I have "Die Cis Scum" questions

Christina here…

I’m an atheist. People who are theists (especially Chistians, in this country) are the privileged majority.

I’m a women. Men have more privilage than me in society.

I’m non-cis. My gender identity does not always match the behavior role considered appropriate for my sex. I’m not trans, either, so I live in some sort of grayish murky gender-water.    I’m unsure of my status as trans or cis, and could perhaps be described as bi-gender. I’m still working that out.

I have a mental illness. People without mental illnesses have more privilege in society.

I live in a low-income part of the city, ripe with crime and poverty. I work largely in an even lower-income part of St. Louis with even worse crime and poverty. St. Louis routinely graces the #1 spot on the “most dangerous cities” list, and I work in the area where 60% of the crime comes from. I grew up poor. Yet, I’m white, young,  not living in poverty, and educated.

I understand issues of privilege. Really. But I shouldn’t have to give you a list of occupational reasons why. My personal reasons should not matter: Even the richest white guy living in the fanciest neighborhood with the greatest number of “privilege” markers should be able to understand: to pretend our “privilaged” status makes us unable to understand is a giant ad hominen. That’s like saying a poor guy can’t understand the difficulties of being a rich dude. We get it if we get it. And we don’t if we don’t. Our arguments for or against should stand on their own, and the person making those arguments should matter not.

So having said that, I want to write about this “Die Cis Scum” thing.

The popularity of “die cis scum” seems to have originated somewhere around this post. Here is the text of said post:

DIE CIS SCUM

It’s not ironic. It’s not cute. It is a threat.

How many people are murdered because they are cis? How many people are denied employment, housing, health services, turned away from shelters, refused aid, and are subjected to constant ridicule and abuse because they are cis?

If you are cis, do my tattoo and jacket make you feel uncomfortable? I can only hope so.

Right now, when I see a cis person in public, I worry. I tense and hold my breath and get ready to sprint away. You frighten me. This fear is entirely justified. I’ve already been sent to the hospital for the crime of walking down the sidewalk towards my home while visibly gender variant. I fully expect to be attacked again, severely. (The less severe attacks, the screams and threats and disapproval and hatred and thrust elbows and shoves, these are the givens. These are part of the cost I know I will be forced to pay if I wish to leave my house.)

Die cis scum. It is hostile. It’s aggression, on my part. It is a whisper of personal agency. When the cissexism and transphobia of this culture crush in, overwhelming and unstoppable, these three words are how I push back.

Would that I could push harder.

Accompanied by the post are photographs of a tattoo and a jacket which say, “die cis scum” on them.

So, “die cis scum” is meant to be hostile, according to this blogger. Apparently the phrase has a somewhat interesting and recent history:

For those who don’t know the “die cis scum” history, it’s a phrase that many in the trans community on tumblr have taken to use as a rallying cry/pushback against ciscentric culture that literally kills a whole fucking lot of trans people.  I’m not going to lie, the phrase makes me mildly uncomfortable, but I absolutely understand where it’s coming from and am not going to begrudge anyone their anger against a vastly more powerful group that stands a much-higher-than-is-comfortable chance of killing them, because it’s not my place to police people’s expressions of anger against oppression.  It was said in a moment of frustration and anger, got picked up by a lot of people, and became A Thing, with the inevitable result of a whole lot of cis people having very hurt fee-fees over it.  A backlash developed, with far too many cis people saying that Die Cis Scum makes the trans* people who use it “just as bad” as the cis people who murder and abuse trans* people.  (O rly?  Just as bad?  You have an…interesting morality scale.)  The response from many trans* people has been “It doesn’t say “die cis people”.  It says “die cis scum”.  Are you cis, but not scum?  Then you’re safe, now shut up.”  Of course, backlashing cis people couldn’t let it rest there.

I don’t have any hurt fee-fees and the like, but I do have questions:

Die bourgeois scum.

Die Christian scum.

Die male scum.

Die average-sized person scum

Die white scum

Die cis scum

Die educated scum

Die able-bodied scum

Die adult (but not geriatric) scum

Die American scum

Die native-born US citizen scum

Die Neurotypical scum

Die monogamous scum

Die native-language speaking scum

Are these phrases meaningfully different from “die cis scum”? Can all of the arguments about why “die cis scum” is acceptable be applied to these other phrases?

Some in the community have suggest that “die cis scum” does not mean something like, “hostility toward all cis people, who are all scum” but something more like, “hostility only to those cis people who are oppressive, and therefore scum”. As illustrated by this diagram (found here):

Photo of venn diagram of scum, cis scum, and cis people

Okay, so if that’s the intent, then why not: Die Grues? or: die misogynistic creeps? or: die white supremacists? or die pedophile priests? or…. die scum?

I’m just curious.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

 

 

About christinastephens
  • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

    I don’t think that Venn diagram is to scale….

    Anyway, this is the first I’ve heard about “Die Cis Scum,” but generally, adding any adjective after “die” OR before “scum” is reasonably interpreted as a pejorative. The argument seems to be “yes, but trans people are really oppressed, so their anger at the vast privileged majority is understandable.” Which, of course, is true. But “understandable” is a lot different than “right.”

    • life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ

      But whether it’s “right” is a lot different from whether “it’s [your] place to police people’s expressions of anger against oppression.”

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        There are a lot of disagreement in the skeptic community about when or why it’s ok to tell people what they’re doing is wrong. FTB tends to be a lot more in-your-face about that sort of thing, at least when it comes to religion. I don’t see this as any different. If someone’s expression of anger against oppression is to wish death upon people, especially if they’re using language that suggests that they are including the vast majority of people on the planet, I don’t think I’m particularly out of line saying that’s wrong to do, given my moral viewpoint.

        • julian

          Similarly given my moral view point I’m free to call you wrong because you’re taking away one of the few ways one of the most oppressed and discriminated against groups have of inciting themselves to action and push back.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            I’m not taking it away. I’m expressing disapproval. I do not have the power to take it away, nor would I take it away, if I had that power.

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

            I don’t really see any evidence of “policing” or “taking away” here.

            Can you elaborate on how this is happening?

          • Zengaze

            Lol,
            “how dare you tell me my behaviour is unnacceptable, my status as a victim of this culture means I get a pass”

            Ahem no. If I hear someone say “die tranny scum” it provokes the exact same feeling of contempt, for someone who is incapable of seeing people as individuals, paint yourself into whatever silly grouping you want, tell me to die to my face, and you as an individual have just entered a world of problems, that your victim hood won’t save you from.

            There are genuine problem in our societies for people who don’t meet the stereotypical norms, the wy to defeat that is not by labelling people into groups but by recognising the inherent worth of the individual.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Zengaze, who are you quoting? I didn’t see anyone say that.

          • Zengaze

            Apologies this wasn’t a direct quote from anyone, the stacking replys messed me up. It was a parody of an apologist.

          • Happiestsadist

            Hey Zengaze, awesome false equivalence, bro. Maybe look at the real life numbers for who gets the shitty end of violence, and why they might be pissed off before you decide you wanna spout slurs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

        Just what the hell does ‘policing’ mean here, anyway? Criticizing? Because yes, I am going to criticize a harmful expression of anger, even if I think the individual it comes from has every reason to be angry.

        It is a fact that transpeople are victimized by cispeople far more often than cispeople are victimized by transpeople. Trying to make cis people feel intimidated and unsafe around trans people – and yes, that’s the motivation most will grasp from the tattoo and post – isn’t going to make the world a safer place for anybody.

        Bonus question: If the cis mainstream ends up thinking that trans people want to hurt them, who will ultimately suffer?

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          This is just how I personally feel, but I generally avoid saying, for example, “Die Christian scum” because I don’t want to give Christians yet another reason to vilify atheists.

          I mean, they already vilify us for plainly existing. I wouldn’t want to give them any “gotcha” ammo. I’d rather quietly expose their hatred for everyone else to see, rather than spitting it back at them.

          My anger is surely justified, no doubt. Some Christians treat atheists like the scum of the earth.

        • pure_waters34

          Wow, okay first off lady, you obviously don’t have a clue of what you’re typing. You’re not getting the whole idea of the “die cis scum” phrase. I’m sick of you fake allies pretending that you’re with us when all you do is dictate on how we should do something when you’re not even getting the big picture. Just a little f.y.i, if someone said ” die trans scum ” I wouldn’t give 2 shits because they’re referring to someone that is scum and trans, not just trans. If you were an ally you wouldn’t get so offended by one simple phrase trans people use to get ignorant cis people off our back. You clearly don’t have a clue that trans people are the most poorly treated minorities in society. People who are trans lost their jobs, their houses, their families, their friends, and etc. just for being trans, also being harassed and killed by cis people which the majority of them arn’t allies. If you even had the slightest idea what it’s like to have that happen to you wouldn’t have your” tsk tsk” demeanor creeping up on our backs like you’re some kind of behavior police. The fact that you act like trans people are out killing cis people is showing how you’re blowing this way out of proportion. When a majority of people push the buttons of the smallest minority in society to the limits, don’t expect trans people to put a on a fake smile and be like ” oh let’s ignore it “. Sorry to break it you sweetheart but if you were constantly being harassed and lost all you had by the hands of someone, would you keep a straight face and act all “nicey nicey”? I don’t think so. You’re NOT an ally so quit acting like you are one.

          • christinastephens

            If you were an ally you wouldn’t get so offended

            I see you lack the reading comprehension to see that nowhere in this post did I give even the slightest hint of being “offended”.

            I am not offended by it.

            all you do is dictate on how we should do something

            I didn’t dictate shit to you.

            You clearly don’t have a clue that trans people are the most poorly treated minorities in society.

            What part of this post led you to believe that?

            The fact that you act like trans people are out killing cis people is showing how you’re blowing this way out of proportion.

            What part of this blog post led you to believe I acted like anything of the sort?

            You’re NOT an ally

            Because I asked honest questions? If asking questions about a particular issue in the pursuit of answers in my own blog space means I am not an ally, then I don’t want to be an ally. Not everyone who asks questions instead of blindly believing everything you say about trans issues is an enemy.

            Besides, I never acted like an ally, if by “acting like an ally” you mean “blindly agreeing with all trans issues, anywhere, and never questioning them or anything a trans person says”.

    • Clarissa

      Actually, women are the majority in this country.

      • Captain Mike

        Only in terms of numbers.

        Okay, that sounds a bit stupid, so I’ll elaborate. Women can be considered a functional minority in most ways. They tend to be underrepresented in government and business, they are less often main characters in fiction and so on.

  • julian

    Meh

    I refuse to take away their anger. We (yes we. Gays, straights pretty much anyone who isn’t trans) have joined in in humiliating, degrading and abusing trans people. They’ve every right to be angry and I say rage on. It’s better than letting us choke them with guilt over every aspect of their lives.

    Also, “Die X Scum” seems to depend entirely on what “X” is. To me, “Die White Scum” comes across entirely different from “Die Native-American Scum.” While historically (and to this day) white is not in and of it-self something that signals scum or less than dirt, Indian definitely has and does to many people. Plus there’s the historical baggage attached to those phrases and the reality of how readily and easily that threat was carried out.

    “Die Cis Scum” lacks all of that.

    I suppose it comes down to why you object to phrases in the first place.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

      Which is why I only included “Die X scum” where X was an underprivilaged group.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

      Also, Who is taking away anger or causing guilt?

      • julian

        Guilt referred to trans people living their lives as trance. I doubt any of us cis (and per your own objection I’m not identifying you as cis) haven’t done more to contribute to the general transphobia around us than “Die Cis Scum” contributes to violence and hate towards cis.

        And I wasn’t accusing you of taking away anyone’s anger.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          I didn’t think you were accusing me, but you did say, “I refuse to take away their anger.” which implied that someone out there might be trying to “take away their anger.” – So I wondered who was doing it.

    • Happiestsadist

      Very well said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19217851 travisdykes

      I dont think it depends at all on what “x” is in “Die x scum”, saying a group of people deserve to die is not a justifiable position, and in your example, die white scum carries plenty of meaning in some corners. Ive met a fair number of black people in Louisiana who dont trust white people (for good reason too) and when some of them say it, its intended as a threat with some substance to it. For sure there is more historical baggage the other way with die black scum or die native american scum, but I dont think either way its a good thing to say.

      Im not going to argue with their right to say it though, just as I wolnt argue with someones right to say die cis scum, or anyone else raging against someone or some group that has wronged them. I just cant see how its defensible to say a whole group needs to die. And I say that as someone whose not a pacifist by any stretch.

  • http://atheistlogic.wordpress.com OmniZ

    Privilege warning: I am a straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied male.

    I don’t want to lie, “Die Cis Scum” makes me feel pretty uncomfortable and up until recently I was somewhat opposed to its usage.

    Obviously people can combat their own oppression in many different ways; and I don’t get the impression that any trans* activists are *actually* pushing for the deaths of cis people. And if your goal is to create discomfort, then you have succeeded.

    But as skeptics, I think we owe it to ourselves to actually ask the questions that need to be asked; and one of those questions is “does this phrase actually create positive change?”

    Natalie Reed recently linked to a post from April Smith (whom I assume from context was trans) who was “[worried] that we no longer teach people how to read for subtext or understand meanings” with regards to the phrase. However, I think this ignores the notion that good communication takes involvement on both sides. If people aren’t getting your message, then it may need to be conveyed in a different form. It reminds me of this xkcd comic. “Anyone who says that they’re great at communicating but ‘people are bad at listening’ is confused about how communication works.”

    Now I’m pretty proud to call myself an ally, but even I had to have “die cis scum” explained to me three or four times before I understood the intended point at all. So I can’t really say that I fault Joe- or Jane-Average on the street for not understanding the context of the message. Honestly, what came to mind when I read it was Valerie Solanos best known for attempting to murder Andy Warhol, and for publishing the SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto. Some have argued that she wasn’t serious, and I don’t really know if she was or not; but she did try to kill a man, whether or not it was related to her ideas for SCUM. And, like “die cis scum”, I can’t really say I support her ideas.

    (Side note: even though my brain drew this association for me, I don’t think it had anything to do with the word “scum” appearing in both. It was more to do with tone.)

    But at Imagine No Religion 2 last weekend, Desiree Schell gave a talk discussing social movements that gave me a lot to think about. Her thesis is that social movements need radicals (“Die cis scum”, or Valerie Solanos) to make the issues visible before society will even consider talking about them. Once the ideas are permitted to be discussed (say, when the media is willing to cover them), *that’s* when we need the rational people to take over and lead the discussion that can lead towards real positive change.

    Also, I think the difference between “die cis scum” and many of your examples, such as “Die educated scum”, “Die average-sized person scum” or “Die monogamous scum” is that, while there are many (too, too many) instances of violence inflicted against trans people *because* of their gender identities, how many examples can you name of violence being inflicted against the educated, little people or the polyamourous based on the fact that they fall into those categories? Personally I can’t think of any.

    Holy run-on comment! Okay, I’m done now.

    • http://atheistlogic.wordpress.com OmniZ

      * last paragraph should say “uneducated”

      • OmniZ

        That was in response to something that didn’t make it past moderation (or at least hasn’t yet)…

        • OmniZ

          And then I was an idiot.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          My bad, it’s there now!

    • http://slignot.wordpress.com slignot

      A quibble: Last name is Gardner, not Smith; I am also not trans.

      You say that “Die Cis Scum” makes you uncomfortable. It’s supposed to.

      The daily reality for so many trans people is harassment, abuse, sexual assault, rape, suicide, murder. DAILY. A polite message meant to beg those with cis-privilege to pay attention and care isn’t good enough.

      When you face daily threats on this sort of scale, the only way to convey how scary and dangerous that reality is, is to use something shocking, dangerous and threatening. It’s holding a mirror up to your privilege to give you just one flash of what daily fear is to be trans. You’re damn right it’s meant to be uncomfortable. Comfort doesn’t motivate change.

      • Dalillama

        Yeah. I can tick off a fair number of privilege boxes, and the shit that directly affects me drives me into an incoherent rage sometimes. Trans women take probably 10,000 times more shit than I do, or more, on a continual basis, plus the massive risk of violent death. Given that, I’m pretty much not going to cavil about any expressions of rage that don’t involve pipe bombs or gunfire, and I’ll extend significant benefit of the doubt even then.

        • Drew

          Seconded

      • Happiestsadist

        Beautifully said.

      • OmniZ

        A quibble: Last name is Gardner, not Smith; I am also not trans.

        Ack, sorry! That’s what I get for writing at work without time to research properly or proof read.

        I regret writing that I assumed you were trans. It doesn’t affect the point you were making and it wasn’t my place to publish my assumptions regardless of whether they were accurate or not.

        And the name mistake is unforgiveable. Truly sorry.

        Also, I don’t think I was clear when I wrote that. I have changed my mind about all the issues I had with “die cis scum”. The comment was meant as a this-is-the-thought-process-I-went-through to maybe being helpful to others who share my privilige and had similar thoughts.

      • Cottoncandyclouds

        *claps* finally, an actual ally that doesn’t get offended by “die cis scum” because they understand the true meaning of it. We need more people like you, I really want to make a youtube video telling people how they’re missing the point of “die cis scum”. A lot of so claimed “allies” keep thinking it means for all cis people to die, which it doesn’t. If people really took the time to realize that people can only push a minority to it’s limits, they can’t expect them to sit in silence doing nothing to vent out that anger and frustration. For example, say the world has a population of 99.9% lions and 1% antelope the lions harass the antelopes for generations of time, having the antelopes brutally slayed, abused, and taunted by the lions. Do people really expect for the antelopes to just sit there while letting the lions constantly abused and them not fighting back? It’s called backlash, this occurs in any type of privileged group vs the non-privileged group. It’s the same thing with white privilege. The fact that “die cis scum” is just a phrase and trans people arn’t out killing cis people just makes the situation sadder with these “allies” that get offended by it. If people are merely offended by “die cis scum”, than they ARE the scum,point blank. I love cis people who see the truth behind “die cis scum” and arn’t offended by it. :) <3

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Alethea H. Claw

    Is it just me flashing back to the SCUM manifesto?

  • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

    Okay, so maybe that’s the intent, but then why not: Die Grues?

    The obvious reason is of course, the coining of “grue” to explicitly mean “cis scum” happened well after the initial “Die Cis Scum” post by an anonymous trans person (initially published on Asher Bauer’s blog for last year’s TDoR) – which I know full well since you linked to Natalie’s post. :-) And it’s probably too late to put that cat back in the bag.

    There are lots of different spins on intent. Unlike DSC, “Die Trans Scum” is a real thing in the world. “Die Cis Scum” does not in fact call for the extermination of 99% of the human race: it is holding up a mirror to oppression. It is confrontational, asking cis people to think about our plight, and suggesting to trans people that we shouldn’t put up with being the victims of gendered violence.

    It isn’t the case that trans people are being motivated to turn around to become the perpetrators of violence; instead, we have travesties of justice where a trans woman of colour like CeCe MacDonald goes to jail for defending herself against violence. Political empowerment that enables people to stand up for their civil rights is generally a good thing since these are not usually gained by minorities without a long and difficult struggle.

    The boldness of the message has undoubtedly upset some fair-weather allies who have taken offence (sometimes for quite illogical reasons related to their inability to parse the meaning implied by the not-to-scale Venn diagram shown) and removed their highly qualified support for all trans activism based on the actions of a few, and within the transgender community there has been criticism from those who consider it a political liability setting everyone back – as well as those trans people who would prefer not to make any noise at all lest we draw attention to ourselves, and suggest we should all go take a seat at the back of the bus.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

      … which I know you know full well since you linked to Natalie’s post…

      That sentence I wrote might make a bit more sense with those extra words. :-) Just to back up my assertion that “Die Trans Scum” is a real thing, where the other examples in the OP are somewhat more debatable (e.g. “Die Christian Scum” is definitely a real thing in parts of the Muslim world… not so much in the religiose US).

      Violence against trans people sometimes dominates the statistics of all violence against LGBT people, far out of proportion to their demographic representation. For example, quoting the 2011 NCAVP report on Hate Violence against LGBTQH* communities in the US, page 19:

      Transgender women represented 44% of anti-LGBTQH murders in 2010 but only represented 11% of the total reports. This finding reflects NCAVP’s 2009 finding that transgender women experience a disproportionate impact of anti-LGBTQH murder. Within LGBTQH communities, transgender people represent 8.6% of the general population. The overrepresentation of transgender people among survivors of violence and murder victims highlights the disparate impact that anti-LGBTQH violence, particularly murder, has on transgender women. This suggests that transgender people are at greater risk of being a target for violence than non-transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or HIV-affected people, and that the violence faced by transgender people is more severe. Given that this data is in part based on media reports, it is unlikely that it represents an increase of reporting among transgender women and their families and friends. Instead these statistics indicate that that bias based on gender identity is pervasive in the United States.

      The figure for 2009 was worse: eight fewer murders overall, but transgender women made up 50%.

      * Q = Queer, H = HIV-affected community

      • http://www.facebook.com/QuantumSinger chrisbryant

        Oh my science, why does the acronym keep getting longer? HIV status has nothing to do with gay or trans rights.

        • Emburii

          i would say it intersects with gay/trans issues, instead of having nothing to do with them, but I agree with you that it does not run parallel enough to get added to the acronym.

        • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

          Chris, that was just the terminology directly quoted from the report – why do you think HIV-positive people might be at threat of homophobic/transphobic violence along with members of the LGBT community?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Well, I’m not saying the *original* person posting die cis scum should have used Grue, a word invented later. That would be silly.

      I mean it more globally.

      • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

        That would be silly. :-) Yes, it would.

        Looking at things a little more globally then: how many people would see the word ‘cis’ and more or less immediately understand it to apply to non-transgender people? Organic chemists, historians, and lexicographers would probably jump to alternate definition of cis first, before considering it to have an application to gender.

        So I see this as speaking to people who are already knowledgeable of transgenderism and issues of violence = not the wider population at large. Even within the smaller LGBT activist world, ‘grues’ would have quite a bit further to go as an experiment in memetic engineering, before it would be readily known to mean ‘gender congruent people who also are scum by virtue of violently oppressing gender variant people’.

        • Dalillama

          For me, it was my chemistry background that allowed me to infer what cis meant in a gender context when I first saw it appearing in a discussion of trans issues; it’s a context thing for me.

