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Sexist Beatdown: Trans Panic Fever Edition

People of the world: prepare to expose your crotches. Yeah! I know! That sounds creepy and awful to me, too! HOWEVER, behold what is in the news right now:

KATE, A LADY: Gets temp job. Uses lady locker room at temp job. Gets fired from temp job. Oh, and also she is trans! So now she has to give patriarchally-named temp service Manpower a photo of her crotch as a condition for further employment.

CASTER, A LADY:* Is really pretty good at running! Also, is totally cut, like you would be if you were an athlete who was good at running. Oh, but perhaps (some people think) the fact that she is good at running and is very cut is because she is TRANS! So now she has to have scientists inspect her crotch (and basically everything else) as a condition for further employment.

JONATHAN, WHO HASN’T PUBLICLY IDENTIFIED: Is charged with stealing some lady clothes from Saks! Whilst wearing some lady clothes! And then the police picked Jonathan up at a traffic stop: and, again, Jonathan was wearing lady clothes! The police are very proud that they have caught this “man,” and that they were not fooled by “his” villainous “disguises.” Because basically the narrative is that Jonathan is a dude who FOR SOME REASON WORE LADY CLOTHES AND HAD LADY HAIR as a means of hiding out from the police. Instead of being, you know. A lady.

Looks like some folks have a case of the Deceptive Trans Person Fever! Therefore, the sparkling Amanda Hess of Washington City Paper’s The Sexist and I shall discuss why, for some reason, police and/or employers and/or sporting commissioners and/or whoever apparently find Juwanna Mann and Wile E. Coyote cartoons more plausible than the existence of trans people or the idea that the contents of your neighbors’ drawers are really none of your business.


ILLUSTRATION: Can we please just not consider these cartoons reliable or sufficient gender education? Because I think THAT WOULD FIX A LOT.

SADY: hello!


SADY: first of all: i think we should be required to discuss and/or disclose the precise details of our tender bits before being alllowed to have this conversation.OH NO WAIT THAT IS HORRIBLE.

AMANDA: ok, because i have some photos, if everyone thinks that’s necessary

SADY: right. well, as a person, i cannot be comfortable unless i know the precise details of everyone elses’ swimsuit areas at all times.

AMANDA: and you, as a ladybusiness blogger, surely had to undergo the proper tests as part of the job application.

SADY: i am only shocked that i was not required to disclose it at ALL former places of employment. there i was! doing light filing! and nobody knew how my genitals were shaped! but, in retrospect, as I am a cis woman with a fairly girly gender presentation and most people gender me as female when I walk into the room VAGINA PHOTOS OR NO, perhaps i should not be shocked.  perhaps – PERHAPS? – it would only have mattered if my gender presentation and/or body shape did not adhere to some elusive “norm!”

AMANDA: yeah, or if you did manly things for a living—like ran extremely quickly and had rock hard abs. can we talk about this situation first? because i think it’s really interesting

SADY: yes! i believe that we should!

AMANDA: so … here is a group of women who are a lot stronger and faster and ripped and everything than most men in the world. i mean, obviously, there are going to be aspects of their gender which are going to be perceived as more masculine. and so—the very complicated, weeks-long test they’re conducting to decide aside—how do you determine what is too masculine for a female sport?   the very reason these women are successful is because their bodies are exceptional

SADY: right! like, basically they called for the test because she was TOO GOOD AT SPORTS, right?

AMANDA: and who knows what gender variant aspects of all bodies will turn up after weeks of mysterious testing?

SADY: exactly. and no matter what the totally humiliating and invasive “gender test” she is forced to take concludes (my gender test: pronoun = she, person = lady), the fact is that someone saw her excel at a traditionally masculine thing and concluded on that basis she was gender-suspect.

AMANDA: yeah and the WEIRD thing was, the suspect thing was that she IMPROVED too much. she had run before and was so-so and now she’s amazing … it’s not she just burst masculinely onto the scene and stole all the titles. so if she were in men’s sports, she’d be undergoing steroids testing right now, probably

SADY: right! like, if someone gets THAT much better THAT much more quickly, my thought is drugs. their thought is, basically, the plot of “juwanna mann.”

AMANDA: i wouldn’t be surprised if they tested her for drugs and then were like, hmm … well, maybe she’s a man.

SADY: what is interesting to me is this quote: “”If there’s a problem and it turns out that there’s been a fraud … that someone has changed sex, then obviously it would be much easier to strip results,” Davies added. “However, if it’s a natural thing and the athlete has always thought she’s a woman or been a woman, it’s not exactly cheating.” l like, being trans now constitutes FRAUD? SRSLY?

AMANDA: haha that quote is amazing. davies obviously has no idea what davies is talking about! it’s natural if she’s always thought she’s been a woman … which is clearly something that will be conclusively decided in our sophisticated medical testing period, somehow. thank you.

SADY: yeah, exactly. and don’t a whole buttload of trans women say that they… have always known they are ladies? this conception of transness as a DELIBERATE FRAUD undertaken for the purpose of running real fast and winning some races is what blows my mind. like, considering how fucking complicated and inconvenient it would be to ALWAYS have to live in a gender not your own, i severely doubt people would undertake it just so that they could run in the (assumed to be not-that-great) women’s division! like, to be a trans woman and to have to live as a dude instead of a lady would be similarly inconvenient, i am thinking!

AMANDA: i know, like when in the history of sports has a male athlete said “i’d rather get gold in the women’s division than bronze in the men’s” if someone offered the women’s trophy as a consolation prize, he would probably choke someone.

