What Was Happening Before ‘Just Be Nice Feminism’? Part I: Early Rumblings, 1970 – 1971

From early on there were attempts to use both the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements as a shield to push for the legitimation of male sexual fetishes.

The feminist response to males claiming to be female was quick to develop. The radical feminist newspaper It Ain’t Me, Babe started by the Berkeley Women’s Liberation group in 1970 were clear that transsexualism was antithetical to feminism and female liberation.

Angela Douglas claimed that ‘there have been and may be male transvestites and transsexuals active in Women’s Liberation, usually unknown to the other females’. There are many reasons for deceiving women to enter the Women’s Liberation Movement according to Douglas: ‘some [transsexuals]seek to perfect their feminine role as much as possible; some are sexually attracted to aggressive females; others may be intelligence agents’.

The clash between feminists and transsexuals became so great that it caught the attention of the Los Angeles Free Press, a widely circulated alternative newspaper established in the 1960s. Also known as ‘The Freep’, it reported in December 1970 that ‘Some feminists accused male transvestites and male transsexuals of being “super-male chauvinists.”

[T]here was an analysis in the Free Press of how transsexualism was a form of male supremacy.  . . . It was publicly discussed how transsexualism relied on sexism and sexist stereotypes. The author proposed that ‘sexist oppression will not end for many, many years and transsexualism will probably greatly increase’. The author speculated on the future and warned that ‘the pool of medically indigent transsexuals in the preoperative phase is rapidly growing…. There exists a possibility of extremely militant (to the point of violence, etc.) groups of transvestites developing on a national scale within the very near future. Such a development merits close scrutiny’.

Source: What Was Happening Before ‘Just Be Nice Feminism’? Part I: Early Rumblings, 1970 – 1971

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