The End of Gender or Deep Green Transmisogyny?

Authored by: Laura Houlberg

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415707749
eBook ISBN: 9781315886572
Adobe ISBN:


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In May of 2013 the radical American environmental organization called Deep Green Resistance (DGR) released a YouTube video explaining their position as a radical feminist group whose definition of ‘women’ and ‘men’ include only people categorized as such at birth. In other words, they positioned themselves as a ‘trans-exclusive’ organization whose gender politics bar transgender people. Specifically, they bar transgender women from being recognized as ‘women’ or as an oppressed group under patriarchy. The moment was critical, not because DGR has a particularly large or influential hold on current dialogue around gender and environment, but instead because it marked one of the first public stances on gender and gender identity made by an openly identified ‘feminist’ environmental activist organization (The Letter Collective 2014). It was an infuriating moment for many observers, although not unexpected due to DGR’s past actions and policies. However, as understanding of transgender people’s lives, as well as knowledge and activism about the violence used to uphold the binary gender system, is quickly increasing in the United States (and some other countries), I want to draw attention to the views of Deep Green Resistance as a warning for how an environmentally concerned politics of naturalness can be complicit in oppression when applied in specific ways to gender. In this chapter, therefore, I tackle this moment, and its underpinning ideology, by contextualizing DGR’s position in a way that (1) situates contemporary green conversations about gender within a larger history of American environmentalism, and (2) creates space for a more inclusive environmentalism of the future.

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