There should be a place where bad ideas go to die, and the first idea to be shipped there on a first class, one-way express journey to abyssal depth should be what is colloquially known as “the Cotton Ceiling.” The Cotton Ceiling, coined by a male “lesbian” pornographer, refers to the barrier trans women face when denied access to sex with lesbians.
Surprised? Keep reading.
You are about to be astonished at the appropriation of the lives, fears and culture of women by today’s most fashionable form of homophobia. This is itself an attack on the sexual and bodily autonomy of all women and especially lesbians, and is not just rubber-stamped by the organizations who are supposed to defend the rights of lesbians and gay men, it is positively celebrated so much that the point behind these organizations is no longer the interests of lesbians and gay men. The point is now the bank account.
It’s a measure of how completely topsy-turvy the transgender debate has made LGB&T politics and organizations that the person writing this piece is a transsexual. I am, however, uniquely placed to be able to write this piece as I am a man who ‘lives as a woman,’ whatever that may mean, and can see exactly how too many transgender rights activists think. And as anyone who has ever participated in social media knows, any criticism of transgender ideology, which we all of us have the right to accept, critique and reject, any deviation from the brain-sucking mantra of ‘trans women are women,’ is met with reports to our employers, threats of physical violence, and threats of rape and death. This is a viciously toxic form of men’s sexual rights activism that has managed to rebrand and reframe itself as a civil rights movement.
This is a viciously toxic form of men’s sexual rights activism that has managed to rebrand and reframe itself as a civil rights movement.
The framing of any discussion or debate is all important, and political language is often used to reframe threats as harmless, or to sell us ideas we’d never ordinarily entertain. Sometimes though the only way to drill down and actually understand something is to walk away from any subjective post-structuralist pretensions and abandon the soft lighting of the political language we have been carefully taught, reverting to good old fashioned precise and factual descriptions: thus all pronouns and reference to sex within my writing shall be implied from real life actual biological sex, and biological males will be referred to as such, even when they LARP 24/7 as a man’s idea of what it is to be a woman.
We cannot talk sensibly about sexuality and sexual orientation unless we are able to correctly identify sex, and being consistent on sex will also allow me to distance myself from the transgenderist reframing of the inherently exclusionary nature of sexual orientation as acts of bigotry and hate, because it is not: we are allowed to define our personal, intimate and sexual boundaries and decline sexual and romantic relationships without having to justify these.
The homophobic, anti-lesbian idea which had wedged itself into the heart of transgender ideology does, of course, have a name: The Cotton Ceiling. The cotton ceiling is defined by Wikipedia as “…the difficulty trans people experience when seeking lesbian and gay relationships, and in lesbian and gay social spaces more generally.” This needs to be carefully deconstructed, in particular, the basis of the perceived exclusion is extremely important: attempts to reframe exclusion as ‘transphobic hate’ based on the exclusion being ‘because they are trans’ is the most common argument, however the true motivation is revealed starkly by Julia Serano, writing in 2014 in The Daily Beast ‘The Struggle to Find Trans Love in San Francisco,’ which is a masterpiece in the sleight of hand that has made it impossible to talk about our sexual orientation in terms of biological sex without being labelled a bigot or worse: the piece is even subtitled “for one trans woman, finding a date within San Francisco’s lesbian community turned out to be much harder than she anticipated” which, by redefining Serano as a woman, immediately demonized those darn evil lesbians and makes him out to be an innocent victim of unfair negative discrimination. What Serano does is reframe his difficulty in finding a female homosexual to have sex with him as symptomatic of systematic, structural oppression. Here, he, the biological male in search of a sexual relationship with a homosexual, biological female, is bizarrely reframed as the victim:
“if it were only a small percentage of cis dykes who were not interested in trans women at all, I would write it off as simply a matter of personal preference. But this not a minor problem — it is systemic; it is a predominant sentiment in queer women’s communities. And when the overwhelming majority of cis dykes date and fuck cis women, but are not open to, or are even turned off by, the idea of dating or fucking trans women, how is that not transphobic? And to those cis women who claim a dyke identity, yet consider trans men, but not trans women, to be a part of your dating pool, let me ask you this: How are you not a hypocrite?”
Of course, this only works if we perceive Serano as a disadvantaged woman, and not a man whose idea of ‘woman’ clearly is nothing other than a sexual object, as Serano explains in this autobiographical passage from ‘Whipping Girl’:
“When I hit puberty, my newly found attraction to women spilled into my dreams of becoming a girl. For me, sexuality became a strange combination of jealousy, self-loathing, and lust. Because when you isolate an impressionable transgender teen and bombard her with billboard ads baring bikini clad women and boys’ locker room trash talk about this girl’s tits and that girl’s ass, then she will learn to turn her gender identity into a fetish… my thirteen-year-old brain started concocting scenarios straight out of SM handbooks. Most of my fantasies began with my abduction: I’d turn to putty in the hands of some twisted man who would turn me into a woman as part of his evil plan. It’s called forced feminization, and it’s not really about sex. It is about turning the humiliation you feel into pleasure, transforming the loss of male privilege into the best fuck ever.”
