Purple Magazine
— F/W 2015 issue 24



Olivier sends me an email asking if I want to write something about feminism. I don’t think I’ve done anything else since I learned to write. “I am fed up with feminism,” I say. I was a feminist when feminism was not a trending topic. I became queer when the AIDS crisis started to kill the best of all of us. I moved into the transgender movement when hormones became a political code. I have been slowly transitioning for the last eight years, using testosterone in gel in low doses to modulate my female-to-male gender. But during the last six months, I’ve decided to jump to a different speed. I am injecting myself with testosterone every 10 days. I have also changed my name to Paul. Hair is growing on my legs. Meanwhile, my face is becoming Paul’s face. Political subjectivity is being fabricated between language and biochemical molecules. But only when others start calling me Paul do I become Paul: I owe them my name. I owe them this possibility of derailing gender.

Gender is something we do, not something we are — something we do together. A relationship between us, not an essence. Gender can be used as a machine, with just a single difference: in relation to gender you (body and/as soul) are the user and the machine at the same time. Gender is not a machine that you own. On the contrary, it is a living-machine that you embody and use without possessing it. Gender is never a matter of individual ownership. We are all assigned a gender within a network of social, political, and economic relationships, and it is only within this very network that gender can be renegotiated. I feel this negotiation taking place under my skin, happening within frames of visibility and invisibility, in between the sentences others enunciate and the names I am given. I am full of political joy.

There is a revolution taking place. Not only inside me, but all over the planet. This revolution did not happen in the glamorous and hippie 1960s. It will not take place in 1,000 years. This revolution is happening now, in front of you. You are in the middle of this revolution and, no matter if you know it or not, you are part of it. Transfeminism is the name of the revolution now taking place. If you are mad about your gender, tired of binaries (boy-girl, hetero-homo, white-non-white, animal-human, north-south), beyond the romantic-couple choreography, running out of hope within capitalism, and frantically utopian about becoming other, you are transfeminist. Transfeminism is not postfeminism. It’s 21st-century feminism reloaded.

It is not that feminism is over or that we can do without it; it is just that it is not enough. Feminism as a movement belongs to the cultural and political landscape of the 19th century. We need to go back and look at history if we don’t want to act stupidly. Maybe you don’t know that “feminism” was the name that the French physician Fanneau de la Cour gave, in 1871, to a sickness that he thought affected men suffering from tuberculosis. According to him, tuberculosis prevented men from fully developing male spiritual and physical attributes and rendered them “feminist.” Just a year later, the son of Alexandre Dumas used the adjective “feminist” to insult men supporting the fight for women’s suffrage. A few years later, suffragists and anticolonial women appropriated this insult to refer to their own fight. They said they were feminist, as they claimed legal and social equality within emergent democracies. They claimed the right to vote, to work, to earn their own money, to write and publish. They asserted they were able to govern themselves, to make decisions about their own bodies and sexualities. Women asking for the right to govern seemed as weird in 1848 as transfeminists today asking for a worldly Parliament where simians are invited. Late 19th-century feminism aimed to restrict male patriarchal power and demanded that women be recognized as full legal subjects within the democratic sphere. During the 20th century, feminism proliferated in a heterogeneous array of different theories and strategies: right-wing feminist, socialist feminist, liberal feminist, Christian feminist. 

If you got them together in a room, they would kill each other. Still, they have a political problem in common: they work under the logic of identity politics. They naturalize the notion of “women” and, while fighting for their recognition within the public sphere, tend to normalize the subject they want to liberate. Feminism creates its own excluded subjects: non-white women, sex workers, lesbians, drug users, chicanas, transsexual and transgender women, disabled women, immigrants. All these subaltern subjects of feminism produced their own liberation movements during the late 20th century. But although the fight for recognition of women is still necessary, it cannot be done under the banner of feminist identity politics.

The transfeminist project: to rescue “feminism” from its own traps, from being just a humanist and colonial straight-white good-woman task. To move from feminism as identity politics to an extended politics of de-identification. To resist normative identifications instead of fighting to produce identity. If feminism was an answer to 19th-century configurations of power, transfeminism seeks to undo contemporary neoliberal power. After the black feminist movement, after the fights of 1969, after the AIDS crisis, and after the cyborg manifesto, we are in trans-feminist times. Whereas feminism thought that power was within laws and institutions, transfeminism suggests that power is within logistics, infrastructures, networks, and cultural techniques. Our access to and use of the pill, Viagra, testosterone, Prozac, Truvada, Facebook, Google, video representations, etc. are more important than marriage laws. The subject of transfeminism is not “women,” but rather critical users of technologies of the production of subjectivity. This is a somatopolitical revolution: the uprising of all vulnerable bodies against technologies of oppression. Inspired by Haraway’s manifesto, neither man nor woman but the mutant hacker is a key figure in transfeminism. The question is not: What am I? What gender or what sexuality? But rather: How does it work? How can we interfere in its functioning? And, more importantly: How could it work in another way? Let’s get into the black box and open the pills.

At a time of global extension of biopower and pharmacopornographic techniques of production of sexual subjectivities, a new alliance of critical movements is needed. We, the pharmacopornographic workers of earth, transbodies, migrants, animals, indigenous, gender-queer, Crips, and sex workers, are inventing new technologies of production of life and subjectivity. We refuse the narrow specialized position of the gender-equality NGO, as if the domains of economic and political production of life will exceed gender politics. We are the somatic and sexualized workforce of global Post-Fordism. Genderpolitics is Terrapolitics! Against the extension of the Warfare State, we produce resistance within common networks of affect, music, seeds, ecstasy, water, words, microbes, molecules…

English, which has words for hate of the unknown and rejection of the alien, has no words yet for the transfeminist revolution. These words are to be invented. But it is not only a new language that we need, as Virginia Woolf claimed, it is a “new hierarchy of passions”: romantic love must be deposed in favor of terralove; worldnality plays the part of nationality; and sexuality becomes heterogenesis.

We are the post-porn Parliament to come. They say Represent. We say Experiment. They say Identity. We say Multitude. They say Debt. We say Sexual Cooperation and Somatic Interdependency. They say Human Capital. We say Multispecies Alliance. They say Crisis. We say Revolution.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2015 issue 24

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS

purple BEST of the SEASON





purple BEAUTY

purple LOVE

purple TRAVEL


purple SEX

purple NIGHT

purple STORY


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