Obviously the police officer who questioned and ticketed Paula Witherspoon represents a real structural problem. The idea that an agent of the state got to decide a woman’s gender for her and call her “disorderly” for abiding by her actual gender is not only ludicrous, but also structural violence.
But the cis lady who looked at another woman and decided she “looked like a man” on the basis of whatever transphobic bullshit criteria is the one who called that officer and started the police interaction. That is FAR from a neutral act in a world where trans* interactions with police so often turn discriminatory and even violent. And it is an overtly discriminatory act that she decided she got to be the Arbitrator of Womanhood and literally police who was and was not considered female. This, too, is cissupremacy. And it, too, is systemic and far from isolated.
Transphobia and cissupremacy are far from the sole domain of men. Cis women, we, too, are a part of it. We have an incredible ability to do harm to our trans sisters. It is our responsibility to keep each other from doing so.
With all due respect, Amy, Paula Witherspoon might not be the best example for your case here. She is, after all, a thrice-arrested paedophile and a convicted sex offender currently on parole (and one of the contingencies of that parole is not being around minors (<18). Often, minors 18 and under are present in washrooms and as minor females are Witherspoon’s target age….
Well. Gender aside, allowing a convicted sex offender unremitting access to their target demographic is… probably not the best idea.
If you’re looking for an example, Chrissy Polis might be a better one.
But trying to defend a three-time sexual predator is probably not the best move from a PR perspective.
I didn’t write the original post, so why are you addressing me? I didn’t know about her history until now. Thanks for pointing it out to me, though. It definitely makes the story less clear-cut, and could possibly be relevant to what happened.
The details of the arrest aren’t clear, from what I’ve found online, and haven’t been publicly released. If she wasn’t banned from using public facilities at the hospital, then there was no reason to arrest her. If she was, then obviously there’s a problem. Either way, it seems she was arrested specifically for being trans, and if that’s the case then it’s still a problem, even if this leads to a real criminal charge.
This is that tricky place where we fail as people if we completely erase a person’s humanity for having a criminal record, while at the same time we fail if they are able to commit those crimes again. Reoffense is especially troubling when it comes to child rape, and as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse it’s a topic I have intense feelings about.
What complicates this incident further is that we also fail as people if we allow the ends to justify the means in criminal investigations. The profiling of minorities is a big problem across the board. It gives me mixed emotions–if she is found guilty of violating parole, then it’s a good thing she was arrested. But it’s still a bad thing when trans people are targeted for being trans.
The whole situation sucks, basically. It’s fail from every direction. It’s like one of those crime procedural dramas with an ending that leaves you twisted in knots even though you agree with the verdict.
You know what? No, Paula Witherspoon’s conviction doesn’t matter. It was twenty years ago, and she’s served her time, paid her debt to society even by the gleefully draconic standards of the American “justice” system. And no, the restrictions on sex offenders do not mean it’s a parole violation for them to ever be near a child. They’re barred from living near or hanging around schools and playgrounds and similar locations, not prohibited from all public spaces.
More importantly, her past crimes had nothing whatsoever to do with her being a trans woman. They are a complete and total red herring.
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