  • brianpansky

    I think that, unlike so many of the other “die ___ scum” you mention, it has to do with so many deaths. So much violence. Currently the other dynamics are not quite as violent. Not quite as psychologically brutal.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      True, that is something that make “die cis scum” stand out from my other examples.

      However I don’t know if that makes “die cis scum” more or less objectionable. All of the examples could be shown to be unique in some way. Example: able-bodied people made a point of systemically sterilizing people with disabilities for hundreds of years.

      • Happiestsadist

        And in many countries, trans* people must agree to sterilization as a condition for transition. Still.

    • Dalillama

      This is pretty much where I fall. It’s a punching up vs punching down thing, really. The statements are qualitatively different coming from a less privileged group to a more privileged group than vice versa, and it is perfectly reasonable to scale the intensity and nature of the response to the intensity and nature of the oppression. In this case trans* people and especially trans women face a massive degree of violence, which leads to this type of response as a mirror to the kinds of oppression faced daily by trans* people. Of your list, I might expect to see ‘die white scum’ from POCs, and/or ‘die male scum’ from women, and those are also perfectly valid responses. The rest range from somewhat valid if not what I would expect to intolerable bigotry to patently silly, and I honestly have a hard time believing that you are being serious in putting some of them on the list.

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

    The difference is VIOLENCE.

    Go look up how much risk there is for atheists being murdered by Christians. Now how about that one in twelve risk for trans women being murdered by cis people. Or one in eight if you happen to be a trans woman of colour.

    “Die Cis Scum” is a mirror. It reflects the risk, fear, hostility and hatred we live with ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It holds a mirror up to cis privilege, and SHOULD make you uncomfortable.

    As a side-note, I’m not sure I’m wholly comfortable with the “I’m not cis, but I’m not trans either” thing. If you’re not trans, you’re cis. That’s sort of the only thing cis really means. You don’t have to be 100% secure and consistent in your gender identity to be cis, you simply need to fit into basic cultural normativities and expectations of gender. And fitting them needn’t be completely perfect. I’m reminded of how when I explained the definition of transgender as an umbrella term to my dad, he said “so I’m transgender, then”. I said “what?!” and he said “I like to cook!”. Failing to fit PERFECTLY into an assigned gender role doesn’t make someone trans, nor does it mean they aren’t cis. And you absolutely live with cis privilege. I’m not saying that you don’t have a right to self-identify outside normative gender, I’m just saying that if you aren’t falling under the (broad) rubric of “trans”, you really don’t have much of a claim to shirk the term cis. At the end of the day, after all, “cis” isn’t about cis people are identified. It’s about how we frame the way trans people are identified, marked and ultimately targeted.

    • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

      You seem to be saying that advocating violence against a group of people is justified by being in fear of violence from that group. Does that apply to other groups? Would you be comfortable with Isrealis saying “die Arab scum” or an inner-city dweller saying “die black scum”?

      • Sas

        an inner-city dweller saying “die black scum”?

        WTF? The inner-city dwellers who are black don’t count?

      • skepticalmath

        That’s a false analogy. Die cis scum plays off the fact that violence among cis and trans people, and the threat contained therein, is entirely (statistically) one-directional.

        • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

          So can we come up with a reasonable formulation here? Something along the lines of “it’s ok to advocate hate and violence against a group of people if… “

          • julian

            “Are actively trying to harm you physically, mentally and emotionally”

            “Have the blessings of most law figures to do the above”

            “You have no other recourse and attempts to make things better for your people have fallen flat”

            with the last being my main one. Backs against the wall go out swinging if nothing else.

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

            It’s not actually advocating violence. Not any more than A Modest Proposal was advocating eating Irish babies.

            I’m so stunned by how consistently people totally completely fail to understand this. It’s SO basic.

            And yes: cis on trans violence is COMPLETELY one-directional.

            As a friend put it:

            The difference between “die cis scum” and “die trans scum” is only one of those has ever actually been enacted.

          • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

            Then what is it advocating?

          • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

            Then what is it advocating?

            No one ever said it was advocating anything.

            So can we come up with a reasonable formulation here? Something along the lines of “it’s ok to advocate hate and violence against a group of people if… “

            Nice false balance ya got there.

    • skepticalmath

      As a side-note, I’m not sure I’m wholly comfortable with the “I’m not cis, but I’m not trans either” thing. If you’re not trans, you’re cis. That’s sort of the only thing cis really means. You don’t have to be 100% secure and consistent in your gender identity to be cis, you simply need to fit into basic cultural normativities and expectations of gender.

      And even if you aren’t trans and aren’t cis (my current partner is truly genderqueer), you still (in general) benefit from cis privilege, because even if you don’t identify or fit with any assigned gender, you’re still *not trans*.

      • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

        genderqueer is trans.

        Trans is simply the union set of transgender and transsexual.

        Genderqueer is explicitly contained within transgender.

        If Genderqueer is contained within a subset of transgender and transgender is a subset of trans, then genderqueer is a subset of trans.

        Transgender is about violating boundaries of gender. Genderqueer violates boundaries of gender (at least as I have always heard the term used, if it is being defined completely differently than I have seen before than this may be wrong for certain bizarre and unexpected values of “genderqueer”). Therefore genderqueer is transgender (and thus is trans).

        Does that help?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      I don’t really know if I want to totally elaborate on what I meant by that, but the main reason I say that is because I feel like a man when I am dating a woman. Sometimes I feel like I should have been born a man, but that feeling does not overwhelm me, and causes me a low level of stress compared to other things in my life. Probably 80% of the time, I am a woman and I identify as such. If my primary relationship were with a woman, that percentage would be quite lower. Does that make me cis or trans? How trans do you have to be to be trans? Can you be cis and then change to trans depending on your environment/living situation? Is trans/cis totally binary, like some people think gender is binary?

      Regarding the other points: 1 in 12?!?!? holy fuck, that’s horrifying. I want to look more into that… but I just spent 20 minutes Googling and can’t find an original source. Help?

      So.. I guess maybe my able-bodied “die X” equivalent might be more like, “be denied access to public places, able-bodied scum”?

      I realize that “die cis scum” is supposed to be a mirror and is supposed to make cis people uncomfortable.

      I would not personally say things to reflect the abuse atheists occur with the intent to make Christians uncomfortable. I think it gives them a weapon. In other words – they will just use the mirror against us anyway.

      Cis people (especially of the scummy variety) are already uncomfortable with trans people – for *unjustified* reasons. “Die cis scum” gives them (in their minds) a (more) justified reason to be uncomfortable. Not only are you “eroding the fabric of society”, but you’re also showing them a tiny slice of risk, fear, hostility and hatred, intended to be a mirror of their own behavior. Problem is, they won’t see the mirror. They will probably just see you.

      Of course, maybe that’s a good thing. Somebody might think twice before messing with you because of your jacket.

      However maybe your motivation has more to do with personal autonomy than with showing them how hateful they really are. But I don’t know and am just speculating – instead, you can tell me, if you so desire!

      What is your motivation for “die cis scum”?

      • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

        When I wear my jacket, it’s not really meant to change anyone’s mind. The most common reaction I see is people just being kind of confused and unnerved.

        But what it DOES do is make me feel empowered. VERY fucking empowered. When I’m angry at cis people, when I’m so angry I just hate them (and I do, sometimes. I’m not ashamed of that), when I want to let them anger show, I can put on my jacket and feel I own that anger. That I’m not helpless. That at the very least, a tortured woman deserves her right to scream.

        And secondly, it works like a dog growling, a snake rattling its tail, or a cat arching its back. It’s something I can wear to suggest “do NOT fuck with me. I WILL bite back”.

        In short, as said, it makes me feel empowered, and strong. A little less like a victim. A little more in ownership of who I am, where I stand, and what happens to me.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          Okay.

          I now understand your motivation, and think that your jacket clearly accomplishes your intended goal. Thank you!

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            Christina, I haven’t read all the comments on this thread yet so I haven’t seen past this point on scrolling but I want to say here that I thank you for at least coming to this with an open mind. I wasn’t totally positive that you were given the OP but the comments make that more clear.

            I am not trans but I wrote a couple of times about DCS and the context involved before. I read the post having read next to nothing on arguments in favor or against and I pretty quickly understood the point. That is not to say the reaction was not a visceral one. Of course I had the knee jerk fear and anger at those words. I mean, I am cis. The author wants me to die. Yeah, I felt that “what the fuck” moment but then I thought about it. How on earth can the author want to make a blanket threat to cis people? Especially a blanket threat that the only people who understand are cis allies. Who the fuck wants to kill the only people not killing them? The author of Asher’s post doesn’t want to do that. The trans men and women who rally around the phrase don’t want that. They just want the boot off their fucking neck for a second so they can breathe. And in that sense knowing how hard the boot presses against the necks of trans people (especially trans women of color), the push back against that boot is reasonably stronger than the push back against the softer boots of some of the other “die X scum” scenarios. As mentioned above trans aren’t fighting for the opportunity to just have the same rights, they are fighting for their lives still. Non of the others are systematically killed for their non privileged status. “Die Cis Scum” basically has the same context as “Die White Scum” uttered by a native forced along the Trail of Tears. Big fucking difference basically.

            That being said, I also don’t see DCS as ONLY a tool of empowerment. I also see it as a literary device meant to turn the tables on cis allies. Make us actually afraid for our lives so that we can for one second of our lives feel what trans men and most importantly trans women experience EVERY DAY of their lives. So cushy is my life, that I only have to experience it for a second. So cushy is my life that I know if by chance a faction of the trans movement EVER tries to make DCS a reality, the chance of it even partially affecting me is still almost nil. Why? Because the instant a faction of the trans movement ever tries to make DCS a reality, the boot on their necks will just push back. Trans people don’t have the system working for them in any walk of life. Cis people do. Cis people have the numbers, the full weight of the boot of oppression. I mean consider a trans woman of color, CeCe McDonald, who didn’t even act out DCS. She merely defended her life from “cis scum.” The system is stacked so heavily against her from the start that defending her life still makes her the “evil party.”

            Yeah thinking of DCS as a threat is pretty laughable when you really consider it.

        • Drew

          “when I want to let them anger show, I can put on my jacket and feel I own that anger. That I’m not helpless. That at the very least, a tortured woman deserves her right to scream.”

          This really spoke to me. You really put everything into context.

      • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

        Also, about “how trans do I have to be?”, etc.

        I don’t think either trans or cis exist as spectrums. Under my definition, they’re something you are you aren’t, and you are, by definition, one or the other. Trans means a LOT of different things (mostly “deviates in some/any significant way from culturally normative gender identity or gender expression”), but cis pretty much just means “not trans”. Both categories are very very broad. There’s lots of ways a gender can exist within relative cultural security and thus be “cis”, and lots of ways it can fall outside of that (drag, cross-dresser, transvestite, genderqueer, trans-feminine, trans-masculine, transsexual, etc.), but if you’re not trans, you’re cis. And if you’re even “a little bit” trans, you’re trans, and therefore not cis. I don’t think ANY trans person is ever “more trans” than another trans person, and I think the idea that trans people can be “more” or “less” trans is very, very dangerous and destructive. Obviously, any given form of gender dysphoria can occur in varying degrees of intensity, and some people experience more forms of dysphoria than others, but all us trannies are trans, and we’re all in it together, and stratifying our experiences or organizing them into transier-than-thou “spectrums” only leads to people being excluded, their needs not being met, internecine divisions developing, and ultimately people getting HURT.

        You’re in or you’re not, Christina. It’s not my place to make that call, because I can’t ever be inside your head or your gender. But there’s no fence on which to sit, and no spectrum in which to find a gray area to nestle in.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          “I don’t think ANY trans person is ever “more trans” than another trans person, and I think the idea that trans people can be “more” or “less” trans is very, very dangerous and destructive.”

          So then.. by your definition, if I feel trans sometimes, but not at other times, then I am probably trans?

          I guess the only reason I put myself in gray-land was because I am in “unsure” land. Which, I guess the very act of me being unsure makes me trans. Right?

          Thanks!

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

            If those feelings are strong enough that they have a meaningful and significant in your life? Then yeah… I’d probably consider that “trans” under my definition rather than “cis”. But if those feelings aren’t really significant, and your life is functionally the same as any cis person’s… then no, you’re just a cis person who doesn’t quite fit perfectly into her gender assignment. No less cis than any ol’ tomboy or effeminate gay gay or whatever. Really no less cis, even, than those who DO fit perfectly into their gender assignment (the girly girls and macho men). But either way, trans or cis, you definitely benefit from the near entirety cis privilege.

            To be honest, the “I was a tomboy growing up so I TOTALLY understand what it is to be trans!” thing is one of THE most infuriating things a cis person can possibly say to a trans person. So really, Christina, unless you really fucking mean it, unless there’s REALLY an incongruity in your gender identity with a real genuine effect on your life, please just accept your cis-ness and be cool with that, even if you don’t quite always fit in. Being trans is something quite a bit different from simply not quite perfectly living up to your gender role.

            But on the other hand, if it IS a real, significant force in your life, with real, meaningful consequences and affects, well… don’t let me or anyone else police the legitimacy of that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            ““I was a tomboy growing up so I TOTALLY understand what it is to be trans!”

            Who makes such silly arguments?

            The easiest way to describe it is this: When I am with my husband, I feel mostly like a woman.

            If I go on a date with my girlfriend, I feel like a man. Like I AM a man. I disassociate with myself and my hands look like the hands of a man when I touch her. The disassociation used to bother me, but it doesn’t right now due to the lovely Lexapro. The man inside me is named Michael or Danny.

            Mostly though, my presentation is female, so no doubt do I benefit from cis-privilege, hardcore.

          • Dalillama

            Re: ‘I used to be a tomboy…’, a former friend of mine argued “I used to be a tomboy, therefore your husband isn’t trans.” This is a not inconsiderable part of the reason for her being a former friend.

        • http://polyskeptic.com Ginny

          Natalie,

          I assume you’ve heard of people identifying as bigender before? That seems to be close to what Christina is describing, although of course it’s up to her if she wants to use that label. Or maybe neither of you have… I briefly lived with someone identifying as bigender, so maybe the availability heuristic is making me think it’s better-known than it is.

          Anyway, while you can certainly argue that a bigender person has access to cis privilege (in the same way a bisexual person has access to straight privilege) and has a very different lived experience than a trans person, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to require that they adopt a one-or-the-other identity as trans or cis.

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

            Bi-gender very clearly falls within “transgender” as I define it. See the explanation above about how “transgender” means falling outside cultural boundaries of gender. Bi-gender identities obviously do. Any non-binary ID does.

            As such, if what Christina is experiencing is a bi-gendered identity, then she falls under the term “transgender”, yeah.

            The question of how much conditional cis privilege a given trans person has access to is something else entirely. Even a transitioned transsexual person can have a whole ton of conditional cis privilege, depending on their circumstances.

          • Drew

            I beg your pardon if this isn’t relevant.
            I just thought I’d throw into the mix that there are some people out there who experience trans/genderqueer fantasies and …moods(?), I guess, who get all of the cis privilege but may occasionally present themselves as genderqueer or transgendered. I don’t think people like this (such as myself) rightly have any claim to the trans label.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      “Die Cis Scum” is a mirror. It reflects the risk, fear, hostility and hatred we live with ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It holds a mirror up to cis privilege, and SHOULD make you uncomfortable.

      ^ This.

    • Happiestsadist

      I love and agree with all of this comment. Especially the bit about not being all that keen on people who want to not get their cis privilege pointed out, but seem to think they’re too good for trans*.

  • Rieux

    Yeah, as a member of a privileged in-group (here cis folks), I’m just generally very uncomfortable complaining about the content of the out-group’s response to oppression visited on them by people who have the same privilege I do.

    Natalie’s point @6 about violence—that the “oppression” I mentioned above has rather more bite here than it does in most other cases of in-group/out-group conflict in the modern world—is well taken, but frankly even if cis privilege only manifested itself in non-bloody forms of prejudice and discrimination, I’d still strongly demur from complaining about, or (which is effectively the same thing) attempting to use social sanction to dissuade people from using, a protest line like “Die Cis Scum.”

    I don’t much like “DCS,” but it seems to me that one of the wages of privilege is that we cis folks have little to no moral standing to complain about it. (And we’re not supposed to like it, obviously. Our predictable and intended distaste is hardly an argument against the line.)

    Even trans folks who argued against something like “DCS” would arguably be behaving in a manner that’s uncomfortably similar to Uncle Tom atheists complaining about Gnu Atheists’ public pronouncements—but again, privilege means I don’t think I or any other cis person has the right to referee that kind of intra-trans dispute.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Carrie

      This. Absolutely this. “The wages of privilege” is a phrase I’ll probably recycle, if it’s alright with you. Brilliantly put. You’ve perfectly elucidated my feelings about DCS.

      • Rieux

        Thanks!

        “The wages of privilege” is actually half Biblical, but don’t tell anyone around here or they’ll take away my Gnu card.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Carrie

          Ha! I endorse turning the tripe into something valuable. I should have known why it rang familiar…I think I memorized that whole chapter as a child…Bible quizzing theoretically helped my memory, ha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    You know, in light of that study showing that homophobic people tend to be closet homos, I wonder how many transphobic people are closet trans.

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      That study has been greatly exaggerated.
      I think the number of closeted trans* transphobes is slim, really. The unbelievable extent to which the culture relies on gender essentialism and assumptions of gender being binary seems to amply explain cis people feeling threatened by or hostile towards trans people.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        OIC! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

    I feel like it is inherently impossible to split the “___ scum” part of the phrase. I feel like whenever this phrase is used, it states two things. The first is that all ____ are scum, and the second is that all of them should die. Regardless of historical context, I think this power will never go out of the phrase, and so using it against people whom you may want as potential allies is unnecessary. It’s like a nuclear option, so to speak, and I really don’t think that a nuclear option is ever necessary, especially in this case. Just because the tactic is being used against you does not mean that the tactic is acceptable to use.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

      I disagree with several of your points here, but the one I most strongly disagree with is the idea that the nuclear option isn’t necessary.

      Have you SEEN the National Transgender Discrimination Survey? Do you know how many of us are DYING?!

      I’m not sure we really have a nuclear option, but if we did, I think we’re WAY past the point where it’s use is justified.

      • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

        I guess I’m just one of those pacifists that never really believes that the nuclear option is necessary, especially if it means compromising the altruistic ideals that we espouse.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          How nice for you to believe that. How very, very nice from your comfortable, smug perch, unperturbed by the vicious reality people like Natalie have to live with every day. Egads you’re a fright.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Hello ad hominem, hello.

            Maybe you know Zel personally, but ze could just as easily be a trans pacifist who DOES have to deal with the horrors trans people face. Your assumptions (probably correct, but who knows? Unless you know Zel, then it isn’t an assumption, but I digress) that Zel is cis allows you to dismiss hir arguments because ze doesn’t understand or experience the violence trans people face.

            But the arguments should stand on their own merit outside of the person making them.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Christina, my assumptions about Zel may be wrong, of course, but I don’t think they’re unreasonable given what ze wrote. Absent an explanation, yes, it appears very very smug indeed, and just the sort of thing one hears all the time from people who don’t have to face the dangers they’re dismissing.

            And that’s not an ad hominem insult; I’m surprised to see you say that. The argument does take a different coloring depending on what position the speaker occupies. This is utterly uncontroversial—it’s the very basis of talking about privilege. I think you’d agree with that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Christina, my assumptions about Zel may be wrong, of course, but I don’t think they’re unreasonable given what ze wrote. Absent an explanation, yes, it appears very very smug indeed, and just the sort of thing one hears all the time from people who don’t have to face the dangers they’re dismissing.

            And that’s not an ad hominem insult; I’m surprised to see you say that. The argument does take a different coloring depending on what position the speaker occupies. This is utterly uncontroversial—it’s the very basis of talking about privilege. I think you’d agree with that.

            No. I don’t. If an argument is formulated in a logical way, with (a) premise(s), inferences, intermediate conclusions, and conclusions, it does not matter who is making them – the argument should stand on its own merit. Even if the person making the argument is making it smugly or are privileged.

            If I say:

            P: All humans are members of the genus homo
            P: Christina is a human
            C: Christina is a member of the genus homo

            My argument (albeit a stupidly simplified one, for the sake of brevity) stands on its own merit, regardless of my smugness or privilege.

            I could say: “I have a doctoral degree, you asshat. I own a research lab. Obviously, all humans are members of the genus homo. I’m a goddamned human, therefore I am a member of the genus homo, you uneducated fucktard” my argument, minus the smug privilege, is still sound, and you must accept the conclusion if you accept the premises.. Of course, you could talk to me about my tone and my privilege all day, but my tone and privilege do not mean you don’t have to accept my conclusion if you accept my premises.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Christina-I’m honestly baffled. Are we speaking two different languages?

            I’m NOT saying that a fact-based argument has a different truth value depending on who says it.

            I AM saying there’s a qualitative difference —an ethical difference—when certain statements are made by privileged parties and non-privileged parties. If you don’t agree with this that means you don’t recognize an ethical difference between a black woman saying “Hey niggah,” to her best friend and a random white woman saying the same thing to a black woman.

            I don’t know how to be any more clear than this.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            Josh – the problem is that you didn’t attack Zel’s argument in favor of pacifism. You attacked Zel personally. That’s what an ad hominim attack is. You didn’t say “the situation is too dire for pacifism.” You instead attributed personal characteristics to Zel which, in your belief, CAUSED hir to make the argument, without actually addressing the argument. It’s a textbook ad hominim.

          • skepticalmath

            Except that’s not what Josh said at all, Wes. Re-read the comments. Certainly Josh made an assumption about Zel, but at no point did he make an ad hominem argument. An ad hominem argument would be to say: your argument for pacifism is wrong being you are privileged. What Josh did was say: you think what you think because you are privileged.

            A fine distinction, but a necessary one. Certainly, you can still object to Josh’s comment. But, seriously, don’t call something a textbook ad hominem if you don’t actually have a textbook handy to remind yourself.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            Josh insinuated that Zel was wrong because Zel is smug and privileged, while completely ignoring Zel’s argument. If that’s not an ad hominim, the term has lost all meaning.

