In fact we are all, deep down, transsexuals, we have all been transsexual infants, and we have been forced to identify with a specific monosexual role, masculine or feminine.
Mario Mieli, Homosexuality and Liberation
Sex, as an organ and a practice, is neither a precise biological location nor a natural impulse. Sex is a technology of heterosocial domination that reduces the body to erogenous zones in function of an asymetrical distribution of power between the genders (feminine/masculine), making coincide certain affects with specific organs, certain sensations with specific anatomical reactions.
Beatriz Preciado, Manifiesto contrasexual
The 20th of October is the International Day of Action for the Depathologisation of Trans and groups and collectivities in over 70 cities organised protests demanding that transexuality cease to be treated as a desease.
A partial translation from spanish of the Octubre Trans 2011 Manifesto from Barcelona follows …
One more we take to the streets to reinvite the gender system and the patriarchal order. One more year we wish to place at the centre of the social debate the reality that we live each day of bodies that violate the norms of gender or transgress hegemonic sexuality. From the perspective of transfeminism we understand gender in itself as a mecanism of social control, a category that generates violence, that enforces the man-woman binomial and the nuclear family, punishing and marginalising those forms of thought, feeling and acting that do not correspond to gender and sexual normality.
We opt to speak of the violence of gender in a broad sense, placing at the centre the violence execised against women and all those who do not fit into the gender system; conceiving in turn sexual difference as intrinsically violent. Transfobia is another violence of gender.
We understand gender as a system that employs strategies such as the pathologisation of difference, the regulation of acces to one’s own body (abortion, contraceptives, hormones, pregnancy, birth, etc.) or of obligatory heterosexuality as an institution to maintain the established social order.
The pathologisation of transexuality is meaningless without the sexist rulers of a dichotomous and heteropatriarchical system of gender based on the reproduction of a series of roles and stereotypes that are completely hierarchical and that serve to perpetuate specific social inequalities, principally the asymmetry between men and women. In the same way, all of the criminalisation applied daily to bodies that do not fit into the binaries man/woman, hetero/homo, desirable/undesirable. Each and every censoring and punitive action which dictates behaviour in conformity with the gender norms socially imposed. Each time a model of masculinity and femininity is imposed that punishes us for violating it: it is one more example of heteropatriarchal violence.
We demand the elimination of all of this violence in every sphere: medical, legislative, labour, in education, in communication media, in the street, in attitudes and in private life.
We defend the elimination of transexuality from the manuals of mental illness (DSM-V and CIE-11).
We do not accept any health intervention that considers transexuality, transgender and/or intersex bodies as realities to eradicate. We identify transfobia as the problem and denounce the complicity of the current medical system each time it confuses our diversity with a psychiatric matter. We demand psychological support as an option freely chosen by the person, a support that must be carried out with the absolute respect of our dignity. We speak of pathologisation as one of the factors that suppressed it. We proclaim out autonomy to decide whether we want to introduce changes in our bodies and our freedom to choose them beyond the stereotypical ideas of man and woman which the medical professions nevertheless continue to hold to today.
We demand the freedom of all people who desire it to not identify themselves as man or woman. We believe that it should not be obligatory to mention one’s sex in official documents and we demand the elimination of medical protocols for the binary normalisation of intersex persons. Of course, the sexual and reproductive freedom of trans persons, lesbian women and single persons should be guaranteed.
We want that all non-normative sexual conduct disappear from the DSM, classified as parafilias, such as fetishism, sadomaso, bondage, group sex, nymphomania, etc. Sexual relations of mutuam accord between conscious persons should not be the meat of the pathologising medical institution with its mistakes and horrors over the course of its history.
We reject the cruelty of capitalism, of this economic and political system that intensifies discrimination expelling trans people, women, dykes, fags, queers, etc., from the labour market.
We defend the recognition of labour and social rights for sex workers and the regularisation of immigrants who dedicate themselves to sexual work.
We demand that the freedom of persons to migrate be respected and that exile for motives of gender and sexuality be facilitated, as well as the abolition of the CIEs (Centres of Internment for Foreigners) ….
Because the personal is political, we demand the right to a free sexuality and public affectivity … that is not condemned to intimacy, privacy and invisibility.
No institution (neither church, nor science, nor the State, nor the Market) should continue to hold power over the lives of people, over our affective, sexual and loving relations, over our reproductive life, over our decisions as regards our bodies and our forms of organisation.
We defend the plurality of forms of relationship that exceed the normative model of monogamy and the nuclear family.
Because when utopias are created and are lived, they begin to exist, we will continue as we have: creating discourses and practices that are alternatives to the gender and capitalist system, transforming with our ideas and our forms of relations, generating desires with our bodies and bodies with our desires.
We are going to the streets!
Against the pathologisation of identities, the self-management of our bodies and our desires!
Oppression, for many, remains a matter of repression. Between oppressor and oppressed is an external relation, a relation that serves the interests of the former against those of the latter. The oppression is then lifted by reforming or overthrowing the authority of the oppressor (the State, Capital); liberating the oppressed. That such a picture of power remains with us after so much has been done and said to teach us the contrary, may at first surprise, until it is realised that the picture is itself part of the illusion of power.
Oppression works and seduces the oppressed, moulds and shapes bodies, affects, desires and thoughts. It constructs the subjects of the spheres of subjectivity that have been named “politics”, “economics”, “society”, subjects surveyed and domesticated, classified and catalogued; often, in turn, assumed and embraced, even affirmed in a politics of the subject against violations. The illusion is that this politics contests oppression as such, when it but throws one side of itself against another, obliging in response but a recalibration of the fabric of power.
Sex, gender and sexuality are among the categories of the library of subjectivities, categories of control which mistakenly have often been affirmed as intrinsically rebellious. But the insurrection of woman, of the lesbian and the homosexual, and of other identities of the sex-gender-sexuality matrix perpetuate the dominion of a subject, subjugate as they subject.
“The most potent form of controlling sexuality is not … the prohibition of certain practices, but the production of different desires and pleasures that seem to derive from natural predispositions (man/woman, heterosexual/homosexual, etc), and that are finally reified and objectified as “sexual identities”. Disciplinary techniques of sexuality are not repressive mechanisms, but reproductive structures, as are technques of desire and knowledge that give rise to the different subject positions of knowledge-pleasure”. (Beatriz Preciado)
The politics of trans…, of transfeminism, transgender, transexuality opens a space beyond the government of subjects, beyond the politics of subjectivity; a passage towards an ethics of de-subjectification and a politics of ecstatic friendship.
The revolution will be trans…, or it will not be.
To remember a rebellion and those who died for it, but equally to celebrate it … Paris is Burning …