Notice how the assumptions are smuggled in.

It’s the “(But note the oddity of having 3 cis people talking abt trans rights!)” interjection that I’m talking about. What oddity? What’s odd about it? What, even, is it? What does it mean? The first assumption that’s smuggled in via that interjection is that there is a meaningful category called “cis” people. There isn’t. “Everybody who is not trans” is too large and sloppy a category to be meaningful.

The second, and worse, assumption that’s smuggled in is that it’s wrong or unjust or dubious for “cis” people to talk about “trans rights” in the same way it would be for white people to talk about black people’s rights, or men to talk about women’s rights. Mind you, that can’t always be wrong or unjust, because there are situations where the white people or men are trying to correct precisely the exclusion that’s the issue – they can’t include the excluded people in the talk because of the exclusion. If it were a rule that they could never have that talk then the exclusion would just continue. But setting that aside, and assuming for the sake of argument that dominant people shouldn’t be making the rules for subordinated people without including the subordinated people in the discussion – do “cis” people and “trans” people fit that pattern? I say no, not least because that positions men who “identify as” women as subordinate to women, which means we can’t have feminism any more.

But I also say no much more broadly, because I think this whole business of pretending there’s a pattern of

oppressor and oppressed

and that as

men and women

white and black

rich and poor

bosses and workers

lesbians/gays and straights


so is

cis and trans.

No. We haven’t agreed to that, and it’s neither accurate nor helpful, and it shouldn’t be smuggled in.

Of course “cis” people get to discuss the implications of what are called “trans rights” without much clear definition. The whole idea is about 5 minutes old and hasn’t even been properly discussed yet, so no, we don’t need to start pretending that “cis” people have to include trans people whenever they discuss what “trans rights” may be and whether they make any sense and above all to what extent they demolish women’s rights.

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