Within the world of transgender, the elephant in the room is the influence of sex: to outsiders, this is visible clear as day, and a dip into trans-Twitter or the trans boards on 4Chan (4Tran…?) show obsessions with anime and a porn-influenced conceptualisation of ‘woman’ and, of course, ‘lesbian.’ The male fantasy of being the spectator to two (or more) women having sex is evolved by inserting into this scene the sexually aroused man, who by identity alone has become ‘lesbian,’ and this is the fantastical scenario the ‘trans woman’ aspires to: acceptance as a woman at the most fundamental level, by a woman who is sexually oriented only towards women. This is the achievement they would wish to unlock, this is the end-of-level boss.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that ‘cotton ceiling’ was coined by a transgender porn actor, Drew DeVeaux in 2012, and itself alludes to the systemic power structure that has been used to keep women in their place, ‘the glass ceiling’. It should also be of no surprise, as of course porn is an industry run by and for men, that other trans porn actors have berated lesbian colleagues for not wishing to ‘perform’ with a male-bodied individual with a functioning male reproductive system. Writing ‘Why I Went to War’ in 2014, Lily Cade recounted an attempt to bully her by transgender porn actor Chelsea Poe:
“Chelsea Poe, a pre- or non-op transsexual woman (a human being with a penis and testicles) asked me to cast her in my lesbian porn. I said no, and she accused me of transphobia… (W)hat Chelsea asked me to do was to spend my capital, my energy, the trust of my fanbase that I have built up over six years in porn, to fight for her cause: her cause of proving she is attractive. Chelsea asked me to give her work in my movies… Chelsea demanded that in the name of ‘equality’ I give one of those roles to her and pay for someone to fuck her, so that she could wave her dick in the faces of my lesbian porn fans to make some point about how they should stop being bigots and accept that she’s hot.”
This is not something that is confined to the world of pornography, even before Cade’s altercation with Poe mainstream feminist websites were reframing ‘lesbian’ to include men and berating women who refused to comply. The Trojan horse Autostraddle in 2013 published ‘Getting With Girls Like Us: A Radical Guide to Dating Trans Women for Cis Women’:
“…she referred to me as a “trans woman” as opposed to a “woman woman,” I found it difficult to bring myself to even say much for the last few minutes of our little disaster date… (o)kay ladies, let’s stop right here and get our game together. One point is that this isn’t just a matter of grossing out a trans woman over dinner; it’s also a matter of a cis woman making herself look like kind of an ass. And beyond that, this kind of ignorant cissexism just gets in the way of us getting closer and having fun together… if genitalia is the one and only reason for not being into someone, I do think it is worth thinking through that.”
And just when you think it could not possibly get worse, it really does:
“I have written previously about some of the alienation I have experienced as a trans woman dating in the queer women’s community. Now, I want to emphasize here again that no one is obligated to touch a woman’s penis if they aren’t into that. However it’s also important to emphasize:
1) Not every trans woman has a penis.
2) No general means exist to distinguish trans women from cis women.
The implications of these two points together are that statements such as ‘I am attracted to cis women but not trans women’ simply do not make sense and are rooted in social prejudice.”
Any suggestion this is aimed at men as well as women is disingenuous: Autostraddle and Everyday Feminism (which syndicated the piece) are websites targeting women, and of course the author of the piece is himself sexually oriented towards women. Thus, it is the intent of the piece to argue against any objection a woman may have to dating a member of the opposite sex. Think about what this means: five years ago, women’s online magazines were arguing that lesbians submit their bodies to men who claim to identify as women. (An excellent example of the gaslighting and outright manipulation used by activists at this time is transposed in the Femonade piece ‘The Cotton Ceiling? Really?’.
We are finding ourselves in a dystopian world where we are unable to talk about biological sex, sexual orientation or even name the reality of these in relation to the small number of perpetrators of harassment and sexual and other violence against women and girls. Just think what it means for all of us, should our sources of news and information and our discussion channels make it impossible for us to have real conversations about these things. Where will this end?
If you have been following this debate since these earliest roots, it will be apparent that nothing has changed other than this biological sex-blind homophobia has, straight up, become mainstream with a list and long as your arm of (male!) culprits who think that they guilt-trip you round your sexual orientation. And because of the way our use of language is now being imposed, with Facebook and Twitter suspending and even terminating those of us who refuse to submit to the dogma of transgender ideology, and Automattic redacting information on WordPress-hosted blog posts, we are finding ourselves in a dystopian world where we are unable to talk about biological sex, sexual orientation or even name the reality of these in relation to the small number of perpetrators of harassment and sexual and other violence against women and girls. Just think what it means for all of us, should our sources of news and information and our discussion channels make it impossible for us to have real conversations about these things. Where will this end?
