Three sentences

Yes but what does “identity” mean?

A tweet by Jameela Jamil:

This is a perfect display of how a worrying amount (not all) of cis-women essentially characterize trans women as nothing more than men playing dress up. It’s a complete denial of their identity. I personally see transwomen as strength in numbers in the fight against oppression❤️

First: no, not nothing more than men playing dress up. It’s not that simple. If it were there wouldn’t be all this to-do about it. If it were just men playing dress up no one would care. But I, for instance, do think trans women are not literally women, but rather have a fantasy about being a woman which they want to live out. A fantasy which people live out is a lot more complicated and consequential than just playing dress up.

Second: what does “identity” mean in the sentence “It’s a complete denial of their identity”? What does it mean to deny someone’s identity? What does it mean to treat “denial” of someone’s “identity” as a shocking outrage? Is identity brute facts about a person? Or is it like a soul? Or is it some magical third thing that no one can quite define?

Men don’t get to have an “identity” as women, because they’re men. Being a woman or a man is just a physical fact, and you can’t think or dream or project or fantasize your way out of it. You can break the social rules about being it, and you can decide to obey the rules that generally apply to the other sex, but you still can’t actually become what you’re not.

Third – it would be nice if trans women were strength in numbers in the fight against oppression, but things haven’t turned out that way. At all. Trans women have turned out to be furiously hostile to women and especially to feminists, so no, they’re not allies against oppression, they are themselves oppression.

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