Pushing unscientific ideology that “transwomen are women” is transphobia because it erases transwomen as a unique category of human males. Only men can be transwomen and if you were never a man, as the current ideology often claims, you were never a transwoman either.
“Born in the wrong body”, “wrongly assigned male at birth”, “feelings take primacy over observable biological facts” are all linguistic and logical tactics to erase the fact some men feel extremely uncomfortable with their bodies and masculinity-determined social roles.
This is not dissimilar to how some women feel so uncomfortable with their bodies and femininity-determined social roles, that they starve themselves into losing secondary sexual characteristics and body fat. Would it be helpful or ethical to tell them they were “born in the wrong body” and encourage them to have liposuction?
Erasing transwomen as biological males prevents us from understanding why they feel the need to socialise as women, as well as why other men feel the compulsion to exclude transwomen from the group they genuinely belong to. This “purification” of male sex class amounts to social cleansing.
However, despite affirming that “transwomen are women” most men admit to having no intention of seeing transwomen as potential sexual partners, unlike the actual women. So the affirmation is self-serving and inconsistent.
Since transwomen don’t share female biology – they can never menstruate, experience female puberty, get pregnant, give birth, breastfeed or go through menopause – nor do they share female socialisation – they were born and raised as men and they retain sense of entitlement – they are excluded again. Only this time, they are excluded by biology and facts of life, not by willful social exclusion by others of their kind who they make feel uncomfortable by virtue of their existence. One of these is possible to change, the other is not.
Erasing the fact that transwomen are male also lets them down on a medical level. Not only are they forced to resort to expensive and unnecessary medication and surgery that have serious complications and side-effects, in order to “pass as female”, their unique male biology is often neglected.
While the desperately struggling NHS is inviting transwomen to have smears of cervices they do not have, the proposed laws are already creating confusion within medical profession about whether discussing sex-specific health issues with transgendered people can be construed as offensive, misgendering or even transphobic (and therefore should be avoided)”.
By erasing transwomen as a meaningful social category of men we are losing the opportunnity to shed light on the rarely talked about aspect of male violence – how being feminine singles men out for the same types of abuses that women experience in patriarchy.
The society struggles to understand how normally empathic men can dehumanise women and treat them like things. How can they reduce women to appearance and body parts? Male violence toward transwomen can be a bridge to understanding patriarchy itself.
Whether a transwoman fetishises women’s oppression, or feels dysphoric about being a feminine man, they are reacting to the abusive dynamic that exists between men and those who are considered non-men.
Incidentally, political parties who are affirming the unscientific belief that “transwomen are women” are already defining women as “non-men”, in an attemot to create an umbrella term for all Others – those deemed unworthy of being the default, fully-fledged human beings, ie. men.
Gender self-identification, which is the context in which we are most iften hearing the mantra that “transwomen are women” is an ideal law to be abused by all kinds of violent men.
It is also unsubstantiable, self-referential and a reflection of society’s belief that oppression of women is coded in male and female biology. If you can identify out of your birth sex as easily as claiming that despite your male body and male socialisation you are a woman, why aren’t women identifying out of their oppression? Cue the term cis which is used to label people who aren’t trans as biologically predetermined to identify with gender stereotypes of masculinity and femininity.
This is legitimising anything from pornography, prostitution and rape culture to war, capitalism, colonialism and by extension racism and ableism. To that end, political parties are already xtending the analogy to allow people to self-identify as disabled and ethnic minorities (or BAME).
This is how, in one fell swoop, and by erasing both women and transwomen as meaningful social categories, the society is getting rid of racism, sexism and disabled discrimination.
So why are able bodied white men still overwhelmingly in charge? Why are women and transwomen raped and murdered at no reduced rate? Why are wars still being waged? Why are our governments paying assessors to declare severely disabled people “fit to work” and removing their benefits?