          • Rieux

            Wes:

            Josh insinuated that Zel was wrong because Zel is smug and privileged….

            No, actually, he didn’t. As you pointed out immediately after the above, Josh “completely ignor[ed] Zel’s argument”—he neither contended nor “insinuated” that that argument was wrong, choosing instead (and not without reason) to berate Zel for hir privilege and ignorance.

            Josh’s comment isn’t an ad hominem argument because Josh’s comment isn’t an argument at all. It’s simple scorn directed at a person who earned it.

            If that’s not an ad hominim, the term has lost all meaning.

            Er… um.

            I’m not sure that “ad hominim” ever had any meaning to lose.

            As for ad hominem, you’ve simply fallen victim to the age-old misconception that that term just means “an insult.” Unless someone is actually contending that hir opponent’s personal particulars are a reason to reject the opponent’s argument, ze is not guilty of the ad hominem fallacy. And contrary to your baseless assertion about what Josh “insinuated,” he has here contended nothing of the kind.

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            Josh, you called it correctly: ZeL’s refusal to consider a highly-marginalised and oppressed demographic’s need for a militant posture of self-defence is owing to hir comfortable position of not being faced on a daily basis with outright hostility and the possible threat of violence. That’s what those in the trade would call a privileged position. (ZeL’s comment further below only reinforces the tone of smugness emanating from hir position of comparative safety.)

        • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

          The “I am just a pacifist” argument reeks of privilege. How pacifist are you when you are defending your life from immediate threat. Take that and scale it to the threat that trans people experience and understand that DCS is not ACTUAL VIOLENCE. It is desired violence and reasonable considering the ACTUAL VIOLENCE that cis inflict on Trans all the fucking time.

          Have a boot choking the life out of you and tell me about how easy it is to not wish violence on another.

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            Actually Willo, I think the ‘desired violence’ you mention is up to the individual, and I’m so averse to violence myself that I would find every possible way to evade a conflict, rather than choosing to ‘stand my ground’ (to use a dispriting phrase used of late). Unfortunately, I may not be given any choice to be able to do that.

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            Yeah, Xanthe I don’t mean desired actual violence. I mean the catharsis of thinking about it for the most part. I still think wished actual harm is more reasonable on the part of the oppressed but I shouldn’t make the blanket deceleration that this is about desired actual harm. I am not always clear. Getting tired so probably even less so now.

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

    By the way, I totes sewed a new patch onto my Die Cis Scum jacket last night. It says “Respect existence or expect resistance”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      I like that.

    • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

      Imagine that, a clarification makes the whole argument much better than a simplistic reactionary 3 word phrase. Still love you.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Smug and obnoxious, Zel.

      • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

        Well, aren’t you the patronizing shitheel.

        I’m cisgendered. If I were trans, however, I can think of any number of people I know who own guns, know how to handle themselves in fights, and/or have military combat experience whom I could feel safe turning my back on. You? Not so much.

      • Happiestsadist

        So are you always this much of a smug, patronizing ass, or do you bust this out only for when you’re condesplaining about the superiority (lol) of pacifism?

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          Condesplaining! LOL. I heart the livin’ shit out of you, Happiestsadist.

          • Happiestsadist

            The feeling is most definitely mutual.

      • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

        In case anyone comes back to this notorious thread to reread or whatever, please let me say that I’m sorry for the statement parental to this one. It was stupid and condescending for one. For another, it was needlessly personal because I tried to disingenuously maintain “good terms” with Natalie by using hollow words, when I could have not been a smug jerk to begin with in the comment. So, sorry to Natalie, Josh, and the others I ticked off.

        • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

          Thanks for the apology, ZeL, but it does come rather too late in the day to make full amends. In the meantime, while the debate was raging, you came across here and elsewhere as a privileged and patronising git, and the several queer folk further up in this little sub-sub-comment part of the threads rightly called you on it.

          • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

            The people upstream did call me on it. I read those comments and yours, agreed with them wholeheartedly and with quite a bit of regret, and that’s why I’m apologizing. My opinion on the core issue has changed because of this debate, and I now realize my pacifist-thing really only works in the context of certain power dynamics. I now comprehend that I can’t really ask other people, especially violently marginalized groups, to try to live the exact peacenik attitude I can afford due to a privileged existence.

            So again, sorry. I’d delete ^^^this comment in question in question if I could, for what it’s worth. It adds nothing but snark to the thread.

          • John Morales

            [meta]

            ZeL, that was well-done.

            Now, you just have to climb out.

            (Kudos)

        • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

          Thanks for apologizing.

          But yeah… a few things to remember in the future:

          1) Oppressed groups do not need the “help” of their oppressor in negotiating how they ought fight that oppression.

          2) Not every act on the part of an oppressed group is all about the oppressor group.

          3) Everyone occurs within context.

          4) Unless you have a history of real, genuine action on behalf of the oppressed, and have genuinely fought against the violence they’re subjected to, and get AT LEAST as angry in response to their actual lives being lost, you don’t get to complain about their use of symbolic violence / militancy.

          • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

            1) I’m completely conscious that I’m not the leadership in this fight at all or even in it directly. I want to help because I care, but I don’t want to take any credit for what the group actually wins for itself. Stupid peacenik objections aside, fight your fight they way you want to, and I will stand by it. I consciously try to not make any conditions for my support, because that’s stupid and self centered; so long as you need my support, you will have it. Which I suppose you very well may tell me to sit it out, and that’s fine too. Not to cheapen it too much with sports analogy, but can I still wear team colors, so to speak? I’ll do my best to shut up while supporting.

            2) Also correct, and I took it too personally. Sorry.

            3) Not exactly sure what you mean by this, but if you’re referring to the context of Die Cis Scum, I didn’t have a full appreciation for the context before until it was repeatedly explained to me. Apologies for brick wall-ness, and thank you for your patience.

            4) Correct again, so I’m no longer whining about the imagery.

            Sorry again for the smugness, patronising, and obtuseness. My enthusiasm for your work still stands.

    • Drew

      Oooh! That’s fun and clever. Spoonerisms always make catchy slogans. Did you coin that yourself?

    • betsumei

      Ooh, I like that. Where can I get one? (The “resistance” patch, not the jacket.)

    • El

      Yeah and saying “die cis scum” really respects the existence of cis people.

      Listen, if you outright don’t care about our feelings or whatever, don’t expect us to.

      See, you don’t actually have any RIGHT to be accepted. None. So keep acting like a fucking baby, you’ll be treated like one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Zoe.of.Oz zoebrain

        Yeah and saying “die cis scum” really respects the existence of cis people.

        Actually it does, to a certain degree. Killing you wouldn’t. Decapitating you, eviscerating you, slowly burning off extremities while keeping you alive wouldn’t. That’s what cis people do to trans people, hundreds every year that we know of. Own it.[*].

        Listen, if you outright don’t care about our feelings or whatever, don’t expect us to.

        We don’t expect you to, regardless of whether we care for your feelings or not. You don’t, and never have.[*]

        See, you don’t actually have any RIGHT to be accepted. None.

        We understand that. That would be cis people’s attitude regardless of what we say though, wouldn’t it? [*]

        [*] Your mileage may vary, many people actually do care. I’m making a rhetorical point here by unjustly over-generalising in aompletely over-the-top way. The problems only bad enough to give me a 17 times greater chance of being murdered than you.

        Some of my best friends are cis.

        I wouldn’t have said this for two reasons.

        1) Counter-productive. Except I was wrong there, it’s got reasonable people thinking. It’s done more good than harm.

        2) Morally wrong in an absolute sense. Yes, it’s justified, but so what? It’s still wrong. As was said, if I don’t give others respect, I shouldn’t expect it in return. I might deserve it, but I’d be a hypocrite. No thanks, I have enough failings of my own than to add that particular sin, no matter how understandable it may be.

  • Hot Mess

    I get the reasoning behind DCS, after it being explained. Which is really my problem with DCS, it is not obvious that it’s not a call to violence, and having to explain it so often really is a pretty good indicator as such. That said, if it makes you feel less powerless, that’s great and I won’t try and tell you shouldn’t wear it. Come to think of it, it probably does provide opportunity to explain the problem to people who are completely unaware of the danger to trans people, as they are least likely to know what cis means and thus more likely to ask what it’s saying. But I would be worried about the already violent seeing a DCS jacket as an invitation. So … I guess I have no idea if I have a problem with it or not.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

      But I would be worried about the already violent seeing a DCS jacket as an invitation.

      Ultimately, though, whether we want to take that calculated risk is our call to make, not anyone else’s. And it would be quite patronizing to assume we haven’t thought of it, or that we need to be protected from our own choices about how we cope with the violence we face.

      • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

        I would agree with you – except that it seems obvious to me that you’re not just making that call for yourself, but also for every trans person that comes into contact with the same people you do. Drawing your personal sense of empowerment from a somewhat violent message doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but attaching a violent message to an already vulnerable group and then broadcasting it seems like something that very likely has implications for other people – people who wouldn’t necessarily want to take the risk.

        • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

          I’m at a loss to understand how that would be different from the current status quo in practice: a cis person who takes violent offense at a trans person wearing a DCS jacket or sporting a tattoo… decides not to attack that trans person who is flying that flag, but instead decides to attack some completely different trans person, who isn’t. Isn’t that exactly what happens in real life at the moment anyway (except for the bit about some trans people wearing a jacket or showing a tattoo)? The transphobic attackers still pick their targets in any case.

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            ^This so much Xanthe.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        “And it would be quite patronizing to assume we haven’t thought of it, or that we need to be protected from our own choices about how we cope with the violence we face.”

        Yeah, it would be patronizing to assume you haven’t thought of some obvious or less obvious aspect of some decision. Do people do that, do they say, “Well, I bet you haven’t thought of X” or, “What Natalie is failing to think about is X”? Because that would be pretty patronizing. As would thinking you need to be protected from your own choices.

        However just discussing an issue around some impact of X on decision Y probably isn’t being patronizing.

        When I make a decision and a person asks, “Hey, have you thought of impact X of decision Y?” if I have, my answer is, “Yes, I did think of that” and if I haven’t, my answer is, “No, I haven’t. Let me think about it now.”

        I don’t think it means they are assuming I *haven’t* thought of the impact of X on decision Y.

        Of course, “have you thought of X” is quite different from, “I bet you didn’t think of X” which is also different from “I am worried about impact X on decision Y” which is about what Hot Mess said.

        I mean, someone can be worried on behalf of someone else about impact X on decision Y without being patronizing or thinking someone needs to be protected from my own choices.

        My husband worries about me driving into and working in the most dangerous neighborhood of the most dangerous city in the USA. Yes, I’ve thought of the potential impact of working in North City. Yes, his worry is reasonable. No, he isn’t trying to protect me from my own decisions.

      • Hot Mess

        Sorry, I did not intend to be patronizing. I did not think or try to insinuate that you are unfamiliar with the dangers you face in your own life, or the hostility you face simply for existing.
        The inherent danger of a hostile statement like Die Cis Scum* occurred to me as I was writing and I included it as a counter point to it’s positive aspects, I tend to have a problem with having the slightest idea what others do or do not know** and this was just the latest in a long string of examples of my inability to communicate effectively.

        It isn’t my place to tell anyone they should or shouldn’t say, so as I said earlier, if you see value in it by all means continue. I am just lending an outside perspective, if there is nothing of value for you in it, that’s fine, because as Cis Scum I don’t have a say in what slogans the trans community uses, nor should I.

        * Whether or not it is intended as such, it WILL be read as hostile to many people, especially when the one coining the phrase states that it IS a threat.

        **I’m autistic, Theory of Mind is a bit of a problem for me, If it’s new to me I have to remind myself it’s not new to EVERYONE.

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    Christina, thank you for constantly saying what I’m thinking, especially the first part of this post where you address the annoying idea that you should have to list your racial/sexual/social identities prior to any argument you make, as if that should matter. I don’t know where the idea that lifestyles of different degrees of privilege are unknowable via some mystical, epistemic barrier got started, but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

    As for “Die, Cis Scum,” I always interpreted that as “Die, only you Cis People who are scum,” because I think it makes sense to interpret things in the most charitable manner. The alternatives you offer don’t really convey the same implicit meanings, as saying just “Die scum” or “Die misogynists” doesn’t give any indication that this is about transphobia. “Grues” could work, but I think that is a relatively unknown term, even more unknown than “cis”, and I’d wager most people don’t even know what cis means in this context, anyway. Ask your family members at the next holiday gathering and I think you’ll find most of them have no idea what “cis” means in most cases.

    Of course, if you replaced “cis” with some minority group, the saying would no longer be acceptable. I don’t agree with the idea that majority groups with privilege should have more leeway to be insulted/offended, but that seems to be the current social norm. (Personally I’d prefer to live in a society where we don’t make such a big deal out of linguistic offenses, but alas, Sapir-Whorfian influences and controversy-hunting in the media make that society a pipe-dream.)

    • Josh, Official SpokesGay

      I don’t agree with the idea that majority groups with privilege should have more leeway to be insulted/offended, but that seems to be the current social norm.

      Bully for you. It’s so haaaaaard to be pushed back at when you have privilege!

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        ??

        It’s hard to be pushed at regardless of your privilege. I don’t get it.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          Christina—and I don’t mean this provocatively or to be insulting, but it’s important—you really don’t get it. I hope you’ll do some basic reading about privilege and how people react when their heretofore unchallenged comfort zone is pushed back at even mildly by a traditionally oppressed group. This is very, very, very basic stuff. I’m not saying anything unusual or outrageous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Christina—and I don’t mean this provocatively or to be insulting, but it’s important—you really don’t get it. I hope you’ll do some basic reading about privilege and how people react when their heretofore unchallenged comfort zone is pushed back at even mildly by a traditionally oppressed group. This is very, very, very basic stuff. I’m not saying anything unusual or outrageous.

            Okay. This would be insulting if I felt I did understand privilege (and I think I do), but I’ll assume that your comment is due to me failing to elaborate or communicate well enough.

            I understand that people react strongly and negatively when their their heretofore unchallenged comfort zone is pushed back at even mildly by a traditionally oppressed group. Of course they do. This is “of course they do” is not meant to mean that their reaction is the “correct” reaction, but rather the expected reaction.

            However people, regardless of privilege, will react strongly and negatively when their comfort zone is pushed back. Privilege or not. Unchallenged or not. Obviously, unchallenged comfort zones will be met with much more resistance because they have gone unchallenged for so long. The more entrenched the comfort zone, the more resistant people will be to it being pushed against. The best reaction to having your comfort zone pushed back at would be to examine your comfort zone and change it if you have sufficient evidence to do so. Most people don’t do this though, they dig in their heels, put their heads in the sand, and push back.

            My point with my original comment is that its “hard to be pushed back at” *regardless* of privilege, though what’s “hard” about it is different depending on privilege. It’s hard for the people *with* privilege, because their comfort zone was heretofore unchallenged, and hard for unprivileged people because privileged people have so much more ammo against unprivileged people.

        • Happiestsadist

          Yeah, you’re kind of really missing a lot, and not exactly proving that whole “privilege and oppression are totally understandable by everyone!” thing. The point is that that discomfort is a good thing. If you are at all a decent person, the discomfort of confronting your privilege is not something that you should think you deserve sympathy for.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Yeah, no, I’m not.

            Yes. discomfort is a good thing when someone feels discomfort when their cherished (wrong) notions of reality are challenged. I agree.

            No, I don’t have sympathy for someone’s privilege being confronted. My examination of the facts of how and why people react in the way they do should not be construed as any kind of sympathy. It is not sympathy.

            Sometimes when a man is angry at his spouse, his anger drives him to murder her. This is NOT sympathy for the murderer… at all. It’s an explanation of facts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        Or maybe, here. I can elaborate: Gasoline said:

        I don’t agree with the idea that majority groups with privilege should have more leeway to be insulted/offended, but that seems to be the current social norm.

        and you said,

        Bully for you. It’s so haaaaaard to be pushed back at when you have privilege!

        When you say, “bully for you” I don’t know what that means. I read it as meaning you think Gasoline is a bully, probably a bully with privilege. I quite possibly read that wrong. Did I?

        When you said it is hard to be pushed back as when you have privilege, I agreed. It *IS* hard. But it’s *also* hard to be pushed back at when you don’t have privilege. In fact, being pushed back at when you don’t have privilege is much harder, because those with privilege have so much more ammo. Thus my comment that it is hard to be pushed back at regardless of privilege. Because it’s hard for both those with and without privilege.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          When you say, “bully for you” I don’t know what that means. I read it as meaning you think Gasoline is a bully, probably a bully with privilege.

          No and yes. The colloquialism “bully for you” is just another way of saying “good for you” sarcastically. It does not imply that the hearer is a bully.

          No, I don’t claim gasoline is a bully. Yes, I do think it’s quite likely Gasoline is comfortably ensconced in privilege. There’s a very high correlation between such a position and claiming it’s unfair for the privileged set to be treated any differently at all (read: have to suffer real or perceived insults, justified or not).

          Shorter:

          White guy-I don’t agree with the idea that white people should have more leeway to be insulted or made fun of or called cracker!

          See how dumb that is?

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          from my understanding Teddy Roosevelt was a big fan of the phrase “bully for you.”

    • http://andythenerd.tumblr.com The Nerd

      Once again, I’m totally late to the party. Privilege means that your feelings and concerns are the ones given the most airtime in this society. So it’s not so much that you “can’t” know what it’s like (though sometimes you can’t simply because you’ve never been there), but it’s that the rest of us already know the majority feelings and concerns because they’re everywhere all around us constantly omg make it stop it won’t stop why doesn’t it stop *peeks between fingers* where was I? Oh yes, so privileged people need to be mindful of that and try to give the rest of our psyches a break.

  • Tamsin

    I also see it as being about power differentials and holding up a mirror. I have no problem with “Die Cis Scum” or the sentiment behind it; although it makes me slightly uncomfortable I think it’s a brilliant way of drawing attention to the absolute horrors that have been and continue to be visited on trans people. Sometimes rage is the right response to a situation.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erülóra Maikalambe

    The expression is ambiguous at best. I can’t think of any other context where I’ve seen “X scum” used to mean “only those people who are both X and scum”. Seems like it’s always used to mean that X is a subset of scum. Rebel scum, heretic scum, etc.

  • moblues

    The only comparable formulation I can think of would be Die Nazi Scum. Nothing on that list comes close to the levels of violence and social depravation that come along with visible gender variance. I think the “I’m perfectly able to imagine being less/more privileged” only works up to a point. I don’t think most people can understand EXPECTING assault as a normal part of life and the accompanying constant anxiety.
    Oh, and thanks Natalie, for saying a bunch of other things much more eloquently than I ever could.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Ah!

      I was thinking of “die nazi scum” earlier and mulling over whether this was an apt analogy or not.

      The only thing is that all members of the national socialist party are/were fascists, biological racists, and antisemites, whereas not all cis people are transphobic/enemies of trans people.

      So a closer analogy would be, “die Germans living in the years between 1920 and 1945″

      …or something.

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        “Die Nazi Scum” would be equivalent to “Die Transphobic Scum” or “Die Intolerant Scum.” “Die Cis Scum” can more closely analogized to a Holocaust-era Jew saying “Die Gentile Scum.”

      • moblues

        “The only thing is that all members of the national socialist party are/were fascists, biological racists, and antisemites, whereas not all cis people are transphobic/enemies of trans people.”
        I’m thinking it is sort of the reverse of this logic. Not all nazis we’re fascists etc. some fraction were merely fortunate enough to fit stereotype and used the political power to make life easier for themselves and sometimes those who would otherwise be condemned. Likewise, not all cis people are transphobic, some small fraction are not and they sometimes use that position to help.
        This just points out another troubling aspect of this list. Go look at it and point out which ones involve a subset of the population that is sooo tiny.

      • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

        Why I use the “die whit scum” analogy but placing the person saying it as a Trail of Tears victim. More fitting the levels of oppression.

  • busterggi

    I’ll admikt I was taken aback the first time I read Natalie’s “die cis scum” post but unot for long.

    Sure I’m cis but I’m not scum so it doesn’t refer to me.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

      Thanks for getting it.

  • Emptyell

    Nobody’s mentioned the bumper sticker meme (from the 80s?):

    Die Yuppie Scum

    This always seemed more of a comic jab at privilege than any kind of real threat (aside from the occasional keyed BMW). I guess I see DCS as a more pointed version of this and not any kind of actual threat. I no more take personal offense at it than the fact that a woman may see me as a potential rapist when we are alone in an elevator.

    I’m sure my perspective is skewed by my WASP (White, Able bodied, Straight Patriarch) status. I have vast armies of police and well, actual armies protecting my rights (and privileges).

    • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

      “It’s not ironic. It’s not cute. It is a threat.”

      Not a lot of layers of ambiguity, there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        Well, yeah, we could say that about the original post, but it seems to have morphed into something more like, “die yuppy scum” as more people use it and add ambiguity to the meaning.

      • Emptyell

        Whom are you quoting there?

        There are layers of ambiguity everywhere.
        Sometimes they are of little consequence.
        But I doubt this is your point.

        Ironic? Not really. Well maybe slightly in that it’s not actually advocating mass murder.

        Cute? No. That would be Awfully condescending. As in “look at all the cute little trans people getting annoyed”.

        A threat? How? If it somehows morphs into the rallying cry for some violent trans-panther organization then, yeah, maybe. But even that would be be a bit like going after the US Army with machetes. Not much of one.

        Of course the implied threat is part of the point. A chance to feel a teensy, weensy, little, tiny bit of the threat that trans people are actually under on a daily basis. Only without the actual threat part.

        • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

          I’m quoting the person who apparently coined and/or made popular the phrase “Die cis scum.”

          • Emptyell

            Sorry I missed that. Thanks. Now I understand your meaning.

            There’s still a big difference between calling something a threat and it actually being one.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            There is? I think the statement “this is a threat” is kind of self-authenticating.

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            ^ Replying more to Wes than Katie

            The nature of a threat is borne out by the utterer acting upon it.

            • “Die Trans Scum” – upthread I cited a study which documented a couple of dozen murders of trans women in the US in the years 2009/10, and drew attention to acts of violence that were committed against trans people that did not end in murder being usually far more severe.

