A GENDER CRITICAL FEMINIST CALL TO ACTION

    No one – women, men, children, or transgendered persons – should be subjected to any form of exploitation or targeted for discrimination. Transsexual and transgendered persons are entitled to the same human and civil rights as others. Recognizing these rights, however, does not mean that we must accept that hormones and surgery transform men into women and women into men; or that persons who self-identify as members of the opposite sex are what they subjectively claim to be.

    The non-binary declaration is a slap in the face to all women, who, if they haven’t come out as ‘genderqueer,’ presumably possess an internal essence perfectly in-line with the misogynistic parody of womanhood created by patriarchy. There’s a twisted cruelty in arguing that the primary problem with gender is its impact on the chosen identities of individuals, and not the way it operates systemically, under patriarchy, to normalize and encourage male violence and female subordination.

    Women’s historic and continued subordination has not arisen because some members of our species choose to identify with an inferior social role (and it would be an act of egregious victim-blaming to suggest that it has). It has emerged as a means by which males can dominate that half of the species that is capable of gestating children, and exploit their sexual and reproductive labour.
    We cannot make sense of the historical development of patriarchy and the continued existence of sexist discrimination and cultural misogyny, without recognizing the reality of female biology, and the existence of a class of biologically female persons.

    “Cis” implies that women—lesbians, call center workers, single mothers—have an inherent privilege over trans people. Again, let’s not forget that trans is an umbrella term. A gender non conforming male is not more ‘oppressed’ than a lesbian. The cis/trans dichotomy obscures that and allows men to shout ‘oppressor’ at women.

    ‘Cis’, as in ‘Cis Woman’ implies femininity is innate and women identify with their oppression and with our inferior status which we’ve socialized into - through the social constructs femininity. It’s a slap in the face and I reject it.

    ‘Cis’ means to “agree” with what gender says you are. Gender says women are inferior subhumans, stupid, servile, docile, passive, born to be breeders, servants and decorative objects for men, their superiors. To ask women to use such a label is a misogynist hate crime. Nothing less.

    Sexism being what it is, the practical consequence of treating transwomen as women is that the male interest is placed first. The female right to self-organise comes after the male right to be treated as a woman. The female right to critique femininity comes after the male right to claim femininity. The female right to describe your body and what that body means under patriarchy comes after the male right not to be offended by descriptions of female bodies.

    Objective evidence must take priority in order to maintain confidence and respect in the gender identification process. The experience of the UK prison service should be a warning to all governments worldwide. Women need to be able to rely on the sex segregation that underpins safeguarding procedures, and transgender people need the confidence of society when strict segregation is relaxed for their benefit. If, like in the prison service, objective evidence is replaced by an assessment of feelings, trust may be replaced by suspicion and assurance by fear. That is no way for anyone to live.

    What is being debated is access to women’s rights and protections. Generations of women have fought to establish and maintain them, but if anyone can self-declare their Gender Identity to be female, then anyone who wants to be a woman is a woman. Women have every right to be concerned because biological sex ceases to be definitive, and womanhood is reduced to a collection of feelings. It is unclear how declarations based on feelings could be challenged. While attempts might be made to criminalise fraudulent self-declarations, how can they ever be falsified? It is dangerously naïve to assume that men would never self-declare as women with nefarious motives. Most men probably wouldn’t, but those who might are the ones that cause concern. Women’s boundaries are hardly secure if they have to rely on the assumption that ‘men wouldn’t do that, would they?

    If the marginalized communities are going to be able to claim ‘Pride’ of any sort, we all need to do so on the basis of material reality and our achievements, not claims to victimhood, magical thinking or sustaining cultural violence.
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