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Julia Serano: Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments

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Posted

Julia Serano was recently interviewed on The New York Times, and published a follow-up on Medium that is a very worthwhile read:

As a trans woman, I will be the first to admit that I cannot possibly know what any other woman experiences or feels on the inside. But the thing is, the trans-women-aren’t-women crowd cannot possibly know what any other woman experiences or feels either! Every woman is different. 

Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments

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Dear Emma,

As you have known me for years, I am a cisgender mid-butch Lesbian, and it has been my personal experience that no two women have had the same life experiences, so I always get to know people as INDIVIDUALS, with whom I may or may not resonate with.  

Strongly feel that transwomen or heterosexual cisgender women are no more or less than a woman than I am.

Your friend,

Monica

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Posted

Love the piece by Julia Serrano. I agree with her all points and it seems like her writing would be very persuasive to most open-minded or reasonable persons. Though I'm intersex rather than transgender, I would just like to add another thought. It seems to me that trans persons are tested in the reality of and commitment to their gender in ways that others never have to face. Nobody should have to prove the validity or reality of their gender, but trans persons do just that.

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Posted

Hi Monica,

It's been almost three years since we met here on TG Guide. I remember well how much I appreciated you reaching out to me and offering your support and encouragement. I agree completely that all trans women - like everyone, cis, trans, gay, straight... - are unique and individuals in their own right.

Hi bluemoon,

I wanted to add my agreement with you that being trans certainly adds a burden to carry about our gender, whether we are trans women, trans men, a mix, or neither. Not to be whiny here but it definitely adds a burden even for myself. But as I've said elsewhere I really wouldn't have it any other way. I like myself overall, I'm just a bit nervous at times about the future.

That said I would also think that being intersex must also be challenging and perhaps lonely. In your case your sex and, I suppose, your gender, are both not determined as they are for cis people. I'd be very interested in reading your thoughts about all this.

A friend to you both,

Emma 

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Posted

Emma, it is surely a challenge for me, too, in some ways and times. Mostly I feel that I have the best of both worlds and am born to be androgynous intersex because it comes so naturally for me. My awareness, acceptance, and evolution of this has been gradual, but it has come to be one of the things I like most about myself and appreciate as such a core part of me. However, there are various layers and complications to how that manifests in real life. The word androgynous, either alone or in combination with “intersex,” describes my true gender identity and overall perception of myself as equally male and female. However, my social gender is predominantly male and sometimes this issue arises in such small, unexpected ways. The other day, someone was saying how much he likes to talk to me about relationships and then added because I seem kind of feminine. As soon as I paused, he added, “you do know that about yourself, don’t you?” I laughed and said yes, I’m very androgynous. He seemed relieved that I wasn’t shocked or insulted. I was relieved that I didn’t need to explain more what that meant since I don’t know him that well, but maybe someday later. I do feel very alone in this, though, and wish I had other intersex kindred spirits around in my everyday life.

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Posted

The other day, someone was saying how much he likes to talk to me about relationships and then added because I seem kind of feminine. 

​I imagine that his comment, for you, was a bit of a compliment although as you said you didn't feel comfortable expressing more to him at that time. And thus, having to be aware and consider hiding this about yourself is a bit burden which I know very well. 

Several years ago I got into fiction writing, and started meeting monthly with a couple of male friends as a "writer's club" although we soon just enjoyed having dinner and sharing a glass of wine. At some point I wrote a short story about a woman who met a man, and started dating. (As I recall, I don't remember much about it.) One of my friends commented that it was amazing how much I seemed to know about what she was feeling, how she acted, how she existed. Alarm bells!  System Warning! I was so scared he would suspect something about me, I clammed up and changed the subject as best I could...

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Posted

ah yes, "danger will robinson, danger" (probably the only memorable line in that silly tv show, lost in space). So true that it was actually a compliment to me and, of course, you know that about me because of your veiled inner gender and you must have really like that in a way too. If  anything, what I don't like is being accused of being a man, especially a typical male, or included in such binary stereotyping even in casual conversation. In a way, even an incidental comment to that effect seems like an accusation or misrepresentation and I usually correct it with the disclosure or reminder that I'm androgynous.

 

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Posted

Hahaha! I too well also recall the robot flailing his arms while saying to Billy Mummy (who played Will; rather odd name for the boy actor) "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" 

Yes, I think I understand my sensitivity, that I'm more female than male, which only serves to underscore my being transgender. I'm okay with that!

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