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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Empire Strikes Back: A PostTransSexual Manifesto

Sandy Stone's 1993 essay, PDF format for download: 


Sandy Stone notes that the above link is the most recent, current revision of this work --

Sandy Stone
Department of Radio, Television and Film, the University of Texas at Austin Copyright
(c) 1993 by Sandy Stone.

Publication history: Version 1.0 written late 1987.
First presented at "Other Voices,
Other Worlds: Questioning Gender and Ethnicity," Santa Cruz, CA, 1988.
First published in Kristina Straub and Julia Epstein, eds.: "Body Guards: The Cultural Politics
of Gender Ambiguity" (New York: Routledge 1991).
Second version, revised and updated, published in "Camera Obscura", Spring 1994.
Electronic version published on the ACTLab ftp site, January 1994. Fourth version, revised and updated, forthcoming. 

Excerpt -- 
[8] Such results might have been considered marginal, hedged about as they were with markers of questionable method or excessively limited samples. Yet they came to represent transsexuals in medicolegal/psychological literature, disclaimers and all, almost to the present day. During the same period, feminist theoreticians were developing their own analyses. The issue quickly became, and remains, volatile and divisive. Let me quote an example.

Rape . . . is a masculinist violation of bodily integrity. All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves...Rape, although it is usually done by force, can also be accomplished by deception.”

This quote is from Janice Raymond's 1979 book The Transsexual Empire: The Making Of The She-Male, which occasioned the title of this paper. I read Raymond to be claiming that transsexuals are constructs of an evil phallocratic empire and were designed to invade women's spaces and appropriate women's power. Though Empire represented a specific moment in feminist analysis and prefigured the appropriation of liberal political language by a radical right, here in 1991, on the twelfth anniversary of its publication, it is still the definitive statement on transsexualism by a genetic female academic.


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