SADY: but it reminds me of that story you posted about the lady-clothes theif who pulled off all of “his” heists whilst “disguised” as a lady.

AMANDA: and yet, the fraud narrative consistently arises with trans athletes. yes. yes. the very best part of that story was that this suspect, who is pretty obviously a trans woman, was pegged by the police as a devious cross-dresser who was only wearing women’s clothing to dupe the police while … stealing women’s clothing and so the police, at the end, when they arrested the “man” (still in women’s clothing) got to run to the press and say, See! We figured it out! We broke the devious thief’s lady-clothes code! We have discovered that the dress thief was … a man!  when really, they probably would have found their suspect a lot easier had they known a goddamn thing

SADY: yeah, precisely. the thing that strikes one, looking at the “fraud” narratives people cook up to explain the existence of trans (or suspected to be trans!) people is that they are WILE E. COYOTE LIKE IN THEIR CONVOLUTIONS AND LACK OF COMMON SENSE.

AMANDA: haha yes. like trans men are all applying their moustaches with permanent glue and then wielding their comical trans anvil in the hopes of getting a better salary at their jobs because they’re dudes now.

SADY: right? and, like, who does not realize that being outed as trans or gender non-conforming is actually WAY MORE DANGEROUS than shoplifting?  WHY WOULD YOU TAKE ON THIS INCREDIBLY STIGMATIZED DANGEROUS IDENTITY for the purpose of lifting a skirt from a mall?

AMANDA: apparently members of the police and media who seem to not even understand that trans people exist! and i understand that to some people this is a new and uncomfortable thing, but there’s really no excuse, because every trans activist i’ve spoken to is always extremely patient and thorough in explaining all the issues and intricacies to people who are out of the loop.

SADY: it’s seriously alarming to me, this basic lack of knowledge. it’s like somebody who sees a squirrel and is like “what be this small and furry man? behold! he is as tiny as a homunculus! what magic doth he possess to shrink himself to this size? WHAT IS HE PLANNING, THIS FURRY NUT-SEEKING WIZARD?”

AMANDA: is the nut wizard in a dress? because … i think the cops might be looking for it.

SADY: OH NO. from now on, i will view all people in dresses as potential thieves. i myself am in a dress at this very moment! WHAT AM I HIDING????

AMANDA: i am too. my god. well … i know i’m hiding my genitalia. i’m turning myself in.

SADY: well, there you have it! deceiver! all HONEST people show their genitalia AT ALL TIMES! oh, no, that is crazy sex predators that i am thinking of.

AMANDA: in conclusion, i just looked up juwanna mann on imdb, and these are the relevant plot keywords:
* Basketball
* Cross Dressing
* Beautiful Woman
* Hit In Crotch
* Male Nudity
* The Star Spangled Banner
* Character Name In Title
and it only has 4.1 stars!
it seemingly has everything.

SADY: that’s a darn shame.

*Why, is that occasional Tiger Beatdown contributor and friend C.L. Minou? In the esteemed pages of the Guardian’s Comment is Free? I believe it is! Hurrah!


  1. C.L. Minou wrote:

    Thanks for the link love, Sady!

    And Amanda–I had missed the bit about the amazing crossdressing criminal mastermind! What an impenetrable disguise–her everyday appearance! LOLSOB.

    Thank you for an edition of Sexist Beatdown that is full of the awesomeness. Now please excuse me, I have to go prepare some photos of my genitals. In my case, of course, it’s more complicated–there’s a historograph and, I think, a diorama required.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  2. savedbythebellhooks wrote:

    I think the creepiest part about the Semenya story is this list of EXPERTS who will set about determining whether she is a REAL LADY using LOTS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF SCIENCE. They’re not content with a good gander at her private parts. They need to get all up in there to figure out whether she is just some EVIL or possibly GENETICALLY MUTATED BUT PROBABLY STILL EVIL MAN trying to trick everybody:

    “It requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, a psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.”

    What, pray tell, could they mean by “an expert on gender”? Like, will this person ask her if she enjoys shopping? Throw something in her lap and see how she catches it, ala Huck Finn?

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Farore wrote:

    I have ALWAYS suspected that squirrels were secretly nut wizards. Actually, my roommate asserts that they are sentient Slinkies that have escaped from children and grown fur to live in the wild. Either way, you know, they are OBVIOUSLY UP TO SOMETHING.

    I keep hearing about this case with AHA WE HAVE CAUGHT THIS INSIDIOUS DRESS-WEARING MASTER OF DISGUISE! and all and… it is just mind-blowing. A friend of mine has been discussing Police Brutality a lot lately but I am thinking that perhaps the root problem of all police-related issues is Police Amazing, Circus-Sideshow-esque Levels of Stupidity.

    Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  4. ChelseaWantsOut wrote:

    Have you, Sady, or you, reader, read The Frailty Myth? There’s a lot of stuff like this in there, women having to undergo physical inspection of their genitalia, chromosome testing, hormone-level testing, etc. in some ridiculous effort to ascertain their genuine girl status. Apparently in the only documented case of a man disguising himself as a woman for the purposes of beating all the wimpy little ladies, he won one event and was never able to repeat it, and eventually came forward and admitted what he had done and got some publicity or something. Read the book! It made me want to be really tough. I can do pull-ups now for the first time in my life as a direct result of having read that book. And also because my good friend Abbey is a personal trainer and tells me what to do.

    Monday, August 24, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

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