What misogynist bullshit to suggest that we should feel guilty for having been born female. As if we’re not made to feel uncomfortable because of it every day!
After spending several months reading trans activists in an attempt to understand exactly what they want from us, I’ve figured some of it out. These observations don’t describe all trans women, merely the ones who drive the pomo/queer studies-influenced transgender activism that dominates the public discourse on this issue.
Trans women activists write with the assumption that the gender-identity based discrimination they face cannot be addressed without erasing sex-based oppression of females. This is completely untrue, as both concerns can be addressed congruently. The question is why trans women take this extreme stance.
Part of it is that they can’t be regarded as female in the sense that biological females are unless female as a sex class ceases to exist. It’s not good enough for them to be considered women, they’ve got to be seen as female in every sense that biological females are. Trans women are deeply threatened by females discussing their physical realities that trans women don’t share. They want us to shut up about everything that doesn’t involve them.
This attitude comes from unexamined male socialization and male privilege. Like most males they expect women to defer to and cater to them. As evidenced by their indifference during the recent congressional fight over reproductive rights, they don’t care much about issues that don’t directly affect them. Trans women have also demonstrated that they’re too lazy and entitled to do their own political work, hence their entryism into liberal feminism. As Andrea Dworkin wrote, males expecting females to drop their own issues and do men’s political shit work is nothing new.
One way in which trans women erase sex-based oppression of females is by refusing to name male violence as a problem. They instead talk about “cis violence,” when it is overwhelmingly males who perpetrate violence against both trans women and females. This serves to spread the blame for male violence against trans women to females, which is not only cruel and inaccurate, but makes it impossible to address the real source of oppression.
Additionally, the Tumblr trans community and their allies have no understanding of what actually constitutes privilege.
“Cis privilege” makes no sense as a political theory. For cis privilege to be analogous to male privilege or white privilege, females would have to benefit directly from trans women being born in male bodies. We do not. We would have to benefit from the discomfort they feel. We do not. Quite the opposite, because they use their dysphoria as an excuse to force us to pretend that we don’t exist as a class and have nothing in common with each other! Additionally, we do not hoard all the cis bodies to keep them to ourselves, as rich white males hoard money and political favors. The sex you’re born in is just the roll of the dice.
Females are also exempt from cis privilege because female is not a privileged class. Being born on planet earth with body parts that men seek access to and control over is no privilege. That’s what the War on Women is about. Our biology, not our gender expression. Express your gender any way you like, but it is a gross expression of male entitlement to accuse females of privilege for being born in a female body.
Another thing the privilege-checklist flogging Tumblr Tots don’t understand is that there is a difference between structural oppression and not getting what you want. Being born with a male body is not structural oppression. Sexual dimorphism in humans is not a construction of the patriarchy. The patriarchy is not to blame for the hormones that flood our bodies at puberty. Intersectionality does not mean that everything that makes you unhappy is a form of structural oppression.
Internetwinnage, quoted above, is deferring to male entitlement. That’s understandable, because females are socialized to put the needs of others before their own. Please understand that billions of females are oppressed due to their sex, not their gender identity, and that the feelings of first world trans women are not more important than that reality.
I would have to agree with Katie Berger Tremaine that it’s very hard to reach a compromise with trans people like her who possess such a deeply flawed conception of intersectionality and privilege theory, and a continued denial of male socialization. However, radical feminists are willing to try. As Cathy Brennan said:
I respect trans women as women, and believe they deserve, like all humans, access to employment, housing, and public accommodations. However, they are not female, and any protections for trans women must be fashioned to ensure they do not infringe on the rights of females. Females have an absolute right to set a boundary based on sex. What suggestions do you have for ensuring just treatment for trans women and females?
Trans women do not get to erase male violence and arbitrarily name an oppressed class to be their oppressor class without at least some of us in that class fighting back. They need to understand that sex-based oppression of females exists. They also need to understand that females get to discuss issues that do not involve trans women. We don’t have to keep silent about our own experiences to make you happy.
Otherwise it’s no dice.