One of the problems we ran into with crowdfunding The Switch - A Transgender Comedy is that our community's spending patterns are unlike most others. While most Kickstarters would exponentially grow towards a goal and then exceed it, often easily doubling or quintupling their goal, ours crested the minimum before the halfway mark, and then... dropped, then rose and then dropped again. So while your average Kickstarter that asked for $50,000 and hit that goal less than halfway through would go on to $140,000-$190,000, our donation graph waffled and settled at $62,500ish. People gave what they could, and we got what we needed, but that's it.

As near as I can tell, the determining factors seem to be:
- People were reducing their donations because most of us are flat broke and so won't give more money than the minimum. Under different circumstances, the people contributing money would be running a fundraiser themselves just to pay rent

- Following the above, because of the lack of money, and the reliance on social media, our in-community-fundraiser per individual rate is high compared to many other demographics. We also get asked for a large amount of online micro-volunteering: fill out this human rights survey, help me complete my project, sign this petition, argue with this bigot. It's like the annual Christmas charity fatigue, only it's year round.

What worked for us really well was in-person calls to action. Can you give us used stuff? Could you cut us a deal on rentals? Do you have extra food? Trans and Cis people and businesses both pitched in huge for those, and it brought down the cost of our shoot to where we could afford to finish it. We also found that asking "Can you show up and help out in person?" was, for trans folk, a "push" rather than a "pull" - it offered community contact and a sense of meaning to people who are often isolated and depressed, and people came out and volunteered their time. These don't work well when you're trying to drum up nationwide support, but for local community stuff, it's amazing. 
 I don't agree with this

As a trans woman and activist, I love the use of trans, trans* and transgender as umbrella terms

In my experience, the problem we have is one of semantics, rooted in whether transgender means:
(a) people who break the rules of gender other than in who they sleep with (i.e. people whose identities *and/or expressions* differ from that assigned to them at or shortly after birth )
or
(b) people who cis society perceives "cross over" from one binary gender to another, even though many actually identified that way their entire lives

When I was introduced to the term "transgender," it clearly meant (a). It was an umbrella used for organizing, and at least made an effort to represent all the gender outlaws under one banner. But when the media started reporting specifically on transsexuals in the late 00's, it assumed "transgender" was a polite substitution for "transsexual" because... uh... I guess they thought it's better to not say "sex" or something.

(Tangent: At times, "transgender" it was used to refer specifically to no-ho/non-op people who have a binary gender identity that conflicts with their assignment at birth, thus shedding the medical diagnostic ties of "transsexual." This should be no surprise, as the term "transgender" was reappropriated from the word "transgenderist" as was popularized by Virginia Prince in the 1970s who organized around this very identity, and who was instrumental in the part-time MTF-spectrum umbrella that included both trans women and AFAB crossdressers.)

As a consequence of this binary-focused mainstream media coverage, many non-binary people and cissexed gender non-conforming people felt it does not include them, so they stopped identifying with it.

If however, we use Transgender as an umbrella term, many gender-variant people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth might want to use the term "cis*sexed* and transgender" while non binary people can use "non binary transgender"

Failing that, to my knowledge, we lack any short umbrella term that has ever satisfied a large number of people. And that causes a problem whenever someone is trying to concisely convey the spectrum of people who might have a stake or at least a deep-seated personal interest in combatting transphobia, binary sexism, imperialist gender systems, transmisogyny, body-freedom and so on.
 There's a column floating around by Miranda Yardley about why it's okay to organize women's spaces according to sex assigned at birth. I wrote the start of a rebuttal and didn't want it to go to waste.
 
____
 
I'd suggest reading Julia Serano's "excluded" on this matter. I have a copy I can lend you.
 
____
 
A quick aside before I begin. I get that she's trans, but I don't know what is up with Miranda Yardley. Imagine having one vocal gay person who believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Then imagine religious conservative groups plastering that person's name and words all over their media. 
 
Yardley has long been one well-off member of a minority that takes the side of a system that is making life difficult (and often shorter) for that minority, including those without her advantages in life. The champions of that system can then point to her as a token example of a minority that agrees with them. Look at a sizeable chunk of the people who cite her columns. Look at what else those people have to say about trans folk. It's not pretty.
 
____
 
REBUTTAL:
 
In my experience, the use of "sex" (or rather 'sex as assigned at birth') as a rallying point for "gender-critical" feminist organizing only developed because people wanted a way to justify their exclusion of transgender women that squared with a superficial progressive rhetoric. They used to use "youth socialization" as the benchmark of authentic womanhood as they assumed that no trans women experience it. Now that trans women are coming out young and do in fact get to grow up being regarded as female, they are moving over to "sex" in the hopes that this time it will stick and people won't look at it too critically. 
 
It can be demonstrated that "sex-based organizing" is only a rhetorical device as it does not focus on uteruses another traditionally female anatomy in its political concerns. Further,  trans men (who should, in theory be welcome) are not admitted, while women of variant intersex/reproductive statuses are admitted (when in theory they should not be). Rather, sex-based organizing relies on politics are otherwise identical to hostile outmoded exclusive policies that preceded them. Moreover, the spaces that tout sex-based organizing are pretty much always rabidly transphobic. It's not a coincidence.
 
