Identitarian garbage and Cisgender “division”

Mallory Moore
5 min readAug 1, 2023


WIP brocialist flag

So the other day Ben Burgis posted this by TYT presenter Ana Kasparian — calling trans rights issues “identitarian garbage”, a distraction from “the left”, “fighting for better economic conditions”.

Ben is participating in a long history of brocialists and other privileged socialists generally palming off the labour of dealing with attacks on minorities as “divisive” to The Real Struggle. Serious socialists don’t have to care about racism while we’re all wage slaves, am I right? Serious socialists don’t have time to address misogyny within our movements because after all isn’t sexism a product of capitalism that will wither away after the revolution? Serious socialists don’t have time to waste worrying about the rights of those decadent homosexuals trying to indoctrinate children with their filth [sarcasm, here in case it wasn’t clear] when there’s a class war afoot!

Except capitalism is built on the exploitation of women’s second shift labour. Capitalism was built and continues to be maintained on racialised labour exploitation going back several hundred years. And yes, capitalism continues to reproduce itself through the maintenance of the gender violence system which enables the exploitation of feminised labour through division of the population into an enforced sexual hierarchy, which is maintained at the cost of the violent exclusion of trans people from public life (and more often than not sexual exploitation of us in private spaces).

Attempts to put “identity politics” — always the identity politics of the subaltern working class — outside of the realm of class struggle, and even to try and render it as a distraction from real class struggle are a form of blatant class treason. The care workforce in the United Kingdom is heavily staffed by black women hailing from the Carribean or from West Africa, and they are deeply underpaid and exploited for reasons that can not be separated from their racialisation and the gendering of their ability to demand a share of their labour value in the labour market. I know very few trans women who haven’t worked in either the care industry or the sex industry, in my personal life for similar reasons that we are excluded from the majority of the workforce. You want to talk about improving economic conditions under leftism as if that’s something that doesn’t concern us specifically because of the ways we are excluded from claiming our own labour power, while historically unions have deployed racism, sexism and transphobia in attempting to preserve white cisgender men’s rights in the workplace over all other workers?

I’m sorry it’s bullshit. If you are for a united working class your solidarity has to be with the meanest among us first and building upwards from there.

Which class is protected by painting minority human rights as divisive and in need of crushing or discarding exactly? It’s the dominant class — in this case where this is applied to painting trans rights as divisive, the class that benefits first is cisgender people, obviously. Although clearly capitalists will take the W as megacorporations make money off trans people on our knees or on our backs via the various mix of gig economies most trans people are forced to labour.

I’ve been critical of “identitarian” politics myself — but critically it’s not been out of trying to unite transphobes. There are key problems with identity-centric politics. There are models for trans liberation that eschew these. Using “identitarian” to brush aside solidarity with trans people as a mandatory part of class consciousness and unity in general is adopting elements of contemporary fascist rhetoric in order to resist disruption of established socially oppressive norms.

In fact the real feature going on here is about marked vs unmarked ideologies. Cisgender identitarianism is the unmarked value system in this case. That’s why I call it cisgender supremacist. I do critique trans identitarianism as an inadequate response to overcome cisgender identitarianism, but again, that’s another matter.

To clarify, when I say identitarianism, I mean a politics which at its root only has the advancement, ennobling, glorification of an identity status as its central project, rather than abolition of oppressive structures at their roots. Where entrenching the identity itself is more important than liberating the people currently enclosed by it. The problem of trans identitarianism is that it reproduces and reciprocates the shape of the dominant, hegemonic cisgender identitarianism that it is opposed to. All sorts of other failed “liberation” projects have gone this way from feminist separatism to hotepism to homonationalism. The idea that addressing the class-political context of trans is an “identitarian” source of “division” belies the lack of honesty about who is being divided. This is always an erasure of hidden conservative identity politics in practice.

Trans liberation doesn’t much care for strengthening the borders of “trans” identity, for building trans up as an unproblematic and valid co-partner to cisgender identity. Trans liberation struggle is a struggle to recognise the class political context that produces trans people as part of the wider gender and economic system which Ben Burgis’s alleged struggle is supposed to favour resistance to. Trans liberation is struggle against that economic system facing us all. Under trans liberation, cisgender and trans people would enjoy their share of trans liberties at their pleasure, cisgender and trans people wouldn’t meaningfully exist as distinguishable categories in terms of oppression any more. We’d all be free to express ourselves to such a degree that it would not be sufficiently remarkable to sustain a marked outsider class distinguishing cis people from trans.

My femme lesbian friend who desperately wants a beard but doesn’t want to be a man would get her beard and not have to worry about navigating a world where you have to persuade shrinks you’re a man to get one. Trans liberation would change, would abolish, what we understand as the social structure of gender. Root and branch. Trans liberation isn’t about dividing people or about upholding the importance of identity. It’s about eliminating the hegemonic oppression that maintains people in these coercive categories, coerced into expressive forms, against their will, for the sake of maintaining an exploited gender class. Our goal isn’t to create an enobled protected class of trans people. It’s too burn down the barriers, borders and checkpoints in society that creates and subordinates the outsider class of trans people in the first place.

Trans liberation means an uncompromising war with the united cisgender supremacist front, under whatever conditions we can wage resistance, in any and every space we can mobilise. Trans liberation will unite those who want freedom against those who want oppression, on the basis of our lust for life and desire to live in community with others rather than identity, and that is both fine and necessary if we want progress.

It is an unbridled good to divide against those who won’t hold themselves in solidarity with the whole class and we have absolutely nothing to fear in being bold enough to crack on with it.



Mallory Moore

Trying to develop a gender abolition worthy of the wider abolitionist feminism movement.