I have recently been hearing about multiple instances of trans men and occasionally others condemning certain women’s spaces — spaces that include and are co-organized by trans women — as transphobic and even campaigning against them because they don’t include trans men. What the fuck, guys?
It seems like most women’s spaces are falling into two categories these days. They are either conservative anti-trans spaces that actively exclude all trans people, or they are progressive trans-positive spaces that decide that the most progressive thing they could do would be to dismantle themselves as women-only and become gender neutral. With either option, trans women are denied access to women only space. Now it appears the few women-only spaces that are actively *inclusive* of trans women are facing pressure to become gender neutral.
As a trans woman raised in feminist community, I know the value that women-only spaces can hold. Growing up in such close proximity to women-only spaces without having the same kind of access gave me a special appreciation for the power they have to create community, heal misogyny’s wounds, and further female empowerment — all things trans women are often in desperate need of.
I mean, we can all hang out in our all-genders spaces. I’ll volunteer to keep them going, my partner can bring a batch of hir awesome cupcakes. But whether we are talking about a dyke march, a women’s conference, or localized feminist organizing, exerting external force to dismantle or destroy women’s spaces is never anything but misogynistic. And taking away an important resource from trans women is the truly transphobic act in this situation.
I agree with this in theory, but there’s an important issue that’s being overlooked here…
Namely that of “wombyn born wombyn” spaces that exclude trans women, but actually allow trans men.
Trans men have access to a lot of these kinds of spaces under the misguided (at best) notion that, despite their identity, they were allegedly socialized as women.
Not only is this horridly trans misogynistic, it’s insulting and erasing to trans male identities.
And sadly, this is more the rule than the exception.
Many women-only spaces that promote their supposed trans-inclusiveness are really just talking about trans men.
If you weren’t born with a uterus, you’re not a woman (and if you were born with a uterus, but identify with a man, that’s somehow ok… or something).
So there’s a lot more that needs to be ironed out here than just the notion of whether or not it’s ok to treat trans men like men (the wording of which, incidentally, reeks of cis-supremacy. We should be talking about men as men. Men are men, cis or trans. Women are women, cis or trans. But I digress…) in all aspects across the board.
There also needs to be acknowledgement that trans women are women.
But again, the bigger issue is that trans-exclusion policies, far more often than not, affects trans women.
Um, no. The inclusion of trans men in “womyn born womyn” spaces is not an act of cissexist oppression against trans men; it is an act of transmisogyny which happens because trans men want it to.
It is grossly misogynistic for trans men to portray themselves as victims of these policies when in reality, they are the principal instigators and sole beneficiaries of these policies. The actual victims are women — not just trans women who are denied access to safe spaces, but all women who are put at risk by the intrusion of actual men into our safe spaces. Because, yes, trans men uphold patriarchy just as much as cis men do.
I’m going to say something very unpopular now. Even though trans men have substantially less systemic power to enact sexism than cis men do, trans men have far more individual will to enact sexism. The typical trans man is far more intensely anti-feminist than the typical cis man because he sees his deficit of privilege as emasculating and seeks to compensate by making maximum use of the privileges which he does have.
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