My review of “Gender is Not an Identity;It is a Tool of Patriarchy” by Green Goude

gender is not an identity

There is something wrong when respected members of the Left feel the need to adopt pseudonyms to write  a pamphlet about gender identity politics. But if you read the Morning Star, or were at the London Anarchist Bookfair, or go on Twitter you will know that there is an intense and sometimes violent debate going on over gender identity.

This pamphlet – in a considered and rational way – tries to calm down the anger and open up the debate.  The author, Green Goude, begins by reminding us that “Men are fine, women are fine. Every body is fine, every body is perfect”. She argues that  it is the society we live in,  and the nature of patriarchy,  which has created the oppression of women by men as a class.

Goude, a veteran of the socialist feminist movement, sees the backlash against feminism by capitalism and the reversal of the gains made by the feminist  movement as the background to the growth of interest in transitioning by young people.

She  challenges the notion that transitioning can  transfer someone into the opposite sex. And that, whilst respecting and supporting the rights of individuals’ to do so,   that for male to trans people (MTTs) who have been raised as a  male with all the privileges over women is “an ideology with no basis in fact, which is not believed or adhered to by many MTTs.

Goude calls for a more respectful debate of the issues of gender, supporting individual’s right to play around with issues of identity,  but being aware that this is a key issue when for example collecting statistics or on  policies on prisons, sports and in challenging ingrained discrimination against women in public.

The answer, as Goude rightly acknowledges,  is for there to be more debate and discussion around  these issues whilst recognising that,  although people have every right to identify however they like,  this cannot mean allowing personal preference and the expression of personality to  be given the same status, rights  and recognition as biological sex.  Otherwise, as she comments, “we undo in one fell swoop all the gains women have made and still need to make in our male-dominated society.”

Goude’s pamphlet is a challenge to the silencing of feminists who have questioned challenged trans ideology.  As Goude counsels “Any silencing only benefits a misogynist, homophobic and patriarchal society, and we will all be the losers.

 

Buy the pamphlet (only £2.50 free p&p in UK) and follow the debate here

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About lipstick socialist

I am an activist and writer. My interests include women, class, culture and history. From an Irish in Britain background I am a republican and socialist. All my life I have been involved in community and trade union politics and I believe it is only through grass roots politics that we will get a better society. This is reflected in my writing, in my book Northern ReSisters Conversations with Radical Women and my involvement in the Mary Quaile Club. I am a member of the Manchester and Salford National Union of Journalists.If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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One Response to My review of “Gender is Not an Identity;It is a Tool of Patriarchy” by Green Goude

  1. Reblogged this on Wessex Solidarity and commented:
    This is a personal view by a cisgendered man.

    The debate, if such it is, is generating more heat than light and is being gleefully exploited by interests that are neither radical, nor feminists, nor friendly to queer issues.

    Gender is not an objective category, it’s a political and social construction closely allied to the alienation of labour, originally devised to separate production from reproduction. As with race, the bourgeoisie has moved on, but will still pick it up as a handy stick with which to beat its enemies. I cannot see how gender freedom is incompatible with a materialist concept of gender.

    Gender is not the same thing as sex. Some people are oppressed for their reproductive biology, others for their departure from gender orthodoxy. A strategy against both forms of oppression is not a contradiction for anarchists, in fact it’s mandatory. Attempts to pit one oppressed group against another serve only the ruling class.

    Which brings me to the backlash against feminism. Violent repression, infiltration and dirty tricks in the 1960s and 70s drove liberation politics off the streets and into academia. A few more compliant representatives of the oppressed were encouraged to walk away from the ‘uncontrollables’, funded and given a cross-class agenda to pursue, and who can blame them if it gave them a living and kept them out of jail? I urge everyone to study the many British and U.S. counter-insurgency manuals from the era, then put yourselves in the mind of the enemy – because that’s what they do!

    The phrase “opposite sex” is meaningless; the commonly expressed view that the vast majority of humans fall into one or other physiological category isn’t true either. If you’ve only ever seen the two basic kinds of tackle you haven’t been around much. People who fear your prejudice are likely to keep to themselves, and the blessed medical profession would sometimes take their best guess and lop off anything that contradicted it. The phrase: “male to trans people (MTTs)” is weird and I haven’t come across it – where do trans men fit in to all this?

    We’ve got trans comrades in our immediate affinity group, and our wider activist circle. I would feel foolish explaining to them that their lived experience from morning to night, week in, week out is an ‘ideology’.

    Logically, I’ve only three options:

    I allow them to define their gender according to their perceptions and belief systems.

    I try and do it for them according to my perceptions and belief systems – or yours, even.

    I sub-contract the decision to state-sponsored psychiatry, in which no-one I know has a shred of confidence. Meanwhile they are shoved around from pillar to post by every petty bureaucrat and jobsworth with an axe to grind.

    For an anarchist, there is only one answer.

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