I don’t think transactivism should…

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A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

I don’t think transactivism should be considered part of feminism at all – there are too many competing rights issues. We can be allies where we can, and negotiate hard elsewhere. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge the -ve impact of gender politics on women is not a feminist.

I also think we should confront anyone who claims that gender is prior to sex, tries to redefine woman ‘amelioratively’, and says that women who demand sex-based exemptions are being essentialist.

The claim that the feeling you adhere better to one set of stereotypes than another one is what makes you a woman is what I would call quintessentialism (which isn’t a bad neologism if I say so myself). Frills and femininity don’t make a woman. Sex does.

Sex – bodily, physical, reproductive, dimorphic sex – matters to women. It may not define us as people but it has a huge impact on our lives as the reproducing class. We are smaller than males. We are vulnerable to rape. We menstruate. We are at risk of pregnancy and DV.

All our traditional social structures originated as forms of captivity for women for that reason. Truly breaking down sexism goes much, much further than some banal vanilla notion of ‘equality’, and we are nowhere close to achieving liberation.

Our movement, our spaces, our sports, our rights as a protected class, need to be predicated on sex, because it impacts us so enormously and is the basis of women’s oppression everywhere.

The drive to make sex unsayable is profoundly misogynistic. It may be difficult for transwomen to acknowledge that they are male – we can sympathise. Expecting women to collude in a pretence that we do not exist as a sex class and that this has no impact on us is unacceptable.

It also betrays profound ignorance of what women’s lives are like. The transwomen claiming to be feminists and yet demanding that we don’t mention biology at women’s events might as well tattoo on their foreheads: “I have no fucking clue what being a woman is like.”

Nothing screams ‘male entitlement’ louder than demanding to have your outfit centred at a women’s march where the women present are not allowed to mention their wombs. You came out of a womb. You exist because of women’s reproductive power. Show some fucking respect.

Given the assault on our rights, which is slowly but surely extending to an assault on our persons even as the general public starts waking up to the issues, we cannot be generous and compromising on language. The time for that is when we have successfully insisted on laws..

which protect women and transwomen equally while acknowledging that we are separate classes of people, and that the difference is sex, which is both profound and material. Sex isn’t going away, and language needs to reflect and respect that.

Sex is out of our control. It is decided at conception. No-one can make you the opposite sex. This isn’t oppression, even if it is very painful to accept. Living ‘like’ the other sex – fine. Pretending that sex doesn’t exist and isn’t an axis of oppression – misogyny.

Only a deeply narcissistic and entitled misogynist, or a handmaiden, would think it is in any way acceptable to deprive women of the word which describes us as a sex class and an oppressed group. Only someone who is anti-feminist and anti-woman. We need to call this out.

And one last thing: how you identify has no effect on your sex. Saying you don’t identify as male or female does nothing to the underlying reality. All it means is that you don’t like the gender roles prescribed for that sex (welcome to the club…)