The short answer
The day of the Women’s March, January 21st, 2017, our Sister held a sign. It read, “Don’t believe the hype! Transactivism is misogyny,” lifted high in the crowd of other defiant messages—a group of women refusing to be quiet. But after posting photos online, transactivists launched a fierce bullying campaign against her. This targeted harassment led to her being banned from an environmental fundraiser event she herself had organized.
This attack based on her gender critical stance was one in a series spanning years, including her removal from a self-organized womyn’s festival, being exiled from the community radio station, harassed and removed from playing at her band’s usual venues, and almost being fired from her job. Between the incessant online threats of “being beat with a baseball bat” and frequent physical stalking and mocking, our Sister is being terrorized for speaking up.
While her experience sparked a response, this story is hardly unique. Any woman who doesn’t shut up and completely swallow the transagenda is met with a similar vitriolic and abusive treatment, becoming the target of a 21st century witch-hunt.
Women know all too well how little we can ever actually say without risking our well-being—it's why so often we don't speak up. The Sisterhood Solidarity Project is a chance to do so, archiving just how many of us are challenging this sexist narrative. This project will show that even if we are isolated and bullied, we are not alone, and that this issue must be taken seriously.
the long answer
If you are shocked or confused by the sign's statement, please consider the following:
To be crystal clear: we do NOT wish trans-identified individuals any harm or discrimination. The Sisterhood Solidarity Project advocates for universal safety and well-being. However, women have serious, substantiated concerns about the codification of gender to mean sex, which are being shut down entirely on the political left. This climate of name-calling and knee-jerk censorship rivals the height of McCarthyism.
If you’re reading this, we assume you have great intentions, advocate for inclusivity and agree that everyone should be able to feel like their true self. But this topic is far more complex than just respecting individual identities. Trans identity politics exclude, erase and endanger women in nearly every conceivable way, which will be elaborated below.
When women question trans activists' definitions of womanhood, we are viciously threatened and censored. Most have no idea how insidious and intense these attacks are. Here is proof. The links below archive the tip of the iceberg:
Here’s what women are trying to say:
Women are oppressed on the basis of our sex—not our gender identity. We are aborted for having vulvas, smothered in infancy because we don't have penises, and sold as sexual slaves because of our bodies, not our “identities.” We go to jail for miscarriage. We lack constitutional personhood and bodily sovereignty, colonized precisely for our reproductive capabilities. We are denied healthcare and education. We are murdered by men, both strangers and spouses, at epidemic rates, an incessant drip, drip, drip that goes unnoticed. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed by male violence than from cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. In every country in the world we are raped and beaten not because we FEEL like a woman deep down inside, but because we ARE female.
Sex and gender are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Sex is a biological reality: you are born either female or male, with either XX or XY chromosomes. Gender is the socially constructed caste system that tells females and males how to behave. These sexual stereotypes are ascribed to either sex starting at birth, such as pink, dresses and passivity for girls, and blue, pants and dominance for boys. These characteristics are arbitrary, based on time and place (for example, for much of history men traditionally wore robes, tights or frilly pants, and less than a century ago pink was a boy’s color and blue was for girls). In almost every culture, gender serves as a tool to justify and naturalize women’s status as second-class citizens. The only way males can stomach the ways they debase women, is if they believed women’s second class citizenship was innate and that women deserved it. Gender is a hierarchy, not a spectrum. Women will not be liberated by more genders, only by the abolition of the gender caste-system.
On all sides, our culture works to further cement gender. Conservatives want to change your behavior to match your body; liberals want to change your body to match your behavior. Both rely on patriarchal traits prescribed to men and women. All people are a mix of both “masculine” and “feminine” traits, and no one fits 100% into these arbitrary and rigid binary roles. Everyone is gender non-conforming in one way or another— it’s called having a personality. We want all people to dress, act, and love whomever they want in the healthy bodies they were given.
A woman is an adult, human female—nothing more. A woman can fix a truck, cure disease, run a country, raise children, and raise all hell—anything she does is done as woman. There is no such thing as “female brain,” “female personality” or a “female soul.” While socially-constructed "femininity" is relentlessly groomed into girls from birth (such as fragility, wearing make-up, and putting others first), it's sexist to say that these attributes and behaviors are inherent to femaleness. To wear "femininity" as the costume of woman (whether as drag or as a man “identifying” as a woman) is to reduce her to a stereotypical, two-dimensional caricature. Woman is not a feeling.