As comically ridiculous as it may seem of Zinnia Jones to be talking about his ‘girl dick’ or Riley Dennis suggesting it is ‘cissexist’ to be attracted to people with only one type of genital or that your dating preferences are an act of hate, or Roz Kaveney claiming that ‘trans women’s penises are not male penises’, don’t be fooled by the deep-rooted homophobia which lies at the heart of what these men are trying to do, which is to make it unacceptable for women to be able to set their own intimate and sexual boundaries. There is of course nothing new with heterosexual males trying to do this, the difference is this is being done under the flag of social progressivism and civil rights.
Often those involved will claim that there is a generational factor at play, that ‘young people get what transgender means’ and that the rest of us are just antiquated dinosaurs, what with our personal boundaries and sexual orientations. This is, however, a smokescreen to conceal the fact that organizations have for years been infiltrating our schools and youth organizations and culture, to directly attack sex-based safeguarding of young people and inculcate that our sex is something that exists in our head rather than a physical reality.
If you looked to our lesbian and gay support groups, you’d be forgiven for thinking none of these problems exist. Here, in the United Kingdom, we have in Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt and Diva Magazine’s Linda Riley two women who are willing to compromise the integrity of what it means to be a homosexual human female, a lesbian, and these women who themselves are lesbians themselves, have inserted into their remit the class of people lesbianism excludes, males, and twisted their organization’s objectives to all but center the love interests of the heterosexual male. In the Stonewall document ‘The Truth About Trans’ the following Q&A neatly encapsules just how far Hunt and Stonewall are willing to go to eliminate the material reality of what it is to be a homosexual female:
“So, could a lesbian have a trans woman as a lesbian partner, or a gay man be with a trans man?
Of course. If they fancy each other. First and foremost, we need to recognize that trans women are women, and trans men are men. After that it becomes a matter of who you are attracted to. Adults are free to have relationships with other consenting adults, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Diva’s Linda Riley is unwilling to enter into any discussion with actual female homosexuals over whether men can call themselves lesbians, instead doubling-down by reframing even questioning her wish to validate heterosexual males as lesbians as nothing other than the incitement of hate:
“I refuse to change my views on Trans Inclusivity within @DIVAmagazine and I was very clear on this when I met you. To spell it out clearly DIVA will not print or publish any views which we deem to incite hate against the Trans Community.”
This gross neglect by Hunt and Riley of their key constituents is, of course, all about money: the diversity and inclusivity industrial complex offers rich rewards for organizations who are happy to promote the message that people should cease thinking for themselves and relinquish all control over their personal boundaries.
The diversity and inclusivity industrial complex offers rich rewards for organizations who are happy to promote the message that people should cease thinking for themselves and relinquish all control over their personal boundaries.
The reality then is that the very organizations that should be challenging the decimation of lesbian and gay culture, which under the label ‘queer’ has had its political force diluted to homeopathic significance, have instead become the cheerleaders for the poor, sad, sexually oppressed heterosexual male and are unwilling to challenge damaging cultural practices that affect our younger lesbian and gay populations, as this is seen as ‘progressive’.
In the UK alone through 2017–18, 1,806 girls were referred to theTavistock and Portman Gender Identity Service seeking hormonal and other interventions to make them into ‘men.’ We do not exist in a vacuum, and yet attempts to investigate the causes of this phenomena have been attacked by activists creating anuntenable environment for those scientists who would wish to investigate this phenomenon. Lisa Littman’s paper ‘Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports’ investigated an observed change in the pattern and constitution of children presenting with gender dysphoria, and 82.8% (212) of the 256 children in the study were girls. Of course, those who complained about this study were men, the girls who are affected by this are of no consequence to these activists.
Lesbian YouTube personality Arielle Scarcella has spent nine years producing videos on her channel and has always included the lives and perspectives of transwomen in her work. The transgender community should be grateful for her honest support and allyship, after all ,she does not owe the transgender community anything. Instead, she has been subjected to attack and abuse from all sides of the transgender community.
Arielle has always talked about the inclusion of ‘trans women’ in her communities and sees the damage to her community the new, culturally legitimate form of sexual coercion is taking. In ‘Dear Trans Women, Stop Pushing “Girl Dick” On Lesbians’ she has observed:
“young lesbians are being told their sexual orientation is bigoted — it’s time trans activists stop pushing ‘girl dick’ on them. Genital ‘preferences’ is bad word usage.”
This is the antithesis of freedom; this is a new form of fascism through economic coercion, which has cleverly been disguised as a civil rights movement.
The victims of this new religion are, of course, women: lesbian culture has been decimated as lesbian bars rebadge themselves as ‘queer’ so that they are more ‘inclusive’, which in this context means ‘less likely to be attacked by transgender activists claiming discrimination’. Women-only groups, organizations and even festivals are compelled, by direct threats to funding, to accept ‘self-identification’ as the passport to these spaces, rather than a collection of shared physical characteristics and a life of experience of living with the resultant personal and intimate consequences.
This is the antithesis of freedom; this is a new form of fascism through economic coercion, which has cleverly been disguised as a civil rights movement. If the transgender rights movement may be described as a revolution, it is now time for counter-revolution: bring on the backlash.
This was originally published 5 December 2018 on AfterEllen.com which was an absolute honour.