I am a Woman. You are a Trans Woman. And That Distinction Matters.
Silenced by men first and now trans women. Will women ever not feel silenced?
I asked why as a woman who was born with woman parts it is now considered transphobic to want to have conversations about the distinct and unquestionable differences in life experience between cis and trans women. I asked why when women have faced systematic violence at the hands of men and 1 in six women is raped, is it wrong for cis women to have some spaces just for them to feel safe in a world where they don’t? And I was immediately threatened, labeled as transphobic, and left to feel as if my voice was nothing.
I am angry. Angry because now even questioning these issues is seen as an act of hate, discrimination, or intolerance. Angry because wanting to have open conversations is now considered hate speech. I am angry that as a woman who has constantly had to be careful of my language and behavior around men to ensure my own safety, I am now being forced to police my language even more, around and for trans women who had entirely different experiences and anatomy. Female language around female issues is important to many cis women because we have struggled to even have our identities and issues seen as valid.
Now before you make any assumptions let me be clear. I respect everyone’s rights to their pronouns, to surgeries they want, to safe spaces, to tolerance, and to living as humans with human rights and respect. And I will help you fight for that. But my being born with a vagina and the treatment that comes from that matters in the conversation around the rights of trans women.
Chest feeding instead of breast feeding? We are still struggling to make breastfeeding in public considered normal and natural, instead of lewd and inappropriate.
People saying the word mother isn’t inclusive to transgendered pregnant people, while moms still struggle to get basic maternity leave and not lose their jobs after having a baby, and even still deal with extremely dangerous situations due to mistreatment during childbirth.
Saying that because you are a woman, your penis is a female penis and should be seen as a vagina in change rooms and woman spaces? Women constantly still deal with being sent dick pics, and being flashed, and forced to see penises when we never consented to. As a rape survivor this can be especially difficult for me.
A rich famous celebrity trans woman who had been a man for so so many years, winning awards, and being respected as a man suddenly becomes a woman and wins a women’s award over women who had far far more right.
Telling lesbian woman they are transphobic if they do not overlook a pre op trans woman’s penis. Even showing up with bats to the Chicago Dyke March to protest this “cotton Ceiling.”
Calling anyone who dares acknowledge that even after the surgeries, the genitals and reproductive systems of a trans individual are different a bigot or transphobe. Insisting that these differences do not matter and are not allowed to matter to potential bed partners and even having classes on how to coerce lesbians into being ok with penis. In sex every preference is ok(barring pedophilia,beastiality, and assault). It’s sex. You should not need to feel pressured to sleep with someone because not doing so makes you transphobic.
Trans women who have never had or known what it is to have a uterus, invading infertility forums, ignoring entirely how different that struggle is for someone who was born with a uterus that is nonfunctioning. A basic struggle for these women is around not being woman enough despite having all the parts and when a trans woman enters that space, cis women often feel invalidated, offended, and angry. But they fear expressing this because the moment you try, you are spewed insults.
These are just few examples that you find on any and every forum dealing with transgender rights.
Women who were born with vaginas have always faced a systematic oppression whether you see it or not. WE feel it. Our feelings of shame and disgust around our own bodies when it comes to hair, periods, vaginal discharge, even our vagina’s size and look and our breast size and looks, are real and important to acknowledge. And they are reinforced by how society portrays all of those subjects. The way we behave is conditioned from early on to ensure we never escalate situations with men, always carry weapon or text friend to ensure safety, always fear rape more than murder and know that when it does happen, we will not be heard and he will never see a jail.
And I am not saying transgendered people do not also face oppression and suffering and feelings of disgust, but there is a huge and important difference. And whether you were able to see it or not, if you looked male for part of your life, you experienced a different life than myself. You got privileges regardless of if you were aware of them. And no matter what your oppression and violence does not validate your right to supersede woman in the discussion. Women face that shit too.
And I am not saying you don’t have a right to transition, you do. But I have a right to natal born woman spaces. I have a right to the language that I am barely allowed to use currently. I have a right to not be forced to see a penis in a changing rooms, just because you see it as a lady dick. I am generally the one ok with nudity, but as a rape survivor, sometimes I don’t want to be exposed to a penis which is why I sometimes need women changing rooms. And no you identifying as female doesn’t decrease the shock value when I suddenly see a penis and wasn’t expecting too.
I have the right to want to protect the language and experience of being woman from birth because I have never felt equal to a man. Because that language is all I have that was and is mine. My vagina and uterus, I have my own issues around them and you trying to take away my language around them, is just more oppression to me. It looks the same regardless of if its coming from a man or trans woman . Other natal born women oppress each other as well.
This “cotton ceiling” fight is oppressive to lesbian women who fight every fucking day to gain respect and equality based on the their sexual preferences. Being told by trans women to get over the penis thing sounds identical to how men often try to bully lesbians into fucking them.
There should be safe spaces for everyone, but don’t ask for trans only safe spaces and then also try to force your way into woman only spaces. Some of us want vagina woman only spaces and thats ok too. Especially when rewriting bathroom laws leaves us open to predators.
Don’t call me transphobic when I fight for your right to your surgeries and tolerance, and use your pronouns, while also asking to still have my womanhood recognized as different than yours.
When I first attempted to ask in conversations and online, why there is not space for cis women to express their needs in this conversation, I was met with slurs, threats, and even a death threat.
“Choke on my female cock, terf” I received this from multiple individuals on an online forum. There are multiple spaces dedicated entirely to women who dared want to express these feelings and in doing so received hundreds of threats, sexual harassments, and threats of sexual harm often by transgender individuals.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie came out trying to discuss the distinctions between women and trans women and was utterly crucified. Julie Bindel, Jane Murray, and Germaine Greer have also faced threats, being fired, being no platformed, and in other ways censored for adamantly holding to the female and male differences.
To even try to speak to any of this and how its made us feel is to be instantly labeled a “terf”, called antifeminist, and threatened.
Stop policing my language. Its already policed by men, I don’t need your group of trans women to do it too.
I am watching my birth control rights, my abortion rights, my rights to toplessness, fall away. I am watching sexual predators strut around the white house. I am watching women feeding their children be yelled at harassed and shamed for the most natural act. I am being forced to see my own body as only sexual every fucking day when I get catcalled or try to go online dating. I am forced to either conform to men’s standards on my body or risk being ostracized by them. Even choosing not to wear makeup, even choosing not to want motherhood, brands me as not woman enough.
Its not ok for the 1 percent of the population that is transgender to add to those oppressions. And it is not ok for you, in your fight for rights, to ignore my voice and trample on my rights.
I will call you by your pronoun, I will fight for your right for safety, surgery, trans safe spaces and even trans- inclusory women’s spaces, but you also have to be ok with me wanting my language and my cis only spaces. Its hypocritical if you don’t. We are both facing struggles, and I cannot imagine what you are going through, but you cant imagine my reality either.
Its not transphobic to want some cis only spaces. Its not transphobic to want to keep some of my language that I already fight for every day. It is not transphobic to express my discomfort with some of what the transgender movement is doing in regards to my rights.
If the transgender women’s movement wants all women on their side, the way to get our support is not to ignore us when we cry out about the differences and voice our needs as women who were born women, that just makes it harder for us to want to hear you.
The transgender women’s movement, cannot be another movement that oppresses women, but thats what its seemingly becoming. There is space for both of us in womanhood, but only if you are willing to hear my side too and acknowledge my needs here too.
A good read with quotes from a transgender woman herself: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/12/gender_critical_trans_women_the_apostates_of_the_trans_rights_movement.html
My response to the controversies: https://youtu.be/prQ3lAkaHJM