Feminists and transgender women should be natural allies, but sometimes they’re at each other’s throats.
A feminist group is accused of hate for printing a billboard that said, “Woman, women, noun, adult human female.”
Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull told the BBC she paid £700 to post the Google dictionary definition of “woman.” This has offended some people who stated that it is violent hate speech against transgender people.
Adrian Harrop, not trans, was an initial complainant, saying the billboard was a “symbol that makes transgender people feel unsafe.”
The company immediately complied, essentially capitulating to a man to erase a woman’s voice. This man also had the audacity to speak for transgender people, essentially erasing their varied responses to the bait.
If you aren’t already aware, some feminists and some transgender women have been at war. The cis women have concerns that all the work they’ve done for uniquely female issues like the risk of getting pregnant are being trivialized. They feel that all it takes for a man to take their jobs now is that he don a dress and identify as a woman. They are concerned about protecting their children from deviants who might fake being trans to enter female bathrooms, or about women who now share bunks in jail with men who violently raped or killed other women but today identify as female.
You may have heard the term TERF, meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Some transgender activists accuse them of bigotry and hate, dismissing any concerns and demanding to be recognized as real women. They accuse cis feminist women of violence, with slogans like “TERFS attack, we’ll fight back!”
The cis women say they are being forced to “behave,” to deny facts, and to suppress their own legitimate fears, putting their own safety and freedom at risk. They feel that those taking away their rights are the usual suspects: men.
Ooh, politics, my favorite topic… NOT! What to do when you’re a woman caught between friends?
Last fall, a sixty-year-old woman was physically assaulted by four trans women for sharing an opinion they found invalidating. And feminist denial of safe prisons or bathrooms to trans women contributes to violence. Yet last month a trans prisoner who identifies as female sexually assaulted four women in a British prison. She was in jail for violent sex crimes committed with her male body.
As a feminist sympathetic to women’s issues, and a friend and advocate for transgender women, it’s tough. We are harming each other, and it’s garbage.
As for the offending ad, well, we have to be free to be offended and to offend. There are lots of ads, op-eds, song lyrics, art, TV, and class material that offends me. Too bad. You can’t assume that all trans people are offended because one is—and in this case, the offended party was a man.
Secondly, the words “adult human female” hardly exclude trans people, even if that was the intention.
The irony of this is that I think most of our readers are men who support trans women’s rights and cis women’s rights. It’s the ladies who are odds on this one.
But I’m not. I’m comfortable with different views, and I’m comfortable with the fact that cis or trans women who think something today can change their minds tomorrow. We have to be free to go through stages and to discuss various problems and perspectives or we’ll never be able to see things from other points of view.
I’m confident we can, but we need willing, tolerant participants. Ladies, I beg of you, all of you—let’s be kinder to each other.