            • “Die Cis Scum” – upthread I cited one trans woman who has gone to jail for committing manslaughter in self-defence against a neo-Nazi who had already violently assaulted and pursued her.

            So I’m sort of leaning towards the former as a real threat, and dismissing the latter unless people can find some support for the pogroms against grues.

  • https://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole

    Thanks to all for having this conversation. As someone who desperately tries to be a trans* ally I was very confused at the sentiment of “Die Cis Scum” and was unsure of how to phrase a question about it. I think I have a better grasp on what it means to be empowered for some trans* persons by the term.

  • Drew

    Speaking as someone whose primary experiences with discrimination were self-inflicted, my main concern with this phrase is the mental state it might create.
    It feels to me like DCS embodies aggression (even if it does not advocate it, as many are saying). Whether that aggression is warranted is irrelevant to my concerns. In my experience (both personal and with anger management programs) I have come to see that anger is a valid and useful emotion, but when I’m not careful I am more likely to hurt myself with it than to ever express it towards someone who might deserve it. I would hate to see anyone make the same mistakes I have made by becoming aggressive and/or hiding from anger in depressive passivity.

    • Emptyell

      Clearly it’s not for everyone. For me expressions of raw anger are not very effective and border on comical since its really not in my character. Perhaps I’m too rational to be truly scary. My grim determination on the other hand can be quite intimidating.

      I look at anger two ways. When it comes out of frustration and resentment anger breeds hatred and violence and is ultimately self destructive. Alternatively the combination of anger with optimism is a powerful force for progress and Creating good in the world. I think is at the root of all successful social movements.

      If I may indulge in a bit of reverse Godwining. Imagine if the Nazis had focused all that German anger on optimistic goals. We might have a united Europe dominated by Germany…. Hmmm, wait, what was that? Marshall plan? EU? Definitely more to think about here. Sorry to wander so far OT.

    • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

      I was thinking about that too. While I understand the anger, how it is warranted, etc I think that having it as a sort of battle cry to get people talking about this may perpetuate anger which could be harmful. Studies have shown that thinking about what makes you angry perpetuates the anger, so the question is whether that anger will remain internal or whether it could turn into real violence committed against transphobic people. Because even if they are scum (and they are, insofar as that issue is concerned at least), they still don’t deserve violence visited upon them (except as a defense, of course).

      I doubt it will turn into violence against the transphobic though, as violence does not occur as often towards the privileged. But by perpetuating DCS, I feel like it is only concentrating on violent feelings and imagery. As a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, where anger can get nasty too easily, this would never be something I could perpetuate. If you don’t have BPD, it would be hard to understand the real fear and caution necessary in maintaining slogans such as DCS.

      For most of you privileged enough not to deal with such things as BPD, it may be possible to chant, quote, or wear jackets proclaiming DCS, but for people such as myself, I cannot maintain something so obviously based in anger and violence. And, it is violent in nature, even if not overtly expressed thusly.

  • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

    So, concerning “grue”…

    So, I’m a philosopher, in training if not in profession. We have this term, ‘grue,’ which developed to describe a concept coined by Nelson Goodman to refer to a color that is at one point green, but will at some point become blue. Hence ‘grue.’ The alternate is bleen (blue to green)

    So, this term to refer to cis people seems a touch ironic, in light of that use, because that philosophical use would seem to point more to trans than anything. I’m surprised nobody else pointed that out.

    • Happiestsadist

      Because not everyone feels the need to trot out their philosophy BA at any (or no) provocation?

      • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

        MA, actually. I just thought it was interesting and worthy of note how words can develop from very different backgrounds, for very different reasons.

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

      The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

      Having put the pre-existing word “grue” to a new purpose to refer to transphobic gender congruent people, Natalie has already slyly acknowledged the particular meaning you refer to Shaun, in this post – I’m linking to my comment since I quote Natalie’s clever word game directly. :)

      • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

        Ah! Nice.

        Thanks for sharing that.

  • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

    DCS is a phrase used by more than one person. When somebody says “this is what it means,” all ze is really communicating is what the phrase means to hir. Fine. But words have meanings independent of any individual’s esoteric interpretation. The plain meaning of a phrase is going to be the one that’s most often communicated (unless an esoteric meaning reaches sufficient awareness within a society to change the generally accepted meaning, i.e. “the shit”). If I were to say “I hate ugly people,” it’s no defense to say that I only mean people who are spiritually ugly, unless I communicate that every time I say it. The message I’m sending (and I would argue that it’s the message that I’m knowingly/recklessly sending) is that I hate people that I don’t measure up on my personal scale of physical beauty, and anyone would be fully justified in calling me out for it.

    The plain meaning of the phrase “Die Cis Scum” is “cis people are scum and they should die.” Every time the phrase is uttered without an explanation of what it means to the speaker, that’s what people are going to hear. And that’s what people should hear. The fault for any miscommunication lies with the speaker for using words in a way contrary to their generally accepted meanings.*

    And isn’t that the point? Why “Die Cis Scum” and not “Die Transphobic Scum” or “Die Intolerant Scum”? Isn’t part of the point for the phrase to be scary and provocative?

    *I anticipate some pushback here along the lines of word reclamation. I.e. the word “queer,” which used to be a pejorative, but now is a label that many happily embrace. However, I see this as very different, as it’s not an effort to change the connotation of a word. It’s just an effort to use a phrase contrary to its plain meaning.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

      Wes, this is one of the more insightful, useful, and well-argued posts on this thread, and I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate it.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

      Wes, thank you for taking the honest answers given by various trans people to the original post, comprehensively failing to understand them or instead ignoring them, and then reframing the entire question about what you think the issue is (that’s called ‘centering’ the debate away from where it actually should be).

    • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

      Because “Die Transphobic Scum” won’t go viral.

      Because “Die Transphobic Scum” can be easily ignored.

      Because “Die Transphobic Scum” is too nice.

      Because “Die Transphobic Scum” is not a chosen source of empowerment by those who prefer “Die Cis Scum.”

      • carlie

        And maybe because if you aren’t actively working to reverse the stigma that trans people face, then yes, you are cis scum. Even if you don’t actively hate on them. Because silence is assent to the majority opinion. So there are a lot more cis people who are scum than those who aren’t, and the rate of false hits would be negligible. If you’re so upset about possibly being included in the set of cis’ that are scum, what are you doing to make yourself obviously not a part of that group?

        • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

          A very good point, carlie, which brings to mind these words:

          “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

          The entire paragraph by the same author speaks to the very same condescending attitude of preferring to criticise “Die Cis Scum” over and above what “Die Cis Scum” is actually in response to.

  • Zengaze

    How about “die female scum” or “die black scum” no matter how you try to create apologetics for the phrase “die cis scum”, it is horrific, and bigoted.

    • Ze Madmax

      I’ll take ludicrously false equalities for $500, Alex.

      • Zengaze

        Ok let’s hear it

        • Emptyell

          Punch up vs punch down. Not symmetrical.

          • Zengaze

            Are all CIS people punching down, this is another “I haven’t got privilege so I can say and do things that I’d scream about you doing” hypocritical bullshit.

          • Emptyell

            We don’t have to punch down. We have police for that.

            Go ahead and split all the hairs you like. After that you can see how many fit on the head of a pin. Don’t bothe to get back to me on it though. I’ve lost interest.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Yeah, what a shock, that the same asshole arguing the other day that men and women violate each other’s boundaries equally is spouting this horseshit.

      • Zengaze

        Asshole? Lol. Love you too.

      • Happiestsadist

        Well, at least he’s that clueless across all fields. Wouldn’t want a single lonely brain cell all by itself on his head.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

      Ze Madmax called you on it, this is a false equivalence you’ve made.

      “Die Trans Scum” – what do you think the Transgender Day of Remembrance is about? Every day of the year is Hatred and Violence against Trans People Day.

      “Die Cis Scum” – it. just. doesn’t. happen.

  • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

    “Die Cis Scum” makes me uncomfortable. As I think it should. Not uncomfortable as in “OMG trans people are going to go on a murderous rampage and start killing everyone cis”, but uncomfortably reminding me of its origin which is the phrase “Die Trans Scum”. This one actually is accompanied by violence and death. So yeah, hearing “Die Cis Scum” might make me feel a bit squeamish and my first reaction (before reading Natalie’s posts about it) was one big WTF?!, but when I look at the world around us, I can’t see a threat from trans people, only numerous threats to them. And I can’t deny them their right to yell their hate and frustration right back.

    As for questions about Die [an oppressive group] Scum in general… I don’t think it would work. I think Die Cis Scum works because of the context in which it came to be.

    • http://slignot.wordpress.com slignot

      I’m still wondering if part of the problem is it just isn’t threatening enough. So many people didn’t see commentary, they saw a real endorsement of violence, incomprehensible as this seems to me. Maybe it isn’t big enough or detailed enough (doesn’t go into sufficient specifics on how to prepare the babies) for enough people to recognize it as a call to action.

      • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

        Well, my first reaction was shock because I think anything going Die ____ Scum would shock me. I’m one of those who shudders when people write things like “go die in a fire/jump of a bridge/etc.”.
        I’m also full of cis privilege, so that didn’t help either. But I read what the originator wanted to say and how Natalie explained it and it helped me understand. Context matters.

        So, my guess is that some people are just not even trying to understand. Yelling “You are hurting your own cause” is much more fun that education oneself.

    • Happiestsadist

      Exactly.

  • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

    Sure, great, it’s understandable. Not the point anymore. The point I’m trying to make is that it is never acceptable to even jokingly or metaphorically wish death upon someone. I’m tired of my opposition using such rhetoric, and I will chastise anyone who agrees with me for fighting fire with fire. Also a problem with the phrase is a categorical dismissal of an entire group of people. Stop before the “But it only applies to scummy cis people” shows up; the phrase does not read that way. Remember “Fuck North Carolina”? It was an argument which I participated in that Natalie and Christina should remember; Natalie and I seemed to be on the side that claimed the aforementioned statement, made by JT, unfairly cast all of North Carolina into the trash bin. And though Natalie stands by this DCS phrase, I feel like it does the same thing.

    So basically the phrase employs two tactics which I cannot stand: an advocation of violence, and a categorical dismissal. I do not care what group uses it in whatever permutation, or the history of the phrase. I will not abide by an enthusiastic embrace of the type of rhetoric that debases our entire enlightened view.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      The point I’m trying to make is that it is never acceptable to even jokingly or metaphorically wish death upon someone.

      And this, people, is why the left in the U.S. gets absolutely fucking nowhere. Preachers in the South are screaming about how “we” should put GLBT people in concentration camps, and the fool I’m replying to is wringing their hands about “being better than they are.”

      Know what, ZeL? I AM better than they are. I don’t politically agitate for the marginalization and death of the already oppressed. I don’t have to tailor my own language and behavior to suit your dainty requirements.

      • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

        I would rather have my political ambitions foiled than subscribe to a Do-What-You-Gotta-Do mindset. Maybe I’m hopelessly naive, but I see the path of non-violent language winning in the end. Again, I would rather stick to my principles and die than betray them and survive. There’s got to be a multitude of better options that can still ensure my survival and even my betterment without contradicting core principles I hold.

        Again, I do not believe that subscribing to an opponent’s dirtiest tactics is an acceptable option. I think that whenever direct opponents or people who haven’t informed their opinions yet look to any movement they will tend to see the worst tactics of that movement. I want our worst tactics to be better than their best tactics.

        • Happiestsadist

          You are hopelessly naive, and I, for one, am not up for playing nicey-nice under a bootheel just so you can feel smugger.

        • carlie

          Again, I would rather stick to my principles and die than betray them and survive.

          Again, do you realize that you saying that is entirely a linguistic flourish with no chance of having it really happen, whereas trans people are actually murdered in the real world simply for existing? That every time a trans person walks out of the house, that they have a real chance of being beaten up at the least, and murdered at the worst, simply because someone doesn’t like the way they look? Do you realize that almost half of trans people are driven to attempt suicide because of the way they’re treated? Your words of “sticking to your principles and die” are worse than hollow; they demean the real threats that trans people face on a daily basis.

          • Drew

            mmm, seconded.

        • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

          I’d lay money on you being a sheltered little twit who has never been seriously threatened by another human being. Because if you ever had been, you’d have a shit-ton more empathy and a lot less smug condescension toward the people trying to educate you.

          If you want to die for your principles, go right ahead. You don’t have the right to demand the same of others.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            From now on, you do not get to just insult someone. You also do not get to scream “privilege” and walk away.

            You can do these things only if they come attached to an argument.

            Failure to do so will get you banned from this site.

          • Anonymous

            Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.-Martin Luther King Jr.

    • carlie

      The point I’m trying to make is that it is never acceptable to even jokingly or metaphorically wish death upon someone. I’m tired of my opposition using such rhetoric,

      And “your opposition” is tired of your side actually literally killing them. Not metaphorically, literally. See the difference?

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        Zel is on the murderers’ side? Because ze doesn’t support using violent language?

        • carlie

          Their distinction was apparently between “trans people, who are using this kind of rhetoric”, and “reasonable cis people such as myself”.

          • carlie

            To clarify, when they label trans people as “my opposition”, then their side by default includes everyone who isn’t trans, which yes, includes the cis scum who murders trans people. Zel was the one who drew that line, not me.

          • Drew

            I’m sorry, but I think you misinterpreted what Zel was saying. I read that as “I’m tired of my opposition [transphobes] using such rhetoric, and I will chastise anyone who agrees with me [presumably meaning you and everyone else here] for fighting fire with fire.” I believe this was the intended meaning.

          • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

            To be clear, possibly much too late, my “opposition” is the conservatives, fundies, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, and whatnot. My side is your side, I’d like to say, and that’s why I’m really against using the DCS phrase.

      • carlie

        Drew, I can see your interpretation of it. Looks like it’s one of those situations where the sentence itself is ambiguous, so I might have taken it the wrong way.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

      It’s not a joke. Nor is it wishing death on people. It’s not exactly a metaphor, either.

      As said, it’s a mirror. A threat. An inversion of the usual direction in which the fear of violence flows. An extremely radical act of empowerment, owning my anger, owning the terms of the debate. Making it clear we’re not asking nice. That we’re not REQUESTING human rights, we’re demanding them. Etc.

      It’s SUPPOSED to make you uncomfortable, and creeped out, and like it’s “wrong”. Yes, in a sense, it IS wrong. Violence ISN’T okay. It’s NOT alright to wish death on people. Making people feeling threatened and scared IS fucked up. Now go take that anger and apply it where it belongs: to the NON-symbolic, very REAL violence enacted constantly against trans women, instead of wasting it on a jacket.

      My stance against the “Fuck North Carolina” thing is based on how framing things within those terms can potentially be a hindrance to progress. My stance was NOT based on some kind of “all generalizations are always bad” principle, nor a “all hostility is always bad” principle. I see things like this as being relative to context and consequence.

      • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

        “I see things like this as being relative to context and consequence.”

        This a thousand times. Saying the context doesn’t matter is really no more than just pretending that it doesn’t. It ALWAYS does.

  • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

    Wow, this blog is just full of fail, isn’t it? What’s the next post that you “allies” have in the works to keep the uppity people you’re trying to “help” in their place?

    • http://Www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

      Eh? What part of my post gave you the impression that I’m trying to “keep uppity people in their place?”

      • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

        You started with “just asking an honest question, no judgment”, while giving off a vibe of disapproval during the discussion.
        At least that was my impression, can’t speak for Ms. Daisy Cutter.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          A “vibe of disapproval” is equivalent to trying “to keep the uppity people you’re trying to “help” in their place?”?

          I don’t understand why. If you’d care to elaborate, I’d be willing to listen.

      • Zengaze

        I’m guessing you haven’t been blogging for long Christine. I’m guessing this because you haven’t been programmed with the party line.

        You’ll learn in time not to question, and to frame all your postings in support of the unprivileged no matter how extreme, irrational, or obnoxious their position.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          Hivemind. Groupthink. Party Line. Lockstep. Extreme. Brook no Dissent. Unreasonable. Hysterical.

          I’m trying to help here, Zengaze.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Carrie

            My personal favorite is oversensitive.

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            You forgot the echo chamber

          • Zengaze

            Thanks josh

    • moblues

      Yeah, thought it was a joke after the “Even Romney can understand what its like to be a disabled homeless black trans woman” intro.

  • Mark

    Telling anyone to die regardless of behavior, status, or merit is wrong (Matthew 5:21, 22), with exception of a judicial setting where the pronouncer is acting as an authorized agent of the state (Romans 13:4).

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Who let the fundie douchewaffle in here? Regardless of how many people I’m arguing with upthread, I don’t think any of them give a flying fuck what your obsolete book says or what its fandom thinks on this issue.

    • http://slignot.wordpress.com slignot

      Here’s a tip: no one here thinks that those citations of yours hold any ethical authority. They actually make us discount you because you can’t reason your way to moral behavior, but rely on reality-conflicting fables to decide how to behave in a modern science filled society.

      A book filled with hate for women and gay people really isn’t going to be acceptable in a discussion about fighting transphobia and oppression.

  • Anna

    I am a trans woman. I have been a victim of both violence and sexual assault as a result of my trans status. I have had my education derailed. I have lived my life in poverty. I have dealt with crippling anxiety and depression for years.

    Die cis scum.

    No it doesn’t make me have more allies when I say that. No, it isn’t something I could possibly act on even were I inclined to which im not. I feel it though. Most cis people in my life I love and cherish. I still feel it, everytime I worry about being safe in the woman’s washroom, every time a cop decides to stop me on the street, everytime I have to see a doctor in a walk in clinic because I cant get my own due to trans status. I feel it knowing its not only not safe for me at night its often not safe for me in broad daylight in a public place.

    One other thing thing that attracts me to the phrase. I get to find out who are REAL allies trying to understand and which allies just want me to play the nice little victim they get to help. I don’t need the latter. Die cis scum tends to drive them off since I am not playing the victim anymore.

    • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

      Why do you favor DCS over something like “Die Transphobic Scum”?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Carrie

        Why are you more concerned with the phrasing than you are with the atrocities Anna described?

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          Because I’m trying to understand, Anna seems like a reasonable person, and I’m interested in her explanation.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Carrie

            If you *still* don’t get the rationale behind the phrase, then

            You. Have. Not. Been. Listening.

            However, I won’t presume to know Anna’s thoughts on the matter.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            No. I don’t believe you. I think you’re being intentionally obtuse. Everything you need to understand this has been written in the thread. Stop “just asking questions.”

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            @Carrie – “the rationale” is not monolithic. It may mean something different to different people. I was hoping to get Anna’s perspective.

            @Josh – thankfully, I didn’t ask you.

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            Wes, I don’t think you are being genuine but I will say this anyway. The difference is that the “cis” status is what holds the boot of oppression on her neck. It is the “cis” that trans people fear. The never knowing what “cis” may turn tables and kill them. Using the blanket deceleration is effective as a defensive mechanism from “all cis” even those she may not actually need protecting from.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Exactly what Carrie said. The fuck is wrong with you?

      • http://slignot.wordpress.com slignot

        You Do. Not. Get. To. Dictate.

        You also don’t get to police others for speech that empowers them and forms a rallying cry to action against transphobic abuse and oppression.

        You have zero right to criticize speech for tone, particularly when it has fuck all to do with you.

        If you are a decent human being you will shut up and listen. If you are a good human being who cares about justice you will help. If you don’t get it and want to, educate yourself undemandingly* and quietly until you get your privilege. If that’s too hard for you, I don’t care what you do so long as you stop pretending you give a shit about justice and equality for trans people.

        *Undemanding: meaning you don’t insist that every person less privileged than you holds your damned hand to explain it to you.

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          What am I dictating?

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            You’re just asking questions, we know.

            Asshole.

          • http://slignot.wordpress.com slignot

            The words of those less privileged than you.

            Josh is right, you’re not being honest here. I can’t believe you sincerely are trying to understand, and every time you make someone justify themselves and their statements to your satisfaction is just another contemptible way of making them behave, to make you feel better.

            It’s not their job to reinforce your comfortable privilege and you have no right to expect them to beg to be treated as human beings.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          Actually, anybody has the right to criticize speech.

          Which is why I won’t police any comments here.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            I hate to intrude on your territory, but I’m going to.

            I encourage criticism. I also encourage listening and responding to what people actually say. I do not support the type of behavior that derails threads and ruins otherwise productive conversation.

            That means some people in this thread are getting warnings.

      • Anna

        I prefer it for several reasons.

        1. Its pithier
        2. It makes a few people learn what cis means which makes them think about trans issues.

        and the most important reason

        3. When I get that angry I honestly don’t give a crap about what cis people think.

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          Thank you for an honest answer.

        • Zengaze

          Okay I’ll conceded 2 is good.

      • Happiestsadist

        It’s really telling about your priorities that you care more about your own fee-fees about phrasing, and less about oppression.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          How do you come to that conclusion?

          This is a blog post discussing a phrase.

          Of course ze cares about the oppression trans people face, but to insinuate ze isn’t because that’s not what ze is talking about at this very moment is not really addressing the points ze is bringing up but rather questioning hir motivation.

          I could just as easily ask why you care so much about what ze thinks about the phrase, and claim that your comments on this blog mean you’re not out doing something about the oppression you’re so concerned about.

          I won’t though, because it doesn’t address any points you’ve brought up.

          If I wrote a blog about the phrase, “Theists are all fucking morons” and a Deist Quaker came on this blog and said, “So um… can you explain why you felt the need to use this particular language, I’m totally on your side, I think atheists being oppressed is bullshit and I believe in strict separation of church and state” and I accused him if only caring about his fee fees and not caring about the real oppression, it would be pretty much equivalent.

          • Happiestsadist

            I love it when cis people tell me how best to be angry. And how they totally get their privilege, and all these trans people are Doing It Wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            I assume you are addressing me. When did I tell you how best to be angry? How did I tell you that you’re doing it wrong?

            You accused people of caring more about their feelings than oppression. I think you’re mistaken about their motivations. This has nothing to do with being angry and I am not telling you that you’re doing anger wrong.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            Happiestsadist,

            From now on, you do not get to just insult someone. You also do not get to scream “privilege” and walk away.

            You can do these things only if they come attached to an argument.

            Failure to do so will get you banned from this site.

          • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

            @Christina:

            Of course ze cares about the oppression trans people face

            The fact that you can say this shows how much you don’t understand about trans experience.

            Whether or not the person actually cares about trans issues I won’t argue since it in part depends on knowing someone else’s mind and in part depends on defining “care”.

            However, **please don’t say “of course”**. If you have evidence that the person cares, great. You can even communicate that evidence although I think it’s obtusely missing the point to try.

            “Of course”

            “Of course”

            “Of course”…

            Really. Do you have any idea how you sound when you say that? Like, “gee, folks, everyone who has ever been on the interwebs loves the trans! It’s a given that person X cares about trans oppression.”

            You can feel free to add more context if you like. You really think that everyone who has ever read or commented on JTs blog cares about trans oppression?

            You think it’s impossible that somecisone can be interested in this discussion more because they are surprised at being implicated in oppression than they are by some sincere desire to start or get better at keeping trans people safe?

            You really think, “Of course,” is the right phrase to use here?

            We who are not cis cannot count on cis people caring about trans oppression. You using “of course” does nothing but blame trans people for failing to assume that every cis person with whom we communicate cares ever-so-deeply for us.

            I, for one, would prefer if that behavior end. Quickly. Now.

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

            The fact that you can say this shows how much you don’t understand about trans experience.

            Whether or not the person actually cares about trans issues I won’t argue since it in part depends on knowing someone else’s mind and in part depends on defining “care”.

            I said, “of course ze cares” specifically referring to Wes. Wes (whose gender is unknown to me) said things such as:

            Wes: “The argument seems to be “yes, but trans people are really oppressed, so their anger at the vast privileged majority is understandable.” Which, of course, is true.”

            Wes: “I’m not taking it away. I’m expressing disapproval. I do not have the power to take it away, nor would I take it away, if I had that power.”

            You might be correct and I might be being too charitable to Wes: maybe “of course ze cares” should have been, “Ze probably cares”. or maybe, “underneath this discussion about hir disapproval, ze seems to have some measure of care.”

            I also said it out of exasperation at what I felt were accusations of “not caring” because somecisperson chose to blog about the phrase rather than the oppression. I DO care. A lot. I care a lot about violence against anybody who doesn’t deserve it. I care a million times more about the oppression than the phrase used against the oppression. So, I was possibly projecting my sense of care on to others. I was frustrated that I couldn’t discuss the phrase on my blog without being accused of not caring. But, now I’m making this reply all about my own feelings, and I don’t mean to ignore that countless trans people are clearly much more than merely exasperated by the violence and oppression they face. I don’t mean to make this about me: rather, I’m just trying to explain why I wrote what I wrote.

            Really. Do you have any idea how you sound when you say that? Like, “gee, folks, everyone who has ever been on the interwebs loves the trans! It’s a given that person X cares about trans oppression.”

            You can feel free to add more context if you like. You really think that everyone who has ever read or commented on JTs blog cares about trans oppression?

            No, I don’t think that. You are absolutely correct: It’s not a given that person X cares about trans oppression, and that’s not what I mean, so I apologize for not being more clear. I should have been more clear by using the particular names of people instead of “ze”, which made my comment seem more generalized. I did not mean for it to be generalized.

            You think it’s impossible that somecisone can be interested in this discussion more because they are surprised at being implicated in oppression than they are by some sincere desire to start or get better at keeping trans people safe?

            Yes, I do think somecisone could be interested for those reasons. Or more nefarious reasons.

            You really think, “Of course,” is the right phrase to use here?

            No, it would not be the right phrase to use if I was referring to *everyone* caring. I wasn’t. I’m sorry.

            We who are not cis cannot count on cis people caring about trans oppression. You using “of course” does nothing but blame trans people for failing to assume that every cis person with whom we communicate cares ever-so-deeply for us.

            Since I was referring to Wes and no everyone, my use of “of course” was not meant to blame trans people for failing to assume. I am sorry I was not clear. You SHOULDN’T assume that every cis person with whom you communicate cares ever-so-deeply, or even at all.

            I, for one, would prefer if that behavior end. Quickly. Now.

            I inadvertently led you, with my failure to write clearly, to believe this behavior was happening. I hope I have explained myself sufficiently enough. I did not mean to lead you to believe that this behavior was happening, so I apologize for that.

            If you have suggestions beyond my meager attempts to clarify or any other suggestions and would like to let me know, I’m listening.

        • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

          Christina, you can take this as an answer to your question about why you give off a vibe of disapproval, as well as a comment on your exchange with Happiestsadist.

          You can’t separate the discussion of the phrase and discussion of the oppression.

          I wrote some more here, but really that’s it. If you understand why they use it, then you should also understand why being endlessly needled about why couldn’t they be clearer that they don’t hate all cis people and why not just saying transphobes and why the violent rhetoric… feels like an attack.

          • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

            Yes, it feels like an attack, but it isn’t.

            It is no more an attack than when an atheist “needles” a theist about why they believe despite the lack of evidence. There are emotions linked to a theist’s beliefs, and when we ask they are affected. But the question still has rational merit, and just like many of us atheists ask theists to consider the rational side of the issue, I think it’s fair to ask a rational question here about the use of violent rhetoric.

            Anger does not justify irrationality, it does often cause it though. Of course, if the DCS slogan is rational, then OK. No argument has been presented that it is rational, just that it is an expression of justified anger, which I don’t reject.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            You can’t separate the discussion of the phrase and discussion of the oppression.

            No, you can’t, but that does not mean that people who discuss the phrase care more about the phrase (and/or their feelings regarding the phrase) than the oppression, which is a charge that has been repeatedly leveled against people here in the comments.

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            But when they get stuck on “but you could have done it better” in dozens of comments, even with trans people explaining and answering all the whys, then maybe there might be reason for a smidgeon of doubt about their good intentions.

            You can afford to be generous with your benefit of the doubt, some people have had it thrown back in their face far too many times by now. I have also read Zengaze’s last comment by the time of writing this so excuse me if my own generosity is running rather low right now.

    • Josh, Official SpokesGay

      Exactly Anna. Rock it.

      It is good to know who wants to whine about their fee-fees first and foremost rather than trying to have even a shred of empathy about people who have it far worse off than they do. Fuck them. There’s a lot of them on FtB, a very sad discovery.

      Allies my shiny metal ass.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        Disagreeing with something someone says/does does not mean we do not care about any of the issues that person faces.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          Oh stop it, Christina. You’re not unintelligent by far. This isn’t about “disagreeing,” it’s about disingenuous, smug, deliberate obtuseness. It’s about demanding one be spoon-fed a “good enough” reason for oppressed people to say mean things as a priority over the actual horrible things done to said people.

          That’s Wes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Sorry, maybe my tendency to filter out smugness or retranslate something smug into something unsmug is sometimes not as big an asset as I think it is. I didn’t really think anyone was being intentionally obtuse or insincere, but I might be being overly charitable.

          • Happiestsadist

            I’ll be completely honest here Christina, I think you’re giving a lot more credit and good faith to people who are “just asking questions” than they perhaps deserve.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Christina—yes, I think your de-smugging filter is set a little too high:)) That’s a minor sin in the grand scheme, but yeah, it’s not always an asset. In conversations like these some clueless person often “charitably” assumes (I’m not referring to a Christina-type person, but more of a Wes-type person) that Bad Event X couldn’t possibly be as bad as the oppressed person said, and that the perpetrator must have been Drunk/Autistic/Socially-Awkward/Didn’t Mean It.

            Shorter: extreme skepticism toward the claims of the victim and extreme charity toward the accused. The more of these conversations you participate in the more you’ll see it. It’s pretty depressing.

          • Happiestsadist

            Aaaand there’s Josh, two minutes later, saying it way better than me.

            His point pretty well explains why my side has a lot of defensiveness in discussions about this kind of thing. There’s a sense of “OMG, those trans people said they want cis people to DIE! Literally! They’re coming for us!” combined with “Silly trans* people, *person X* is an ALLY, and just wants to know why you’re so angry.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

            Well, maybe I am. I don’t normally hang out a lot in the comments section, and answer the most smug-soaked Christian’s questions on Twitter as if they were not asked smugly at all, so maybe my de-smug filter is just plain broken and set to eleven.

            Let’s just hope that people read my original post with their de-smugging filters turned on, because that’s how it’s meant to be read, at least.

          • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

            Where is the disingenuousness here? Because I’m asking for explanations? I have a good idea what the answers are most of the time, but I’d rather ask than put words in people’s mouths. Where are you getting that my questions are smug or disingenuous?

          • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

            @happiest

            The issue is not why you are angry. The issue is why that must translate into violent rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with anger, but there is something wrong with language that seems to advocate violence.

            I don’t think trans people are coming for me, I won’t criticize your anger (I share it), and I don’t think that anyone is silly because they say such things. I think I would not advocate a slogan for any group for people to die, even if they are scum. I want the scum to not have power over legislation, to not use violence, or ultimately to have those views, but I will not use language which implies that I might use violence myself in any way besides self-defense.

            In any case, the DCS meme exists and will persist because people like to feed off of anger (I know, I suffer from BPD). The anger will persist until trans people of all kinds are accepted at all levels of society (oh man, wouldn’t that be nice!). I applaud and support the anger, the struggle, and the greater cause of social justice. I don’t like the use of violent rhetoric. It’s simply unnecessary.

            My opinions are not invalid just because I don’t experience every lack of privilege there is to experience. But if you will ignore me because I don’t have exactly your experience, that simply is not rational.

          • Zengaze

            YaY Beatrice that’s what to do, instead of actually answering the question posed, you go into a diatribe, followed by an example of “you don’t agree with me, or get it, which again translates as agree with me, therefore you are worth less than me”, but in a far spiteful form.

            I’ll ask you the question.
            just what would you say is an unjustified expression of anger from a trans person?

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          The issue s why that must translate into violent rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with anger, but there is something wrong with language that seems to advocate violence.

          Shut the fuck up with a side of go to hell. You stupid condescending git! I swear, some of you are just the living end.

          Don’t you dare tell a trans person there’s something wrong with their language. Go stick your head in a toilet you dumb fuck.

          • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

            …and I get called smug. Jesus.

          • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

            That is called the “shut up, that’s why” reply.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Actually, it’s “Because fuck you, that’s why.”

            You are smug, Wes. And self-centered. You’re so goddamned vain you think everyone has to adjust their behaviors to cater to your ignorance. Then, when someone actually offers you a link that’s relevant, you throw a pissy fit and call it a personal attack. Sheltered baby.

            Ditto for Shaun.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            Smug – contentedly confident of one’s ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.

            Ability or correctness? Sure. But the only one I see asserting any superiority is you. So far, in this very thread, you have called various people:
            1. “a fright”
            2. smug
            3. obnoxious
            4. dumb
            5. intentionally obtuse
            6. asshole
            7. disingenuous
            8. dumb fuck
            9. sheltered baby

            And you’ve claimed that people need to “do some basic reading,” insinuated that they are fake allies, asked “the fuck is wrong with you?” and said “shut the fuck up with a side of go to hell” and “fuck you.”

            One of us is clearly asserting superiority, but it ain’t me. You clearly have no interest in pursuing reasonable discussion, and would rather respond with personal attacks and insinuations that if only people were a little more like you, they’d reach a higher level of enlightenment and suddenly have no problem with any of this.

          • carlie

            The issue is why that must translate into violent rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with anger, but there is something wrong with language that seems to advocate violence.

            As I said in the other nest, it’s not the trans people who brought violence into this. It’s the people who started killing trans people who brought the violence into this. And putting a phrase on the back of a jacket, no matter what that phrase is, is still in no way anywhere near the level of hatred and violence that those other people killing them actually is. You still refuse to deal with the fact that this is not just a fun language game for people other than yourself; this is about people actually getting killed for who they are, and they are yelling back. They are not putting together mobs to go beat the hell out of cis people, they are using their words to indicate their level of upset with the people who are killing them. You have your little feelings hurt because you think that you might be unfairly implicated in the group consisting of “cis scum”? Good. Prove that you’re not in that group by telling the ones who are to stop doing that shit. Problem solved.

          • Zengaze

            Lol josh. Blatant example of someone whose beliefs override any sense of reason or secular morality, just what would you say is an unjustified expression of anger from a trans person?

            it is not tone trolling to say that a blanket wish of death upon a group of people defined as their gender tag combined with referring to them as “scum” is Nothing short of divisive segregationist hate mongering.

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            it is not tone trolling to say that a blanket wish of death upon a group of people defined as their gender tag combined with referring to them as “scum” is Nothing short of divisive segregationist hate mongering.

            Hate mongering. Trans people are engaging in hate mongering. People whose average lifespan is somewhere below thirty are the ones engaging in hate mongering?! People who are getting killed on the street for the crime of existing?!

            You are a disgusting piece of shit.

          • Zengaze

            Stacking messed me up again, I posted this comment in the stack above, but this is where it belongs.

            YaY Beatrice that’s what to do, instead of actually answering the question posed, you go into a diatribe, followed by an example of “you don’t agree with me, or get it, which again translates as agree with me, therefore you are worth less than me”, but in a far spiteful form.

            I’ll ask you the question.
            just what would you say is an unjustified expression of anger from a trans person?

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            Something more substantial than a phrase of which the worst effect is hurting some privileged person’s feelings.

          • zengaze

            Thankyou for the rational answer.

            Yet I assume That you would decry a phrase which pigeonholed a group of people whom you considered to be without privilege. Say for example:

            Die black scum

            If the phrase was uttered by someone who had suffered injustice at the hands of individual black people. Our any grouping that is a Subset of humanity defined by things they cannot change, such as gender identity, race, rather than opinions and views, such as fascist.

            cis people are not responsible for the suffering of trans people, some people who are cis are responsible, it is not the fact that they are cis that makes them the perpetrators of hate, but the fact that they hold abhorrent socio political views. That is why the phrase “die cis scum” is unjust, and an abhorrence itself.

            Natalie may argue that in fact the phrase is only targeted at the fascists who are cis, but that is not the phrase. And in that case the person who shouts “die black scum” per the example above is wholly justified in doing so.

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            First, with Die Black Scum you have precedent, with Die Cis Scum you don’t.
            The exact phrase may not have been used, but the hate against black people has (and still does) resulted in violence against and death of black people. You don’t have that precedent with trans against cis violence. Quite the opposite.

            Second, I can’t divorce in my mind the phrase Die Cis Scum from the phrase Die Trans Scum. I think that correlation is an important part.

            I don’t find the possible unjustness of the phrase towards cis people relevant. Simply, I don’t. If we are honest with ourselves, transphobes are not the only ones responsible for the suffering of trans people. Many of the rest of us are silent collaborators, by virtue of simply dismissing the problems trans people face, by staying quite while transphobes spout their hate, by doing nothing. And I don’t begrudge anyone’s anger at that. And yes, Die Cis Scum is an extreme. But it is an extreme of words, with no violent actions behind it. It’s meant to be shocking because anything else is obviously not enough.

            Are you even trying to understand or are you just making me waste my time?

          • Drew

            Beatrice, your last paragraph there is golden.
            “transphobes are not the only ones responsible for the suffering of trans people. Many of the rest of us are silent collaborators”
            “Die Cis Scum is an extreme. It’s meant to be shocking because anything else is obviously not enough.”
            These phrases were very useful on the path to “getting it”.

            1) I realize that simply not being aware of trans issues at every single moment CAN actually make me part of the problem.
            2) I realize that the entire conversation that has led me to 1) was initiated because of “Die cis scum” clearly demonstrating it’s usefulness as a tool for awareness.

          • Zengaze

            Beatrice, of course I’m trying to understand your position, whether that is a waste of your time, is not something I could comment on, note that attempting to understand your position, or even understanding your position does not equate to agreeing with you.

            I don’t agree that an equivalence can’t be drawn because of the lack of gender based violence from trans to cis, do we have to wait until a trans person kills a cis person for their gender, before the sentiment of “die CIA scum” becomes unacceptable? The sentiment is either abhorrent to begin with or it is not. In my view any sentiment expressing hate or violence against a grouping of humanity based purely upon their gender is obscene.

            With regards to trans issues, I am of the opinion that trans people are the most marginalised and maltreated people in our western societies, I don’t know the statistics on that, but that is my anecdotal perspective. As such although I am not trans myself, I have tremendous sympathies for their struggle to be recognised as individuals of equal value in our human family.

            This next sentiment may be convoluted but I’ll try to explain my position further. I don’t see trans, I don’t see male I don’t see female, I see people, human beings, I don’t see straight, I don’t see queer, I see humanity in all it’s beautiful diversity, I despise any form of broad brush approach to any agitation, as it disregards the individual with group labelling, the very thing that is the enemy! And I know I used trans as a grouping in my argument above, that is why it’s convoluted :) we must get by labels, I know that that’s easy to say but not the reality, but we must ( we being any person interested in a humanity of one subset, equals) not be our enemy.

          • Beatrice, anormalement indécente

            Why are you going as far as comparing die black scum and die cis scum? Compare die cis scum and die trans scum. Would you really be able to say that those two are equally bad?

            When I see an extremely oppressed group like trans community expressing a sentiment like this, I’m willing to hold my judgement. Maybe it’s inconsistent to approve of this while generally condemning violent rhetoric, but it’s an exception I’m willing to make.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            Josh,

            From now on, you do not get to just insult someone. You also do not get to scream “privilege” and walk away.

            You can do these things only if they come attached to an argument that responds to what someone actually said.

            Failure to do so will get you the ban hammer.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Oh lord, Wes. If you honestly don’t get it then you have so very, very much reading and learning to do.

        Serious suggestion:

        This is very eye-opening and may help. Trigger warning: there’s sarcasm aimed at people like you (and like me, when I say dumb-ass things that show my privilege). But it’s quite accurate.

        • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

          Derailing? Seriously? This is a post about the meaning and goal(s) of the phrase DCS. Asking about the meaning and goals of the phrase is derailing? I would argue that responding to legitimate inquiry with personal attacks is much more representative of derailment.

        • Drew

          This link is actually very helpful. I’ve only read 4 bullet points and I’m already learning conversational tactics I want to avoid in the future.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Wes—that link was offered not as an attack, but because it really does address the things we’re talking about. If you’re that goddamned sensitive I’ll give you a personal attack. Jesus Christ. Grow up.

    • Drew

      I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing it with us.
      Reading these comments and your words has given me a lot to think about regarding what an “ally” is.

    • Happiestsadist

      Beautifully, and powerfully put. It’s an excellent test of who’s actually an ally, and who just wants cookies.

      • Dalillama

        Wait, there are cookies? No one told me about the cookies.

        • Happiestsadist
          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            But are they made from Real Feminists™?

          • Happiestsadist

            It should come as a surprise to exactly nobody that Wednesday Addams was my hero growing up.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Naturally. That’s on account of the fact that she fuckin’ rocked. Oh, there are so many villages I want to burn to the ground.

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Alethea H. Claw

    How can a supposed ally dare to tell trans people not to be angry? How very fucking dare they?

    I see one other person did make the SCUM Manifesto connection. Seriously, I think there’s a lot of commonality. It’s certainly what helped me to get “Die, cis scum!” when I first saw it, but perhaps that’s my age and most younger people have only ever seen it out of context and demonised.

    The connection is a very plain and simple one. It’s rage. Rage condensed to the point of explosion. Rage at oppression finally, at long long last, expressed without the careful self-censorship and mealy mouthed politeness that we are accustomed to. It’s boiling over angry, and with good reason.

    There are times when “Oh kind sir, you seem to have your jackboot on my neck and are pushing me into the ground. It’s just a tad unpleasant, and it would be terribly nice of you to remove it, if you would be so generous as to take the trouble.” just doesn’t make the cut.

    “Fuck you and all your fucking friends and the fucking horse you rode in on. First against the wall when the revolution comes. Die privileged scum!” Now THAT makes sense.

    • http://Www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

      I don’t recall anyone telling trans people not to be angry. when did that happen?

      • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

        As an example, Wes did it to Anna just before, Christina, comment 28.1 “Why do you favor DCS over something like “Die Transphobic Scum”?”

        If anything, I think Anna was using exceedingly polite language to describe her experience and her use of DCS was still questioned.

        • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

          How, exactly, is that telling anyone not to be angry?

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            I know, poor baby. Just asking questions.

          • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

            Keep up the personal attacks, Josh. It’s really adding a lot to the conversation.

          • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

            What else is that pointless litigating over terminology supposed to be, if not telling Anna (and Natalie and other transpeople who have their “DIE CIS SCUM” times, not to mention other marginalized groups who have similar moments of “DIE WHITE SCUM” or “DIE MALE SCUM” or “DIE NEUROTYPICAL SCUM” because they’re sick of being marginalized) not to be angry?

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            Wes,

            Anna said ‘Die cis scum’ in the middle of an otherwise polite and well-argued comment giving you a large amount of potential insight into her lived experiences as a trans person. The original post points out that ‘Die cis scum’ is a statement of anger – and believe me, her writing was ice cool but every sentence shouts out loud that she’s angry.

            Your response was not to sympathise with what’s she gone through in her life but instead to ask, why don’t use some other language that won’t hurt my feelings = don’t be so angry! Don’t be so damn uppity to use language like that while you’re being oppressed!

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            Wes, Still not inclined to think you are genuine here. See as others mentioned Anna gave you a polite and reasoned response why DCS helps her. Instead of seeing how it helps her you insist on seeing how it hurts you.

            “why don’t you use the term I like”

            Anna said the term she likes helps her. Her comment wasn’t about others. It was about how DCS has helped her to cope. That is why you aren’t being a good ally. Good allies start by listening.

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          Oh, honeycakes. It’ll be OK diddums:)

    • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

      This.

      Because of the amount of people that have called me “friend” and “awesome” and “nice” and “cool” and said how I “don’t deserve to be treated like shit the way I always get”, and yet who will conveniently exclude me from conversations except to ask me for stuff, and then deny this exclusion when I bring it up…

      Die NT scum.

      Because at some point, you get sick of getting kicked all the time and “politely” shoved aside when you ask why you keep getting kicked, and all you want to do is fucking kick back.

    • kerfluffle

      Exactly.

      Even relatively pacifistic revolutionaries like Dr. King and Gandhi never had a famous “Pretty Please?” speech.

