I didn't get to really explain what Leslie Feinberg meant to me or how her passing has hurt me. I've been too busy for much of anything but twitter recently but know that I probably cannot express what her activism means to me. The movement will be left with a gaping hole now that she's gone. We have few high profile radical outlaws left. I miss her. A lot. Already.
Anyway, I wanted to share this comment, but I'll be damned if anyone is going to unshare it so here's a post. Maybe when I've calmed down a bit I will write a proper ode to her. Until then, please read my comment.
If anyone would like to pull me out of the greys, I would be ever grateful. I have not felt this strongly about a comment in some time.
"No. I'm sorry but no. Jezebel is no place to learn about queer issues. It never has been and if you want to learn something, may I suggest anywhere else. Mainstream feminism does not have a good history with the lesbian/trans community and certainly not the general commentariat of Jezebel. The last time Jezebel wrote about lesbian issues, they cross-posted an article from Autostraddle and many of us queer women were excited - until we read the comments. The comments got so lesbophobic and hurtful many of us were in other blogs and on twitter in tears over it. Autostraddle asked Jez to pull it down. Reese came to the subblogs and talked to us and while I was admittedly fangirling over speaking personally to the editor of my favorite queer women's blog, it was a very sad and disappointing state of affairs that brought her here.
I don't think I can adequately explain what Leslie Feinberg means to us as an activist and a writer and thinker. She was so important and one of the few radical queer activists left as our movement seems to speak only for marriage equality for privileged gays while trans people, butches, genderqueers, etc are still being oppressed to a remarkable degree. I mourn for her and also for the absence her death brings the movement. This post does nothing to even attempt to explain and probably because the author is a straight woman and has no idea what to say. I want to hear heartfelt words from a queer woman on this issue, not a brief write up by a straight woman who only knew of her existence because her death crossed her feed this morning. We hear nothing of the politics of her work in Jezebels writing any other time. No, except for this death and this post, Jezebel would be all 'heteronormativity this' and assumed gender binary that' as per usual. In fact, if Jezebel knew exactly how radical Leslie Feinberg would be considered, feminists brains would explode in confusion. Feminism disrespects everything Leslie Feinberg stands for as a baseline stance.
When mainstream feminism starts to get past the men v women issue it has, when it starts to realize that gender means very little I will start to take it's queer posts seriously. When it realizes that a men v women stance means gender outlaws are inherently marginalized by feminism, when it realizes that such a binary hetero stance on gender erases and discredits important things like queer domestic violence and rape I will listen. Until then, I would rather Jez have said nothing since it quite obviously has no idea what it's talking about and these token posts are just that - tokens. I will not be handing out ally cookies for this.
I mean look at the quote above: that's only the first half of the quote. Davies is all "oh the obit used female pronouns but it was written by her partner so it's okay". Here is the other (relevant) half of that above quote:
""I care which pronoun is used, but people have been disrespectful to me with the right pronoun and respectful with the wrong one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect."
She also said in an interview:
"For me, pronouns are always placed within context. I am female-bodied, I am a butch lesbian, a transgender lesbian — referring to me as she/her is appropriate, particularly in a non-trans setting in which referring to me as he would appear to resolve the social contradiction between my birth sex and gender expression and render my transgender expression invisible. I like the gender neutral pronoun ze/hir because it makes it impossible to hold on to gender/sex/sexuality assumptions about a person you're about to meet or you've just met."
Leslie Feinberg is not a binary trans man. She is not a binary woman. She considers herself a lesbian as well as trans. She considers herself a butch lesbian. She lives in the margins as I do. She lives in the space where trans issues and lesbian issues collide as I do. The space that gay rights movements and misguided allies like Madeleine Davies either ignore or misinterpret and this misinterpretation is entirely due to the binary gender dichotomy that feminism is built on. The very same dichotomy that feminism claims to wish to break down it enforces at every turn. There is no need for Davies to write a fucking disclaimer about the pronouns used in Leslie Feinbergs obituary if anyone understood the issues to begin with. I mean, really. The entire above 'article' is a poor attempt to justify and explain pronouns. It fails miserably.
Way to further marginalize an activist by misinterpreting her entire existence, Jezebel. Has Davies ever even read any of her work or was this a five minute google hack job? If you really desire to learn, please read Feinbergs work. It is stellar and as I said, it means so much to so many of us. Please though, don't take lessons from Jezebel. I beg you."