When I launched PWMR a couple months ago, I had no intention of centering gender politics. I defended Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie because I saw a prolifically wise woman getting shut down by her sisters. Trans allies were saying, ‘Trans women are women. Period.’ and I wrote about why rational, informed and compassionate radical women might disagree.
That post got far and away the most views and shares (look Ma, I’m famous!) So clearly we need another way when talking about gender and biological sex.
I’d love to devote more time to less divisive, less potentially hurtful women’s issues. But I personally believe that if we don’t defend women’s rights to speak out freely, then we risk all the progress of feminists before us.
So why are gender politics so important to so many?
@TransgendrTruth Of all the problems in the world, your crusade is to target marginalized people trying to live their lives. How sad for you
— 🌸 Molly Bell 🌺 (@Molly_Mary_Bell) April 12, 2017
Here are three of my concerns (in no particular order) out in the sunlight. I don’t claim to speak for all women, or all gender-critical people, or even all radical feminists. Others will want to add or respond to this list–please comment or tweet me @pwmroundup.
The radical feminist perspective has never been popular. We’re asking for the same thing that women have always asked: to have our concerns taken seriously. Trans allies can help by acknowledging and owning the problems emerging on the fringes of the trans advocacy movement.
1. Our children deserve a fair shot at growing up without surgery and a lifelong dependence on hormones.
A liberal feminist friend asserted that doctors wouldn’t advocate transition if they weren’t ‘1000% sure’ a kid was trans. But that’s not how it works today. More and more doctors and ‘gender therapists’ advocate hormones & surgery for teens.
My teen threatened me, “If you don’t give me testosterone I’m going to hurt myself!” This was only AFTER gender therapists got involved. https://t.co/bSntlhZcYL
— FightingToGetHerBack (@TransCriticalMo) April 11, 2017
— 4thWaveNow (@4th_WaveNow) April 9, 2017
I was a dysphoric kid myself. I grew up to be a happy, healthy, and reproductively in-tact bisexual woman (as many do.) We need to be cautious about the narratives we employ. We need to support research and understand implications for kids.
So many health professionals say they’re being routinely silenced on trans issues, it must have a terrible impact on care quality & research https://t.co/1tycfjhJZk
— CrimsonFlax (@CrimsonFlax) April 12, 2017
— FightingToGetHerBack (@TransCriticalMo) March 9, 2017
Oh, and we definitely need to stop shaming parents who resist the ‘trans’ label for their gender-non-conforming kids.
— GenderCriticalGreens (@gencritgreen) April 2, 2017
2. Protect the definition of ‘woman.’
By changing legal protections to enforce them per gender identity, rather than sex, you disempower women from challenging men who enter their spaces. You risk the legal protections and the space we’ve created for girls to compete in sports. Regardless of the intentions of most, certain males will always take advantage.
@unbreakablepenn This kid isn’t on hormones, hasn’t had puberty blockers, but it’s appropriate for them to compete against girls because…what, long hair?
— Stacey Lavell (@lavell_stacey) April 8, 2017
It’s not sex disrimination to be sacked for breast feeding because men can lactate too. Apparently. https://t.co/66orfCVjZw
— Ｓｕｅ Ｖｅｎｅｅｒ (@sueveneer) April 12, 2017
3. Lesbian women deserve respect.
Challenge people who shame lesbians who aren’t attracted to male genitals. Would you tell a gay man he has to have sex in or around a vagina, and like it? It’s homophobic.
— Sweet Pea ♀️ (@sweetpeaispissy) December 28, 2016
And please, stop reclaiming the identities of lesbians for the trans movement simply because they didn’t perform to gender stereotypes.
Another trans activist trying to erase lesbian history by ‘transing’ a dead lesbian.Claude Cahun (see picture) in HER ART played with gender pic.twitter.com/8A1YZd7NGz
— W̷i̷l̷d̷̷ (@wildlx) November 19, 2016
Shameful trans’ing of the dead. The late great Carson McCullers had “problems w/ gender” & wore “men’s” clothes. Also happened to be lesbian https://t.co/svd9IzYMOD
— 4thWaveNow (@4th_WaveNow) October 22, 2016
Conclusion: the caricature of radical women
Trans allies regularly equate denial of free access to women’s language and spaces as a denial of human rights and bodily autonomy for trans people.
— Sir James The Second (@JKH2) April 9, 2017
That’s disingenuous. It paints a caricature of radical feminists, it discredits us as ‘TERFs’ and ‘bigots’ and ‘transphobic’ worthy of the same scorn applied to bigots and sociopaths.
There must be a third way that respects the experience of trans women without dismissing the valid concerns of women. If you’re an ally, be bold enough to help us find it.