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

Salaam Alaikum. Very well written piece. I learned a lot. One of the most interesting things you bring up is the “right to female language.” It is something I have never thought about in those terms. As you put it “female language” allows you to describe issues that are unique to women with vaginas and wombs, etc. Therefore you want to preserve that language. You argue that when we use language like chest feeding, it minimizes the experiences that are unique to women with breasts.

I see this dilemma. But I wonder, as “oppressed peoples” I am skeptical of investing in the goal of PRESERVING language, especially language that was created by societies that did not respect us in the first place. As a Black man I do not want to preserve language if it frees my group but at the same time oppresses other groups (Native Americans, women, trans-folk, etc). Instead I am optimistic about efforts to innovate new language that does an even better job at highlighting Black issues, while at the same time not throwing other oppressed peoples under the bus. Can’t our language do both at once?

One thing that the trans community has done impeccably well is develop new language that gives legitimacy to their identities. Much of this language has been developed within the last few decades. I think we should learn from the rapid language innovation skills of the trans movement. You are arguing that the language they have created often fails to acknowledge the unique experience of cis women. So why don’t we create new language that does both? In solidarity.

Peace & Power,

P.S. Hope to read more from you in the future.

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