Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It should have been a day to celebrate women the world over, and thankfully, it was. But while some were taking the time to reflect on the contributions of women, from notable ladies who have achieved renown success in a wide variety of ways to those we call Mom, who helped shape us unconditionally and unapologetically, others were using the occasion in less seemly ways. The internet, Facebook, and Twitter were rife with men pouting, and asking why there is no International Men’s Day, sexist views that decried the need to honor women, and bigots who saw it as an opportunity to advance their myopic views by calling it disgraceful for businesses and individuals to include trans women in this recognition. After all, they tout, trans women are really just mentally ill men trying to believe they are what they are not.
It seemed fitting to take up the fight against these hateful outbursts, and so the day was spent contemplating how best to address these thinking errors. The difficulty with this approach was that the attacks were so broad that it became quite overwhelming trying to sort out the various claims and dissensions into manageable groups. The idea of specifically responding to the endless array of thoughtless ranting was too much. Clearly, these tentacles of a dominant patriarchy, which fears and rejects the idea of an individual who was assigned a male sex designation giving up the privileged position that is deemed a birthright, can only properly be cut off one at time.
One of the more common themes, however, deals with what is being billed as the inescapable “fact” that the genetic code/structure/make-up of trans women was male from birth, and will always be the determining factor for gender, no matter how many hormones are introduced, or for how long they are administered. While there are plenty of scholarly reviews and research papers that can be consulted for any number of arguments (child development and recognition of gender, physical brain structure, male and female brain activity, physical traits of men and women, genetic mutations affecting gender, permanent genetic modifications as a result of long-term hormone use, etc.), it seems that one of the most basic facts is being overlooked almost entirely – and this is as far as we will travel today. Transgender women are already recognized as women.
This is reminiscent of a time when a coworker reported me to risk management for “using the wrong restroom.” My coworker wrote things in the complaint like “she is not…;” or, “I’m not sure she…,” and so on. In all, there were thirteen references to me in which I was identified as she or her. The argument against me was null, by virtue of the fact that she identified me using pronouns that are specifically used to reference women. The complaint was withdrawn when the coworker realized that her issue was with the act of transitioning, not my gender or her safety. Likewise, medical doctors, psychologists, and the State and Federal governments recognize that I am female. And for the hundreds of people with whom I interact daily, who have no clue of my past or former gender, I am simply and reasonably identified as a woman. As more research is conducted in coming years, I have no doubt that much will be learned from a scientific perspective, but for now the matter is simply settled. Transgender women are women.