For years, feminists have been arguing against gender. That is to say, we recognize that men and women are socialized to accept that their personalities, interests and abilities should "match" their sexes, and this socialization that forces to accept these stereotypes is both sexist and oppressive. The idea that women should be "feminine" or sweet or artsy....or anything else, is a "gender" stereotype. the idea that men should like sports and be macho, or that they should not wear dresses, are gender stereotypes. I support REJECTING gender conformity!!
Given that I support gender non-conformity and breaking stereotypes, you might think I would be happy about today's gender trend. But I am not. That is because rather than reject gender stereotypes, it promotes us defining ourselves by them. Rather than telling us that we dont need to be limited by our sexes, it claims that our sexes don't exist or matter. Well, our sexes do matter for a number of reasons, most especially to women who face oppression biological oppression based on our biology and reproductive capacity.
Activists who want to push this ideology will do anything to prevent people from talking about the reasons WHY it matters. They will call people "TERFS," or transphobic to shut them up. They will call women who talk about their bodies "reductionist" and lesbians are being called "vagina fetishists." All of this name calling is meant to prevent women from talking about why we matter. People should be very concerned about BOTH the name calling and the attempt to stifle debate by employing this tactic.
To be clear:
I support people wearing who they want and loving who they want. I also accept transsexuals who have undergone medical treatment. However, I do not think that MAKES them women. I think that makes them "transsexuals," a valid identity that describes a male who has transitioned medically and lives in society as a woman, by gender. I do not accept that crossdressing males are "women" because they "identify" that way. I do not accept gender ideology and academic theory that attempts to deny or erase the sexes by subverting language.
When two people disagree over the statement "a transwoman is a woman," few people address what the underlying issue is. It isn't hate, its a disagreement. Disagreement is not hate speech, and many of us have serious concerns about being compelled to use words we don't agree with. The crux of this disagreement is whether on sees "women" as a sex, regardless of our individual "gender expression," or one thinks that that word should refer to femininity or gender roles There are REASONS that we identify by sexes, not genders, and will explain why this matters.
At this time, I will not speak about manhood or "transmen," since I know less about it, and the issues differ. However, there is a reason why transmen are not talked about much in this debate, and that is because they are biological females and their "rebranding" as men neither hurts men or men right's, that I know of. To be clear, the reason to talk about biological MEN identifying as non-men or as women is because male bodies in women's spaces are pose a risk to us, and allowing men who have not had women's experiences to rebrand as us, hurts both our identity and out political standing. MTF trans people are welcome to be trans, but demanding that women affirm the mantra "transwomen are women," without qualification, is a coercive lie.
Here is an outline of the discussion.
A. Women are a sex, not a "gender." What does that mean??
i) the myth that talking about biology is "reductionist" or bio-essentialism
ii) "Cisgendered" is sexist label coined by my oppressor.
Its the equivalent of misgendering me.
B Why we segregate by sexes, not gender.
C. Lies and hypocrisy cause backlash
D. Going forward, co-existing
So here we go. Women are a sex, not a "gender." Do you know what that means??
A. Sex or Gender
The question at hand is not hate speech, the question is whether womanhood is a sex or a gender.
There is confusion over the words sex and gender, because sometimes we have interchanged them or misused them. Sexes refer to males and females. If a form asks you to specify whether you are male or female, technically, it is asking your sex, not your gender. many forms will mistakenly say "gender" when they mean sex. The word gender refers to how we express our personality and sexes, often using stereotypes. wearings dress and long hair is stereotypical female. Enjoying football might be considered a "male" thing. Those aspects of identity are called gender. Are they innate? are they linked to sexes? Obviously, not totally. Men can wear dresses and women can enjoy football. Its possible that SOME of these preferences are wired into our brains and correlate to our sexes, but the extent of this and the causes of this are under debate. Regardless of why it is that we have these tastes, why would be label ourselves by them, instead of sexes?
Does the word woman refer to females, or does it refer to feminine genders
Gender ideologues will claim that women who say that womanhood is related to our bodies are bio-essentialsist. The argument they use to imply that we are backwards or old fashioned for talking about our bodies is that in doing so, they imply that we reduce ourselves to nothing but ovaries and vaginas. In truth, no woman thinks she is ONLY her body, but all woman know that womanhood relates to our bodies. We are born into the world as girls. We are treated as girls, coming second to boys in many ways. We go into puberty where we become sex objects for men -a sudden and startling experience, with our breasts swelling and our uterus bleeding. We face discrimination at work-not based on GENDER (gender is clothing and "gender identity") but based on our sex. We face a pay gap, by sex, not by gender. Employers fear that we will have sick days or get pregnant and require mat leave. Girls being kidnapped by Boko Haram and sold into sexual slavery are not experiencing that for their "gender identity." there are no non-binary or trans"girls" being oppressed there. They are wanted for their vaginas and the uterus. They are being made domestic slaves. Girls whose vulva are being mutilated so that they remain chaste wives for their husbands. No male who claims to be us can know these distressing feelings.
