Trans Debate: Combat All Forms of Gender Oppression
I am writing in response to "Debating Trans Rights" in ULK 31. I am a bi-two spirit prisoner who's been active in the struggle since the 70s. I do not agree with everything that revolutionary comrades espouse, but these are not grounds for division, they are expressions of human diversity. The Pennsylvania comrade seems to have misunderstood MIM(Prisons)'s position and taken it somewhat persynally.
Having said as much, I see this comrade's struggle (and indeed the trans struggle generally) as an agitational process and as resistance to imposed norms of identity inseparable from the broader battle against sex-based discrimination and exploitation globally.
Whether a trans persyn can afford sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or hormone therapy speaks only to their economic condition and not to their location. This economic hurdle actually applies to most trans people in the u.s., many of whom seek SRS and treatments via the underground from sources in Mexico and Latin America due to the artificially inflated cost created by the medical establishment in the u.s. and exploitative pharmaceutical monopolies. It was done with Cipro during the anthrax scare and is still being done with HIV/AIDS treatment, which has had an enormously adverse impact in Africa where AIDS and AIDS-related deaths are epidemic.
It should also not go unnoticed that trans people in the u.s. are being raped and murdered as well (especially in prison) due to their identity, as are gays and bis. A 2012 Black & Pink newsletter published 43 photos of trans wimmin murdered by hate criminals. This number represented only a tiny fraction of the total number of murders of trans people as the result of hate in the u.s.
From an international perspective, the u.s. cannot be excluded from the global battlefield. The transitioning comrade in Pennsylvania should note that MIM(Prisons) never said they were against SRS/hormone therapy, nor did they derogate that particular struggle. They simply said it isn't part of their global perspective on anti-imperialist struggle. This is hardly a disparaging or anti-trans position.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate this comrade expanding on what we wrote in ULK 31. We stand by our point: "In the article this prisoner criticizes, we wrote that we do not fight for sex reassignment surgery in the same way we don't fight for gay marriage, because both amount to further privileges for people already benefiting from imperialism. We could equate these struggles with the fight to get more women in executive positions in companies, or the fight to get a Black man in the white house. They represent steps forward in equality for Blacks, wimmin, gays and trans people in reaping imperialist spoils of war and gender oppression on Third World peoples. These struggles do not help advance the fight against imperialism, to liberate the Third World peoples." And as we explained in ULK 12, the U.$. health care system is not in the best interests of Amerikans, but on the whole they still have access to far superior care than most people in the world. So to struggle to improve U.$. health care strengthens imperialism, while ending AIDS drug monopolies challenges imperialism.
We agree with this writer that we should not ignore those facing particularly brutal gender oppression in the First World. The murder of trans people, and violence against anyone for sexual orientation or gender identity, is objectively reactionary and is a product of patriarchal imperialism. This violence is just one of many reasons why those facing this gender oppression should be on the side of the anti-imperialist struggle, fighting for a world free of gender oppression.