of the panopticon, the prison where there are more inmates than the warden could possibly watch at once – but where every prisoner always feels surveilled, because they can’t know at whom the warden is currently looking. Doxxing functions the same way, as does hate crime. Why be afraid, when most of us will never actually get the worst of it? Well, any one of us could.

Well…that explains it. The Gay community gets rocked by pretty much the worst mass shooting in American history and Sophia is going to lead the transwomen in a calculated strike against their long time enemy, their penultimate villain, while this gay woman and the rest of the gay community are reelling in shock from Islamic homophobia and their complete betray by their allies who have gone off to protect the religion that caused this.

From a tactical standpoint this is pretty good. But…I can’t help but feel it’s also a bit cheap. I mean, Sophia is blatantly using the deaths of about fifty gay people as an excuse to go and attack a lesbian simply because said lesbian has a different view about womanhood and isn’t doing enough to affirm Sophia’s identity. Now, I’ve tried not to really pick sides on the Bio vs Trans debacle, but seriously, there’s only one way I can describe what’s happening here…

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Brennan and Barrett have both presented trans women as some powerful, conspiratorial force. They tell stories of terroristic trans women supposedly endangering both them individually and womanhood itself. Of course, we aren’t so powerful. Cis lesbian feminists aren’t particularly high up in the patriarchal pecking order. In transfemmes, though, they’ve found one of the few groups they can target with relative impunity. I’ve talked before about the underlying dynamics there. It comes back to sexual work and the role of transphobia in constituting transfemmes as a sexual underclass. I won’t rehash it here.

Huh…so they view you the same way that you view them, Sophia?

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Instead, I’ll just extend my solidarity, love, and prayers to all of us whose communal lives get shaped by violence, be it in Orlando or in the bedroom or on the sidewalk or at Cherry Hill Seminary. Queers and women and trans people deal with too much horror already to inflict it on each other. May the Mountain Mother hear our grief. May she bring us all through pain and bloodshed to community, freedom, and love.

So…Sophia used the deaths of a bunch of Gay people to attack another Gay person because they have different views on transgenderism than Sophia does and she doesn’t like that. So she’s going to enact a post of what can only be considered “bio-phobic”  violence against these lesbians, in the name of transgender acceptance, while using the souls of gays killed in the name of Islam…but she doesn’t want to inflict the horror of more violence on the gay (and women’s, don’t forget the most important women’s!) communities.

Which is why she’s attacking these women. Who are lesbians. Gay women. While completely ignoring the fact that what happened at the Pulse had nothing to do with the “bio vs cis” debate and had everything to do with Islamic views of homosexuality being a sin worthy of death.

Well, I guess I’m just going to try and end this on a funny note that will likely piss off everyone at G&R…whose management apparently is all for the attacking of gay women based on their gender identity and using an act of Islamic homophobia to aid them.

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Bellona Invicta

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