Transgender: not a challenge to feminist politics–unpicking transphobic tropes

So, today an article came to my attention that is almost like a bingo card for microaggressive transphobia. Entitled Transgender: the challenge to feminist politics, it is the sort of bollocks I’d usually let my trans sisters take down, but talking to some of them on Twitter about this, there was an air of fatigue, that it was nothing new. And it’s true. It’s tedious and reads like a checklist of tropes of people being wrong about trans women. I’d honestly recommend people bothered educating themselves by reading blogs by trans women, or actually talking to fucking trans women.

I have the luxury of not being directly harmed by this article, or anything else to this effect. This is how I find the energy to fight it. However, I’ve likely missed a few things, and I’d love if my trans sisters have any resources, links or additions to make, to let me know, and I’ll signal-boost you. Also, this is a very short, point-by-point rapid response, intended to make sure that some of the worst of this is quickly dealt with. Each point is worthy of its own post, as each of these tropes come up so often.

Now on to the demolition.

There are so many battles yet to be won by feminists that we must not be distracted by internal schisms. If we can identify a shared political goal with trans women, says Rahila Gupta, we should be able to end this polarisation.

Trans women are women. There are therefore a lot of shared political goals. Any polarisation comes from some cis women being bigoted.

After decades of debating what it means to be a feminist,  who would have thought that even the category ‘woman’ would be up for discussion, and would need to be qualified with the prefix ‘born’ (i.e. born- woman)?

The correct prefix is not “born”, but “cis”. “Born” implies some sort of biologically essential characteristic.

until new technology came along to allow those who suffer from gender dysphoria to choose the body in which they feel most comfortable.

Trans people aren’t just a new invention with new technology. Trans people have always existed.

The suicide of Lucy Meadows, a teacher in the process of transitioning, in response to her persecution by the press exemplifies the wide-spread prejudice against trans people. 

Sadly, transphobia is not just limited to this very salient example.

Against this history, it becomes very difficult to have a reasoned debate about what transgender means for sex binaries, gender politics and feminism without touching a raw nerve in members of the trans community.

The use of “reasoned” and “touched a raw nerve” places trans people as “unreasonable”. This is a classic example of dogwhistle prejudice, and “the crazy trans lady” is a common trope used against trans women. Immediately after this, the author lists two examples of things that she thinks are not transphobia. Both of them are instances of transphobia. Great silencing work!

 The fact that those who claim that theirs is a liberatory new movement are adopting body shapes that have historically oppressed women is worth debating and no different to the debates we may have with the fashion industry or even amongst women.  

Just as cis women have lots of different body shapes, so, too, do trans women. Ignoring this fact is either ignorant or disingenous. I genuinely can’t work out which.

Central to feminist thinking is that gender is a social construct rather than a biological construct and that spurious arguments about the biological inferiority of women have been used to justify the existence of patriarchy. The imperative felt by transsexuals to undergo surgery and hormone therapy in order to identify as the sex to which they aspire thus undercuts a major plank of feminist politics. 

Well, maybe your feminist politics need to move on from the 1970s, then. My feminist politics accommodate trans people perfectly well.

ETA: Furthermore, surgery is not a crucial aspect of a transition: some women choose not to have hormones or surgery for their own reasons. It’s their choice, and it doesn’t make them any less women. (thanks @JessWardman for suggesting I clarify this point!)

Men who transition to women

WHAT? No. Trans women are women. Stop calling them men.

ETA: This is as good a times as any to draw attention to another false narrative around trans people, as observed by an anonymous friend of mine: there is a narrative that trans women “want to become” women rather than are women.

Men who transition to women often adopt a hyper feminine style of dress and appearance, thus yoking femininity and women very much as patriarchy does, a link that feminists have been trying hard to break. 

Not all feminists. Again, move on from the 1970s. Also, there is absolutely no critique of the role of the medical establishment in this. Doctors often force trans women to behave in a certain way in order to get treatment.

ETA: From an anonymous friend: “not all trans women are feminine by a long shot, even with the medical pressure.”

Additionally, genderqueer politics holds that the rigid imposition of gender identities is the main problem and that the binary system affects men and women equally whereas feminists like myself would see the oppression of one sex (women) by another (men) as the central issue

No. Binaries are unhelpful.

It is also interesting that the most noise in public debates is made by men transitioning to women, another example of male privilege

JESUS CHRIST STOP WITH CALLING TRANS WOMEN MEN. Trans women do not have male privilege. They are women, with the intersecting oppression of being trans and thus facing this sort of shit.

