It’s so disappointing when self-proclaimed “feminists” think that trans people are threatening cis-women’s validity or existence. I have decided to write this letter, as I am really disappointed that one of my childhood idols, J.K. Rowling, had recently been so publicly transphobic. She had helped a world of people accept themselves through her words and I learnt so many beautiful messages when reading her Harry Potter books as a kid. But she has used her massive platform to voice ignorance and hatred towards an already oppressed group of people, under the false guise of being a “feminist.” I find this incredibly ironic.
From J.K. Rowling’s tweets, it seemed like she felt threatened as a lady at the prospect of using inclusive language. It is hardly going out of your way to include trans inclusive language when you write and speak, and doing that is not violent towards women! If anything, it helps all of us! Actively trying to have our womanhood not defined by our sex organs actually works TOWARDS our goals. We don’t want to be constantly referred to as “walking vaginas” and our worth does not rely on people knowing that they can fuck us in a certain way. It’s none of their business!
As women, who we are is in our hearts and minds. If you think gate-keeping who is allowed to be accepted as a lady helps us and our movement, you are horribly wrong. You are taking the side of the oppressors who told us we are not equal or valid because of our genitals. Is that a valid argument? Do we want people to have to take off our clothes, get close to our genitals to look at it and then only allow us to be a woman if it looks a certain way? Because, accept it or not, the future is going a certain way. And by that I mean we are finally realising that we can express ourselves and our gender very fluidly. So in this future or current climate where people are expressing themselves authentically, how do we gate-keep who is a woman? Imagine having to check people’s genitals whenever we are unsure!
Imagine thinking that the pathway to equality is to say to oppressed women that their genitals are more important than who they say they are. Imagine muting women’s voices by saying to them, what you say doesn’t matter, only whether or not you have a vagina does! I have no time for transphobia. It is ignorance and you are not a feminist if you believe in gate-keeping what it means to be a woman. If you believe that having to say “people who menstruate” (which is the example that started J.K. Rowling’s tweets) is threatening your identity as a woman, you need to check your privilege.
I can’t fathom the idea that doing things like including your pronouns or simply using language that implies that as a woman you are not a vagina, is so horribly hard. You’d rather make your fellow human being feel like dirt than to say something that takes minimal effort. Women should band together, because cis and trans alike, we have been oppressed now and in history. Trans women deserve the benefits of our privilege – we are fighting to be equal, so the least we can do is include them in our identity! We are not fighting for our vaginas to be validated! We are fighting for who we are – women – to be equal and respected! The least we can do is respect other women – trans women – and the idea that is so terribly difficult or out of our way is stupid.
If you were born with a vagina and have ever opened your mind to gender identity, you would know what it truly means to be a woman, or any gender you identify as. Years ago I had the thought that maybe my identity was not strictly female. I was overseas away from people who knew me, so I packed, clipped my hair into a “male” hairstyle, wore boy clothes, had my partner use he/him pronouns and more. It wasn’t quite right, so then I asked for both she/he pronouns. That wasn’t right either, so I played with they/them pronouns. Over time I realised that what made me feel most comfortable and empowered was she/her pronouns. I have come on a journey and realised my woman identity does not rely on my vagina, but on who I am.
The reason I tell you this is because I wish people who are cis-gender like me would open their minds to think about what their gender truly is. This is not a threat to your gender or in this topic, your womanhood! It actually strengthens it! For me, I have never felt more confident in being a woman and that being my identity than after I entertained the idea of what it means to be trans.
If you are a cis-woman who is transphobic, ask yourself why are you a woman? If your answer is that you have a vagina, you do not feel confident in your gender. If you were confident in your gender, you wouldn’t need to remind yourself of your vagina to know that you are a woman. What makes you a woman? Your expression and identity, right? Try to question your identity to strengthen it! This is not a threat to it, it is a conversation. Having the conversation with yourself about what makes yourself a female, is the exact conversation that explains why a trans woman is a woman. I feel sad for those who truly believe a physical object such as a vagina equals the richness and beauty of being a woman.
I believe that trans women are women so very strongly, because it is a fact. Trans people’s identities are valid! This affects all trans people, but I focused on trans women in this “letter”, because people like J.K. Rowling believe that trans women’s identities are a threat to feminism. It is not! In fact, understanding that gender and sex is different, and what truly makes you a woman actually helps the world to become less sexist. This is because it teaches us to treat our fellow human being with respect and compassion, and that we should not allow others to determine our worth based on what is between our legs.
Trans women are women! Trans men are men! It is not hard to treat your fellow human being with the kind of respect you wish others to treat you with. As a feminist we want equality with everybody. If that means doing little things like changing your words to become more inclusive, just like what we have already been wanting, (think firefighter versus fireman) then bring it! It can mean everything to someone if you use their right pronouns, so isn’t it worth it? We are all worth respect, so as a feminist, please respect all women.
This is a letter to transphobic cis-women – if you do not understand, read this again and again! I don’t expect miracles, but I hope for an open mind. I hope for humanity. I do not have time for anything else. All identities are valid and you are not a feminist if you believe that women should face more inequality and discrimination. The fall of one part of our community is the fall of all of it.