Being Female

In the center of my body is a tube.

Some think this tube has been there since I had four cells; others think it didn’t present itself until there were eight cells for me to link together.


There is a tube, a hollow, at the center of my body, and I have pretty much always had it, and it is what most essentially defines me as female.

All of us who are female have this tube. This hollow, this, if you will, “uterus.” Or “womb,” if we are completely formed. We may not consciously be aware of it. We may hate it, or endure it, or – if we are particularly well-adjusted – love it.

We all accommodate it. We all process it, however unconsciously or consciously, as the core of our existence.

We might be born without an ovary, or without two ovaries. Our uterii might be malformed or missing. But that hollow is still there.

We normally develop two (or three, or more) nipples, as all mammals do; we might remove the nipples for one reason or another, and bewail our lost femaleness, but that is not where our femaleness lies.

We normally develop extra breast tissue, and we discuss and compete with each other on the most perfect size and shape of the resulting breasts, or we have them removed for one reason or another, or we decry or pity male people who develop them, and we base our shared femaleness on these breasts. But we know, we intuit, that this is also not where our femaleness lies.

We are female because of our hollow.

The hollow dictates where our other internal organs lie, the organs that we all share as mammals, as humans. The hollow dictates the types of things we experience: what our internal bacterial makeup is comprised of, what our organochemical balance is; if our balance is incorrect, it is not because we are male, it is because our hollow and its associated organs are functioning outside their base parameters.

We negotiate this hollow as babies, as girls, as teenaged thunderstorms, as weary women.

This is our immutably shared experience.

Male people do not have the hollow at their core. Somewhere, a little further along in their development, they encase the hollow, and narrow it into a tube, and extrude it to the outside of their bodies.

Forever, the reality of their maleness is conditioned on this extruded hollow.

It might be so small as to be visibly indistinguishable from a female clitoris, or it might rival that of a stallion, or it might be damaged or viciously removed – or it might be discarded with prejudice.

Regardless of how large or small it is, even regardless of whether and when it is fully extruded, regardless of the presence or absence of the ovary-analogs that are their testicles, every baby, every boy, every teenaged thunderstorm, every weary man negotiates this extruded tube.

This is their immutably shared experience.

There are some babies who visibly retain the hollow at their core and also manage to extrude a part of it. The word we have applied in English is Herm-Aphrodite, and, because it does not happen often, because it is uncommon, we regard it as ab-normal, and pity or fetishize the situation, and speak of cures or therapies. Because we fetishize the normal, oblivious of the reality that life is mutation.

Their experience is not that of females. It is not that of males. Their experience shares in each, and expands beyond both. What that experience is comprised of is theirs to identify and proclaim, and is not known to me. And if it were known to me, it would still not be mine to identify and proclaim.

There are some babies who, as they become aware of their bodies, negotiate the hollow or tube they developed around with horror or utter rejection. They are convinced that their cells ought to have developed in the other direction. They take the steps they can to alter the situation.

I accept (without the belief that they need that acceptance) that their horror and rejection is very real. I applaud (without the hubris that they need or in fact want my applause) the steps they take to process this horror and rejection to a state they can endure and in which they can thrive.

In English we have applied such terms as transgender, trans-man or trans-woman; there are many other words of which I am unaware, or which I would refuse to use as being offensive to the dignity of the persons to whom they might be applied.

I use, and will always use, the gender terms required by the individual. This is mere politeness, this is only courtesy, this is basic civilized behavior. I negotiate, and will always negotiate, whatever dissociation I may experience concerning the displayed gender norms, privately. It is the responsibility of each individual to come to terms with alterations in their understanding of the world in their own way and time, and I am diligent in my adherence to this responsibility.

What I will not do, and what I refuse to accept any guilt for, is to accept the concept that the hollow at the core of my being is without worth; to embrace the concept that the internal tube that makes me female should be dismissed.

I refuse the notion that my efforts to negotiate the hollow at my core is an act of violence toward those who lack it. I have my hollow, and I have always had it. I and my sisters have our experiences of life in relationship to our hollows and how they behave. Though it distressed me with greater or lesser violence from my ninth year to my fiftieth year, it is mine, it is real, I do not make any compromise with my femaleness.

Adult men individually, and the misshapen western male culture collectively, have distressed me with greater or lesser violence specifically due to the hollow at the core of my being from my ninth year to this my current year of existence.

I reluctantly accepted my uterus. I fought to live in spite of my uterus. I relaxed into the war my uterus was waging on me, and I have embraced my uterus, the more so now that its passion has abated.

Do not ever think that a born male person has the right to tell me. Again. That my uterus is without worth. And that my introspection harms him.

The “micro” portion of “micro-aggression” will not apply.


Originally published in Dreamwidth OCT. 21ST, 2004 10:23 AM.

When a few progressive women asked for the right to vote, the society rose up in a body and answered, “That would devastate the family and change society as we know it.”

When more progressive women asked for the right to be treated equally under the law, the society rose up in a body and answered, “That would devastate the family and change society as we know it.”

When even more progressive women asked for the right to legal, safe abortions, the society rose up in a body and answered, “That would devastate the family and change society as we know it.”

Now that various and sundry people (including some gays) are demanding that laws be changed to permit the marriage of gay people to the ones they love, the society is rising up in a body and answering, “That would devastate the family and change society as we know it.”

It is important for us to acknowledge that they were absolutely correct, according to their definitions of marriage, the family, and society as they know it.

Marriage as they know it requires that, and I quote, “The wife submit to the husband as the church submits to Christ; and the husband love the wife as Christ loves the church.” There is a profound sense of unidirectional ownership in this marriage – the wife belongs to the husband, but the husband does not necessarily belong to the wife – and there is also the assumption that wrong behavior shall be chastised.