According to a study carried out in 2009, of a community of 10,000 people in the UK, 6000 have transitioned, 80 per cent of whom are now trans women (MTF).

I don’t know what she means by “transitioned” here, but I think I can guess that she means surgery (more on this later)

Whilst it may be understandable that women might wish to live as men in order to escape their ‘inferior’ sex, it is harder to understand why such large numbers of men should opt to transition to women and thereby, give up their male privilege, plus face the additional discrimination of adopting transgender identities. Nevertheless, the fact that more men than women have transitioned is itself an indication that patriarchy gives men a disproportionate power and freedom to choose how they live.

Perhaps because they’re not doing it to swap privileges around? And if she had ever even bothered to speak to a trans woman, maybe, just maybe, she would know that trans women are not men, and that it’s hardly a “disproportionate power and freedom”, being trans.

ETA: From my anonymous friend: “one reason for trans women being more visible than trans men despite evidence suggesting numbers are roughly equally is that trans men are not questioned as much by the media (because of male privilege – being a man ‘makes sense’)

Jenny Roberts, a transsexual, explains why their response to rejection by born-women is so noisy:  the transsexual ‘often responds in the only way she knows – with male aggression and anger… the inescapable fact is that we’ve grown up with gender privilege. We’ve been taught to compete, take power and demand what should be ours.’

Wow, a cherry-picked quote. One. The only indication that the author has bothered seeking out anything, and it’s something which backs up her beliefs entirely.

It is this history of lived experience as a different sex and gender that makes many women, particularly radical feminists and lesbians, wary of transsexuals. 

Well, they should stop being wrong, then. I know I grew out of it.

How do we balance our equalities duties with the need for a women-only space especially when employing transsexuals who have not finished the transition? The Sex Discrimination Act takes this into account partly when it stipulates that discrimination may be lawful when a particular job requires a worker of a particular sex and the transgender applicant is still in the process of transitioning… But the paradox is that the possession of male genitalia would make their presence in women only environments much more problematic

They’re still women. Having a penis doesn’t make someone not a woman. Having a vagina doesn’t make someone a woman.

ETA: My anonymous friend pointed out I didn’t say more on surgery, and I was going to say it here: it’s patently obvious that what the author means by transition is surgery. As @JessWardman pointed out, some trans people opt not to have surgery, and that’s OK.

This brings us back to the knotty issue of biology versus gender – if conditioning is what makes men violent, then surely unhappiness with ‘maleness’ indicates that that the conditioning is unravelling and therefore makes a trans woman no more or less likely than born- women to be prone to violence.

Note the distinct lack of any citatations or statistics, because there are none, because this belief is rooted in, once again, the very unpleasant notion that trans women are somehow male.

When many of the younger feminists are actively bringing supportive men into the movement and into the conference halls and debating the roles they should adopt

How is the presence of men pertinent to trans women? Spoiler alert: it isn’t.

At the end of the day, it is about a shared politics, rather than identities per se, of working with trans people who share and support feminist goals.

Which a lot of trans women do because they’re women.

The respect shown by a trans woman like Jenny Roberts who says, ‘We should accept that there are groups where our presence is not appropriate and groups where it is. And we should stop acting like we still have the privileges that we grew up with’ would go a long way to end this polarisation.

Yes. That is literally the conclusion of the article. Shut up, trans women, and step in line. A classic cis silencing tactic, which I’m all too aware of because I once used it myself.

Anyway. Fuck that shit. I’m off for a fag. What an awful article.


24 responses to “Transgender: not a challenge to feminist politics–unpicking transphobic tropes

  • londonfeminist

    “the paradox is that the possession of male genitalia would make their presence in women only environments much more problematic”

    – in a woman-only environment, I’ve never noticed anybody’s genitals because they are usually enclosed in underwear, tucked neatly into a set of clothes and therefore hidden from view. Which means that people who fret about male genitalia in women’s spaces aren’t assessing maleness from genitalia at all, but from face / gait / stance / height, which in turn means that they’re rejecting women who don’t fit a patriarchal definition of dainty femininity, and fuck that.

  • hunternotthehunted

    I’m rather appalled that it’s on Open Democracy.

  • Jessica Burde

    The sad this is I know far too many people who would see nothing unreasonable in that article.

