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imperfection sets us all in motion. if we dismiss potential sources of knowledge because of their imperfections, how will we ever learn? if we refuse to move forward because of potential mistakes, how will we ever advance?

Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

The truth is, you and I are the stuff that great leaders are made of. We don’t have to wait for a distinguished white man on a horse or a politician wealthy enough to win office in a multimillion dollar campaign to usher in justice and equality. The ranks of rebellions and revolutions that have shaped human history have been made up of people like you and me. That history lesson has been purposefully kept from us.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

After Stonewall, the flags and banners of lesbian and gay liberation proudly flew at demonstrations in defense of the Black Panther Party, Young Lords, the American Indian Movement, and the United Farm Workers. The Gay Liberation Front took its name in solidarity with the Vietnamese National Liberation Front.

By bringing the demands of our liberation movement to people from all walks of life, we deepened mass consciousness of the need for unity.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

Most working people think theory, in general, doesn’t have much to do with real life. With some theories, that’s true. Theory that strays too far from experience becomes abstract. Theory has to be tested against reality.

While carefully studying questions of sex and gender oppression we have to be careful not to produce theoretical hothouse flowers that are removed from the social and economic soil in which they are rooted.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

I can’t even begin to talk about the relationship of history and theory without trying to demystify both categories. History is the record of past experience. Theory is the generalization of that experience. It’s that simple. But the question of who records the experience, and what lessons are drawn from it, is not so simple. Theory and history take place in the midst of a struggle, and are themselves battlegrounds.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

I have tremendous confidence in the power that we can unleash by uniting our struggles.

When I talk about unity, I don’t mean reducing all our particular identities or struggles to one. I mean putting our collective strength and energy behind the defense of all our identities and all our demands.

How do we fight on behalf of all our desires? I believe that exploring the relationship between theory, history, and action will help answer that question

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

The growth of the Internet has been a great boon for us. We have leveraged our computer skills into high visibility, making it very easy for intersexuals, parents, journalists, and professionals to find us. Internet mailing lists have made it easy for us to bring our issues to professional communities outside the medical profession. It is not an overstatement to say that without the Internet, it would have taken decades to get where we are now.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

So who leads our movements today? We have been taught that we have no power to change the most miserable conditions of our lives. But that’s a lie.

There’s a wonderful Chinese proverb that advises “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”

The leaders are the ones who are “doing it.” And the responsibility and role of leadership is to develop leadership in others.

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

There are many factors that determine social behavior and interaction. And people interact differently as they work with many kinds of people. Those of us who grew up very isolated from other people began a process of socialization as we worked in coalitions over the years. We learned important communication skills. All of us came into movements with rough edges.

I think most of us are grateful for the gently patient and compassionate lessons.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

How can we tear down the electrified barbed wire that has been placed between us to keep us separated, fearful and pitted against each other? How can we forge a movement that can bring about profound and lasting change — a movement capable of transforming society?

These questions can only be answered when we begin to organize together, ready to struggle on each other’s behalf, to fight each other’s oppression as though it was our own.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

So the defense of each individual’s right to control their own body, and to explore the path of self-expression, enhances your own freedom to discover more about yourself and your potentialities.

Together, I believe we can forge a coalition that can fight on behalf of your oppression as well as mine. Together, we can raise each other’s grievances and win the kind of significant change we all long for.

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Book Notes: Trans Liberation | Leslie Feinberg 

If you are a trans person, you face horrendous social punishments. This oppression is faced, in varying degrees, by all who march under the banner of trans liberation.

If you do not identify as transgender, your life is diminished by our oppression as well. Your own choices as a man or a woman are sharply curtailed. Your individual journey to express yourself is shunted into one of two deeply carved ruts, and your social baggage is already packed.

highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

Action is what makes laws change. First you fight to get it, but then you still have to fight to defend what you've won from being snatched back.

We are faced with either relinquishing what we and earlier generations won in terms of living and working conditions and political gains - or organizing in a broad counteroffensive.

Can such a struggle really be avoided?

Isn't it time to have confidence in our own abilities?

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

Recently a young woman at a part asked me, "What do you do for a living?" I replied "I don't know." I don't own property so I don't live off of other people's labor. I have to work for wages or I'd starve. But since I am gender-ambiguous, it's almost impossible for me to get a job. Every month it's a scramble for rent, and it's even harder to deal with working full-time at survival. This system I live under doesn't work for me!

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

In the 19th century US, babies of all sexes wore little white dresses. Gender-based color schemes were adopted only at the onset of the 20th century. However, different countries adopted different color schemes.

Pink became a girl's color and blue a boy's in the United States in the early 20th century after a media circus surrounding the acquisition of two paintings, "Blue Boy" (Thomas Gainsborough) and "Pinkie" (Sir Thomas Lawrence)

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

Why are infants being shoehorned into male or female?

As Fausto-Sterling points out, "For questions of inheritance, legitimacy, paternity, succession to title, and eligibility for certain professions to be determined, modern Anglo-Saxon legal systems require that newborns be registered as male or female."

As a result, infants are surgically and hormonally manipulated into one sex or another, sometimes without the parents' knowledge.

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

The German Homosexual Emancipation Movement won support from the working class and from socialists, but the rise of fascism smashed all the workers' organizations. The Nazis also crushed the Movement, and much of the history that had been gathered has been lost to us forever.

This movement, which had begun to spread to other countries, is an example of a historic moment when lesbian, gay, and transgender struggles have been entwined.

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

No oppressed peoples can liberate themselves alone. So how and why will others come to our defense? And whom shall we, as trans people, fight to defend?

Frederick Douglass told the International Council of Women, "When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated emancipation, it was for my people; but when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act."

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

I have lived as a man because I could not survive openly as a transgender person. Yes, I am oppressed in this society, but I am not merely a product of oppression. That is a phrase the renders all our trans identities meaningless. Passing means having to hide your identity in fear, in order to live. Being forced to pass is a recent historical development. It is passing that is a product of oppression.

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

Witches were accused of having the power to change sex.

The drive to differentiate man from woman fueled a frenzied campaign against intersexuality. In the 15th century, for example, the Church put a rooster on trial at Basel. The cock was charged with having laid an egg.

The court found the cock innocent, but attributed the acting of laying the egg to a sorcerer masquerading as a cock. The rooster and egg were burned at the stake.

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highlights/notes from Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg 

Why is sex a legal question?

As class divisions deepened in ancient Rome, the sexes were assigned an increasingly unequal status. Once property-owning males ascended to a superior social position, those categories could not be bridged or blurred without threatening those who owned and controlled this new wealth.

The heterosexual family became a state dictate because it was the economic vehicle that ensured wealth passed on to sons.

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