It seems trans people are under debate again. Knowing how boring my life is, it staggers me how fascinating some people seem to find us!
Of course, some trans people exploit this fascination to their own advantage and I say good luck to them because I’d far rather a self-directed autobiography than an invasive exposé in the tabloids!
However, what I can’t abide are those who say we aren’t the gender we claim to be. Sometimes they are well educated people, like Germaine Greer – sometimes not. It doesn’t matter. As I have said before, our identities shouldn’t be up for debate.
Why should anybody refusing my identity hold any more relevance than someone refusing the identity of a tree! Just because they don’t recognise it, doesn’t make it so!
The latest person to wade into the debate is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who, according to Pink News, claims trans women should not be placed in the same category as cis women.
As you might imagine, this has created a bit of a hullabaloo… but I agree with her. I think it is illogical to state that trans women and cis women are one and the same.
The vast majority of trans women have experienced the ‘male privilege’ (regardless of whether that was beneficial or not) that will never be afforded to cis women. Nor will cis women share our experiences of gender transition. These are differences that separate us and create the need for the adjectives “trans” and “cis”.
Furthermore, if we fail to recognise these differences, we hinder our fight for equality. Just as you can not fight for the rights of the poor if you fail to recognise differences in wealth, you can not fight for the rights of trans people if you fail to recognise differences in gender identity.
Instead, I would far rather that gender identity (and the history of how we arrived at it) be seen as a cultural difference much the same as wealth, class, race, and all the others. Meaning we recognise differences exist – for not doing so hinders equality, as I said, and is problematic in other ways – but not in such a way as to deny or debate our self-claimed gender identities.
So, speaking for myself, I am a woman but I am not a cis woman – we are different but the same.
Article written by Claire Hornby, 12th April 2017