(Erina, oh yeah conventional gay boy culture is hella catty)
Hmmm...so I haven't seen instances of bi or trans-phobia as 'catty' per sae. Not that it isn't negative, just not 'catty'. I'm wondering if our definitions are different or we just happen to be in different kinds of scenes and circles? When I think of 'catty' I think gay boy culture or general bitchiness.
My immediate and more peripheral queer women's circles are liberal arts educated, non-profit/gov/think tank working or else professional MD/JD, straight-laced women with "a good head on their shoulders". Or else they are radical or super progressive even anarchist and journalists, artists, organizers, etc. These are basically people who mostly "know better" than to be catty and don't feel a need to do it. Sure, sometimes we talk smalk about people who know or each other when we get together, but that alone to me isn't 'catty', 'cattiness' has a particular kind of viciousness, maliciousness, or hostility to it or is like 'hissing and spitting'.
These kind of crowds ^^ are generally not very bitchy...in fact most of the individuals I meet through those circles are pretty 'nice' and genuinely supportive of one another, local businesses, community groups, etc. Hmmm..though there is a lot of infighting amongst feminist orgs (particularly in DC but that's another thread).
And for me personally, I feel that like attracts more like so once I meet a bonafide 'bad apple' or really catty person (generally always high femme) I avoid them. I think maybe this has helped minimize the presence of straight up catty people in my sphere? I tend to date more butch or androgynous women or genderqueer/transfolk where cattiness would not be in line with their perception of themselves or their persona.
I also do agree that cattiness is more to be expected from high femmes, at least in my expereince. But also some older lesbians in their 40s and up - I think it's a cultural thing.
So thinking more about conventinoal 'cattiness' -- I agree it exists in queer women's spaces and it's not utopic. And maybe I'm just better insulated from it (in which case, I'm glad!) but I still think compared to het culture it is WAAAAAY racheted down.