Dismissing concerns our bodies as being reductionist MISSES the point of how our bodies shape our struggles, and anyone who dismisses that clearly hasn't had a miscarriage or endometriosis or a hysterectomy. ALL of these are female experiences, and the history of feminism is about women organizing to advocate for our needs and struggles based on these biological commonality. Let's be clear: feminism was started because women were beaten by their husbands, forced to give birth and do domestic labor, told we were weak and sensitive, raped and prevented from voting . We embarked on organizing to advocate for ourselves based on these things. Whether a woman has four children, no children, an abortion or a hysterectomy, ...all women need feminist services and advocacy to protect our interests and our choices.
At the same time that ideologues claim we are reducing ourselves to our vaginas, a myth I've addressed, THEY would claim that the essence of womanhood lies in gender stereotypes. What ARE trans-identifies-males claiming to be women based on? Some say its a feeling, some say its a gender identity. If you dissect it, what that amounts to is mostly gender stereotypes. These men want to be feminine. Which argument is reductionist: the one that claims that women are women whether they are feminine or not, or those that claim that femininity should be the defining factor? should sports be segregated by biology or clothing preferences? The truth is, we segregate sports, private spaces, medicine and advocacy by sexes, NOT GENDERS, for a reason. There is NO good reason to segregate these things by gender identity other than to affirm someone's feelings (and at the cost of the needs and feelings of women.) We don't need to classify people by gender expression, but there are useful and meaningful reasons to classify us and our rights, by sexes.
It is sexist, and "inconvenient" that men who want to be us call our bodies irrelevant and call the gender expression they seek "self-defining." The truth is, they can express that gender all they want without claiming that our sexes don't exist or matter. They can be non-conforming, or even trans, but recognize that they are still male by sex. They cannot say without qualification that transwomen are women, or that some women have penises. Those are simply not true if you define womanhood as a sex-based class as I have explained.
Thus, the word WOMAN has always referred to 'adult human female," regardless of gender choices, which really don't need labels.
An important note on the use of the word CIS
The word woman means ADULT HUMAN FEMALE. Gender ideologues and trans activists who label women "cis" gendered in order to appropriate its use for males.
The use of the word cis or cisgendered is highly sexist. Gender ideologies explain this word in a number of ways. they say it means my "gender" matches my body or that I am hetero-normative or gender conforming. I would reject all of these claims and assumptions. Nobody's body "matches" their gender, and women are females of various levels of conformity and hetero "normativity." Even if there was a purpose behind quantifying how gender "conforming" someone is or isn't, it is subjective and non-quantifiable, and it is hypocritical to label others bases on your assessment of them. Whether I am feminine, masculine or any other descriptor, I am a woman by sex, not gender. The word cis is meant to divide womanhood into two equal kinds, and label both by gender identity (cis or trans.) The CIS are real women, and the trans are non-women who want the term to be theirs. Women do not benefit from accepting the appropriation of our sex-based label for a gender identity use.
Transwomen do need a qualifier, which is trans. That qualifier tells people everything they need to know about the person they are referring to. When you say transwomen, It explains that they are not women by sex, it explains that they are women by transition and gender only. It also gives them a positive identity as TRANS, something that has its own identity and advocacy groups that biological women are rightly not a part of.
Another ideological slight of hand that comes with this term is the implication that those of us who "match our bodies" benefit from "cis privilege," something that I reject. Gender ideologues contend that those of us whose "gender match our body" benefit from a privilege, but they fail to note that even if any of the other false assumptions therein were true, biological women can't opt out of our bodily oppression. Women face sexism based on our bodies and we are in no way oppressors for being who we are.
Men or trans people who want to be women face their own oppression, and those oppression are valid. But they don't face our biological oppressions, and they can opt in and out of the aspects of womanhood they want. They also still benefit from male social privilege, and in the western world, they get massive social benefit and admiration by claiming to be a marginalized group. If you doubt this, look at the attention lavished on the "brave and beautiful" transwomen who are taking over women's awards, activism and sports. They are fawned over by media and they get a pass on answering hard questions about misogyny, sexism, objectification and appropriation. Let's be clear, women don't benefit from "cis" privilege. Labeling us as a gender, when we are a sex, is an act by theorists and ideologues who want to minimize us. I reject this label and the underlying theory. Those who are born female are girls and women, those who are born male are not, regardless of their "gender" expression.
