“Trans women are women” is a lie that is as dangerous to transwomen as it is to women

When I grew up in the seventies and eighties in the north of England, transgender wasn’t a thing. Men were men, and women were women. Heteronormativity was king. In fact it wasn’t just king, it was everything. It didn’t even need a name back then.

Where I grew up, nobody was gay. Faggots, puffters, bum-boys, up-hill gardeners, queers, trannies, gender-benders, dykes, lesbos and their ilk would not have been welcome or tolerated.

These things were shameful. Unacceptable. Wrong. Unnatural.

I’d seen cross dressing on the TV. I’d seen “that perverted faggot” Danny La Rue. I’d seen Kenny Everett’s ‘hilarious’ bearded lady ‘Cupid Stunt’. Being a ‘tranny’ was not a good thing. It was not something I wanted to be. It was something to hide and deny. I lived in fear. I was afraid. I was scared to be a tranny. Society had instilled in me a deep-rooted, intense internalised transphobia.

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A Culture of Fragility

I’m often told that “Dead-naming and misgendering are literally responsible for the deaths of trans people” and I’ve personally known trans people who have committed suicide. I nearly did so myself a few years ago. I know how much these things can hurt. I used to feel devastated, crushed, invalidated and ashamed.

I was lucky though because something changed for me. I started to see gender as being socially constructed and to see how society conflates femininity with being female and masculinity with being male. I came to accept that it’s ok for me to be a male who looks and acts like I do. How there should be no need for anyone to think I’m *actually* female to be a perfectly valid and worthy person as I am. Accepting this meant I no longer had to live with the cognitive dissonance of believing that I’m female whilst knowing that females don’t father children. It meant I was able to let go of the volatile, unstable belief system that, despite objective reality, I have a female brain and that made me female. So now I’m fortunate that I don’t get too upset, or damaged by somebody using my old name or misgendering me because it doesn’t burst my bubble.

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Ok so here’s the thing about transactivists and “TERFS”…..
You are all saying the same fucking thing! This whole thing is about semantics so get a grip people and start directing your anger in the right place instead of at each other.

Here are the things you are all saying…

1) Genitals do not dictate personality. 

2) Grouping people into two social groups based on genitals is bullshit

3) We should all be freed to live authentic lives and embrace our personalities and embrace the cultural artefacts of our choosing irrespective of our genitals

4) Some humans may prefer things traditionally labelled masculine, or feminine, or both. Again this has nothing to do with genitals. 

5) people should not be discriminated against because of their genitals

6) people should not be discriminated against because behaviour and expression doesn’t match that which society traditionally associated with a given set of genitalia.

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Does it matter?

This is a very personal, self indulgent post. It’s just about me. It’s not about the wider issues and it’s certainly not about class analysis. It’s a brain dump in an effort to make sense of myself.

I’ve written loads about what woman means, and about how transwomen aren’t women. I’m not and never will be female obviously, but fuck, you know sometimes maybe it’s appropriate to contextualise things in terms of the real world that we actually live in.

People argue about whether gender is innate or just a social construct and whilst this is really interesting and all that, in the real world that I actually inhabit gender is very much alive and well and the vast majority of people that I meet in real life (not on the internet) have absolutely zero concept of gender as a social construct. As far as they are concerned I clearly present as and live as a woman. And nobody gives a shit. I just get on with my life.

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What is a woman? What is a transwoman?

I think that these are really important questions. On the surface they seem quite simple questions but once you start to look at the implications we can start to understand what the real issues might be.

The question is about the definition of woman. A good place to start with definitions is usually the dictionary.

An adult human female.

I don’t think that the definitions of human or adult are in contention, but let’s look at the dictionary definition of female.

Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes.”

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What’s my deal?

Why do I seem to align myself with what some people see as an exclusionary ideology? Well as far as I see it, the question isn’t and never has been about excluding all TW. It’s about being allowed to have a conversation about where do you draw the line?

Is the line Jenna Talackova, me, Danielle Moscato, Clare Darbyshire? We aren’t even allowed to have the conversation. That’s bullshit.

My deal isn’t specifically to support feminists (although I do). I’m not interesting in cookies or pats on the head. My deal is that I genuinely care for trans people and all I see is TRA’s fucking things up and making our lives harder.

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Gender abolition – please comment and share

I’ve been reading a few things recently by different people about gender abolition. The thing that stands out is that people seem to have this view that when rad fems talk about gender abolition they mean eradicating artificial gendered behaviours eg nobody should wear makeup. That’s not my understanding though. I thought it was just about unlinking it from sex. Breaking the rules that certain behaviours are expected from females and certain behaviours from males.

What does gender abolition mean to you?

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Belief system

I don’t believe in God and I certainly don’t believe in organised religion. That’s my choice. Other people do though and that’s their choice. It’s not my place to pass judgement or criticise that choice. For many people it’s a super important part of their life and I’m sure helps them to make sense of this crazy world.

In many ways, I think transgender ideology is the same. It’s a belief system. It’s also a really important part of people’s lives and identity and helps them to get through the day and make sense of things. Even though I see things differently maybe it’s not my place to criticise that.

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