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How do you define woman/man?

I use two different definitions – sociological and interpersonal.

Sociological – A woman is an adult human viewed by society as belonging to the social class of people who can get pregnant. A man is an adult human viewed by society as belonging to the social class of people who can impregnate others. I use this definition to think and talk about feminist theory, because I’m a radical feminist. The word radical comes from radix, which means root. The root of women’s oppression comes from the desire to control women’s reproduction. Since the Neolithic, society has been set up to ensure that women’s bodies remain under control of their fathers, who then transfer that control through marriage to women’s husbands. If a woman is property of one man, that man can know that he fathered her children and can pass power down to his sons. This is where the term patriarchy comes from – rule of the father.

Today, some of the most important issues women face are related to their having uteruses – abortion, access to menstrual products, not being fired for getting pregnant, etc.

Women who don’t have uteruses – intersex, had a hysterectomy, MtF transitioned etc. – are treated the same as women who do in most circumstances. A man who doesn’t want to hire women because he thinks their periods make them crazy and they’ll just quit when they get pregnant isn’t going to bother to ask job candidates if they have uteri before sticking their application in the circular file.

Interpersonal – A woman is someone who wishes to be seen by others as a woman. A man is someone who wishes to be seen by others as a man. I use this definition to decide what pronouns I use for people. People with dysphoria are going through a hard enough time as it is. I can make their day a little less hard or I can be an asshole. Why be an asshole?

I also use trans woman, trans man, etc. when I’m talking about trans issues. I say “trans women who isn’t out” instead of something like “dysphoric male” because, again, why be an asshole. Those terms communicate my meaning without hurting or alienating people. Anyone who doesn’t think biological sex is real has written me off as a TERF anyway.

What are your opinions on the cotton ceiling?

This is a problem because different people are working from different definitions. Most trans women and their allies see the cotton ceiling as the idea that trans women are inherently ugly and undesirable, that a cis lesbian who sleeps with a trans woman must not be a real lesbian, and that a trans woman hitting on a cis lesbian is just as out of line as a cis man would be. They see fighting against the cotton ceiling as upholding trans woman as beautiful and desirable, running sex ed workshops and writing erotica, supporting relationships between cis lesbians and trans women, and explaining why its inappropriate for a cis lesbian to respond to a trans woman who propositioned her with “Eww, I wouldn’t sleep with you – I like real women.”

Most radical feminists see the cotton ceiling as the idea that lesbians have the right to choose and reject partners based on sexual desire and pleasure instead of guilt, pity, and the desire to be a good ally, and that it’s totally normal for lesbians to be sexually attracted to vulvas and indifferent to or grossed out by penises. They see fighting against the cotton ceiling as telling lesbians who are sexually attracted to vulvas that they’re disgusting fetishists who see women as walking genitalia, telling rape survivors that they need to unlearn their hateful transmisogynistic fear of penises, and if they absolutely can’t sleep with a trans woman with a penis without a panic attack that they can always enter into a sexless relationship and hook up with cis women on the side for sexual fulfillment.

I think the term “cotton ceiling” is terrible because it positions women’s panties as a barrier to be broken through. I also think trans women and their allies need to do a lot more to call out the kinds of predators who tell thirteen year olds that they’re bad people if they don’t want to take dick, and they need to stop setting up a dichotomy between good and virtuous lesbians who sleep with trans women and bad, close-minded lesbians who don’t. However, all the stuff I mentioned in the first paragraph is worthwhile activism.

Why are trans women disproportionately likely to be programmers?

There’s a mix of reasons I can think of, but I’m guessing, because I don’t know any trans women programmers. Most of the trans women I’ve known have been sex workers.

A) Trans girls and women who aren’t out and are seen as boys by the people around them are a lot more likely to be encouraged in STEM.
B) Trans women have a hard time getting hired and tend to face discrimination at work. Programming is a job that lets people get hired online and work from home.
C) The internet is a good way to get away for people who don’t fit in.
D) Social contagion. Trans women tend to make friends with other trans women online. If a teenage trans girl has a lot of older trans women friends she looks up to who are programmers, she’s a lot more likely to look into programming.

Why do many trans women experience sexual fantasies about being or becoming a woman?

I think its obvious why a trans woman would fantasize about having breasts and a vagina during sex, but a lot of trans women have fantasies that go a lot further than that. Sexual fantasies come from things people have strong emotions about, and those emotions get swirled around in the id with all the patriarchal messages put out by our culture, and then a bunch of really weird shit comes out. This goes for cis women as well. I guarantee that right now a cis woman is rubbing one out to the thought of herself as an inferior set of meat holes.

Also, a lot of young trans women want to look for porn they can in some way relate to, and end up finding sissy transformation fetish stuff by actual autogynophiles. Getting off to stuff rewires the brain by associating a stimulus with pleasure – one ill-advised late night trip to 4chan can leave someone with all kinds of kinks.

When taking the poll, if you can POSSIBLY round yourself off to Blanchard-Bailey or gender identity, please do so. Please do this even if you have major disagreements with the side you are leaning towards. Only use “neither” if you really really really cannot in good conscience round yourself to either.