Therein lies the hypocrisy of gender ideology. As always, it is the privileged class who do the "naming" of the the oppressed. In this case, Cis is a label created by white, privileged, academic theorists who claim that people should chose their own label and identity UNLESS they are women who reject gender ideology. This is a subversion of language which attempts to reverse the reality of the situation. Men who want to be women by "gender role" and feminization are privileged and biological women are not.
B. Why segregate anything by sexes at all?
As I mentioned above, feminists agree that we should not have to adhere to stereotypes associated with our sexes (genders). Why have sexes then? Why do we bother to designate male and female at all ?? is that sexist?? No. The sexes matter. We should not have to conform to stereotypes associated with our sexes, but we cannot deny that we have them and that they matter for sports, spaces, medicine and advocacy.
First, women cannot opt out of the sex-based oppression we face, which are biological. We are a class, a sex-based class, that cannot be opted out of or identified out of. It is a material reality. In order to talk about sexism, we have to talk about the sexes.
We segregate bathrooms and change rooms because women need privacy to put their tampons in far away from potential peeping penises.
Today, I edited this writing on world toilet day. Why do we have a day like that?? the UN recognizes that girls all over the world end up staying home and not going to school because of periods. And girls get raped in bathroom stalls the world over, much more often if they are MIXED sex stalls, because men hanging around them are not called on it the way they might be in same-sex facilities. And here, i the first world, I have collections of mugshots and news stories of sex-predators who transitioned to MTF to get access to women, some of them committing offenses in our bathrooms. Activists will do rhetorical gymnastics to tell you that this doesn't happen or doesn't matter but it does. I an offer a few examples at the bottom of this piece. Nobody says that all trans people are predatory, we just say that women are safer when bathrooms are segregated by sexes, and that there is NO female-positive reason to do otherwise. Men can be gender non-conforming in men's spaces.
Why should women we have to defend and justify sex-segregated spaces??? It is really sexist that WOMEN are being told that their concerns and feelings simply don't matter, or "aren't real concerns" because people pushing this ideology WANT that to be true. Its a lie. History shows why women need sex-segregated spaces.
Another concern that is being dismissed by ideologues as being "unimportant" is the erasure of women's sports. Men with penises are competing as "women" in Olympics now, and most people know that is unfair both to the women who lose their spots, and the women forced to compete against biological men. We have sex-based sports based on biology, not "gender" based sports. I've seen political panels at conferences manned (literally!) by men claiming to be women or-non-binary. These men speaking for women on issues of abortion and other sex related matter-that is clearly unacceptable since they don't have the organs or experiences involved. At women's marches, trans people have tried to ban "pussy hats" or other talk of women's reproductive issues because it "excludes' trans people who don't have those issues or those organs. Say what???!!! Trans people telling women that they can't talk about women's issues at women's marches. IF trans people are excluded from pussy talk, abortion talk and other women-issue-talk, ts because they are NOT women in a fundamental way. In Vancouver, UVic Women's Center, now called ThirdSpace for gender fluid people. Please take note of the last one when you say that this movement doesn't hurt women. Here is a direct example of women's resources being converted for non-women's use. This does not benefit WOMEN. Trans advocates will at first argue that their agenda doesn't hurt women and then after shown this evidence will minimize it. It matters. Women need sex-based rights and advocacy and that differs from gender rights and advocacy. Our interests MATTER and our advocacy groups and resources should not be diluted with those whose interests differ from and conflict with ours.
