“It’s time to stop this silliness”

When it comes to covering trans-related issues the difference between the UK and US versions of The Guardian is dramatic, with the latter demonstrating just how parochial, insular and reactionary the UK edition is. While the UK repeatedly commissions the same handful of writers to write the same column (variations on “someone told me / my friend / a celebrity to fuck off on Twitter and therefore trans people shouldn’t have human rights”), the US edition commissions writers like Rebecca Solnit.

Rebecca Solnit: Dear transphobic feminists: it’s time to stop this silliness.

…trans women do not pose a threat to cis-gender women, and feminism is a subcategory of human rights advocacy, which means, sorry, you can’t be a feminist if you’re not for everyone’s human rights, notably other women’s rights.

Second wave feminism produced the classic 1972 children’s album Free to Be You and Me, which I’d like to point out was not titled Free to Be Me But I Get to Define You. Back then we thought gender really was kind of binary and defined by genitals; science has gotten smarter in the decades since and we now know it’s a complex interplay of chromosomes, hormones, primary and secondary sexual characteristics and other stuff, some of which is in the brain, not the pants, and also that quite a significant number of people are born intersex, and some are misgendered at birth, and male and female never were airtight categories anyway. Cultures from Native America to India have long recognized that there are other ways to be gendered. This complexity and fluidity can be a blessing and it’s something feminism embraced when it demanded that “woman” not be a category be so tightly defined by roles, relationships, appearances and limits set upon our options.

…When there is so much real violence against women, it’s a sad waste of time to focus on imaginary maybe presumably it-could-theoretically-happen violence. Trans women pose no threat to cis-women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts and pariahs (and insisting they use men’s bathrooms endangered them horribly). Trans women live dangerous lives, because gender nonconformity is punished in innumerable ways, speaking of patriarchy, and black trans women are murdered at a horrific rate, generally by cis-gender men.

…there are about 4 billion women and girls on Earth, and we are not in danger of being erased.