    What gets me the most is the whole bit about gender being a cultural construct and therefore trans are undermining feminism (paraphrasing b/c if I actualy go back and read any of that shit I may throw up). Yes, the current gender NORMS are social constructs. Gender is a far more complicated thing which has nevr been clearly defined or understood in a way that works for the majority of people. Whatever it is, it seems to involve a mix of culture, psychology, biology (no, I don’t mean genitals, I mean the complicated mess of DNA, hormones, and environmental influences on our development that shape our self expression), which brings me to the big one, SELF EXPRESSION. Part of the patriarchy has been forcing the culturally defined gender norms on people based on their physiology (You have a penis, you are a man and must act like THIS! You have a vagina, you are a woman and must act like THAT!) Why can these transphobic idiots not see that by tying the notion of ‘woman’ to the genitals they are just continuing to enforce the very thing they claim to fight?????

    • beingtwinflower

      I’ve encountered many feminists who’ve failed to grasp this, claiming that if we were to get rid of gender roles no one would be trans*. They should all read this comment, very well put!

    • Vicki K

      Okay – I’m going to respond to this in good faith, because I suspect that where I’m at on this issue (and I’m actively grappling with my own opinions on it) would see me classified with those ‘transphobic idiots’. I’ve come to blog posts like this to try to understand a different perspective on this. I admit, my first impression on this issue is to ask the question: ‘what does one define as womanhood’. When someone says ‘transwomen are women’ – well what does it mean to be a woman? As a cis-woman (and I use it because I can see it is important here, not because I necessarily understand either a) where the term cis comes from or b) the political ins-and-outs of it)… as a cis-woman, much of what it means for me to be a woman has to do with my biology. My reproductive organs. My breasts. I take pleasure in my female body. I like being a woman. But I have an extreme wariness of womahood being attached to social constructs – e.g. high heals, makeup, a ‘feminine’ way of thinking or behaving. So when I read in the post above that you can have a penis and be a woman, my question is: what does this mean, this term ‘woman’. And I ask it of myself as well as of others because I’m honestly opened to broadening my perspective on it.

      But I’ll be honest… I kind of found the above post unhelpful to help me with this. The author has clearly had these debates before and perhaps many of you have developed a short-hand or think that everyone ought to have engaged with this by now. Perhaps it is a sign of oppression that feminist women like me have honestly before not given it a lot of thought. But win no allies by deciding that if someone just doesn’t know, or doesn’t understand that they are automatically transphobic idiots.

      So help me understand… what does identifying as a woman feel like to someone born in a different-sex body?

      • stavvers

        I get that you’re trying to learn, Vicki, and maybe this will start you off. What I will say is the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in things written by trans people. http://cnlester.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/twenty-one-questions-on-trans-issues-answered/

      • Katelyn Jecmen

        I addressed this very question in a blog post of mine but as opposed to linking to a seperate page I will paste the post here (warning its long) It felt like kind of a revelation in walking away from the rhetoric usually used in my community to explain our position, hope it is helpful to you to understand my and many of our position.

        Throughout my life things have always been a struggle, I have never truly felt adequate to others, I have always felt like somehow I was never good enough for anything in life. Even today none of that has changed, society all around me seems to knit pick at each and every little thing I do, say, or express. I have nothing but short comings it seems. I will never be good enough to be considered a woman, nor will I ever be able to measure up to being a man. Which brings me to this war of the genders. It seems so important to people to place you in one side or the other, and yet I begin to question whether I actually am placeable, and if I am than where? If I was in fact meant to be a man as is believed by many to be the case based on the physical appearance of my body at birth(still not 100% sure on this) than why have I always had conflicting thoughts, was this an effect of being some sort of secret spy created by men to have me infiltrate women and learn their secrets only to undermine their strategy? Am I just a non informed drone waiting for some kill order? Or maybe the reality isn’t so hollywood style and I just wasn’t paying attention when they were handing out the penis brains and missed out on recieving mine. All of these thoughts really don’t do much for concluding but considering all of my life I have done everything I could to fit in, I just wanted to belong but yet it just never really felt right.

        When I came out as being trans it felt liberating in a sense, finally I didn’t have to hide so many feelings I kept bottled up. At the time I felt so sure in the statement, “I identify as a female” I felt like my each and every thought and emotion was female. How sexist right? I mean how can I someone who was born with a penis actually have any grasp on what a female felt or thought? How could I who was born in a male body really grasp what it meant truly to be a woman? I mean it isn’t too tunnel visioned to say that simply wearing female clothes and makeup is mere window dressings. After all in reality what clothes you choose don’t necessarely make you any more or less a man or woman right? I know strange to see someone like myself actually saying that it isn’t dressing like a woman that makes me one. Truly tho, it would be very sexist to think that thats all women are about is dressing up and acting girly.