      • Anna

        That is the most awesome quote ever. I had to twitter it :) You win this thread

      • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

        kerfluffle, in the midst of this horrible thread you made me laugh. +1 internetz for you.

  • http://polyskeptic.com Ginny

    What I have learned from this thread, primarily from Natalie’s and Anna’s descriptions of what Die Cis Scum means to them, is that it helps them feel empowered in the face of a world that is near-relentlessly hostile to them. Cool, okay. That’s a good enough reason for me to have nothing more to say about it. I’m uncomfortable with the use of violent rhetoric, even in a “punching up” direction, but I don’t feel like I have standing to comment here, being cis myself.

    I also understand the issue with people of a privileged position demanding endless explanations and education from the underprivileged people they encounter. Privileged people don’t realize how much time the underprivileged have to spend “educating” them. BUT there is also a time and a place for those conversations, that education, to happen, and this is one. Go back and look at the title of the blog post: “I have ‘Die Cis Scum’ questions.” This wasn’t a person entering a trans space and demanding that the people there drop what they’re doing and explain something. This was a person posting on their own blog with a question, and other people have responded with similar or follow-up questions.

    I’m disturbed by what seems to be reflexive hostility directed toward people honestly seeking information, in a space specifically earmarked for the honest seeking of information. Can we maybe acknowledge that someone in a privileged position has a long educational road to walk before they understand the perspective of a less-privileged person to the point where they’re immune from saying anything ignorant or insensitive, and that they have a right to engage in discussions before they’ve reached that point… especially when they’re not co-opting or derailing an existing discussion, but starting up a new thread of conversation in their own space?

    • Anna

      I thank you for saying you heard what I said. That is very much the point of Die Cis Scum also…make people stop and think about what we go through. I actually gain hope from that sort of comment.

      I also do encourage polite asking of questions on the Die Cis Scum issue especially when its in a place like this, a non trans blog. There is no invasion of trans space to force us to defend our feelings. There is also nothing in the original article I saw that made me feel like there was a demand for trans people to come and answer the question.

      This is respectful. That is why I came and shared my feelings and answered the question put to me with all the honesty I could.

      Hopefully the discussion can get back to a healthy tone but I do ask for some tolerance of trans peoples sensitivity on this issue. We have been forced to defend ourselves a lot on this issue in particular and the tone is not usually respectful. We hurt a lot. Some strong reactions will happen. Its the place where Die Cis Scum often comes from in the first place,

  • FootFace

    I don’t believe many cis people who aren’t scum will look at Die Cis Scum and think, “Well, that doesn’t refer to me because, while i am cis, I’m not scum.” Because Venn diagrams aside, I don’t think that’s how a phrase like “Die, ___ scum” gets interpreted by people.

    I believe even fewer cis people who are scum will look at Die Cis Scum and think, “Yep, that refers to me because I am cis and I am scum.” Because I don’t think many people self-identify as “scum.”

    Use it, say it, display it as you see fit, for the reasons you see fit. But I do believe there are reasonable, non-privileged grounds for questioning it.

    • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

      But I do believe there are reasonable, non-privileged grounds for questioning it.

      Then check your privilege some more, because you obviously haven’t been kicked enough =/

    • Emptyell

      It seems that the thing a lot lot of us über privileged types don’t seem to get is that DCS isn’t all about us. If I understand correctly it is about expressing anger and frustration in a way that is satisfying and empowering for some people who badly need to feel some of that. It is not to convince us of anything nor to reach out and help us understand. If it makes a few of us feel a bit uncomfortable so fucking what?

      If it happens to garner some attention and get some of us to notice that there’s someone underfoot and to perhaps tread a bit more thoughtfully so much the better, but that, as far as I can tell, is no where near the main purpose. It’s pretty clearly not at all about convincing us of anything. It’s not phrased, intended nor presented that way. To argue that it fails at something it is not even trying to do is facile, argumentative and insensitive.

      Please note that I have zero bona fides for claiming to understand what trans people experience and this whole issue is a bit new to me. My privilege goggles may be distorting my view, but injustice really pisses me off. Thanks for the new insights and the chance to rant.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        And thank you—sincerely—for giving a shit about the experience of people who have it really bad instead of whining about how mean it is to have to acknowledge that. I wish more people were like you. Sadly, they’re mostly selfish shits.

  • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

    You know, I should really mention that it doesn’t matter whether there is actual violence against the marginalized group in question. Driving someone to depression and suicide can be done without touching them at all, and I don’t see how that is any less worthy of “Die [Privileged] Scum”.

    • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

      Anger is fine. This point of view you espouse is poisonous and goes beyond anything rational.

      What are the privileged people out there that care about social justice and the rights and safety of all non-privileged to do in the face of this hostility? How can we feel like was can be on your side if you will perpetually remind us that we have that privilege?

      I cannot help that I’m white, male, largely neurotypical (I have BPD, but I manage it well enough), cis, educated, and middle class American. I still care about social issues and want the world to be better. I still want to gain perspective on what I don’t understand. By saying “Die [privilege] die,” you may or may not intend to include me, but you surely do push me away.

      You are angry. Fine. But you don’t have to be a complete asshat about it to people who are trying to understand. If you cannot comprehend that, then you may just be not worth my attention. Violent rhetoric seemingly aimed at me, who want to be your ally, makes you look addicted anger and hatred. This is something, as a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, I get. It’s. Not. Healthy.

      Use your anger more wisely, and point it where it belongs. Not at people like myself, Wes, and Christina (who I find insightful and fair).

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Shut the hell up.

        • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

          No. I will not shut up.

          I don’t shut up in the face of religious privilege, nor will I shut up in the face of irrational ideas of any kind.

          If you have an argument, present it. Otherwise, stop with the “shut up, that’s why!” response. I hear that too often from theists and accommodationists already.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            You’re an obnoxious, smug, pompous hetero with a chip on your shoulder. You hate the fact that anyone points out that you’ve got it comparatively easy. You presume to lecture people in far more dire straits than you, and you whine like a toddler who lost his binkie if anyone dares point out your privilege. Dude, you said it flat out–”How can we feel like was can be on your side if you will perpetually remind us that we have that privilege?”

            FUCK YOU. If you only give a shit about making the world better if none of the uppity queers ask you to confront your comfortable position then you can kiss my motherfuckin’ ass. I don’t want you on my side because you’re a whiny self-centered shithead.

            So, yeah. Fuck off and die.

      • Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Use your anger more wisely, and point it where it belongs. Not at people like myself, Wes, and Christina (who I find insightful and fair).

        We’ll point our anger anywhere we want you pompous son of a bitch. It belongs aimed at you. Don’t tell us how to wisely apportion our anger fucker.

        • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

          I find it odd that you will demand that I shut up and stop telling you anything, but you have no compunction about doing the same to me. That is hypocrisy at its best.

          Your anger at me is irrational. You are not presenting rational arguments but veiled threats and demands. That is precisely what the religious and the otherwise privileged do when confronted.

          I suggest, kindly, that you reconsider that tact.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            It’s tack you dumb ass.

          • betsumei

            Haven’t found a trace of tact anywhere, no matter how thoroughly I search.

            It took quite a while to find a single post where Josh wasn’t berating someone. Seems to be either a very angry SpokesGay, or a troll with an odd obsession with hurling profanity at anyone that stumbles across his path. Either way, a waste of time and bytes to argue.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Thank you for opining from your Wise and Dispassionate Perch.

          • betsumei

            You’re most welcome. If you’re a troll, I hope you’re well fed. If you’re just a very, very angry person, I wish you the best of luck in resolving that to your satisfaction.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            You’re just darling for being concerned about my anger, which is obviously ridiculous and has no good reason to exist. Bless you and your hip goatee, cupcake:) Mmm.. . smooch!

          • betsumei

            Now, now. It’s a bit early in the relationship for smooches, don’t you think? Usually people have the decency to at least get me drunk first. And at what point did observing that you’re angry beyond the point of reason imply that you haven’t any reason to be angry?

        • Josh, Official SpokesGay

          And at what point did observing that you’re angry beyond the point of reason

          You’re such a charmer! I don’t know how any girl or boy can keep their pants on around you—there’s nothing like being dismissed by a hipster to make a body crazy.

          • betsumei

            It’s funny, I figured you’d try and find a totally ill-fitting category to slot me into, but hipster was totally out of left field. Good try, but I’m reasonably sure it takes more than facial hair to be a hipster. For starters, I understand there’s something to do with “skinny jeans” and “indie music” involved. Something about avoiding the mainstream, but not just “can’t be bothered to finish shaving” like when that picture was taken. If you’re going to try and insult me (I’m assuming, for the sake of argument for argument’s sake, that you were), you could at least be decent enough to pick accurate adjectives. Pedantic, fat, ugly, friendless, depressed, malodorous, obsessive, otaku, nerdy, disheveled, disliked, jittery, clumsy, closeted, childish, dimwitted, come on, there are so many to choose from, and you went for bearded? Although, come to think of it, that works as a double entendre, so I may have to give some credit there. I do hope you’re at least enjoying this a little.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Good try, but I’m reasonably sure it takes more than facial hair to be a hipster.

            Yep. It also takes a douchey attitude; the kind of disposition that leads one to wander into a conversation and pronounce on how nasty and unreasonable and unjustifiably angry someone else is. And to feel very aloof and smug about it while wondering why—why in the world?—one would be targeted for derision after that kind of behavior.

          • betsumei

            You’re misreading, Josh, or I’m miswriting. Can you please point out where I said you weren’t justified (believe me, I know it’s justified)? Or, if you prefer, point out where you’ve demonstrated that you can be reasoned with (would you prefer that you could be reasoned out of your justified anger)? Or, indeed, where I wondered why I was being derided, instead of merely complaining about the quality of the derision I so deserve (traitor that I am, with the admission buried in a list of adjectives)? I’d like to say I look forward to an enlightening response, but I’m afraid “overly optimistic” isn’t often something I could be called.

          • Josh, Official SpokesGay

            Oh fuck off. You call me irrational and deride me for being angry and then act all coy and “just wonder” why I think you’re dismissive and insulting? Are you hard of thinking?

          • betsumei

            Well, if “hard of thinking” is synonymous with “dimwitted”, then I’ve already admitted to it. Are you hard of reading? Because your responses (as well as misquoting me, I never said “just wonder”, and I thought I made it clear that I know exactly why you regard me so) sure suggest so. I guess I did leave dismissive and insulting off of the list, sure. Did I deride you for being angry? I suppose I may have, since mockery surely enters into things. I wanted to believe you were capable of something other than anger (I’ve met people who managed 24/7 rage, but they usually don’t manage to stay calm enough for things like punctuation), but I’ve found little evidence for it, and I’m not even staying on the topic that sets you off (I don’t care for “die cis scum”, even if I don’t consider myself the target of it, but I’m not about to tell someone how to express their anger because I’d expect the same consideration in return, fair’s fair and all that). I expect a response that twists my words in ways that beg the use of a dictionary, sprinkled liberally with creative invective, if any at all.

        • El

          Actions have consequences.

      • carlie

        What are the privileged people out there that care about social justice and the rights and safety of all non-privileged to do in the face of this hostility? How can we feel like was can be on your side if you will perpetually remind us that we have that privilege?

        Are you saying that you will only be an ally to a marginalized group if they play nice and kiss your feet and say thank you so much for being so kind as to be on their side? What a disgusting concept. You should be on their side because it’s the right thing to do, not because they make you feel good about yourself. I’m a feminist, and that means that sometimes I have to complain about sexist comments directed at people like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter. I despise those two with every fiber of my being; they are not on my “side” in any sense of the word. But I believe in the idea of not trashing someone because of their gender, and that means that I defend that idea regardless of how they as individuals would treat me personally.

        As for being reminded you have privilege, yeah, we do, and yeah, we need to be constantly reminded of it lest we start appropriating and thinking we know what it’s like to be part of that group when we bloody well don’t. That’s not an attack of any kind; it’s a statement of fact.

        • El

          I’M OPPRESSED SO I HAVE ABSOLUTE MORAL AUTHORITY NO MATTER WHAT I DO.

          I’M FREE TO BE AN ABSOLUTE SHIT AND INSULT, THREATEN, AND HARASS NON-OPPRESSED PEOPLE (I DETERMINE WHAT IS AND ISN’T OPPRESSED), AND IF YOU EXPRESS APPROVAL YOU’RE BEING A BIGOT!

      • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the Pharyngula Star Chamber

        Anger is fine.

        Okay.

        This point of view you espouse is poisonous

        Compared to driving someone to depression and suicide?

        As someone who hit suicidal rock bottom a year and a half ago, fuck you.

        What are the privileged people out there that care about social justice and the rights and safety of all non-privileged to do in the face of this hostility? How can we feel like was can be on your side if you will perpetually remind us that we have that privilege?

        Because privilege will go away if we all just forget about it.

        Fuck you and your stupid fucking feelings. Bowing down to the “feelings” of the privileged is what got me here. Having to fucking put up with other people’s “jokes” because it didn’t matter that I didn’t find them funny because everyone else did is what made me like this.

        When you say this, you prove that you don’t care about me. You’re no fucking ally of mine. Fuck off. Go whine and cry about your precious privilege somewhere else.

        I cannot help that I’m white, male, largely neurotypical (I have BPD, but I manage it well enough), cis, educated, and middle class American.

        You can check your fucking privilege and stop ‘splaining to me about how I’m hurting your feelings.

        (Also, fuck you.)

        I still care about social issues and want the world to be better.

        Fuck off, you disingenuous asshole. You’ve already told me above that you care more about your own feelings than helping me by telling me to not be so “poisonous” or “hostile”. Don’t fucking lie to yourself, or me.

        I still want to gain perspective on what I don’t understand.

        This isn’t the thread for that, and that’s not my fucking job anyway. Go read one of the many threads on FTB about marginalization, shithead.

        By saying “Die [privilege] die,” you may or may not intend to include me, but you surely do push me away.

        I don’t care, because you’ve already told me you don’t care about me. Fuck. You.

        I’m not even responding to the rest of this tripe because work is over. Just…FUCK YOU.

      • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

        See, I am an ally with the First Amendment of the US Constitution and in that I support the right of people to use it to do stupid and horrible things. Being an ally does not mean total agreement. It means supporting a movement overall. If a faction of that movement happens to use a term you don’t like, it doesn’t mean that you have to forgo that movement. If the whole movement uses a term you don’t like, you have to decide whether you can still associate with that movement based on the use of that term.

        Personally I think “violent rhetoric aimed at me” is a small price to pay for helping ensure the safety and well being of the movement I care about. The reason I think it is a small price to pay is because, I know that I am in no danger from harsh words.

    • Dalillama

      Hear, hear.

  • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

    All I was trying to say with my posts was that I think there are better ways to express outrage than the DCS phrase. I’m sorry. I know sincerity is hard to express in internet forums, but please believe me when I apologize for seeming smug, and definitely for being naive. I’m probably still not going to be a fan of the phrase, but I understand it better now and will grin and bear it for the future.

    • carlie

      For what value of “better”, though? As Emptyell just said, you’re misunderstanding the reason for the message. It isn’t there to convince you of anything; it’s there to express just how dire and upsetting the situation is.

      And if you have to feel warm and fuzzy about every member of a group in order to be an ally for the concept of that group being treated like full humans, that’s not being much of an ally.

      • http://twitter.com/zelinator ZeL

        I’d like to think I’ve always gotten the reason behind the message, but until this thread I didn’t feel it was justification enough. I’m getting it now, sorry for being obtuse.

  • Emptyell

    It seems that the thing a lot lot of us über privileged types don’t get is that DCS isn’t all about us. If I understand correctly it is about expressing anger and frustration in a way that is satisfying and empowering for some people who badly need to feel some of that. It is not to convince us of anything nor to reach out and help us understand. If it makes a few of us feel a bit uncomfortable so fucking what?

    If it happens to garner some attention and get some of us to notice that there’s someone underfoot and to perhaps tread a bit more thoughtfully so much the better, but that, as far as I can tell, is no where near the main purpose. It’s pretty clearly not at all about convincing us of anything. It’s not phrased, intended nor presented that way. To keep arguing that it fails at something it is not even trying to do is facile, argumentative and insensitive.

    Please note that I have zero bona fides for claiming to understand what trans people experience and this whole issue is a bit new to me. My privilege goggles may be distorting my view, but injustice really pisses me off. Thanks for the new insights and the chance to rant.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      It seems that the thing a lot lot of us über privileged types don’t get is that DCS isn’t all about us. If I understand correctly it is about expressing anger and frustration in a way that is satisfying and empowering for some people who badly need to feel some of that. It is not to convince us of anything nor to reach out and help us understand.

      Yes, I do get this.

      • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

        That’s a really, really important point too. Yes. Absolutely.

        I can talk about what it means relative to the discourse surrounding cis/trans social dynamics and such and such and whatever for days, but really, as I said, when I ACTUALLY PUT ON my jacket, it really isn’t about anyone else’s opinions or feelings AT ALL.

        It’s about MY feelings. MY anger. MY empowerment. MY ability to feel a bit less powerless, helpless and scared in a very hostile world.

        One of the things that kills me is how amazingly often all trans discussions are derailed into being all about cis people and how cis people feel, how they should be allies, how they should behave, what they want from us, wanting to know what we want from them, etc. We almost never get a chance to do say or do anything that’s just for US, for OUR community and OUR feelings.

        It’s something I might want to work on, actually. Take on as a bit of a project. Trans discussions, symbols, ideas, spaces, slogans whatever that are really, genuinely our own. How we feel about ourselves and one another. Hmmm…

        Time to scribble down some notes!

    • Setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry

      It is not to convince us of anything nor to reach out and help us understand.

      Excuse me? I don’t know about anyone else, but when I express an emotion, I’m trying to convey it. I’m trying to get it across. I am.trying to “reach out and help [those around me] understand” that I am feeling the emotion I am expressing.

      And I don’t really see any other reason to express an emotion.

      So how about reaching out and trying to help you understand that because of the injustice and denial surrounding it I AM FUCKING PISSED? HOW ABOUT THAT? I have been shit on my whole fucking life and when I try to bring attention to it it’s either no big deal or my fault, as such I feel angry and distressed, and sometimes it really really fucking feels like in the grand scheme of things no one is really going to fucking get it.

      I am trying to “convince” everyone that, if nothing else, this shit is fucking real for me.

      Die NT scum.

      • carlie

        Setar – I think the meaning is that the expression isn’t meant to convey all of the intricacies and understandings of living life as a trans person, so much as it’s meant to convey “cut that shit you’re doing to us out right the fuck now”. Yes, hopefully that goads the object to then seek out why the speaker is so mad and what they can do fix the problem, but every statement doesn’t have to be a teaching moment, is I think the point.

        • Emptyell

          Thanks Carlie. Exactly.

          Setar,
          I’m not saying you can’t use whatever language you feel is necessary and/or appropriate to communicate your feelings. It’s effectiveness is up to you and your audience to decide.

          I’m just saying that us privileged types shouldn’t be criticizing DCS if we don’t like the way it doesn’t do something that it isn’t for. That seems to me to say, “If you wish to speak to Us you should do so in terms We find acceptable”. There are times for going through channels. DCS is not designed for this.

    • pure_waters34

      *has tear in eye* finally, a *real* ally with a brain. :’D

  • Samantha Vimes

    I am far more bothered by the horrible experiences and fears that have caused the hostility, than by the hostility itself.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

    Alright, to avoid the derailing of otherwise productive threads, there are new comment standards in place due to people like Daisy, Happiestsadist, and Josh, who have all received warnings.

    Future comments on this site will need to live up to them. If you’re unwilling to play by these minimum standards, don’t comment.

  • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

    After mulling this over for a while, here are my thoughts. I’ll try to be as clear as possible. This involves several different premises and conclusions, so if you disagree and wish to comment, please point out which premise(s) and/or conclusion(s) with which you disagree.

    1. Certain behaviors [“bad behaviors” for short] give rise to a rebuttable presumption of wrongdoing.* An extreme example is homicide. Anyone who kills a person is presumed to have done so wrongly, until their situation is explained. The burden of proof is on the killer to explain hir actions. Attacking people who have done nothing wrong is another one of these bad behaviors. It’s not per se wrong, but it gives rise to a rebuttable presumption of wrongdoing. This will lead to, among other things, questioning the people engaging in the behavior, and (hopefully respectfully) asking them to explain their behavior. I feel much more comfortable doing this in skeptic community than in other places, because skeptics are generally favorably disposed to things like questioning reasons and behavior.

    2. “Die Cis Scum” is an attack on people who have done nothing wrong. Obviously, it’s an attack on some people who have done something horrible and unforgivable, and deserve all the attacks that they get.** But it’s also an attack on a lot of other people. As I explained in comment #22, the reasonable person hearing DCS will interpret it as “cis people are scum, and they should die,” and anyone using the phrase is either knowingly or recklessly sending that message. Unless you believe that all cis people have done something wrong (which I don’t), broadcasting DCS (by speech, patch, bumper sticker or otherwise) is an attack on people who have done nothing wrong, which gives rise to the presumption referenced in paragraph 1.

    3. So far, I have not heard an explanation sufficient to rebut the presumption of wrongdoing. There is a significance possibility that the reason for this is because there has been so much thread-derailing so far that nobody has actually been able to have a conversation about it. There is also a significant possibility that I just don’t agree with the rationale behind DCS. I do know that I am unable to think up, on my own, a sufficient justification. I do not think that the provocation defense (i.e. trans people are constantly attacked and under the threat of violence) is sufficient to justify attacks on innocent people.*** I also do not think that “I’m so angry I don’t care what cis people think” is a sufficient justification. To be a sufficient justification, the attack would have to be the least bad option, given all of the factors. I do not think that anyone has enough information at this point to make that call, as it is my understanding that no surveys, studies, or data collections of any kind have been conducted regarding this issue. Therefore, until I have more information (or someone points me to something that I haven’t considered) the presumption will stand.

    *I use the word “wrongdoing” broadly. Unwelcomely slapping a person lightly on the shoulder and punching someone in the face are both wrongdoing. The degree of wrongdoing can be very minor, or it can be massive. By using the word “wrongoing” to describe a behavior, I only mean that, on balance, I think it should not be done. I do not mean anything about how bad the behavior is, or how one-sided the balance is.