On that note, the "gender" movement also hurts gay and lesbian advocacy. Today, the "gender movement" is being marketed as part of a fad and LGBT orgs are being overrun by heterosexuals calling themselves "gender-queer." As they take over LGBT orgs to push their own interests, gays and lesbians are being oppressed in the worst way possible, within the very orgs meant to make same-sex orientation safe. Today, hordes of young transwomen with penises claim to be lesbians and accuse Real Lesbians of bigotry for not sleeping with them If you don't know about this, "trans " activists call this the cotton ceiling. This involves males with penises claiming to be victims for not getting past women's panties. Their claim is that women are a gender, not a sex, and therefore lesbians should accept transwomen with penises, because transwomen should fall within their preferences. Except of course, that lesbianism is based on same-sex attraction, not gender preference. If you doubt that this is happening, google trans articles/videos on the "trans-phobia" of genital preferences, sometimes called the "cotton ceiling." Yes, they are claiming that lesbians who don't fuck "transwomen" are trans-phobic because lesbians won't consider "ladydicks" part of a woman. This is the height of appropriation of a marginalized group and minimization of their rights and needs. No woman has to reconsider who they want to sleep with for this ideology. Gender ideologues that say lesbians must consider sex with 'trans-women' with penises are pushing coercion. No lesbian should fear going to LGB events or orgs because of pressure to have penis-on-vagina sex. LGB orgs ignore this because the T in LGBT brings in huge money and social status. Stonewall in Uk, and other orgs that were originally set up for same-sex advocacy have ignored and minimized the needs of lesbians being oppressed in their own ranks. It is bullshit, and its driven by money, politics and male hetero interests.
Stop this. Women need separate sports, spaces and advocacy than trans people or men. Our needs differ and our interests differ.
C. Welcome to the Backlash
I was brought into activism by trans dogma and hypocrisy. I have no problem with people gender non-conforming, and I have no problems with the fact that it is an occasional occurrence that a person decided to transition and become a transsexual. That is between them and their doctor. What I AM against is: gender ideology, attempts to institutionalize Gender ideology and radical trans ideology in academia, politics and language, and the subversion of women's sex based rights by denying that they matter, in favor of gender.
Today's trans movement is not the movement of sane transsexuals who want acceptance and safety, as it was when I was in college. Today's trans movement seeks to redefine womanhood as a gender so that men, with penises, can claim to be the marginalized class.
Part of the reason for this is that today's trans movement is based on more than trans rights, but also on gender ideology and the "gender queer" movement. The "gender queer" movement is dehumanizing and alienating the rest of us. Like trans "activists", these ideologues might call me cis, but they don't mean simply "not-trans." They mean that not "gender queer." That is, they claiming that my "gender" matches my sex. Or sometimes they describe it as being too "hetero-normative." We are talking about males who are referring to themselves as "queer," despite being heterosexual and otherwise socially and economically privileged, because they are wearing a little nail polish. These people claim that THEY are queer for being non-male, and that I am "cis" by being both female and "feminine." This is problematic in a few ways: first, I reject the idea that "gender" CAN match one's sex, since that argument requires believing in gender and believing that a certain gender "belongs" with the sexes. It also makes a gross assumption that someone else can assess how gender conforming I am based on how I look. Lastly, it fails to account for the fact that as a lesbian, I represent the ULTIMATE in gender-non-conformity, no matter how I look. As a lesbian who faces serious discrimination for being same-sex attracted, I am insulted to have young, privileged males who call me "cis" in order to claim that I benefit from some sort of gender privilege! I also reject that heterosexuals who make up new "gender" tribes are queer in any meaningful way. These people are in fact engaged in types of ultra-conformity, following fad "queerness," defined by the media, peers, and consisting of minor, insubstantial fashion choices.
These people talk about "breaking the gender binary," believing that they are breaking stereotypes, but they undermine their objective by creating new fetishiszed stereotypes for people to adhere to, as well as tribalism and NEW binaries ( cis versus queer, non-binary, surgender, bi-gendered, quivigendered. ) are all to our detriment. I would argue that these distinctions are artificial and harmful. What I see the "gender queer" movement is the fetishizing of artificial distinctions between people that alienates us. Most of this oppression comes from privileged males of a certain class who I feel want to be 'woke" and "cool" and something other than male. Wearing nail-polish makes you non-male? Demanding to be called ze, zir or they is pretentious and aggressive. It IMPOSES on me by demanding I use words I disagree with and a theory that undermines me. Please don't ask this of me.
No, I will not accept these things, and its not because I hate your clothing or gender expression. I hate your politics, your entitlement, and the fact that you claim this agenda doesn't hurt women. i hate that there is BIG, influential money behind this movement, including the money and power of the trans pharma lobby that buys political influence with LGBT orgs, academia, and liberal politicians, causing them to ignore the concerns of women and lesbians. Wordpress has recently censored the website "Gendertrender," who reported on a transgender dude who filed sixteen human rights complaints against women beauticians who would not wax his genitalia, claiming that he as a transwomen is entitled to women's services, even if the genitals are male. He had wordpress remove the site claiming that they deadnamed him. However, they used his LEGAL name, the same name that he himself uses on many of his own cyber businesses and on his twitter account. It should be noted that transcripts of this person's online chat have been found asking for advice on how to approach girls in change-rooms and bathrooms who might be on their periods. Meghan Murphy has been banned from twitter for saying the obvious. Men are not be women. The fact that twitter and wordpress is censoring women for reporting on this legitimate news shows the clout of this movement, not a group of marginalized people. This movement is a highly privileged juggernaut, diverting resources from women, gays, lesbians and transsexual who need them, and using those resources for flags and parades for rich kids who want to engage in identity play.
