Sandy Stone: Personal History

- Born 1936 in Jersey City, NJ

- 1965 B.A. from St. John's College in


- Started working as a recording engineer

- 1974 stopped working and went

through gender reassignment surgery

- Then began working with Olivia Records collective.

Life and Achievements

- 1979 ~ Janice Raymond wrote The Transsexual Empire:

The Making of the She-Male attacking Sandy Stone.

- 1983 ~ Stone befriended Donna Haraway (theorist), and in

1987 wrote her essay The Empire Strikes Back: A

Posttranssexual Manifesto.

- 1993 ~ Stone established the New Media program now

called the ACTLab (Advanced Communication Technologies

Laboratory) at the University of Texas


- " a masculinist violation of bodily integrity. All

transsexuals rape womens bodies by reducing the female

form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves...

Rape although it is usually done by force, can also be

accomplished by deception."

- With her essay, Sandy Stone challenged the feminist

concept of a "biological woman."

Manifesto for Cyborgs

Donna Haraway, author of

the Manifesto for Cyborgs

was Stone's mentor before

she wrote her essay. Stone

was drawn towards the

muddling of those

boundaries, binaries, and

preconceptions that tend to

stifle a more liberated

understanding of gender

and sexuality.

"Highest purpose of the transsexual is to erase herself, to fade into the

'normal' population as soon as possible"

Coyote - The Native American spirit animal who represents the power of

continual transformation which is the heart of engaged life."

Stone made the point that transgendered people need to step out of the

deceptively static structures to claim individuality. People are not bound to

exterior definitions, binaries, or prescribed roles. They should not hide the

fact that they are transgendered.

Exceptional Excerpts


According to Foucault our

discourse on sex is repressed.

Perhaps this is why talking

about being a transgendered

individual is so difficult, and in

effect causes more repression

of all transgendered people.

This is the reason that Sandy

Stone employs all who are

transgendered to embrace it, to

be on the road to self


There are two main sides to the transsexual community. It is the transgendered

community that has activists, starts movements, gets people informed, [etc...] The

reason I say the two are separate [is that] transsexuals are only a small part of the entire

transgendered umbrella.

Ultimately the goal of the transgendered movement is to make it so that any sort of

gendered variety is not looked down upon. This includes cross dressing, like drag

queens and kings, androgyny, and transitioning transexuals.

But because we've localized under a broader movement, it also means that from a glance,

people are confused. A less informed person might not grasp the difference

between a transgendered individual as opposed to a transsexual. I personally do not feel

we have the numbers to argue and quibble over small things like [that]; however it does

bother some transsexuals that they are compared to cross dressers.

After all, we have very different goals - cross dressers are simply enjoying a temporary

and slight inclusion into the other gender by appearance, while transsexuals are acting

out their inner person and are bringing the outside in line with their general feelings.

So it's messy.


Most see gender as binary. The only anomaly is a

transgendered individual, yet we see this individual as a

transgendered only until they can get a gender

reassignment surgery. The transgendered label is only


Remedy: Get rid of the binary of the male/female sex.

Transgendered individuals can create their own identity and

sense of self.

The Influence of Judith Butler

Thesis of Butler's text:

○ Gender is an imitation of social ideas and



Being any type of categorized queer requires playing

the role (i.e. butch vs femme lesbian)

"The lesbian butch or femme both recall the heterosexual

scene but simultaneously displace it... In the case of the

transsexual, the varieties of performative gender,generate

new and unpredictable dissonances which implicate entire

spectra of desire." ~Sandy Stone, on Judith Butler

Genres & Passing

● The essence of transsexualism is the act of passing.

● Passing- to live successfully in the gender of choice, to

be accepted as a "natural" member of that gender.

● Genres- range of characteristics used to distinguish

between male and female

● "Individual change is the foundation of all things, it is not

the end of all things. Perhaps it's time to begin laying

the groundwork for the next transformation."

You'll have trans activists that openly embrace and suggest gender

differences. They might even go so far as to identify as gender queer,

bi-gender, or other such identities, which is cool. And they want to

eliminate the perceived 'gender binary', so that people can actually

start to be more comfortable with each other.

The other side are stealth transsexuals who comfortably have

transitioned and passed for their chosen gender, and have no interest in

outing themselves because they don't want that struggle present in

their life anymore.

You may have noticed that I stand in a curious place between the two,

because I do not mind outing myself, even though in most scenarios I'd

say that I pass without much question.

"Transsexual" -

The Self-Erasing Category


Max Attitude & Nyx Matthews :

"We are taught that 'dissatisfaction' is fixed by changing what you

want, rather than what you are."

"What you are is just what you're born with - it's a bit like...

being told you should stick with the family you were born

into, or the class - like the medieval idea that being, say, a

peasant is something inherent... I think that's quite clearly


"There is an expectation of [a certain amount of] 'body hatred'

involved in obtaining 'sex change' surgery... the idea that a certain

amount of suffering must substantiate trans lives in order for surgery

to be admissible. One must construct a story about the pain of the

'wrong body'... like one has to be suicidal before it's okay to get


Gender Roles in Disney's Mulan

1. Female Stereotypes/

Role in Society

2. Male Stereotypes

3. Identity beyond

stereotypical gender roles

Eva Hayward

"I'm changing like the seasons

Watch! I'll even cut off my finger

It will grow back like a Starfish!"

"Outside body" vs. "Inside body"

"I am not a starfish, I am of a starfish. I am not my body, I am of my body"

Trans is about "moving towards oneself through oneself"

Transformative: something that starts in one place and ends in another


Trans = transcending or surpassing particular impositions whether

empirical, rhetorical, or aesthetic. It's all about re-shaping bodily


Cripple and the Starfish

"My creative process has always been what

I've described as accumulative. I collect a

lot of different shards and pieces, and I

create something that feels meaningful to

me by finding relationships between them

and putting them into a kind of collage" -


For Today I Am a Boy

Song circles around themes of duality and


One final clarification:

Even though intersexed individuals experience a lot of the same troubles

and issues, for the most part they have strayed from the trans

community - I guess, for a higher level of recognition or something.

Intersex politics generally remain separate from trans politics.

There's no clear answer, no right way and no easy way

in dealing with all of it, especially since from person to person, their

sexuality, comfort, and ability to deal with situations differ greatly.

But you can't have your own separate group for every single person

added to the LGBTQAA community, and right now the trans community

piggybacks on LGB because they are not fully recognized in their own


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