    ** I will happily join in any attacks on people who engage in, justify, encourage, or knowlingly/recklessly/negligently enable violence against trans people. I’m not being a NALT here. If I see anyone engaging in transphobic (or otherwise bigoted) speech or behavior, I’m damn well going to get in their face about it. I also acknowledge the unbelievably obvious reality that transphobia is a much bigger problem than any issues that I have with DCS, and my comments should in no way be taken to mean that I think the real problem is that trans people are behaving badly.

    *** I think this is largely the point of disagreement with most people in support of DCS, and I’m very open to being persuaded into changing this view.

    • Anna

      My issue is with your assumption that Die Cis Scum means were attacking anyone. I think that is a misreading of our intentions and forms a faulty basis for your line of reasoning

      Even were it to be an attack by some, the assumption it is an attack on innocent people is also a line of reasoning that is not I think backed up. You are reading in your interpretation of the statement not listening to the intent of those who are speaking it.

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        That’s true. My point in comment #22 was that the intentions of the speaker are largely irrelevant in the message being broadcast. If I used words with a generally accepted meaning in a way that is different from what is generally accepted, the responsibility is on me to explain what I mean each time I use them. That’s not something that’s possible with a tattoo, patch, or bumper sticker. Are you saying that you disagree with the contention that a reasonable hearer of “die cis scum” will hear “cis people are scum and they should die”? Or are you saying that it’s the responsibility of the hearer to obtain clarification before assuming that the reasonable interpretation is the correct one?

        • Anna

          Since there is more than one way the phrase can be reasonably interpretted I think it does place a burden on the person offended to seek clarification if they dont want to be offended. I personally try to take a charitable approach to anything said to me before I get offended by something.

          This would also provide the person being offended a chance to be informed on the issue. Information is a good thing.

          I would however like to say if one is genuinely afraid based on the phrase it is entirely reasonable to opt for safety and not bring the issue up. You should still aknowledge you are working from a personal assumption though.

          I feel that assumptions are always wrong and should be avoided. Its part of me being a skeptic.

          • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

            I thought the example Wes used in #22 was appropriate – if you saw someone with a tattoo that read ““I hate ugly people,” would you not assume that this individual hated physically unattractive people? Sure, the phrase could be interpreted differently – any phrase can – but the common meaning is going to win out in the minds of the readers, and some people are probably going to be hurt.

            Upthread, there’s some discussion of the difference between a “punch up” and a “punch down.” You seem to be disagreeing that it’s even a punch.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            I don’t think it’s about people taking offense. Offending people is something skeptics do all the time, and I don’t really see anything wrong with that on its own. I just don’t buy the argument that it’s not an attack. Several people who use the phrase have described it as “a threat” and said that it’s supposed to cause people discomfort. But more to the point, no matter what people mean by the term, the plain meaning by the vast majority of the population is that cis people are scum. For instance, I don’t think this guy has a favorable opinion toward hippies. This person clearly doesn’t like hipsters. If you don’t believe me, there’s an explanation here. People shouting “die Tory scum” are attacking Tories. I don’t think I need to ask these people what they mean in order to make the reasonable inference that they are attacking the specific group referenced. To a reasonable listener, “die X scum” is an attack on X, no matter what the speaker intends. I don’t think it’s reasonable to interpret any of the above examples as “die scum who also happen to be X.” The much more reasonable interpretation is “X are scum, and they should die.” All communication (with language) involves the assumption that people are using words in the way that are generally accepted. Sometimes, more than one interpretation is reasonable, but in this case, I don’t believe that’s true.

    • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

      I should also point out (again) that I find taking solace in the phrase, and feeling empowered by it, completely understandable. Everyone engages in bad behavior (as I’ve defined it) sometimes, and I don’t place a lot of blame on anyone using the phrase in a moment (or a lifetime) of anger. However, the question I’m trying to answer is “do I support the use of DCS?” Obviously, I don’t expect many non-me people to care about the answer to that, especially since any opposition I have is not going to be very vocal, given that there are much bigger problems to which I can direct my attention. But I appreciate anyone who attempts to help me better understand the issue, as it is something to which I’ve committed a large amount of thought the past few days.

      If anyone is actually interested in helping me understand, the biggest question I have (and I thank Anna again for answering it above) is – why does DCS give you more solace/empowerment/energy/etc. that a phrase like “Die Transphobic Scum” which avoids attacking innocent people? And how much more solace/empowerment/energy/etc. do you get from it as compared to comparable phrases?

      • Anna

        @Katie Hartman

        I was not arguing there is no punch. I am arguing that cis people are making a lot of assumptions about what we mean and should probably ask us if you actually want to know.

        If you prefer to assume what we mean, you are welcome to do that, but it doesnt make your assumption correct.

        The major thing I think that bothers trans people about this whole debate is that its framed in terms of what cis people feel about the subject instead of what trans people feel. It isn’t about you its about us. Its about how we feel.

        • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

          I totally agree that it’s about what you feel – I really, really hope I’m not coming off like I think that’s not what matters. But it’s very, very hard to convince someone that they ought to be confronting a person who is sending what seems like an obviously threatening message to clarify whether they are actually threatening you. Would you?

          • Anna

            As I said above it is entirely reasonable if you view this as a threat to choose safety first and not confront someone about it. Safety should always come first. As a trans person and a victim of assualt I understand this fundamentally.

            …and now you understand a little bit about my life too. From experience any cis person I am not intimately familiar with and even some who I am, have been, and could be a threat. This is what I live with.

          • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

            Why not mock-lunge at me, too? Why not chase me a few feet down the street? I’m sure it would give me a much better impression of what it’s like to live as the sort of person who is frequently targeted for degradation and violence.

            If you never follow up with “That. That’s what my life is like. Do you get it, now?” I’m not going to assume it was a teaching moment. I’m going to assume you were trying to hurt me, which is not always a poor assumption for a cis person – especially a cis woman – to make.

            Obviously, seeing a tattoo can’t possibly affect me as much as having someone fake a lunge at me, but it can still make me feel literally in danger. And as in the fake-lunge case, I’m not going to assume there’s some lesson there unless you explain it to me.

            I think this discussion is largely moot, because as you’ve noted upthread, when you’re angry enough you don’t really care what cis people are thinking. Sometimes you might just want to make some cis people hurt a tiny fraction of the way you hurt.

          • Anna

            @Katie

            Sigh, I am trying to be patient but I will admit up front I am getting a bit frustrated.

            I was not saying I view die cis scum as a learning process when I made the comment about you learning what my life is like. I was saying that your comment was a learning experience and was hoping you took it that way so you could understand where die cis scum comes from.

            Dis cis scum is a seperate thing. I am not claiming its directed at you. Please dont assume my motives. For me it is not about cis people at all. If it leads to learning great but that is not what its about. Its about me, its about my fellow trans people its about catharsis, its about empowerment. It has, for me, nothing to do with you.

            You can choose to believe im trying to be hostile to you and other cis people but thats a faulty assumption. For the record I am a pacifist. Ghandi and MLK are two of my greatest idols. But my life sucks, I vent, I feel empowered however briefly. If the people who care about me are offended I tell them its not about them because they ask me. They care enough to ask me.

            Other people have asked questions about DCS and I try to explain. It has allowed me to educate. That makes it better in my eyes. That is not where it comes from though. It is not about you.

            I cant stop you if that what you want to make it about you though.

          • http://polyskeptic.com shaunphilly

            So, in the unlikley case that a trans person, or perhaps a group of trans people, started to actually endorse (or actuallt do) violence against cis people, how would people then be able to distinguish between actual threat and perceived (even if unwarranted perception) desire of cis people to die?

            If some trans people start saying “kill cis scum,” is that distinction sufficient to draw a significant line between an expression of anger and an actual threat with the intent to do actual harm?

            My concern here is not my comfort. I don’t care if people think badly of me, people who look like me, etc. I am not concerned with feeling uncomfortable. My concern is how a slogan of a group may seem to indicate its goals. DCS does not seem to (as Wes is pointing out with plain language meaning) indicate mere anger at only the scum (even if it does). It seems to indicate a desire for all cis people to die.

            How could this be distinguished from an actual desire for all cis people to die, if such a desire really did exist? Couldn’t they adopt the same DCS phrase?

          • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

            I’m getting frustrated here too, Anna. DCS looks like a threat – it was created by someone who intended it as a threat. It looks like a threat directed at people who include me. For my own safety, I’m going to assume it’s a threat and that I am in some degree of danger.

            Do you not see how remarkable it is to use a phrase like “Die [descriptor of ME] scum” and then claim that I’m making it all about me? If you don’t want it to be about me, don’t use a descriptor of me in a fucking threat.

          • Anna

            I think I have said REPEATEDLY that you are welcome to view it as a threat. That is your prerogative. I am frustrated because people seem to keep telling me what its use is for and how I mean it.

            I know how i mean it. Me. Personally. I have repeatedly said why I use it. Me Personally. You dont have to accept that.

            If you think trans people, a socially, culturally, economically disadvantage group to the extent we are, with the numbers we have are coming for the cis people you are welcome to think that.

            People kept saying they sincerly wanted to know why we said it and why we felt it. I answered. Apparently my answers were not what people wanted. I will stop.

            I think if you look at my repsonses in this thread they were offered in good faith. I will leave now.

            Congratulations. You have silenced me.

          • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

            @Anna – I don’t think anyone is trying to put words in your mouth. I don’t think anyone is doubting your sincerity when you tell us what you mean when you use the phrase. But the thing is that what you mean isn’t necessarily what everyone else means by the phrase, so when you say it’s not a threat, all that tells me is that you don’t use it to convey a threat. It tells me nothing about what, say, Natalie means.

            The second thing is that intentions are not necessarily about your purpose. In the criminal law, and I think this goes for everyday life as well, there is a distinction between doing something purposefully and doing something knowingly. To do something purposefully, the prohibited result must be the reason why you commit the prohibited act. To knowingly commit a crime, you must commit the prohibited act with knowledge that the prohibited result will follow, even if that’s not your purpose in doing it. However, a knowing state of mind is sufficient for someone to be said to have committed a crime intentionally.

            When you use the phrase DCS, you are _knowingly_ making a threat, even if you are not _purposefully_ doing it. Most people will not take your threat seriously, but people will (reasonably) interpret it as an expression of hostility toward them for the act of existing as a cis person. You _know_ you are sending that message, and you do it anyway. It doesn’t have to be your purpose in order for it to be the foreseeable result of your actions. So far, your only explanation has been “well, I don’t see it as a threat.” But if the reasonable listener will hear it as a threat, then you are communicating a threat, whether that’s your purpose or not.

            I’m sorry if you feel silenced because people disagree with you. Nobody is telling you to stop speaking (as opposed to many of us higher in the thread who HAVE received that instruction). Obviously, it’s your choice, but I don’t see any pressure on you to be silent.

          • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

            Seriously. I “silenced” you because I said that hearing someone say “Die [ME] scum” made me feel threatened.

            Facepalm. Forever.

          • carlie

            Katie, why are you so driven to make this all about you? You were told several times that this is an expression of pain and upset from members of a group that are actively targeted for actual harassment, injury, and murder, and yet you keep repeating that the important thing here is that you don’t feel good when you hear that one statement.

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            So, on a thread about asking questions of trans people and perhaps engaging with the answers, you’ve selfishly made this sub-sub-part of the comment thread all about precious little you and how you feel about being threatened by the scary trans people who won’t shut up and move to the back of the bus like they’re (we’re) supposed to.

            That is what’s actually worthy in this thread of: “Facepalm. Forever.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

          “…you’ve selfishly made this sub-sub-part of the comment thread all about precious little you and how you feel about being threatened by the scary trans people who won’t shut up and move to the back of the bus like they’re (we’re) supposed to.”

          This is a Poe, right? Has to be. Fine work. Slow clap.

          • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

            The silencing was this:

            Cis “ally”: Why is DCS important to you?

            Trans person: This is why DCS is important to me.

            Cis “ally”: Never mind that you have told me why it is important to you… why is it a part of the movement.

            See, Anna answered initial questions of personal use of DCS. She never attempted to answer for the use of the whole movement. She attempted to give cis people the perspective of ONE trans person so that some people might see the benefit in DCS for maybe at least ONE trans person. While that question was asked repeatedly in this thread, when she answered it, her words were silenced because she wasn’t talking about what YOU wanted her to talk about. That is what is meant by silencing her. Ignoring her experience, her words as remotely relevant. They are relevant. They just aren’t relevant in the way that you want them to be.

        • Alex Reynard

          Kill yourself with a flamethrower, you fucking freak.

          Oh, pardon me. Don’t take that the wrong way. That’s just a phrase I use a lot and feel empowered by. It displays my deep commitment to ending rainforest destruction. I hope you didn’t assume that the plain meaning of that was the correct one. It’s not all about your feelings.

      • Anna

        @Wes

        You have every right to be offended. You have every right to view it as an attack. You have every right to view it as an attack on you.

        That doesnt make you correct.

        I have tried to explain patiently how many of us who use it feel about it and what we are trying to express with it. I hope you come back and look at what I said again. At the moment in spite of my clarifications you till seem to wish to hold to your view of this as an attack on you and all cis people generally. As I say this is your right, I will disagree with your interpretation of its purpose as someone who uses it. I know my own intent.

        Hope my comments have at least made you consider things.

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          Anna,

          You certainly have made me reconsider. Thank to this thread (and in large part to your own efforts), when I see or hear DCS, I know not to assume that it’s an attack on me and/or all cis people. Although you obviously don’t speak for everyone using the phrase, now that I know how the community uses it, it’s no longer reasonable for me to assume that the plain meaning is the intended meaning. Thank you for that.

          My concern is with people who don’t know that, who will reasonably assume that they are being attacked. By broadcasting the message indiscriminately, a person is necessarily and intentionally sending the message to many such people.

          I should also be clear that I’m not concerned that people will feel physically in fear for their safety from a patch or bumper sticker. The issue to me isn’t that it makes people afraid. It’s that the reasonable interpretation of the phrase (unless you’re aware of the community’s reasoning behind the phrase, like I now am) is an expression of disapproval of and hostility toward a large group of people just for existing. That is the “bad behavior” I was referencing in my above comment that creates a presumption of wrongdoing.

          • http://en.gravatar.com/xanthecat Xanthe

            I hope you do reconsider your position, because as Anna patiently pointed out your framing of the question was in part quite fallacious (the second main paragraph especially so). Because of the derail of the thread we didn’t reach a point where the rest of your argument (e.g. ‘bad behaviours’ – wut? You want to come up with some evidence for that?) could be dealt with in a nuanced fashion – and I’ve wasted enough time here to be disinclined to argue it further as I see little of productive value promising to emerge. Which is a shame.

  • http://www.withinthismind.com WithinthisMind

    huh.

    This reminds me of the time I posted a link to the Schrodinger’s Rapist article and the response was ‘how dare you call all men rapists?’

    The point, I believe, has been missed entirely.

    • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

      I am inclined to agree wholly with that statement.

  • Emptyell

    @Anna

    “Since there is more than one way the phrase can be reasonably interpretted I think it does place a burden on the person offended to seek clarification if they dont want to be offended. I personally try to take a charitable approach to anything said to me before I get offended by something.”

    I think you’ve pretty much nailed it here.

    People should* have a right to express themselves. Others may also take offense and say so. In cases where these people care about each others’ opinions it is appropriate to have a conversation. This may or may not lead to changes in opinion or behavior. I actually find it much easier and more productive not to take offense even when the insults really are directed at me.

    Of course if I am actually attacked I will defend myself and or counterattack as necessary and…

    @Wes

    This is where I take exception to your claim that DCS is an attack. I consider an attack to be an attempt to do harm. Some one shouting “Die Cis Scum”, even if they are looking at me as they say it, I won’t consider an attack unless it’s loud enough to hurt or they are close enough or armed in such a way as to be an actual threat. Of course at that point I don’t really care what they are saying.

    I think much of the problem arises from privilege blindness (by which I mean the blindness that comes with privilege – “let them eat cake” and so on). It is very easy coming from a privileged background to feel that the world is made for our convenience. This makes it very easy in turn to take any inconvenience or unpleasantness personally (ie “We are not amused.”)

    There may be some downsides to the DCS meme, but it’s not really for us non-trans folks to decide.

    * I say “should” because of all ways in which and places that this is not true.

    • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

      I don’t think actual intent is a necessary ingredient of an attack, although in this case, a few people have already described their intent to make a threat or cause discomfort (which would make it an attack). Intent can be inferred from circumstances. If I point a gun at you and pull the trigger, you can infer that I intended to shoot you. If someone expresses a phrase, the only reasonable interpretation of which is a threat, one can infer that the person intended it as a threat. Even if they didn’t, they are knowingly (or at least recklessly) being threatening.

      (Side note: I’m really surprised that most of the pushback is against point #2. I fully expect point #3 to be the biggest point of contention. Thanks for responding, everyone who has.)

      • Emptyell

        If you try to shoot me I will flee or fight back (or die) according to the circumstances.

        If you say or do something truly threatening and directed at me I will take whatever steps necessary to avoid, minimize or eliminate the threat.

        If I see you driving around with a bumper sticker saying “Die Tall White Male Scum!” I will figure that you must have a serious issue with tall white guys but will not interpret it as a personal threat unless it escalates to something like the above. (Just to be clear I am not presenting this as an equivalent to DCS where there is a clear asymmetry of power and history of oppression. It’s just an alternate where I am still in the targeted class.)

        So unless I hear of armed trans-gender folks hunting down cis-gendered people at random I will not be inclined to take DCS as a threat.

        You are of course free to feel as threatened as you want by it, and I will also be free to consider you very silly.

        • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

          I think I may have misspoken somewhat before when I labeled it a “threat.” My issue is more that the plain meaning of the phrase is an expression of hostility and disapproval toward people because of their mere existence. If you saw a bumper sticker that said “Die Tall White Male Scum,” then no, I don’t think you ought to feel physically threatened, but I think you probably would reasonably assume that the person who owns the car has a problem with tall white guys. The same would be true of someone who saw/heard DCS and wasn’t aware of the use of the term within the community. That person would reasonably assume that the speaker has a problem with cis people, and would reasonably feel attacked (in an emotional way, not a physical one).

          • Emptyell

            I guess where we differ is that I don’t find it reasonable to take such stuff personally. But perhaps I’m a bit extreme in this regard.

  • woo_monster

    As soon as there is anti-cis oppression, violence, and murder, I will start being concerned with “Die Cis Scum”. In the mean time, I would rather empathize with the victims of oppression and attempt to understand what justifies their hostility.

    Perhaps the phrase is vague, and lumps non-scum cis people in with the bigoted scum. And as a result of this, some cis people (I am cis for the record) will be made uncomfortable. Who gives a fuck? I have the privilege of not having to fear for my physical safety on account of my gender identity. I have the luxury of sitting back at a distance and discompassionately analyzing the phrase. Does my slight discomfort at *possibly* being lumped in with bigoted cis shit-heads compare in any meaningful way to the violence, oppression, and bigotry against trans people that gives rise to this phrase?

    Priorities. My slight discomfort matters not one bit in comparison to transphobia. People are fucking dying. How could I possibly give a fuck about a phrase that is a justified expression of rage against oppressors? Especially considering that there have been no instances (that I am aware of) of anti-cis violence and bigotry coming from the trans community.

    • Emptyell

      I agree completely (as I guess must be obvious by now).

      Except that I’m not any more uncomfortable with “Die Cis Scum” than with being lumped in with all the other potential rapists in the world. Which is not at all. Trans people and women live with the fear of not knowing when, where and from whom the next attack is coming.

      I can’t fault them for expressing anger and frustration at the entire class when there is no way of knowing in advance which individuals in that class are threats. And for those of us who aren’t it serves as a reminder to be sensitive to situations where we might be perceived as a threat and act accordingly.

      but…

      I am seriously pissed off that I have to deal with shit like this. (Yeah, I know, my privilege is showing. I don’t like being distracted from the problems of building and creating cool stuff.)

      and…

      The ones I am pissed off at are the bigots, misogynists and rapists for creating this vile situation, and not in any way at their victims for trying to cope with it.

  • Rasmus

    As someone who is a cis person and who has followed the DCS thing from a distance I’d like to make a few observations…

    1. It says “die cis scum”, not “kill cis scum” or “murder cis scum”. It doesn’t even say “please commit suicide cis scum”. It’s more like saying “I hope you get inoperable lung cancer”. Extremely hostile and harsh, yes, but certainly not something that should be illegal.

    2. Everything doesn’t fit the acceptable-unacceptable dichotomy. For example, is it acceptable or unacceptable for an abused wife to scream so loudly that she disturbs the neighbors when her husband beats her? Would it be acceptable or unacceptable for her to get a tattoo that says “die husband scum”? These questions are offensive and absurd!

    3. The sender matters. Nobody has called on me or any other cis person to use DCS in solidarity with trans people. It’s only used by trans people who are under constant threat of discrimination or violence.

    4. The analogies in the blog post miss the part about living under constant and overwhelming discrimination. A slave worker or a de-facto slave worker might well say “die bourgeois scum”.

    5. It’s a little bit like the SCUM manifesto, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Have men been physically hurt because of the SCUM manifesto? Remember, Valerie Solanas can not be said to have been inspired by something that she wrote herself. That’s ridiculous.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

      4. The analogies in the blog post miss the part about living under constant and overwhelming discrimination. A slave worker or a de-facto slave worker might well say “die bourgeois scum”.

      Actually I’d say it does NOT miss the point for the exact same reason you think it does miss the point.

      You’re right. A slave worker might say that. Exactly!

      A person with a disability who is constantly denied access to basic humans needs and treated as a worthless person, institutionalized, oppressed and patronized (Like Mark Starkloff, who started Paraquad the organization I work with http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/04/132655397/max-starkloff-pioneer-in-independent-living-for-disabled-dies-at-73) could damn well say “die able-bodied scum”.

      • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

        No. Your analogies are still fucked because you can’t seem to understand that there’s an actual fucking difference: cis people kill trans people every fucking day. And even when trans people fight back and manage to survive, the cis-run justice system fucking imprisons them for it — in the wrong gender prison (read up on CeCe McDonald if you haven’t already.) So, no, it isn’t analogous to any of the stuff you said.