        So let’s get back to that coming out statement “I identify as a female” well that is an interesting thing to try and grasp and yet so hard for someone who isn’t in my position. How can I say that? How could I ever really? Well let’s ponder this for a bit, and we can start off with what it is to be a female. There is so much in a concept like that, and so much you can’t even really put into words, more over each and every females experience is unique, but yet, there are alot of commonalities. For one example the day to day struggles women have to go through, do I even have to go through any of these? Well certainly, the day I had my gender marker changed I set myself up for those struggles to some degree, the day I walked out of my house dressed as a woman I set myself up for a great many of those struggles. I think it is abundantly obvious that given the fact I am built fairly petit and not exactly a tall person I am no more a hard target to any predator out looking to destroy another womans life. I have had countless crude men cat call me while walking down the street, and while it was validating and sort of felt good to be confirmed as pretty enough to be cat called initially, it did get old really fast. And before we go off on the tangent of that almighty period being something I will never have to endure, you are wrong, for the last 2 years of being on hormones I have to put up with cramping, bloating, and the emotional roller coaster of hormone fluctuation, I am not particularly sure if any of my trans counterparts go through this or not, I’ve never thought to ask. Alas the fact remains for whatever reason there is I do endure this. So the question begs to be answered, Have I had all the experience necessary to even qualify as a woman, and the answer is, I do not know, what amount of experiences does it take before you gain that title, or does it even require experiences alone?

        We can easily say in black and white views that well having the ability to have a baby makes you a woman, but unfortunately that statement excludes each and every woman who for whatever medical reason cannot, so obviously thats not fair, but you could even go so far as to say that they still were born with the uterus and ovaries that if under normal conditions would have made them capable of that, and that is a pretty valid argument. But then what about those intersexed children that were born somewhere in between and wound up identifying as a woman or even as a man in the end, do they not have claim simply because they only had x amount of internal body parts? I think that is very unfair. So really what does it all take to gain this elusive title? Maybe the answer is too complex to even put into words, and maybe the feeling that drives one to decide this is beyond comprehension. But maybe the answer is so simple even.

        Through all of those possibilities that I listed there is one consistant thing in my life that allows each and every one of them to be valid to me as a collaboration of things that make me who I am, and that is that those things come so naturally to me, no effort to make changes to myself, because the moment I actually stopped paying attention to the things I say or do for a lack of fear was the day I actually was first ME. I actually find more often than not that people catch me doing things that coincide with what I present that I would have never thought I did. It’s actually funny that the simplest things that people do in their day to day activities unconsciously, speak volumes of who they are and what maybe they are hiding from the world, everything from how you step off a curb to what part of your torso rises when you breath. So than the answer to this question is? Because when I dont try to follow a guideline and be what everyone else wants me to be this is what comes naturally to me.

  • Quinn

    Perhaps another reason trans women are more visible than trans men is because of the way they are perceived. Trans women are perceived as “men in women’s clothing” and trans men as “women in men’s clothing”. Of course it’s “normal” for a (cis) woman to dress in masculine clothing, ‘she’ might just be a lesbian after all. But for a man to dress in women’s clothing is considered unusual and degrading. Again, I’d like to reiterate that I don’t mean trans women are men dressed in women’s clothing, but that that is how they are perceived by transphobic society as a whole.

  • yetanotherlefty

    As I suspected – the trans woman quoted is one of a tiny minority of transphobic trans women who believe cis people will only accept us if we accept that we aren’t as “real” as they are. See this post on Questioning Transphobia debunking a piece she wrote which is also linked to by trans hate sites: http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=30

    Also: I’ve yet to encounter a genderqueer politic which didn’t acknowledge the existence of male and/or masculine privilege and the existence of sexism. The gender binary – and particularly the idea that masculine and feminine are opposites – does hurt everybody but I’ve never seen anyone calm it hurts everyone equally.

    On rates of people transitioning: they’re increasing and increasingly equalizing between men and women http://www.gires.org.uk/Prevalence2011.pdf
    Also, it’s often easier for trans men to transition without medical help than for trans women and figures are almost always based on use of particular medical services that not all trans people use. This also doesn’t take into account people who go abroad and come back transitioned, people who buy hormonal treatments online and get a doctor to monitor their bloods without going via a GIC etc… There’s lots of reasons to suspect that almost all estimates of trans prevalence are under-estimates and particularly that they underestimate the proportion of trans men – never mind that no one’s tried to track prevalence of nonbinary people due to lack of legal and medical recognition.

