[content note: transmisogyny, misgendering, rape]
I am getting more than a little tired of “allies” who only think of trans women as women until it becomes inconvenient for them and their view of gender.
You know the type:
“I know trans women are women, but gender-segregated bathrooms exist for a reason.”
“I know trans women are women, but it will dilute our message if we stop talking about women in terms of vaginas (or vice versa).”
“I know trans women are women, but women have a right to their own spaces free of any masculine energy.”
“I know trans women are women, but they obviously don’t have any right to call themselves lesbians.”
“I know trans women are women, but you have to understand that your presence could be triggering to rape survivors.”
“I know trans women are women, but I have to question the sexuality of any guy who goes out with one.”
“I know trans women are women, but you have male privilege so you can’t possibly understand what women go through.”
“I know trans women are women, but this is a women’s shelter, so we can’t help you here.”
And so on, and so forth. If you’re a trans woman, you’ve probably heard a ton more examples.
And the thing is, I don’t think that most of these people are being deliberately disingenuous (one glaring exception, of course, being a certain radscum lady who shall remain nameless); I think they’re telling the truth as they see it. I think they really do think of trans women as women.
Except when they don’t.
Except when they feel like it would be too hard to reframe an issue in order to include us.
Except when their own unexamined prejudices come to the fore and dominate their approach to an issue.
Except when they realize that walking their talk requires a far more radical shift in their understanding of gender than they are prepared for, or than they ever wanted to attempt.
And so they decide that it’s easier to just revoke our identities situationally — to say that, yes, we’re women, and we’re just as much women as cis women are, but we’re still somehow not woman enough to fit their views, their spaces, their institutions.
It’s bullshit. But it’s bullshit that’s all too common. And it hurts.