        Which is not an attempt to minimize the sufferings of the disabled, or anyone else you’ve referenced. But the situation with trans people, particularly trans women, that has given rise to DCS is *different*.

        This shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

        • julian

          What’s more it’s not hard to find a cis man who has a story of some guy who slept with a trans woman, found she was a “man” and beat her until she couldn’t move. Even if how often I’ve heard these stories doesn’t reflect how frequent they are we still have an environment that not only condones violence against trans women but sees it as the only honorable thing you can do when confronted with them.

        • http://Www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd ChrisUm,

          I’m not that dense. Of course they are different. All of the examples have their particular differences. I don’t recall arguing that they were all equitable.

          • http://skepticalmath.wordpress.com skepticalmath

            Um. No, they don’t have to be identical, but they do need to be similar for the purposes of comparison.

            Assuming you are Christina (Chrisum,? The url goes to WWJTD) you assumed that the only aspect that mattered in order to compare DCS to something else was that trans people are marginalized and oppressed by cis people. Your assumption was wrong, the key characterizing feature of the oppression of trans people is the violence which is absent from [most if not all] of the others you quoted.

            Arguing that your analogy is false does note require me to argue that you thought the two things were equitable. It means you thought that they were comparable along a certain line, when, in fact, in the features that counted they weren’t. That’s why it was a false analogy.

          • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

            sorry, I was trying to comment via my phone. Just that one comment of a sentence took me like 20 minutes to make. So, apologies for the screwy name and brevity.

            Um. No, they don’t have to be identical, but they do need to be similar for the purposes of comparison.

            Well, I suppose the whole point of an analogy is to bring up a similar situation, and not an identical one.. otherwise you’d not bother making the analogy in the first place, heh.

            I think that the shared gist of all of the original “die X scum” list I made was along the lines of, “Die [privileged] scum”. I intended it in the context of the person saying “die [privileged] scum”, though I did not make that clear, so my apologies.

            I think that some of the examples are a closer analogy than others, and some of them might have been a closer analogy in a different decade or in a different country.

            Particularly, I think “die able bodied scum” is perhaps the closest, especially because I was considering that someone who lived between the 1920′s and 1970′s with a disability, when something like 60,000 people with disabilities were sterilized without their consent. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities left institutionalized with no treatment or education. I think that if Trans people have the right to say “die cis scum” (and they do!!!!) then so to, do people with disabilities, especially those living in that time.

            In places other than the US, people with disabilities were systematically euthanized. Prior to the holocaust, Germany implemented programs to “euthanize” children with disabilities, killing over 70,000 of them. That’s murder, systemically orchestrated by the government. 30,000 disabled children and adults were murdered by the German-occupied east by firing squad. The death toll and violence faced by people with disabilities in the past is unimaginable. As is the death toll and violence faced by trans people.

            Assuming you are Christina (Chrisum,? The url goes to WWJTD) you assumed that the only aspect that mattered in order to compare DCS to something else was that trans people are marginalized and oppressed by cis people. Your assumption was wrong, the key characterizing feature of the oppression of trans people is the violence which is absent from [most if not all] of the others you quoted.

            No, that is not an assumption I made. I apologize for not being more clear. I hope that my example of people with disabilities above has clarified it at least somewhat.

            Arguing that your analogy is false does note require me to argue that you thought the two things were equitable. It means you thought that they were comparable along a certain line, when, in fact, in the features that counted they weren’t. That’s why it was a false analogy.

            I think that “die able-bodied scum” at the very least is not a false analogy, as per my comments above. I might say the same about “die white scum” as said by a black slave, or “Die Muslim scum” might be said by Christians and atheists who are sentenced to death for denying Islam in Muslim countries (I didn’t use that one but still).

            I hope that I have explained what I means sufficiently. If not, please tell me where I’ve gone wrong.

      • Rasmus

        Sure, I’m sure you understand that the circumstances matter. The things that people say have to be examined in light of lots of factors and I’m probably not aware of most of those factors.

        You started your blog post by writing a little about privilege and discrimination, which seems reasonable, but then you wrote this: “Are these phrases meaningfully different from “die cis scum”? Can all of the arguments about why “die cis scum” is acceptable be applied to these other phrases?”

        Here it looks like we’re examining the “die * scum” phrases in a vacuum, which doesn’t make sense, right? Because we need to know who’s saying “die * scum” and what they are facing in their lives before we can begin to discuss it.

        By the way, I have one more observation that I forgot to post yesterday:

        6. AFAIK nobody has felt threatened or offended by “dies cis scum”. The thing that some people seem to express is that they are offended by the idea of other people being offended by “die cis scum”. I wonder if there is an actual case of someone being offended or feeling threatened first-hand.

        • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Christina

          Here it looks like we’re examining the “die * scum” phrases in a vacuum, which doesn’t make sense, right? Because we need to know who’s saying “die * scum” and what they are facing in their lives before we can begin to discuss it.

          6. AFAIK nobody has felt threatened or offended by “dies cis scum”. The thing that some people seem to express is that they are offended by the idea of other people being offended by “die cis scum”.

          Right. That does not make sense. I did not mean to imply in my post that we were examining the “die scum” phrases in a vacuum. Sorry, I will be more clear next time.

          As to point 6. At risk of making this comment all about me and my feelings, I don’t feel offended or threatened by “die cis scum”. I more or less thought that it was something worth blogging about. My initial reaction to the phrase was, “Oh, that’t not very nice, but since trans people face absurd amounts of discrimination, oppression and violence, I can totally understand why someone might want to use this phrase. Then, when I saw how both cis and trans people reacted to discussion of the phrase, I decided to blog about it.

          • Rasmus

            Yeah, that was my reaction too. I never thought of it as something that was aimed at me or any of my fellow cis friends and family members. I saw it as an extremely angry and hostile message that wasn’t directed at a person or a group of people in particular, but against transphobes and transphobia in general.

            And about taking offense. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about commenters on blogs and on twitter who have spoken out against DCS because they think that there is an hypothetical cis person who would take offense and who would not be able to understand the message as well as these commenters understand it.

            By the way I don’t doubt that there are cis people out there who will take offense. That’s normal. People say things that other people take offense at and we shouldn’t have higher standards for trans people than for cis people.

    • snowwings34

      oh wow, a cis person that doesn’t have worms eating at their brain. *claps* That’s like what? the third LOL? not trying to be offensive, but the “allies” on this sight are nothing but a bunch of shit-brained condescending pieces of rubbish on a power trip with some poorly thought out act trolling act they ridiculously devised.. It’s Quite Pathetic tbh. Ew… they’re so fucking fake and superficial it’s actually quite laughable. They’re an easy read. I wish true allies like you were in greater numbers. I don’t hate cis people what so ever, I’m actually quite fond of some cis people :3. I really want to make a youtube video explaining the whole meaning of “die cis scum” and how people are getting misconceptions of it. Allies that think it means for “all cis people” to die, I can forgive them because they just didn’t get full info on the phrase.”Allies” that know the full meaning of it and still disagree with it are the true idiots and those arn’t true allies. Basically though, I’m hoping even a cisgendered person can explain the whole point of it so people don’t get the wrong message. ^.^

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

    Quick note:

    When we say that it is indeed a threat, it’s important to bear in mind it’s a threat that we TOTALLY LACK ANY CAPACITY TO ACT ON.

    That itself, that powerlessness, the fact that it’s literally IMPOSSIBLE for a trans-on-cis threat to be credible (Cece McDonald got four years in a men’s prison just for self-defense), is yet another horrifying fact that Die Cis Scum has the power to bring to the table.

    “Die Trans Scum” happens all the time. “Die Cis Scum” has never, ever been enacted.

    • Emptyell

      I think it’s only this quixotic aspect that really bothers me. But I guess that’s just where we are at this point. Let’s hope Dan Savage’s theme can become true for trans-folk before too long.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

      Please explain to me how being trans makes someone incapable of carrying out a threat against, or otherwise harming, another human being.

      I’m not suggesting even in the slightest that trans-on-cis violence is common. I’m not suggesting that it’s a problem. What I’m suggesting is that a trans person is just as physically capable as a cis person of making a threat and following through on it.

      • http://idioprag.com WilloNyx

        Because the INSTANT a trans person commits a trans on cis hate crime the whole world will be calling for their head. A trans woman of color can’t even defend herself without it being considered murder. Perceiving it as a threat is laughable.

        Yeah a trans person might make the threat realized. The cycle of trans on cis violence ends when they are quickly arrested and executed for the crime that most cis people in the reverse situation will never even be arrested for.

        • julian

          Just to reemphasize the point.

          Cis people have every possible protection from potential trans on cis violence. From legal (laws that prohibit violence and police) to social (the fear and contempt with which soceity treats trans people and the legitimacy given to any claim of self defense against a trans person) there could not be more impediments between trans on cis violence unless we rounded them all up in pens or something.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Zoe.of.Oz zoebrain

            there could not be more impediments between trans on cis violence unless we rounded them all up in pens or something.

            It’s been suggested. More than once.

            Mary Daily, in her book “Gyn/Ecology” called for a “Final Solution” to the problem. Literally, using that very phrase.

            “Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent not only in religious myth, but in its offspring, phallocratic technology. The insane desire for power, the madness of boundary violation, is the mark of necrophiliacs who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses. This necrophilic invasion/elimination takes a variety of forms. Transsexualism is an example…

            Her protege, Janice Raymond, contended that

            “the problem of Transsexualism is best dealt with by morally mandating it out of existence”.

            That’s in her book, “The Transsexual Empire: the making of the She-male

            Both books can be found in Gender Studies departments today, and not considered (as with Mein Kampf) “horrible examples”, but words to live by.

      • Pteryxx

        If your hypothetical trans-on-cis violence isn’t common, and isn’t a problem, and (as evidence indicates) is not only vanishingly rare, but will be punished wildly out of proportion to any reasonable parameters of self-defense…

        Then how on earth do you get off claiming that PHYSICAL capability is at all relevant to this discussion?

      • julian

        Please explain to me how being trans makes someone incapable of carrying out a threat against, or otherwise harming, another human being.

        Please explain to me how you can so incredibly misread what someone else wrote to the point where it bares almost no resemblance to what the speaker said. I love your usage of incapable. Because if we can’t show it literally impossible for a trans person to kill a cis person you win, right?

      • Sugarkat03

        lol, I hate how these so claimed “allys” act like they know who we are and what we need. They don’t know a damn thing what they’re doing wrong taking away the right just for us to let out anger and frustration with their hateful kind. They’re being very selfish and showing their true cissexist colors. Real allys wouldn’t try to dictate on how a trans person acts, knowing even people with mental illnesses have more privilege than trans people. These “allys” are mentally inadequate.

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

    It occurred to me a few moments ago that I may in fact be one of only two people on this planet who ACTUALLY WEARS THE SLOGAN.

    So really, if you want to know what it fucking means, please see my initial response to Christina when she directly asked me what my motives are. WAYYYY up at the top, before all the cis people (on both sides) started being, quite typically, selfish grues about it.

    • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

      This one:

      When I wear my jacket, it’s not really meant to change anyone’s mind. The most common reaction I see is people just being kind of confused and unnerved.

      But what it DOES do is make me feel empowered. VERY fucking empowered. When I’m angry at cis people, when I’m so angry I just hate them (and I do, sometimes. I’m not ashamed of that), when I want to let them anger show, I can put on my jacket and feel I own that anger. That I’m not helpless. That at the very least, a tortured woman deserves her right to scream.

      And secondly, it works like a dog growling, a snake rattling its tail, or a cat arching its back. It’s something I can wear to suggest “do NOT fuck with me. I WILL bite back”.

      In short, as said, it makes me feel empowered, and strong. A little less like a victim. A little more in ownership of who I am, where I stand, and what happens to me.

      By the way, when I said cis people on both sides were being selfish grues, I don’t mean EVERY cis person in this thread was being shitty. But a lot of the people “advocating” for us were being loud, hostile, derailing, and CLAIMING THIS CONVERSATION for themselves… and through their hostility ultimately were silencing the voices of trans people (like myself, Anna and Xanthe) who were trying to discuss what this means TO US.

      Sometimes being a good ally does not mean diving into a crusade on our behalf, but having the fucking sense to let us handle some topics ourselves, and handle them with the nuances that you quite probably don’t understand.

      In short, a lot of highly…um…vocal cis allies in this thread were definitely NOT helping.

      • Emptyell

        I’m kind of new here. I hope my comments weren’t over the top.

        . . .

        I get rather incensed over injustices, but I don’t want to go too far in a “knight in shining armor”, “white man’s burden” sort of way. It’s a delicate balance but I do want to show my support to the extent that it’s helpful without tipping over into arrogance.

      • Alex Reynard

        Thank you so much this post! I know exactly how you feel. I’m white and I live in a mostly black neighborhood. I feel afraid all the time. I am definitely going to get a jacket that says DIE NEGRO SCUM on the back. It will make me feel empowered! And I’m certain it won’t invite violence of any kind!

        -note, the previous paragraph was 100% sarcasm.

  • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @ Wes

    …and Katie, and anyone else who thinks that #22 has any sort of point.

    You keep insisting that you’ve got such a great linguistic analysis without ever once acknowledging that

    cis is an adjective.

    Cis modifies that noun “scum”. An adjective has no life of its own. It modifies a noun. Get it?

    I personally wouldn’t wear this phrase. I’m not never provocative, but this part isn’t me. But also, I threw up a little – literally – in the back of my throat as I wrote this. I don’t want to have to say this.

    You are ignoring the basic nature of things like, say, adjectives in order to reach your “plain meaning” that isn’t plain at all if you understand English and how the parts of speech actually work.

    Then you use your falsely plain meaning, that can only be found in the text when one transforms an adjective into an independent clause, in order to make a further logical leap, that the phrase is an attack on all non-trans people everywhere.

    You’ve been told what it means.

    Your plain meaning requires a complete revision of the nature of adjectives.

    Your analysis is dramatically wrong and I don’t see how you could possibly so misunderstand the nature of adjectives as to get to the place where the phrase **denies even the possibility** that the phrase could reasonably mean that the noun is modified by the adjective…unless such a misunderstanding arises out of hurt feelings that causes *actually reasonable* analysis to recede beyond the grasp of your glial cells.

    If you think for a second that a reasonable, even *the* reasonable reading of the phrase, is that the adjective does not modify the noun but has its own independent life,

    English. You’re doing it wrong.

  • http://Polyskeptic.com Wes

    Someone posted this on Stephanie’s blog this morning. It seems relevant.

    http://www.shakesville.com/2011/12/harmful-communication-part-one-intent.html?m=1

  • Pingback: Let’s talk about “Die Cis Scum” one more time | IdioPrag

  • El

    Progressivism really has gone off the fucking deep end.

    If the skeptic community doesn’t either ignore or condemn this ridiculous anti-rational bullshit, the skeptic community is as bad as the Christian one.

  • Eve

    “How many people are murdered because they are cis? How many people are denied employment, housing, health services, turned away from shelters, refused aid, and are subjected to constant ridicule and abuse because they are cis?”

    I would answer, “A lot” to every single example.

    Murdered for being cis? One of the leading cause of death for women is homicide. Denied employment? Without question, in every position from the bottom to the top. Housing and health services? Our culture hates single mothers and has been fighting a war on reproductive rights for a few thousand years. Turned away from shelters and refused aid? Until recently DV against women wasn’t even something cared about enough to HAVE shelters for them to go to, and homeless shelters do not prioritize women at all unless she has a child. Constant ridicule and abuse? I could write a novel but I am done playing Oppression Olympics now. It’s called sexism, and more specifically, misogyny. Hatred. of. Women. ALL women, including cis women. It has manifested itself in every single one of those ways. Probably a few thousand times around the globe by the time you finish reading this sentence. Unless we are now denying that patriarchy, male privilege, and misogyny no longer exist, then yeah, a lot of cis women face quite a lot of fucking discrimination, violence, murder, and deprivation of wealth, health, and happiness based solely on us being born with a vagina and living as women. Western culture can’t officially criminalize vaginas (yet), but patriarchy has allowed for millions of other ways to make us pay, sometimes with our lives, for the crime of not being men.

    Cis women most certainly suffer specifically for being cis women. Women certainly didn’t start feminist movements that continue to this day because we’re being kindly accepted as cis women and left to live our cis woman lives in peace. There isn’t any privilege that comes with being a woman, any kind of woman.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Zoe.of.Oz zoebrain

      Many cis people don’t consider hatred of trans women to be misogyny.

      I think you misunderstand: all trans women have the same problems that you do from generalised misogyny. But they also get problems for being trans.

      Black women, trans or otherwise, also get problems for being black.

      Black trans women… they get the triple.

      A friend of mine, a trans woman, died of exposure on the steps of a church in Houston. Homeless shelters don’t take in trans people, even when there’s plenty of room.

      Another friend of mine died when a company refused to deliver life-maintaining medication to her, medication she’d bought and paid for, because she was trans.

      I’m still helping another friend recover from the brain damage she recieved in a torture-rape-murder crime, where they didn’t quite kill the victim. Abducted off the street in broad daylight, in Colorado.

      Tell me, in the last 5 years – how many of your friends have died because they were not trans?

      Women aren’t raped, killed, assaulted because they’re cis. They’re raped, killed, assaulted because they’re women.

      That you don’t get that is a perfect example of “cis privilege”. Just as those men who don’t get that women are raped, killed, assaulted for being women is “male privilege”. It never occurs to them to think of things like that. Many, like you, are not bad people.

      BTW I should mention – technically I’m not transsexual. I’m Intersex, and that precludes a diagnosis of transsexuality. But no matter, if it didn’t, I would be. I was born looking male. I changed to look female. That the change was due to the 3-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase deficient form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, rather than hormonal therapy, is immaterial. The change was most welcome.

      Worth the increased risk I face compared to you. Having the wrong-shaped body is worse than I can express.

  • smhll

    “How many people are murdered because they are cis?”

    Like zero. Cis people are murder victims, but the number of them targeted for hate killings by non-cis people is infinitessimal, I betcha. Cis people who are murdered are murdered for other reasons.

    Seriously, as a cis woman, I find “die cis scum” just as non scary as a cute seven year old girl (my friend’s kid) sweetly lisping “I can kill you with my brain.” (She really is a quiet kid with a vivid imagination who can’t pronounce Ls and Rs distinctly. If there’s a better, less-loaded word than lisp, let me know.)

    Would anyone have a problem with Jewish people who wanted “Die Nazi scum” patches and stickers?

    • sd

      Nazism is an ideology advocating aggression against Jews for being Jews. There are by definition no innocent Nazis.

      Cis is not an ideology, it’s a word invented by transgendered people to describe those not like them, including many people who have done nothing wrong.
      And most uses of “Die X scum” convey the intent that all X are scum. It is entirely the fault of the person who coined the phrase if they meant something other than what they said, and continue to use it when informed about this.

  • http://andythenerd.tumblr.com The Nerd

    I’m always late to the party! But I can leave you a link of my posts tagged “die cis scum” which address a few issues: http://andythenerd.tumblr.com/tagged/die-cis-scum/

  • Sugarkat03

    As a transgirl, all I have to say to this “die cis scum” that it’s making the rest of the good trans people look bad, and I think most cis allys arn’t getting the message of this phrase anyhow. It’s not meant to be directed at all cis people “to die”. It’s used against those who are cisgender and ignorantly oppressive. What’s also quite laughable about this dilemma is that I hear the person that made up this phrase wasn’t even trans. It was a confused cisgendered girl that pretends to be trans. I think it’s mainly an attempt to seek attention. Not all trans people act this way and me also knowing that not all cis people are violent,hate mongering, sociopaths. However, cis “allys” have absolutely no right to dictate on how a trans person acts, that isn’t your decision to decide, just because you’re born with your “privilege, but is accepting”, doesn’t mean trans people are going to put you on some pedestal and your people telling us what to do. Us trans people have every right to be angry, but I don’t find that violence isn’t going to solve the problem. It will only make trans people be seen just as psycho as bigoted cis people. I personally feel that trans brothers and sisters should be the bigger person and not stoop to the low and vile levels of some cis people. I’m also the kind of trans person to not look at my condition as a “curse”, or “abnormal”. If anything I find being trans to be both a curse and a gift. Me being on this journey has made me a stronger,wiser, beautiful and more compassionate person that no cisgendered person could ever amount to. I’m not the type of trans person to “envy” your privilege because my journey has gained me rare gifts that not many “average” people could obtain. We are all equal and it doesn’t matter what kind of “privilege” you have, you are no different than we are. You can easily take away your genitalia and knowing that in this time of age you can have your chromosomes changed, also the fact that even cisgendered people can have an “XY” chromosome strand, yet their born with girl parts Due to andro insensitivity syndrome. It doesn’t take much to end up just like us. All I’m saying is that if “cis allys” can’t even take a phrase that isn’t even meant to be directed at them, then they are no ally. As for my fellow trans people, we shouldn’t be stooping to the likes of those cisgendered and bigoted, be like Martin Luther King and make the allyship between cisgendered and trans people stronger. Peace and love <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/danah.gaz danah gaz

    “Are these phrases meaningfully different from “die cis scum”? Can all of the arguments about why “die cis scum” is acceptable be applied to these other phrases?”

    Yes it’s different. It’s different so long as cis people keep beating, raping and murdering trans people at a rate that is *way* *way* greater (as a percentage) than pretty much any minority group you can name.

  • Alex Reynard

    I have absolutely no problem with transgenderism of any kind. But… really? This is actually a thing? People are saying this unironically?

    I get the anger, (and have often argued in favor of atheists not being afraid to hold back for fear of being called ‘too militant’). I’m not offended by this. Honestly, I find it laughable. If someone I disagree with tells me to drop dead, I giggle and blow them off. Because by resorting to that level of discourse they have shown they don’t care about having a dialogue. They are not interested in empathy, forgiveness or understanding. It’s ‘agree with me or you’re evil’.

    I’m not saying everyone who says “die cis scum” feels this way, but a phrase that juvenile absolutely gives that impression. It suggests an immature, separatist defensiveness, like what I’d expect from a junior high goth. You might as well expect me to take “cis-people are doodoo” seriously.

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