All of this entitlement and privilege is beginning to show. People are beginning to push back. The media, who has failed to stand up to their wealthy patrons in the trans lobby and liberal establishment, are beginning to see that too many of us are asking questions for them to safely continue to ignore us.
There is a backlash growing. I regret that this backlash will hurt transsexuals who are not involved in this movement. It also might hurts legitimate LGBT orgs, who were complicit in promoting anti-gay ideology because of money and power. While I am glad that a correction will occur, I expect it to be messy, and I expect good people to get hurt, regrettably.
D. What do I propose, going forward?
I support trans rights, but I support recognizing trans people as TRANS., not in claiming they are members of the opposite sex. I support them in creating a positive identity and advocacy, both of which differs from that of women. I support post -op transsexuals being included in SOME, but not all, women's activities and spaces. I support their safety and their right to more medical research. I will not support gender ideology or theories that claim that people with penises are women, or that our sexes are not relevant, especially in terms of defining girlhood, womanhood, women's and lesbian's issues.
I will continue to educate people on the fact that denying the sexes does not break the "gender binary" ...promoting gender non-conformity does. I will highlight the dangers of fetishizing new gender identities and labels, which instead of freeing us from conformity makes new boxes to fit into, creates new binaries and rivalries (cis-scum versus queer.) You are welcome to be as gender nonconforming as you want, but I will not accept that wearing nailpolish makes you a non-male, or that having you can opt out of male privilege if you have a penis. You can be as gender non-conforming as you want and I will support that, but it makes you no more special than someone who choose to express something that appears conforming by some standard.
I will respectfully decline to use language that co-opts or minimizes womanhood or implies that we don't have sexes (ze, zir, they.) Asking this of me is an act of gross entitlement. demanding that the world redefine itself by gender and deny that sexes matter is oppressive, and Ii won't comply.
I will continue to support lesbians right to self-define and date only members of the same sex, which means no penises are included, no matter how they "identify". Penis on vagina sex is never homo-sexual, and lesbians by definition are same sex attracted. I will continue to question the agenda of having heterosexuals rebrand as queer and take over the interests of same-sex advocacy orgs like PRIDE and LGBT.
I will reject the terms cis and cis-gendered, since women are a sex and don't need a gender sub-label. If you use cis on people who reject it, you really need to check your hypocrisy. Check your hypocrisy and your privilege.
Let's be clear, the "oppressions" that MTF trans people face are real, but they are are not those of women. It is those of men facing pressure to be gender-conforming, or masculine. That is unfortunate, and should be addressed by changing what it means to be men, not by claiming to be women. Men should be allowed to be feminine, smart, pretty and non-conforming. They are not co-owner of the word woman, which describes me as a sex. It is the word for what adult, human, female is, not a gender role.
A final note is that this artilce does not address the serious problem of children being transed. The trans lobby and the trans pharma lobby are hugely influential in academia and politics, and they are actively marketing the trans identity to children. This is concerning because children are being transed at young ages for all of the wrong reasons. Young gays, lesbians and autistic kids who know they are "different" but don't know how or why yet, are being sold TRANS as a solution. Many grow to regret it. It is not the panacea it is being billed as, and it is being sold to kids for politics and profit. The better course would be to educate kids to be as gender non-conforming as they want, without need for fad labels and pharma. But the truth is, pharma results in profits and fad labels result in identity voters, so there is little incentive for the establishment to stop it. This is the "big tobacco" and thalidomide of our age, but in this instance, many many people are speaking out and being silenced. We will be able to say "I told you so," but that won't help the kids who grow up damaged and sterilized by medicalization they did not need.
The photos that follow are relevant to points in the story. Please look about them and think of the male privilege, the power, the influence behind this ideology, and the harm it does. And remember, we can gender-bend without this ideology, by simply choosing to be gender non-conforming, not by minimizing women as a sex.
We can and SHOULD have trans rights, but not at a cost to women.
This article written in collaboration with Ester by a Lesbian "sister" who wants to remain anonymous. There are women getting beat up for saying things like this. And yes, I make alot of typos. I have poor vision and software.