And we’re not listening

Ooh, novelty, the Guardian runs a piece explaining why trans people women deserve all of our attention all the time.

For as long as the human species has existed, so have trans people.

Oh? How would this writer (Eleanor Morgan) know that?

At what point in human evolution did it start? Is it possible that Lucy was trans? Should be have been calling her I mean him Luke all this time?

(In Amharic her name is Dinkenish, which means “you are marvelous.” Better.)

All women’s fears are valid, however they come to be. Our long history of assuming women’s narratives are inherently untrustworthy still lingers. When a woman says she is in distress, it’s like her words come with a pop-up ad saying: not to be taken at face value. Feeling truly heard when we talk about our distress, whatever form it takes, still seems like a rare thing; as though when we say we feel hurt, sad or scared, some kind of “hysterical” or deviant undertow is assumed. This is as true for trans women as it is for cisgender women.

No. This is why we argue.

Or at least, it may be as true (it’s not as if we can measure), but it’s not the same thing. I can easily accept that trans people face heightened suspicion, but what I don’t accept is the claim that it’s the same suspicion as the kind or multitude of kinds that women face, or that we can’t talk about women without bringing trans people into it. I don’t accept the invasion or the appropriation.

I’ve known pain and mental distress, but none of this makes me think trans women are any less “real” than me – nor that the term “woman” is being erased by the existence of trans people who want equal rights.

Are there experiences that make a woman real, anyway? Periods? Giving birth? Many women don’t experience the latter, some don’t experience the former. Or perhaps it is about knowing what a life spent reeling from the objectification of men feels like? Dealing with sexual violence and harassment? But, no: trans women face sexual violence, too.

The issue isn’t being “real.” The issue is claiming to be literally an X that in fact you are not. You are not a nail or an osprey or a peach. I know this because none of the entities named can read what I just typed. Claiming to be something isn’t magic. Sometimes it’s actual fraud and can get you in big trouble.

Trans people are saying they are frightened and in pain because people are questioning their rights, and we’re not listening. Where will this end?

What are women saying?

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