Let us reiterate that Women’s Month is to empower allwomen regardless of their class, color, creed, or their sexual orientation—that includes transwomen.
During International Women’s Day last March 8, many included transwomen in their greetings, but there were also people who were cynical of it. The questions were along the lines of “Why are they considered women when they have a penis between their legs?”
First of all, rude. Secondly, the transphobia leaped out on this one. It’s frustrating and angering to see people disrespecting the transgender community, but we’d also like to think that they’re still misinformed and uneducated. So if there’s anyone reading this who still doesn’t get the inclusion of transwomen this Women’s Month, keep reading.
Shout Out UK noted that transwomen currently make up 2 percent of the international female population. While we live in a progressive time, the community still feel that occasions like International Women’s Day feel “exclusive” to cisgender women. It’s a valid assessment considering that many of them feel that transwomen are a threat to womanhood. This is the same argument that popped up when Miss Spain Angela Ponce, a transgender beauty queen, joined Miss Universe—a pageant dominated by straight women for years.
What many don’t realize is transwomen are struggling in today’s society just as much—perhaps even more—as the next straight woman. We live in a world riddled with misogyny and sexism, women aren’t given the top position in companies, and most of the time, men are favored and praised in whatever field. In addition to this, transwomen are discriminated for identifying as female despite being biologically born male. Human Rights Campaign is also listing down acts of violence against the trans community for this year—as of writing, one was fatally shot. The most that HRC recorded were 29 deaths in 2017.
But should that be enough reason for you to discredit their experiences and to discriminate them because of their identity? I don’t think so. You can’t say you support feminism while celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s Month without acknowledging and supporting the trans community.
Here’s another perspective: Amelia Abraham wrote on Voguerecently how the “meaning of a woman” has become broader thanks to our trans and gender non-conforming brothers and sisters.
“Dysphoria around the gender you’re assigned by doctors and parents can, after transition, seep into the feeling of never being ‘male enough’ or ‘female enough.’ Butch women and effeminate men I know receive scathing looks as they try to go about their daily business and are asked intrusive questions about how they identify,” Amelia wrote. “In 2019, it is these people we have to thank for the fact that the category of “woman” is arguably broader than ever before… We are not living in a gender-free world, and maybe we never will – maybe we don’t need to. But we have expanded the categories of male and female, as well as carving out a safer space for those who exist in between.”
Plus, it’s 2019, we shouldn’t be closing our minds to the LGBTQ’s experience. It’s one thing to be skeptical of their inclusion, it’s another when you start attacking them for who they are.
But again, we shouldn’t lose our cool. If someone doesn’t understand it, try educating them and be considerate of the fact that it won’t take them overnight to learn. If they do welcome the insight, then that’s already huge progress and we can only hope that they can change their stance in the next few months until IWD 2020.
Art by Marian Hukom
For the latest in culture, fashion, beauty, and celebrities, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here