November 24th, 2010


More Book of the Dead


Nectanebo the pharoah of the Fall
could make dead girls rise up from dust to dance
writhing their cobra limbs, called elephants
into his war. They rushed towards his call

from lands below the Nile, rose from the place
where they had gone to rest, their ivory
pitted with worming. Cursed his foes to die
then rise up to be ordered into place

in his front rank to die and die again.
And it availed him nothing. In a cell
he died of gangrene and did not die well.
The Persians bricked him up alone with pain.

He scrawled these words on each one of his scrolls
' These spells will cost you all five of your souls'

More bloody tiresome kerfuffle

Elsewhere on the net, candidevoltaire has been accusing me of saying that because I haven't ever been called a tranny, the problem of its being used in violent assaults does not exist. For someone whose comments here have consisted of an endless whine that I am being unfair, this is, of course, a radical reading of the text. What I said, possibly unclearly, was that I had been subjected to rape, assault and attempted vehicular homicide without the term being used. On the other hand, I have been called it - not least by a woman who was explaining why she could not possibly be attracted to me, with her hand on my upper thigh.

During Toiletgate, the police officer who intervened told the security guard off for telling me that some of her best friends were trannies, while backing her up in excluding me from the women's toilets and illegally demanding that I show him a GRC.

I am not denying that the word is ever used in the context of harrassment or violence; I am just not prepared to see those people who want to reclaim it as positive as well as hostile not be slandered, misgendered and called Uncle Toms. It came out positive in Mzz Kimberley's performance at the Trans Day of Remembrance, but I am far from sure it is generally reclaimable. What I will say is that, if the prohibitionists are so sure of their correctness, why are they so violently abusive of dissidents?

I am also worried that, if we fetishize tranny as the classic word used in transphobic violence we are at risk of losing sight of the fact that there are a lot of transphobic incidents - like the ones I suffered - in which it is not used, Other people know more about hate crime than I do - GALOP, say, or Tam Ari, who has an interesting post on Facebook. What I will say is that, if we make the presence of a particular word the basis on which police will or will not report a particular incident as a transphobic hate crime - if we focus on word usage rather than the broader facts, we risk leaving even more transphobic hate crime unmonitored. Pieces like that by Helen Boyd (the real one) that claim a one for one association between the word and the incidents - without linking to an actual study whose methodology we can examine - do us no service in this respect.

People who beat people up are not best acquainted with nuance - how many cis dykes are called tranny in a beating? And how many trans women or trans guys are just beaten up as queers? I am not sure how a proper study could be done - maybe we cannot separate ourselves from a broader LGBT community in this area at least.

Generally, I think it a bad idea for us to deal in dodgy dossiers, spin and weakly based polls.
You know what happened to the boi who cried wolf.