I am a Woman. You are a Trans Woman. And That Distinction Matters.

I am a woman with different birth circumstances than yourself but one with a vagina who has “passing privilege”. Being privileged, I was torn about how to feel about your opinions in this matter. After giving the matter some thought, I empathize with your feelings, but your opinions reek of the same privilege that people express about other matters that make us different. I was taught that if I worked hard I could transcend the circumstances of my birth and become anyone or anything I pleased because America is the land of opportunity. My first goal was to become a girl and then a woman. I succeeded in achieving that dream. You would take it from me if you could by making me the “other”.

Until recently, the benefits of marriage were denied to lesbians only because straight privilege was threatened. Uninterested in marriage for myself, I nonetheless worked very hard for the cause of marriage equality. I have read that there was a time in our history when lesbians were excluded from some female only spaces such as locker rooms and pubic restrooms, only because of sexual orientation. The claim was that lesbians or those who were seen as lesbians, that is, unfeminine women, threatened straight women due their very presence.

I have read that there was a time when ladies rooms and locker rooms were places for white women only. The claim was that women of color were diseased or unclean. The truth is that white privilege was threatened.

In some places women who practiced other religions, including Catholics, were excluded. Christian protestant privilege was threatened by their presence.

My grandmother told me stories about immigrants, including our Irish Catholic ancestors, being excluded from places of worship, and public places, such as restaurants and shops. Nativist privilege and protestant privilege was threatened by my them.

Keeping in mind that we cannot know what is in anyone’s pants without an inspection, do I understand that you would exclude me from public restrooms or locker rooms because you feel threatened by my presence due to my birth? Would you also deny me a job, shelter or a meal in a restaurant? Would you refuse me medical care and attention? It is legal to refuse me those things in more than 30 states should an AFAB employer, landlord, shop owner or health care provider learn of the circumstances of my birth. Your birth privilege is threatened. As with race, trans apartheid creates a slippery slope, indeed.

I suppose that lesbians, women of color, immigrant women and women who practiced non protestant religions, and who asserted a right to share public restrooms and locker rooms were criticized for their “political correctness”, and that they were told that they threatened a “right to safe white, straight, and Anglo-Saxon Christian protestant only spaces”. I could empathize with the distress of those who lost their privilege, but I would never support their cause. The march to equality always causes loss of privilege. Being a lawyer and a card carrying member of the ACLU, I will defend your right to speak as you do, but I do not support your cause. And, I will continue to invade “your” spaces. You won’t even know that I am there.

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