    Oh, and as a trans man, I’d just like to say that neither I nor any of the trans men I know (probably about 60 other men) transitioned because we believed that women are “the inferior sex” or because we wanted male privilege. There are a handful of guys like that, yes, but most trans men end up transitioning because whilst living as a woman is a good and beautiful way for other people to live, it just wasn’t working for us. A lot of us feel guilty for somehow not trying hard enough to find a way to be a woman but nonetheless found that there wasn’t a way to be ourselves and live as women. The only privilege we wanted was freedom of expression and a chance to live comfortably as ourselves.

  • mhairi

    Mmm…I think transgender and transfeminism *is* a challenge to (mainstream) feminist politics, but its a challenge that should be welcomed and engaged with.

    Feminism has long tried to get rid of gendering, and its association with bio-sex…and failed. Pink and girliness has been in for the last decade. Trans* breaks down the sex-gender association, making it meaningless, and ultimately destroying the concept.

    Challenges are not always bad things, it just a shame that some of the radfems cant see that.

  • Jonathan

    G*d, what tiresome stuff. Fatigue was my response too.

    Just one small point to make (apart from all the excellent ones you already have):

    genderqueer politics holds that the rigid imposition of gender identities is the main problem and that the binary system affects men and women equally

    Genderqueer politics does not hold that the binary system affects men and women equally. It is perfectly capable of accepting that (other things being equal) men (mostly) have more privilege within the gender system, without denying the main point that the gender system is (potentially) detrimental to everyone.

  • y.

    Hi! I’m a trans woman and I love your blog and read it all the time. Thanks for writing this– it’s such a relief to encounter trans positive people. Honestly, I’ve seen this type of thing so often that I’m used to it by this point– I guess I’d recommend people read Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble and Undoing Gender and Gayle Rubin’s essay “Of Catamites and Kings”, if they want to read cogent, feminist theory-based takedowns of transphobia*. And anything you can get your hands on by Viviane Namaste, for an excellent critique of cissexism in queer theory and queer politics. And if you’re interested in reading highly articulate, trans/feminist blogging, I recommend Quinnae Moongazer’s blog- she’s probably the best trans blogger out there right now.

    *Yes, I am aware that Butler is notoriously difficult, and has been criticized for being cissexist (among other things). Both of these are true. She is also, however, brilliant, and when she gets it right, she hits it out of the park. Gender Trouble is *not* an easy read, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

  • Jo (@jonanamary)

    What a load of fucking shit that article was. As one minor example, Gupta gets everything to do with Moore-gate wrong, which is personally galling. I’ve written a bad-tempered comment explaining how she got it wrong and asked on Twitter for her to amend the piece. Let’s hope she listens (bahaha who am I kidding).

    #solidarihugs to all my trans* comrades who’ve been hurt by that piece, and similar arse-waffle from clueless cis people whose views on gender became petrified in about 1971.

  • Rosa Smith (@quendergeer)

    What the hell feminist debates has she been having over the past few decades that this is the first time she’s seen the category of women and how it’s defined being discussed? Because I’d be hard pressed to think of anything, even the most reductionist essentialist “wise wound” shit that doesn’t start with at least a token discussion of what defines “woman”.

  • queenielexie

    Thank you for this! The original article was just terrible. There are very few things that make me ashamed to call myself a feminist, but the transphobia evident in (particularly) radical feminism is one of them.

    I don’t really understand their argument if I’m honest; if trans* women are ‘really’ men (which they’re not. They’re women. Obviously) then surely being feminine and not acting like men is a good thing because it proves that gender is a societal construct? Their behaving in a very traditionally feminine way – which not all trans* women do anyway and is often simply a way of assuring access to hormones/etc, as you pointed out – is presumably only ‘bad for feminism’ if they’re women. They’ve got to pick one line of argument because trying to use both does not, logically, work. They’re both bollocks anyway, but still. They could try a bit harder.

  • yetanotherlefty

    Because these aren’t as easy to find as they used to be, here are links to Questioning Transphobia’s Seven Transphobic Tropes which take down the most common arguments used against trans people:
    Trope 1 – “Really” a Man / Woman http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=152
    Trope 2 – “Patriarchal Privilege” http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=166
    Trope 3 – “Reifying Gender” http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=194
    Trope 4 – “My Theories are more Important Than Your Experience” http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=303
    Trope 5 – The “Man in a Dress” / “Deciever” Double Bind http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=740
    Trope 6 – Mutilation http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=1085
    Trope 7 – Socialisation as a Child http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=2884

    Please do take the time to follow the links. I think the piece we’re discussing today manages to buy into Tropes 1, 3, 4 and 7.