This model does not acknowledge intersectionality. It oversimplifies being assigned male at birth as a free ticket and paints all trans women as being highly privileged dudes who one day decided to shuck off one identity to go slum it in another less privileged one. It's true that some trans women had no issues prior to transition, had alpha male careers and then made the switch, yes. However (1) it has yet to be demonstrated that excluding there are tangible benefits to excluding these (previously privileged, now marginalized) people, and, more importantly, (2) *most trans women do not experience this.*
 
I can tell you, most trans women can tell you, and any transgender-related quality-of-life statistic you want to check can tell you that if you are presenting as a woman, it is MUCH safer in this society to be perceived as CAFAB (Coercively Assigned Female at Birth - "female sex"). I go out of my way to get people to assume that I am CAFAB because I would not have been able to get my training, travel, be able to do my job, or even be safe on the street otherwise.
 
But if that does not satisfy the author, I can put it another way: We know that the majority of trans women (especially those who are visibly assigned male at birth, and especially those experiencing other forms of oppression such as immigration status, race, and ability) experience incredibly high rates of unemployment, violence, incarceration and mortality. Given this, is it just to go out of one's way to build a theoretical framework to exclude them from community and rights-based organizing?
 
Also to keep in mind: the exclusion of trans women from feminist (and lesbian) organizing operates pretty much in tandem with the exclusion of bisexuals, femmes and sex-workers. The logic in all cases is that one's personal gender behaviour (in partners, gender expression, identity, and work) must follow the party line. That ain't good feminism in my book.

I went to larp last night. I NPC'd, which means that I played a supporting character in other people's stories. Her name was Emily Watkins, and her goal was to Save the World through Science!

It's an understandable goal for her. She had a lot of faith in science. She probably used to be some gifted type who wound up doing research for DARPA before realizing that (1) she needed to transition and (2) building drones was actually not as good a contribution to humanity as she'd been led to believe. In any case, she stole access to the ground ingredients for a kind of spatial-informaional singularity, more as a "fuck you" to her superiors. She saw what happened to people who leaked info and she was indifferent to whether she lived to be one of them.

This system didn't expose the military industrial complex, but it also didn't irradiate her (much). Instead, it knocked her stepped out of time into a higher reality. In this extra-ordinary non-space, she'd technomagically edited her own memories to give herself a self-consistent physical/mental life history on the Clavius Colonies, on Luna's Southern hemisphere, where she grew up in a peaceful posthuman multifaith/multiculture microecologically-aided water mining, where she ultimately took on the ("summer") job of operating the fusion reactor. I'm sure this sounded like a good idea at the time, but when her fantasy world ended in a nightmare invasion of hostile weaponized von neuman systems - the descendants of what she used to build - she got bounced back to Earth with no idea how to operate without the usual comforts of airtight rock shelters, postscarcity cultural-economics, somatic freedom, mindcasting or socialist-libertarian-Sharia. And there was that matter of re-learning English instead of proto-Marainic Interlingua.


She's pretty cracking smart, so a few months after her rough return, she entered the imaginary charity ball, elegant in a plum and silver gown, loudly lamenting "this attire is impractical." (Which it is compared to a multipocketed low-G coverall suit with the usual assortment of sensors, tailored microbes and emergency vacuum survival gear) Then she roughly threw her backpack into the corner and asked for instructions on socializing.

Conversation starters included:

"It rains a lot right now."

"The... Canucks are playing hockey."


The entire event took place at an imaginary charity ball where, to elude the Faerie Lords, everyone's identity was magically concealed. No-one could recognize anyone else. This could be a problem as she was there to track down and apprehend a spy. But for Emily, who has both aspergers and prosopagnosia to go with it, not being able to recognize people was nothing unusual. When she figured out that everyone else was having trouble, she gave a chuckle at how "So... neurotypicals are operating on my level. Dope."



Quotes:

"If the cord is giving you so much trouble, why not just quantum-tunnel it?"

"It's still not haram here? I've never consumed ethyl alcohol at these concentrations before.  I mean, you said that I've done it twice, but all that I remember is waking up with a headache. Ooh! More champagne? And it's free? Please!"

(forty minutes later, with her head on a table) "Why do people consume this!? Why don't you just gland your drugs!?"


"The don't like to be called 'robots.' It's rude, due to the implications of slavery. Thank you for the offer of employment nonetheless, but I'm not an abiotic person. Tomasz is building one though."

"Sure. Sure. Wõ shì hen xão xìexìe. Ní. Oh right. English. And then I say. I am also well. I thank... you."




Anyhow. This character is an exercise in being completely unfiltered. In terms of speech (see above examples), in reacting to people (hitting a 1654 pirate in the back of the head after a relatively-mild in-character  rape joke) and in terms of gender. I din't not have that creeping feeling of operating in a pre-tranisitional state at all. AT ALL. Which is very rare, especially of late. I also felt pretty. And that was pretty darn nice. I also felt more confident and calm afterwards.


I'm not sure what this means, but I'll have to find it again.


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