Most people agree it's wrong to appropriate race, ethnicity and culture. For example, it’s extremely racist to say that you feel black inside just because you like stereotypical things like rap and fried chicken. The general population is outraged by blackface and wearing the costume of being black, and rightfully so. Rachel Dolezal is proof of this, a white woman who identifies as black and passed for many years as the former president of the NAACP. Yet we vehemently denounce the idea of being transracial while celebrating being transgender. No one can make a good case for the hypocrisy of seeing race as fixed and sex as mutable.
The list of those identifying as transracial goes on, including a white man named “Daphne Shaed” who identifies as a cyborg Hindu woman, and works at a Women's Center. “Stefonknee Woltch” is trans-age, an adult man who identifies as a 9-year-old girl. If this seems absurd, know that people identify as almost everything imaginable, from blood-drinking vampires to howling animals, not to mention a plethora of sexualities. Most of these don't effect the daily lives of others, and in our age of tolerance, who really cares? When identities start to matter is when society must recognize your identity as legitimate and perception of yourself as fact, even when that contradicts reality. Trans politics goes beyond using preferred pronouns. Its concept of gender requires us to ignore biological reality and its material, life-or-death repercussions for females as an oppressed class.
Despite this, women have tremendous compassion for those with body dysphoria (although, according to the trans community you don't actually need dysphoria to be trans). Our capitalistic culture teaches us to hate our bodies, girls most of all. Women punish their bodies, cut and starve them, despise them for their natural fat distribution, and wish more than anything to shed them after sexual assault. It is no wonder girls wish to escape the reality of being female, even under the farce of “changing sex.” Our society has little imagination or tolerance when it comes to breaking gender roles. In a sick way, it makes sense to want to fit neatly within the blue or pink boxes, instead of forever fighting to exist outside. Almost everywhere in the world it’s more acceptable to be “trans” than homosexual. This option—in some countries, a mandate—of transitioning only perpetuates heternormativity (my daughter who likes girls is actually a boy, so it’s socially acceptable) failing to make the world safer for lesbians and gays, and a thinly-veiled gay conversion therapy.
While women’s bodies are always under attack, so are men who don’t conform to stereotypical masculine clothing or activities. All gender non-conforming individuals are at risk of attack in our culture. But it’s imperative to note that males perpetrate physical assaults overwhelmingly, nearly unanimously. Despite what Twitter says, women aren't the ones killing trans-identifying people—men are.
Those who are not trans are called "cis," as in "cis men or cis women," because their "biological sex matches their gender." As examined earlier, gender is the sex roles that females and males are socialized into, which naturalizes women's status as less than men. The vast majority of "cis" women are NOT okay with how gender limits their life, and the subordination and violence that comes with it. "Cis" is a handy tool to assign false privilege to women who pass as women (and thus get treated as such) and at exempting "non-cis" men from analysis and critique of their male-socialized behavior.
Similarly, many individuals have started identifying as non-binary or genderqueer, using the pronoun "they" instead of "she" or "he," signaling that they don't identify with the constricting feminine or masculine traits assigned to their sex. This does nothing to challenge the hierarchy of gender, since society will still see you as female or male and treat you as such. For women, using "they" pronouns makes sense as an individual coping strategy. If only it was that easy to treated as neutral and fully human, to be recognized as the robust and complex beings that we know ourselves to be. Our goal should be trying to expand what male and female can be instead of pretending that biological sex doesn't exist, opting out of it, or switching sides. Until we do, men won't escape from behind their masks and ritualized "manhood," and more importantly, women won't be liberated from the male-based violence and status as second-class citizen all around the world.
Instead of working together with women to end male violence, trans activists stop us from speaking and organizing. Unlike any other topic or stance, open dialogue about gender is completely shut down on the left. Pro-gender arguments are nonsensical and unfounded, relying entirely on contradictory, double-speak mantras. Trans-identified males often say biology is social construct and that they've always been biologically female. If so, what did they transition from? Language policing and destruction aides identity politics, and when that doesn't work, it's easy to just frame the opposition as bigots. When women criticize gender or try to lift the crushing taboo of our anatomy, we are called “unapologetically transphobic,” and our words equated with “literal violence.”
