Love Your Sisters,
Not just you cisters. CW- transphobia.
March is Women’s History Month and midway thru it I find myself consistently exasperated at the ingrained transphobia our culture continues to engage, not towards me in particular; I use rolling pronouns (anything with respect!) so being called a girl, or a woman although not necessarily true for me, or not true most all of the time, I am okay with those pronouns. I just correct and move on. Gender is a spectrum through which I move freely with little care for other people’s opinions. That is NOT the same for all trans folks and when in doubt, best praxis is to ask people’s pronouns.
Trans issues are at the forefront of women’s issues and any feminist or ‘sister’ that intentionally forgets this is sus. Vaguely saying all women are women or tweeting that trans ‘girls’ are valid (esp if you are mentioning anatomy in this context) isn’t enough. It is problematic, because this infantilizes women’s autonomy and understanding of self and reduces women’s existence to organs or lack thereof. We need to recognize this nuance so that we can take care to not replicate patriarchal patterns.
During this month white feminists and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists are expected to praise the memories of Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton with the same honor that Frida Kahlo, Nina Simone and Harriet Tubman deserve.
While you read this, J.K Rowling is probably fixing to tweet some horribly bigoted shit. (Rowling being probably the biggest example of us having to “knock our idols off a pedestal” as we gain political and social awareness and uncomfortably sit with the content we consumed so much of in our youth. It almost feels like a “great divorce” to stop supporting harmful narratives like the ones she spews with our money and attention because of childhood adoration.)
I wish cancel culture actually worked!
Cancel Culture, which Conservatives would have you believe is a by-product of our ‘extra’ sensitive, soft society and not something that evangelicals perfected from the moment they colonized these lands til now. These are the people that tried cancelling emancipation, desegregation and civil rights, entire Indigenous and Black cultures and religions, countless music and books down to, ironically, J.K Rowling herself — I mean, who among us would have guessed that in 2021 the people that cancelled Rowling on the basis of her books back when we were kids would be sticking up for her rights to hate Trans women publicly online now?
Cancel culture is the only real consequences that bigots seem to get in a system created to protect their interests at the expense of our human bodies, it isn’t a new phenomenon either…. lunch counter sit-in, strikes, boycotts, these were the tools our ancestors and Elders use and we use still — and when I say our human bodies, after a year of COVID19, I am not being dramatic at all.
So for the rest of our month together, I invite you to dig deeper into the narratives of trans women in history as well as celebrating the amazing trans women creating a new world for all of us to live in with love and equality now. I ask you to maintain the praxis of intentional inclusion and of diligently cancelling those in our lives with power that use their platforms to propagate hatred. Beyond a day or a month, we must name and recognize the Patriarchal system of oppression that all women and gender minorities are subjugated to, it is our shared experience of gendered violence that should unite and hold us together as true sisters and siblings in the struggle for liberation.
Reverend Doctor Leonina Arismendi Zarkovic is Tri-Chair of the Virginia’s Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and Co-Director of Santos en Virginia, they are an award winning writer, poet and artist from Uruguay living in the US South. Keep my writing Free: Become a Patreon.
Consider donating $1 to ‘set the captives free’ through Santos en Virginia, the first state-wide immigrant defense and bail fund (www.thesantos.org)