I have to say that your responses has been one of my favorites to read and I finally figured out how I wanted to respond. Of course I would never state I can understand the experience of being trans, I cant understand the experience of being gay, black, or a man either. And the language changes so quickly that despite my youth I often struggle to keep up.
I suppose my main reasons for writing stemmed from this. Trans women seemed more and more to not be content with just having surgeries, being called she, fighting for respect and safety, and were instead focusing more on removing language around female biology, rewriting every law surrounding bathroom sex segregation, and silencing anyone who tried to ask for discourse in this.
Being told by trans women that they understood womanhood, started to become irritating. I do not believe its wrong to state trans women get the experience of being trans women. Or that they identify with or resonate with women. But telling me you understand woman hood, when woman can barely truly articulate a specific womanhood, I dont think that is accurate. Women’s experiences of being reminded of their sex and treated negatively around it starts very early on and that affects our development. Im sure the case is similar for trans women, except that trans women because often they cannot voice the dysphoria at early ages, get treated as men. Any amount of this socialization does affect our internal monologues and behaviors.
Women’s issues are constantly being looked over, I did not know about vaginismus until I was 20, did not know that the clit had an internal structure until two years ago and many still dont believe this to be true despite evidence, and dealing with IUD insertions because I am childfree but no one will give a woman my age the right to permanent birth control was traumatic. In order to talk about this I need the language. Being told that it is transphobic to say this gets many of us in states of rage.
And with restrooms, if a person shows up walks into a stall or behind a curtain, changes and leaves, there is no issue, but predators look for ways to predate and the laws being rewritten has allowed predators to abuse them. It is happening more and more, but you dont see the articles because publishing them leaves the group that did publish it open to vitriol. Woman only spaces, where even a small glimpse of penis during changing is not a possibility is important simply because, we women say it is. Our experiences with how the penis is presented to us throughout our lives and the male violence that comes with it does leave a mark and expecting any woman who feels similarly to get help is absurd. We have the right to not be ok around penises in certain settings. Being told this is transphobic is feels like we are being told our experiences are not valid, which is generally what men say to us about all of our issues.
So what ends up happening is this, a woman sees something happen or hears of the language being changed, and still being an ally goes and poses a question around it, instead of a discourse, she gets labelled terf and gets harassed and bullied. So then she gets angry because she feels her rights safety and language are now threatened.
There is a way for trans women and women and trans men and men to find common ground, talk about our issues, and make the world safer. But trans people cannot say that anyone posing these questions or stating their veiws is violence to them or invalidation. I think the trans experience is valid. I dont think saying you and I are the same is. But telling me to concede my spaces and language feels like my experiences are being invalidated. Trans women say I am invalidating them, but really I am only saying their is a difference and it matters because of how the conversation has been corrupted.
If to validate a trans woman I have to remove my language, and open my spaces in a way that does leave them vulnerable to predators, then I have to raise questions and stand my ground.
I hope this has been a bit more insightful!