While not everyone who supports transgender identity politics participates in this behavior, the community as a whole doesn’t condemn it or back-up women’s valid concerns about how it affects their lives. Instead, there is a complete shutting down of dialogue, and if you don’t go along with the cultish dogma on the left and within queer LGBT circles, you are exiled as if diseased and contagious. The voices of rapists, pedophiles, pornographers and fanatical conservatives are allowed platforms over women and feminists who dare to critique current trans-ideology and activism. What word is there for this other than good, old-fashioned misogyny?
What teenager doesn’t hate their body? Transitioning is now seen as trendy with teens. Yet 80-95% of children decide to not transition once they grow up, most becoming healthy lesbian and gay adults. Studies show that people who have had transition surgery are still 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide, despite these individuals feeling like their “authentic selves,” a cue that it’s our sick society that needs fixing, not our bodies to fit in with it. Further cementing this notion are the vast testimonies of regret by those who have transitioned, whose experiences are silenced by the trans community.
Why do we let children who can’t drive or consent to sex make irreparable decisions about their bodies? Besides the immediate damage of bodily mutilation, there are still no long term studies about the health effects of synthetic hormones. We do know that if done early or long enough, trans therapies sterilize and cause a whole host of debilitations. Yet kids as young as three are encouraged to transition medically and legally by their parents who are hailed as progressive. Boys who like Disney movies and girls who like sports are told that they’re actually in the wrong body. Young people grappling with the crushing demands of our gendered world can go to almost any therapist and start the transitioning process within a session and without parental approval. The pharmaceutical and medical complex has a lot to gain from years of dangerous, elective surgeries and constant, expensive hormones—a billion dollar industry.
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 rectified women’s historic disadvantages and discrimination in education, sports and all activities receiving Federal financial assistance. In 2016, Title IX was casually rewritten by the Obama Administration (without going through proper channels or considering citizen discussions) so that sex = gender. If institutions don’t comply with this reinterpretation they lose federal funding. Already males are winning female competitions and scholarships. But the most talked about part of this change is that anyone claiming a certain gender can use the correlating bathroom. This issue is framed simply: women need to get over our hysteria and just “shut up and pee.” It’s also claimed that no incidences involving transwomen have ever happened in female bathrooms. This is false. From voyeurism to rape, trans-identified males and predatory men of all types are taking advantage of this open door to women’s private spaces.
Transwomen (biologically male) commit crimes at the same rate as men, supporting the phenomenon of socially conditioned, male-pattern violence. It’s so prevalent that the statistics of women’s violence has skyrocketed. The list of violence is too long. It’s bigger than bathrooms, affecting all female-only spaces. Now the most vulnerable women in homeless shelters and prisons are made available to past and potential male abusers, as long as these men identify as “women.” The epidemic of female assault and murder is eclipsed by trans issues, despite being a fraction of a fraction as many. Until we address and stop male violence against women, female-only spaces are not a trivial issue.
Law depends on language. The terms used to define the category of “woman” has become increasingly blurred. In turn, the legal language used to counteract sex-based oppression is becoming meaningless, and therefore unable to protect women as a class. For example, since a transman (biologically female) can breast feed, therefore it’s no longer sex-based discrimination that women can’t do it in public, or if they get unlawfully fired from their job for it. Trans identity politics also says that abortion is not a women’s issue since “men” can have them, too. And abortion can hardly even be talked about in women’s spaces because it “triggers” and “oppresses” transwomen who haven’t had those experiences. When not hyper sexualized and objectified, women’s bodies are considered sinful and gross, but it’s our very anatomy that affects so much of our material reality. Menstruation affects half the population, keeping girls from school, jeopardizing women’s work lives, with physical and financial costs. It is still a taboo subject, but mentioning this female reality is “transphobic” and can get you kicked off social media and more. Those who refuse to call vaginas “front holes,” or females “uterus bearers” face the wrath of this twisted, hyped ideology.
At its best, transactivism advocates for the rights of gender non-conforming women and men: physical safety and the right to housing and employment without discrimination. Women want this for transpeople, for ourselves, for all people. But transactivism goes too far, demanding rights that can only come at the expense and loss of the rights of females, where “woman” is redefined to the point of non-meaning and erasure. This is a new phenomenon where a marginalized group of people demand accommodations at the expense of another group, without seeking solutions that work for both parties. Transphobia implies one is disgusted and fearful by another's being. Asking questions and standing up for the rights of women and girls is not bigotry.
If you’ve read all of the above and are open to having thoughtful discussions and learning more, we sincerely thank you! Politics need more healthy debate, not threats and censorship.
Learn more from the links below: