Dear Beaver Hall Gallery,
I’m very disheartened to hear today that you decided to block Radfem Rise Up from meeting at your venue. I understand that as a private venue, you get the final say on what kinds of speech you allow. However, I fear that your decision was probably swayed by trans activists who not only don’t have the best interests of women in mind, but moreover frequently behave in misogynistic ways.
Sex matters. Denying that sex matters sets the work of feminism back several hundred years, if not making it outright impossible. Women in the 19th century weren’t denied the vote because they “performed femininity” – they were denied the vote because they were female. Girls, who are the overwhelming victims of childhood sexual assault, aren’t assualted because they “identify” as girls – they are female, and so they have no choice in the matter. The practice of sex-selective abortion in India and China, which in some areas has skewed the sex ratio to 118:100 (male:female) is not a result of a fetus having a “gender” – an obviously laughable concept! It’s clearly about sex.
Trans women are not female. I live as a woman now, but I was born a male, and raised as a boy. I transitioned to living as a girl/woman at the end of high school, and now I’ve lived more than half of my life as a girl/woman. Putting up with sexism is no picnic, but I’m a lot less unhappy than I was before transition. (Passing as female has also made my life easier than when I was visibly trans, and I’m lucky to have had this experience.) However, even after taking all the hormones, and getting SRS, I’m still male. My bone structure is male. I still lived as a boy until I transitioned. I don’t have a uterus and will never get pregnant. Nothing can change these facts! I live a “stealth” existence these days, and most people assume I had a normal girlhood. When I’m weepy, I’ve had boyfriends worry that they got me pregnant. However, I can still remember my childhood, and I know my body, and I know I’ll always be different than other women.
Females need female-only space in order to unpack the bullshit of being socialized female. This isn’t feminism 101, it’s feminism 0.001 – absolute baseline! Trans women, having been socialized as males, do not face the same set of issues. Rather, we face a totally different set of issues – the oppression we faced as gender-variant boys, if we were gender non-conforming before transition, or the self-hate some trans women internalize during their years of “hiding”, among others. Neither of these things is the same as girlhood!
When trans women fight against female-only space, they are reacting against a perceived threat: that females don’t respect their “identities” as women. Radical feminism isn’t focused on feelings or identifications – it’s about the struggle of people being raped and mudered due to their sex. Moreover, being a woman isn’t an identity – it’s a socially-assigned grouping based on perceived sex. If woman was an identity, why would any female “identify” as a woman? Wouldn’t all females “identify” as men, so they could get the better jobs, and be allowed to have a say in the political system? Because-I-say-so theories of gender are in stark conflict with reality – we don’t walk down the street with our “preferred pronouns” pinned to our shirts.
If trans women want to be recognized as women, especially by females, they would do better by actually supporting females. This means, acknowledging that we were raised with male privilege, being careful to not talk over females, and avoiding appropriating words like misogyny (which really comes down to the rape and murder of females by MEN that happens every minute of every day) to mean “someone hurt my feelings.” Our lives as trans women are difficult – but it’s MEN who beat and murder us, and MEN who make the laws that harm us and MEN who run the insurance companies that deny us treatment. Let’s place the blame right where it belongs!
Trans women who stop talking over women will probably find they suddenly have a lot more female friends, and are more accepted as women. Suddenly the transphobic opinions of the small minority of radical feminists who are transphobic (rather than trans-critical) won’t seem very important. When you are actually getting validation in your life, the existence of bigots really doesn’t matter so much any more. Imagine that!
I know that trans issues are really confusing, but when trans activists like Joelle Ruby Ryan, Morgan Page, and Julia Serrano appropriate the language of social justice to advance their misogynist agendas, please don’t be fooled! Not only are they talking over females, they are also talking over transsexual women who have socially assimilated as women. Please don’t put the selfish and self-serving goals of these people over the rights of females.
An anonymous transsexual who supports females