Being trans in America is not easy. States have been moving to restrict our access to gendered spaces. “Progressive” comedians make us the butt of their jokes. Politicians vilify us to make brownie points with transphobes. We are murdered at almost 800 times the rate of the general population and raped with impunity by respected members of the community. This does not even begin to address the countless micro-aggressions and practical difficulties of living in gender limbo. So when people we hope could be allies viciously attack us, it make it all so much harder.
My knee-jerk reaction when I read stuff like this is to explain my sexuality. Yes I am attracted to women, but primarily emotionally. I don’t really want to have sex with them, I prefer men for that. Ultimately though, that is completely besides the point. Even if I did want to have sex with women why would I go to through all the above mentioned hassle to do so, even with lesbian women, who would not even give me a glance otherwise? Why would anyone subject themselves to all that for such a tiny “reward?” I did not choose to be trans, any more than they chose to be lesbians. In a society that still has so far to go to accept either group, why would anyone decide to be either of those?
What these terfs (trans-exclusive radical feminists) fail to recognize is they are doing our mutual oppressors’ work for them. Why should the radical right spend the time and energy attacking us when they can get another group they hate to do so? Meanwhile the self-righteous bigots get to sit back and laugh while they get the queer and feminist communities to tear themselves apart. It would be hilarious, if it were not so sad and frightening.
It is frightening because these “womyn only” types perpetuate a dangerous narrative. Insisting that trans lesbians are essentially straight men trying to force themselves on cis lesbians reinforces the idea to the right-wing heterosexists and cis-sexists that straight trans women are trying to trick straight men into having sex with us. This helps perpetuate the notion of trans panic, the indefensible legal defense that has allowed more than a few of our murderers get off light, and which is no small contributor to the above mentioned murder rate. The terfs are literally killing us with their words.
I am not saying these are easy issues to get around. Male privilege has reinforced a gender binary that makes it difficult for all those fighting it to find where they stand in the struggle and how to define a safe space within it. While I disagree with terfs when they say I don’t belong in “women’s only” spaces, in light of what the binary has done to all of our self-image over the centuries, I can kind of get where they are coming from. What I cannot get is why they are so insistent on demonizing us and how they can gleefully put us in harm’s way. We are all fighting the same power structures and their cis sexism is allowing those structures to divide and conquer.
- TERF is slut shaming people (kallmannssyndrome.wordpress.com)
- The Gendercator (USA) (genderidentitywatch.com)
- Feminists Fighting Transphobia (Online) (genderidentitywatch.com)
- Not up for debate, and putting solidarity in action (feministsfightingtransphobia.wordpress.com)