Kindly bear with me as I detour from the well-trodden path of hypocrisy, bigotry, and hubris that have come to characterize the violent discourse currently besieging the civil liberties of trans folks. A dialogue inextricably mired in the ostensibly protective rhetoric towards biological women, yet, with a dose of intellectual and moral courage it becomes exceedingly clear that this clamor is nothing more than a shoddy repackaging of the age-old patriarchal, sexist, and misogynistic attitudes that have plagued our societies since before recorded history.
The very insinuation that trans women present a sinister threat, a Trojan horse to biological women, drips with a vile and pernicious fear-mongering that betrays a sickening ignorance of the nuances of both biological science and the social construct of gender identity. Instead of engaging in a nuanced discourse about the intersections of gender, sex, and society, our self-proclaimed guardians of morality and have found it more expedient to ignite the volatile powder keg of cultural conservatism, arguing for the necessity of “protecting” biological women (and now children as well, but that will dissected in future article) from the supposed peril posed by trans women.
Yet this rhetoric of protection is disingenuously predicated on an outmoded and offensive image of women as feeble, fragile creatures in need of perpetual safeguarding. A grossly antiquated and paternalist chivalry that assumes women to be helpless damsels, unable to navigate the complexities of life or make informed decisions about who they allow into their circles, their spaces, and their lives.
Isn’t it rather ironic that the very voices clamoring for these purported protections are the same ones that have historically relegated women to the role of domestic servant and child-bearer? Isn’t it grotesque to think that the very same attitudes that once denied women the right to vote, the right to work, the right to education, are now masquerading as defenders of women’s safety?
The current wave of fear over trans women in bathrooms is a perfect example. 2023 has seen a surge of legislation meant to force people to use the bathrooms reserved for those with the sexual organs they were born with. The reasons given for why these laws are supposedly important are always expressed as the need to protect women, the need for “health and safety.” This is true even when the reasons comes out of the mouths of conservative women and TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Regressive Feminists). Mythologies are touted out about how trans women are really just men want to dress up as women so they can go into bathrooms and rape. Of course that’s never happened. But straight, cis men going into bathrooms and raping women is definitely a thing.
Women have proven time and time again the more than capable aptitude at making their own decisions, at caring for themselves, and at navigating life’s myriad challenges. Women aren’t porcelain dolls to be stowed safely away on a shelf; they’re human beings capable of resilience, strength, reason, brilliance, compassion, empathy, and courage. To deny this is to perpetuate a deeply ingrained and toxic misogyny that serves only to diminish not only women, but all of humanity.
Moreover, it’s profoundly insulting to trans women. To reduce their deeply personal, complex, and often fraught journey to a threat or a ploy to win trophies is nothing short of a dehumanizing insult. It erases their struggles, invalidates their identities, and further marginalizes an already vulnerable community. And to perfectly honest, if you engage in this kind of rhetoric, then you’re a piece of shit.
The current wave of anti-trans sentiment masquerading as protectionism is thus not only a slap in the face to trans women but an affront to all women, and indeed to all of humanity. It reduces women to mere caricatures drawn by the clumsy hand of patriarchal prejudice. Women don’t need protecting from the bogeyman of “transgenders.” What they do need, and indeed what all of us need, is a society that respects individual autonomy, promotes understanding and empathy, and defends the rights of all individuals to live their truth without fear of persecution or prejudice.
So, let’s dispense with bullshit tired narrative of weak women and predatory ‘others.’ Instead, let’s embrace a future where we all move forward together, arm in arm, supporting each other in our journeys, celebrating our differences, and collectively raising our voices to champion the rights and dignities of all. Let’s not be the generation that, in the face of progress, chose instead to cloak our prejudices in the garb of protection and cling to the very stereotypes and bigotries we ought to be discarding to the dustbin of history.
For progress isn’t the sole purview of the few, but the shared responsibility of all. We can’t shirk that responsibility, we can’t falter in the face of fear and misunderstanding. Instead, let’s have the courage to speak out and be counted among those who are allies and accomplices of the trans community and the wider LGBTQIA+ community.
In the name of fairness, in the name of decency, in the name of equality, let us shatter these brittle chains of bigotry, for as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, they are unworthy of our society.