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?
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6 thoughts on “Claiming that “transwomen are women” is transphobia”
I’m afraid that this essay covers a lot of ground and as such becomes a bit of a Gish Gallop. So, I’m simply going to point out that while the headline point is correct, the rest is simply anti-trans-propoganda and problematic twisting of the medical model of transgender experience.
First, since there are TWO (2) distinct types of transwomen, one can’t simply say that this is a “false” nature of the “problem”. First, the more common type is caused by autogynephilia, a type of sexuality that is NOT amenable to psychiatric treatment. Second, the other type is an extremely feminine type of androphilic male for whom anthropological research shows many societies have recognized and accomidated.
For both, use of modern body modification has shown to reduce psychic suffering while NO type of therapy has ever done so. To demand that body modification be denied while demanding that they undertake useless and demoralizing quack (talk) therapy is simply to say that you would rather see these two populations suffer simply to make you less uncomfortable.
To then extend that to say that accomidating transfolk enables violence against women stretches incredulity and logic.
I have published your comment with one caveat – I expect you in future engagements with this blog, to avoid smear tactics typically employed by trans activists such as calling my empathic and logical arguments “anti-trans propaganda”. I have nowhere “demanded that body modifications be denied” and you have no evidence that counselling (which you smear as “quack”) is less effective and more damaging to transgender people than surgery and lifelong medicalisation. In fact in another post on this blog (I urge you to read them all) you will find links to studies that show greater physical and psychological morbidity in transsexuals post-op, and analysis of testimonies of detransitioners. It is also interesting that you took my point about men expelling feminine men from their group because they make men feel uncomfortable, and projected it onto me. I think you should reflect on that, as well as on the nonsense statement “medical model of transgender experience”.
I do not believe that gender is anything other than tool of oppression and I have concerns about ideology dictating medical treatment, and especially physical interventions being used in people afflicted with body dysmorphia, paraphilias and in some cases delusions. I also have grave concerns about linguistically-based gaslighting which is rendering language meaningless by reducing the female half of the population who are oppressed based on their sex, not gender, into costumes and identities their oppressors can wear and intimidate the victims into not being able to discuss what is being done to them.
I fully support Blanchard’s typology, and I’ve referred to the two types in the article.
You mentioned “other cultures” and if you research two-spirit people you will find that these concepts existed in more patriarchal tribes, where gender conformance was enforced.
I followed a logical thread of how transphobia, chiefly amongst men, affects feminine men, and put it into a greater context of patriarchy and especially male, colonialist, capitalist supremacy. Surely a lot more could be said about this, and I hope you can contribute to the discussion with meaningful perspectives and without resorting to baseless accusations, which indicate that you have no counterargument.
Transitioning heals MTTs? Well, that sure explains why the suicide rate goes up when men transition “into women” [sic]. And when has there ever been a concerted, widespread effort to get these men GOOD therapy to address their issues? I mean, if you would just link to some GOOD studies backing up your argument, that might actually be a start.
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I am very shocked by this. I am not LGBTQIA but I believe people should be accepted for who they are. All homophobia is not on, and I think it should be stamped out aggressively.
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I too am shocked by trans activism, and especially its core idea that people have to conform to a gender. Endless genders being invented truly boils down to one thing – alleging that people who aren’t “trans” are in fact “cis” which means that they identify with their own oppression. This mainly tragets women, but by demanding that gender non-conforming girls and boys, a lot if not most of whom would normally grow up to be gay, “have wrong sex assigned at birth” and are subsequently pushed/manipulated into transition, amounts to not just homophobia but gay eugenics and a medical scandal.
When I hear transwomen aggressivelly demanding access to all women’s spaces, access to lesbian’s bodies (the infamous concept of “cotton ceiling”), claiming that they are more women than women because they had to “work for it”, coopting the concept of intersectionality to allege that if black women are women than trans women are women (racist!), while shouting women’s conversations about their sexed bodies and experiences down as being “not inclusive” and then having the cheek to liken themselves to the civil rights movement, well..
Perhaps civil rights movement was about mainly white men in blackface screaming at black people that they have “cis black privilege” because they never had to put so much effort into preforming blackface. The mind boggles.