  • BlackBloc (@XBlackBlocX)

    >>>The gender binary – and particularly the idea that masculine and feminine are opposites – does hurt everybody but I’ve never seen anyone calm it hurts everyone equally.

    Well, I’ve seen it, but it’s typically from anti-feminist activists (which are typically not genderqueer) and very very rarely from genderqueer activists. For the later, they are typically younger activists (sometimes actual age, but more often it relates to experience… you might find it in older activists that have been only involved for a short period in the movement) who are still working out their analysis and make up for it in enthusiasm (something that’s easy to do online). Usually if you tell them how you find it problematic they’ll see what you mean and reformulate.

  • Anon Twentytwo

    Great take-down, I’m glad someone else is doing this, I get fed up with having to deal with the rubbish TERFs produce.

    BTW;

    “It is this history of lived experience as a different sex and gender that makes many women, particularly radical feminists and lesbians, wary of transsexuals. ”

    Actually LOADS of women have very different lived experiences from most TERFs. The idea that there is one single shared lived experience of growing up as a woman is a myth. Women from different classes, races, religious and cultural backgrounds, appearances and (dis)abilities all experience growing up very differently. In any case there are now an increasing number of teenage transgirls and young transwomen who have socially transitioned at very young ages, 4 or 5 years old. A while, able-bodied, bisexual middle-class women aged 22 is likely to have far more in common with a a white, able-bodied, bisexual, middle-class transwomen than she is with a black working-class straight Asian Muslim woman aged 45 in terms of lived experience.

  • Sophia Banks (@sophiaphotos)

    I have finally calmed down enough after reading the original article to feel I can comment here.

    In all honesty this is somewhat emotionally difficult. The never ending assault of transphobia is starting to wear me out. To rob me of my dignity and self respect.

    First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to dissect this transphobic rubbish. As a trans woman I consider you a very wonderful and valuable ally.

    I think it is absolutley critical to flush out transphobia in feminism as trans women like myself need allies and it is logical that we turn to women for this support as we are women.

    Unfortunately I have found so much in feminism transphobic that I do not view women’s spaces as safe. I am literally more anxious approaching a women’s space or group then I am walking around alone at night. After all, in times of crisis my trans women friends who are raped and on the streets can not even seek the solace of a woman’s shelter. Instead they are told that they are men and are triggering the “real” women in the shelters.

    I was followed home several nights ago and found the experience frightening. I tried to express this on twitter and was pounced on by women telling me that I am a man and that I was never unsafe and that the fear I had was illegitimate. I was told that I was the real oppressor and that that trans woman were responsible for women dying. Yes this came from from women, not men. Yes they were of the rad fem variety.

    Transphobia is so ingrained and rampant that the media can freely publish articles such as the one this post is refuting with little to no back lash.

    My point is this. Transphobia is literally killing women.

    I am tired of hearing feminists go on about “trans theory” of being “gender critical”. The lives of women are being lost and destroyed while feminists debate over whether trans woman like me are valid or even women.

    If your not trans you have no right to argue that being transgender is not something people can feel + be. If you have never experienced gender dysphoria you can not say it does not exist.

    To me it sounds like someone saying to a person with anxiety that they dont believe they are anxious because they themselves have never been anxious. That would be ignorant. So is transphobia.

    Thank you again for writing this post. It means a lot to me.

  • emma

    “It is this history of lived experience as a different sex and gender that makes many women, particularly radical feminists and lesbians, wary of transsexuals.”

    In among all the transphobia, there’s also this poorly worded generalisation. Is there any evidence that lesbians are “particularly wary” of trans people? It’s not uncommon for trans men to have been in a relationship with someone who self-identifies as lesbian, or to have been part of a lesbian scene at some stage of the self-understanding process. A partner, exes, and lesbian friends may represent an important part of the supporting network for transitioning men. It seems illogical that a group which is more-than-averagely likely to know a trans person would be “wary” of them.

  • karaconnor

    Thanks for writing this. I literally do sometimes run out of energy to correct the mendacity in articles promoting this mendacious trope, which all boils down to trans women aren’t women, and gender is a biological imperative except when they say it is.

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