Im gonna take this at face value, partly because you do seem genuinely concerned, but mostly because I dont want to miss any opportunity to turn someone away from that way of thinking. So whether youre a cis woman or nonbinary/agender, or it doesnt matter to you which you are, its evident from your ask that you were assigned female at birth. So was I. Hence, Ill open with the disclaimer that since I am not a trans woman or transfeminine person, Im not targeted by TERFs. In fact, as an afab person Im someone they would claim (rightly or wrongly) to care about. So anything I have to say on the subject is always second to what trans women, for whom this is life and death, have to say. Anyway, TERFs seem to have the idea, or at least many make the claim, that theyre the only feminists who give a shit about the biology-based elements of sexism. Thats untrue. Trans-inclusive feminists can still advocate for reproductive freedom, ending the double standard around toplessness, access to menstrual hygiene products, ending FGM , better education and healthcare for conditions that predominantly affect women, etc, while also recognising transgender women as women. You can address these problems and recognise their importance while still acknowledging that they dont affect all women (or even all cis women), they dont affect only women, and they arent the sole components of misogyny. Your personal identity as either a woman or not doesnt make the pain caused by how youve been treated any more or less real. But what variety of suffering they experience does not define a persons gender. Another misconception is that being trans is just someone standing up and saying they identify as a woman and then nothing else happening. Thats almost never the case. The majority of trans people go through some form of transition, whether medical or social or some combination of the two. They make changes to their life so they can live as and be seen as their true gender. And once a trans woman starts presenting and living as a woman, even if she doesnt pass, shes vulnerable to misogyny. Catcalling, rape and sexual assault, wage discrimination, pressure to conform to restrictive feminine gender roles – those are all things that trans women experience, often even worse than cis women because they have to deal with transphobia at the same time. Despite the fact that the favourite way to put them down is to misgender them, trans women are not viewed or treated the same way as cis men. Instead, theyre treated as a lesser, defective class of women. I say that not to minimise the very real gender discrimination that cis women experience, but to point out that trans women, in general, have an even worse time. Not to mention if youre also disabled or a person of colour, or marginalised in any other way. When you say your experience of discrimination being treated as a woman makes you upset when a trans person identifies as a woman, youre directing your justified anger at the wrong people. The blame rests with the people who have perpetuated sexist discrimination against you and others, and the societal bias that influenced them to do it. Cis women, trans women, trans men, nonbinary people, and any decent cis men, should be banding together to dismantle the patriarchal system and get rid of all kinds of misogyny (as well as transphobia, homophobia, racism, ableism, and other kinds of bigotry). We shouldnt be fighting amongst ourselves, and we definitely shouldnt be venting our frustrations on people who are suffering just as much as us, if not more. Punch up, not down. Know who your oppressors really are, and hold them accountable. Many of the points in this post are things I myself have learnt from trans women whove taken the time and effort to educate. I encourage you, and anyone else reading this response, to seek out some trans womens voices and listen to their side of the story. One recommendation I can make is Kat Blaques Youtube channel. I wont claim shes entirely unproblematic or I agree with her on every topic, but shes taught me a lot about trans issues (as well as a lot about race). To any trans women who follow me (or just happen to see this post): your additions and/or corrections, should you choose to offer them, would be very welcome. Also any other trans inclusive feminists, since if Im speaking about this you might as well.
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