the patriarchy hates trans women
Anti-trans feminists say that the patriarchy wants them to redefine what a woman is to include transgender women. The patriarchy. Think about that.
It’s the patriarchy that advocates for gender essentialism. It’s the patriarchy that claims each individual should be categorized in a binary gender system based on what a doctor says at birth.
Transgender activists are trying to redefine gender in opposition to the patriarchal norms, not in defense of them.
stop misgendering trans women
Anti-trans feminists, (sometimes called trans exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs), praise gender non-conforming men as being important players in the fight against misogyny. You don’t see that a lot in feminist circles, so you might get excited at first.
Until you realize that what they mean by gender non-conforming men are trans women, who are not men. They are women.
how bad are terfs anyway?
This misgendering of trans women is not just something anti-trans feminists do just to troll people, dangerously publishing their assigned gender online. Anti-trans feminists have actively fought against legal right for trans people.
The U.S. government supported gender confirming transitioning as medically necessary until 1980 when certain key anti-trans feminists fought against it and won with faulty science and fancy lawyer speak.
The rate of suicide drops dramatically when transgender people medically transition. Deaths could’ve been avoided if not for anti-trans feminists. This is what people mean when they say that TERFs kill.
(As an aside, I don’t think all trans people should medically transition. That is up to the individual trans person to decide and society to give us that option).
but they were never girls!
Some anti-trans feminists think trans women aren’t women because they haven’t experienced “girlhood.” This is quite the assumption to make considering that some trans women HAVE experienced “girlhood.”
Either way, to assume all women have the same experience since birth is a form of cultural erasure.
It’s true that certain issues facing trans women may be different than those of cis women. But certain issues facing Latin American women living in New England are probably different than those of the Bobo women of West Africa.
But a difference in experiences growing up does not mean that any of these women–trans, cis, Bobo, Latin American–are not women.
trans people are not the enemy
Feminists have the opportunity to discuss and fight against the misogyny that trans folks experience, instead of defending that misogyny by developing arguments to further target victims of the patriarchy.
Trans women, especially trans women of color, are more likely to experience violence against them than any group that I’m aware of. They are being harassed on so many levels, including to the point of suicide, rape and murder. Trans women are not the enemy. Trans people are not the enemy.
The enemy is the culture and system that attacks both cis women and trans and gender non-conforming people. We are all victims of this same system.
feminism is for trans folks
Some transgender people have become disillusioned with feminism due to the branches that continue being anti-trans.
But feminism, especially trans feminism and queer theory, provides us with invaluable resources in better understanding the oppression we face as transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Patriarchal norms of masculinity and femininity affect all people of all genders and are probably impossible not to internalize on some level. The questions feminists have been asking should continue being asked. Many of the concepts brought to us by feminist thinkers can continue being applied to our lives, even if we must adapt some older ideas to new facts and understanding.
We are entering a new wave of feminism where feminism is becoming that fight against all forms of oppression. Trans voices are needed, and for many self-identified feminists today, wanted in this fight.