Transphobia, Part 5 – Feminism

There is a common misconception that the existence of transgender people is a threat to feminism. Much transphobia is levelled at trans women, who are considered to be threats to cis women (not that a transphobic person would call themselves cisgender because they question the existence of transgender people, as outlined in my previous posts). We saw this form of transphobia come up a lot last year, most notably by J.K. Rowling. In response, many people defended the comments made, defensively proclaiming that someone like Rowling isn’t and can’t be transphobic. But. Transphobia is interwoven into the fabric of our society and its norms, and regularly appears in our actions and beliefs. And rather than defend and double down on our prejudices we can acknowledge, challenge and change them.

I believe the origin of this form of transphobia lies in the widespread belief that men are threatening and violent. This view is underpinned by the huge amount of violence perpetrated by men towards women. However, this is a concern regarding cisgender men, not transgender women. But because many people do not believe or fully believe in transgender people, it is assumed that transgender women are actually just men dressing up as women and are, therefore, devious and a threat to other people, especially women and children. This is why they shouldn’t be allowed to use women’s toilets or changing rooms and why something like the Gender Recognition Act (which allows people to legally change their gender) should be questioned – because cisgender men will use it to pretend to be women so they can continue to commit acts of violence. This belief – that transgender women are actually just men – is both inaccurate and prejudiced, as are the resulting beliefs it produces, not to mention the huge amount of pain and suffering these beliefs cause. The truth is that transgender women are women.

Unfortunately, many people do not believe this and continue to dehumanise trans women while scapegoating them for the violence of cisgender men. Furthermore, even if a cis man were to pretend to be a woman so he could enter an all-female space to commit violence that still says nothing about trans women (or trans people in general) but everything about this particular cisgender man’s violence. I find it genuinely heart breaking to see trans people demonised and dehumanised in this way (just as gay men were once and still are regularly called paedophiles and perverts to justify undermining their human rights). The existence of transgender people really shouldn’t be up for debate just as we don’t question whether bisexual people exist or black people or cis women. I believe it is possible to articulate a form of feminism that champions all women, including cis and trans, and protects the reproductive rights of all women. Broadening our conception of womanhood does not dilute it but diversifies and strengthens it. This isn’t about trying to limit any women’s rights or limiting her access to spaces and resources. This is about enshrining more rights and creating more spaces and providing more resources. It’s about recognising the Patriarchy Pie is inherently unjust and causes minorities and oppressed groups to fight one another, rather than make a new pie together. As someone assumed to be male, amongst other things, the patriarchy pie affords me many privileges. But rather than cash in on them and turn my back on others I say, bullshit! I want a better pie, that’s fairer and tastier, for everyone, and that absolutely includes trans people.

I make these comments as someone who was raised a cisgender man and who now identifies as genderqueer. I will absolutely not speak for women and whilst I wish for a world of equality I cannot force anyone to suddenly feel comfortable with change. There may well be discomfort on the road to change as assumptions we long held about gender are challenged and dislodged. But I believe the discomfort felt by cisgender people as they are made to question the gender binary is so much less than the discomfort and pain they create by being transphobic. The former, I believe, is necessary for positive change while the latter is totally unjustifiable and inhumane.

Federal judge allows transgender discrimination lawsuit against North Carolina officials and universities to proceed

6 thoughts on “Transphobia, Part 5 – Feminism

    • Robert January 22, 2021 / 10:45 am

      Having listened to a short amount of the interview I think it is clear Bindel does believe that trans rights are a threat to (cis) women’s rights – I put cis in brackets because I imagine Bindel would rubbish the concept. In my mind, by recognising that many trans men do menstruate isn’t trying to deny that women don’t menstruate and isn’t an effort to undermine all the important work being done to protect women’s reproductive rights. Bindel and the interviewer also rubbish the notion of womxn – a word used to recognise the broader community of women, including trans women – and argue that this isn’t happening for men, i.e. mxn. Well, I’m all about a category of mxn! But I do appreciate it may well be harder to expand the category of man because we live in a patriarchy and (cis) men have set the rules for centuries. But that’s what my next post will be about! I think Bindel and the interviewer are creating straw dog trans activists and “bullies” to side step having to engage with the broader appeal for trans rights and equality, thereby, enacting and exacerbating the effects of transphobia. Big caveat – I’ve only listened to six minutes of the interview!

      Liked by 1 person

      • TheZenith January 22, 2021 / 6:28 pm

        Thank you for the reply. I understand perhaps why you only listened to a short period of the interview. I personally found Bindel’s tone overly aggressive and perhaps the interviewer found themselves either intimidated by the force of her personality or sympathised with her perhaps a bit too much in an attempt to find common ground.
        It’s hard to listen to someone else’s viewpoint when A, you don’t agree with it and B, it attacks your own outlook and beliefs about life.

        I made a point of Listening to the entire interview as I thought to myself that I haven’t had the life experiences that she (Bindel) has had. Perhaps if I did, it will shape and colour my own outlook on life. Also I think no matter how day apart people send to be diametrically opposed, theresc always something of value to be learned in simply listening to what they have to say; even if that learning is about oneself.

        A perfect example of this is the turmoil of the US presidential elections. Everyone has an opinion upon what happened, who’s to blame and who should be the rightful president. Once again, it’s very hard to read an opinion piece ( even if it’s backed up by supposed facts) if it disagrees with the narrative that you have constructed through the media that you have chosen to consume.

        So friend, I would urge you to revisit if not this, then another piece of media that appears to be the polar opposite of your point of view. For by doing this, not only may you consider a point of view unconsidered, before, but you also become a more rounded being taking all viewpoints and aspects into consideration. Can the person on the other side say the sane? Native American Indians have a great saying you may have hard a variation of it before, it says: ‘walk a mile in my moccasins’. I’m sure no explanation is necessary…
        Thank-you for the engaging conversation, my friend, keep writing and I’ll keep reading💕🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert January 24, 2021 / 11:51 am

        Thank you for your great reply. You’re so right – how important it is to seek out other points of views and experiences to broaden one’s own. And, yes, I shall keep writing and thank you for reading.

        Like

  1. TheZenith January 25, 2021 / 1:06 am

    You’re welcome. Sorry for the spelling mistakes, but I don’t proof read what I’ve written before posting🤷‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

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