Transgender rights versus feminism: What makes a woman?

Transgender rights versus feminism: What makes a woman?:

“Kat Haché, from Tennessee, is a transgender woman and an advocate of women’s rights – two identities which some radical feminists believe are mutually exclusive.

‘In the past, I have had some people tweet at me,’ she says. ‘I normally don’t take them too seriously and have mostly ignored them, but I have heard horror stories of doxing [hackers revealing personal contact information online] and coercive outing of people as trans.’

For the most part, Haché says, feminists see transgender women’s rights as a natural extension of feminism. Yet at a time when trans rights are on the rise, a number of radical feminists insist on regarding trans women as men, denying them basic access to health care, women’s facilities and anywhere considered a women’s space.”

(International Business Times)


10 thoughts on “Transgender rights versus feminism: What makes a woman?

  1. This subject has been much on my mind. Even the thought that I could, by living my lifelong dream and transitioning, be performing a disservice to feminism is painful for me to consider. However, I then read a sentence like…

    “[Gender Identity Watch] leader Cathy Brennan outed the teen, who was already being bullied, and she was subsequently put on suicide watch.”

    …and I have to wonder how this charming bunch of child-abusers are not performing an even worse disservice.

  2. Anyone who identifies as a woman, IS a woman. Anyone who identifies as a man, IS a man. It is that simple, end of argument. But if radfems want more, peer-reviewed scientific research today confirms what transgender people have known since before our species started to stand upright.

    True feminists fight for the rights of trans women every bit as much as they do for cis women – and those who do so include famale and male feminists. Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists are not feminists at all. They don’t want equality with males, they want dominance over them. And because of that they will stand against anyone who happens to be born with a penis and testicles, whatever their gender and / or sexuality.

    Take the case of Cathy Brennan, a hateful cow if ever there were one. She jumped on the non-story cooked up by the ultra-conservative Pacific Justice League, who “uncovered” the story of a trans girl at a high school allgedly harrassing girls in the school restrooms. There was absolutely no substance to the story and it all based on a letter from one parent of what MIGHT happen. Neither the school, the cis female students, nor the other parents had any problems with the trans girl, and no complaints had been made. That did not stop Brennan, a supposed radical feminist, siding with the PJL, who hold conservative Christian views which could only see women further oppressed. More than that, when she saw she wasn’t getting her own way, Brennan outed the 15-year-old student, resulting in the poor girl receiving death threats.

    Wilfully put a CHILD in danger of violent attacks. Just how does that further the case of feminism?

    Radical feminists of all types – feminazis, as I call them – be they TERFs or not, are a nuisance. They do not further the cause of feminism; far from it, they are the very people who turn others away from feminism.

    1. Great points! I hadn’t been aware of the TER connection to that California bathroom story. Outing a vulnerable student is beyond the pale. Totally reprehensible!

  3. I could be bothered by radfem rhetoric but I’m not because as trans people, while we were once only on the fringes of society , we have now been quickly moving into the main stream in spite of those reactive “radfems.” Although we are not quite there yet, the tide can not and will not be stopped. Its a done deal and they are simply in denial and as much as they try to make it my problem I say to them “Good luck with that!”

  4. I think about this sooo much. I thought of myself as a pretty passionate feminist through young adulthood & I was very influenced by second wave feminism. Then I had a transgender son. When I discovered the actions of the trans excluding feminists I was horrified (disclosure: I think that Germaine Greer’s views had been on the periphery of my conscience up until this point and I basically thought she was right). The feminist/Derridean idea of ‘difference’ was inspiring to me, especially when thinking about how having a female body affected writing and discourse. However, I think that the commenters on this post are right to say that the resolution to this debate is simple: it comes down to honouring how people identify themselves whether it’s to do with gender, sexuality, religion, race or class. It also comes down to just not being a fucking horrible person. So forget Cathy Brennan (if you can): she’s obviously battling her own fucked up demons. The area of debate which I find more convincing and more worrying is to do with the radical feminists who argue that parents with gender questioning kids who allow them to transition early are too focused on gender binaries and on making their fluid kids conform to stereotypes. I do think they’ve got a point. Culture obviously influences gender expression (and maybe gender identity too). Also, cisgender people are generally a lot more comfortable if they can clearly differentiate whether someone is male or female. The only way I get out of this bind personally is to listen closely to my son (who says, ‘stop making it so complicated! Do you know you’re a girl? Well, I’m a boy!”) Sure, he is undoubtedly influenced by the sexist culture around him but I can’t believe it would be enough to alter gender identity. Anyway, I do think the more “moderate radical feminists” (if that even makes sense) have things to say. I’ve tried to write more about this on my blog but I am still working this one out.

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