The family as they know it is the cauldron in which the above and below situations are trained and maintained. Within the family, everyone has a place and a set of duties, responsibilities, and rights that are the same in each and every family in society. Training to a position that will not be held by that family member is rightly suspected to lead to discontent by the one trained when that training is not used. (E.g.: a boy taught to cook will be disappointed when his future wife drives him out of the kitchen, as is her right.)

Society as they know it is predicated on the idea that those in charge tell the rest what to do, and are obeyed. That there are ranges of appropriate behavior for every person, and that those ranges can be understood by looking at the person in question. That the attempt to move outside those ranges of appropriate behavior indicates a desire to belong to the group for whom that behavior is appropriate. That such a desire is both sinful and criminal, and is possibly pathological, and is a pointer to further desires to break societal rules.

Our foremothers and their male allies and family members have absolutely accomplished all of the changes ascribed to them. It is up to us to continue the battle.


Yes, you are seeing this correctly. The Trumpian “conservative” political movement is, in fact, attempting to recreate “the family and society” as they knew it. Or thought they did.


(Originally written on Dreamwidth MAY. 16TH, 2012 11:19 PM)

Understand this very clearly: they do not respect women. They do not actually like for us to have any control over ourselves or our environment at all. They know how they would act in our shoes and they are terrified we will.

If they are Catholic or if they are Jewish or if they are Baptist or if they are Muslim or if they are Shinto it doesn’t matter. The masters of the faith require us to bow our heads to them. They need for us not to “play God” with our own bodies because we might reverse a decision they made. Like whether or not to have sex without their consent. Like whether or not to grant life to a bit of their genetic makeup. Make no mistake: the entire Catholic institutional uproar about whether they shall cover birth control or abortions is directly about whether women will have sex without permission from God (them). This is clearly seen in Limbaugh’s screed over how much sex he imagines Ms Fluke to be having. It is clearly seen in the bishops’ demand to control the pregnancy options of their employees, Catholic or not. It is clearly seen in the unofficial “honor” killings performed by WASP men in these United States.

They love us. They fear us. They fear losing us and our services to them, and like any abusive family member, they try to make it impossible for us to enjoy ourselves, to control ourselves, or to escape.

I have for decades now been alarmed by the number of hospitals that are owned by the Catholic church. I have been alarmed for decades by the repeated claim that medical personnel might control the options of their patients by their own principles rather than by the principles of their patients. I am gasping with terror over those ugly, scaly, noxious gorilla buttocks being shaken in public in each and every state and national governmental body in the land.

We discovered, back when my eldest daughter first acquired her pet rat and wanted to share it with me, that I am terrified of rats. (Really, who knew?? Not me!)

We also discovered what my actual visceral response to terror is.

The urge to violence.

(Kind of like that of abusive family members, actually. It is really a good thing that nothing my family members can possibly do is anything that terrifies me. I’d have to pre-emptively check myself into jail. Ugh.)

I’m older than I was when I decided it wasn’t safe for me to own firearms. My hormones are under control again, my therapist is really happy with me, and I am very unlikely to go all “Get off my lawn!” on anyone.

So I’m thinking – maybe it’s time I took advantage of the power that we have actually accumulated over the last 60 years. Before we lose it.

Maybe it is time we all take advantage of the power our foremothers and forefathers bled to acquire for us.

I have always voted. I am now also writing to my reps, and calling them. I am volunteering now. I went to Madison. (Did you Go To Madison?) I hereby begin to write again, and I write now to urge you, my sisters and those of my brother who see this, to Go To Madison. To vote, and to speak with your neighbors. To demand response, in front of all the scaly arses wagging in our faces. To be willing to stand for an appropriate office, just like my brother in First Unitarian did, the one who Led The 14 Out Of Madison. In spite of all the things the media and the opposition can possibly pull up and wave in my face.

Make no mistake, those things are there. I have to – you have to – be willing to say, Publish And Be Damned To You!

We have the franchise. No matter what kind of ID nonsense they are now trying to inflict on all of us, we do have the franchise. Vote, and persuade your family and your neighbors and your congregation members and your pool buddies and your fellow students (or teachers or TAs or crew members or shipmates or whoever the blessed fuck you communicate with) to go out and do likewise. Persuade them that they actually can affect their own – our own – country.

But more: as you find appropriate for your own place (block, town, state) and your own circumstances (fears, abilities, people immediately around you), arm yourself. Be Darcy. Be Natasha. Be Sif.

Holy fuck, be Tony and get yourself a Nuke of your very own, if you want and you can and you should.

And when the scaly gasfarters say “Fear me, little gurl, and scream and run and bleed and cry and submit,” you say:

“Oh, yes, I fear you.” TAZE “You need to scream and run and bleed and cry and submit, now.”

Arm yourself according to your circumstances, both personal and environmental.

(And believe me, if I was Destiny’s mom, I’d carry my own tazer or pepper spray to school, and just shadow him all day, looking threateningly at every kid there, and not saying a word.)

So I was thinking about the justifications

Apr. 12th, 2007

for denying any recognition of formalized couple status for us homosektchuls.

And I was thinking of it in the context of the rage about women having the God-damned audacity to choose to have a child without the benefit of a present, wedded-to-her father.

And I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but allow me to get my thoughts in order.

The thing that keeps coming back to me is that there are these limits being put on child-rearing that are mutually incompatible, and also incompatible with the reality of the world.

Continue reading

The Harrowing of Elizabeth Fritzl: I dun tol’ you so!

May 19th, 2008, 01:50 pm

Let us begin with this section from Ephesians:

22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Continue reading