Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

African Feminism, London

Silencing transsexual women

UPDATE: It’s good to speak – following complaints changes have been made!

Feminism in London conference was not open to transgendered women, read the Bird of Paradox blog to get a better understanding of the implications and problems with this.

However, today, a statement has been released and an amendment to the FIL front page to make it clear that the event and the women only spaces are rightly open to all self defined women – see the F-Word

The trans exclusionary nature of the phrase “women only” and the dogma of biological determinism is discussed over at Bird of Paradox in reference to the “women only” Reclaim The Night and Feminism in London events organised by the London Feminist Network

The problem arises because the term is grounded in the use of the long-established trope which states that transsexual women are “not really women” — hence my assertion that the phrase women only is trans exclusionary. The definition is essentialist in meaning as it infers that one can only be “born a woman” (and never “become a woman”, to paraphrase de Beauvoir), and in so doing it denies not only the existence and agency of transsexual women and transsexual men, but also the potential for change itself. Thus women comes to mean cis women, just as surely as women only means cis women only.

BofP points out the contradiction in this logic which results in transsexual men (“really women”) being welcomed but transsexual women (“really men”) being unwelcome which in both cases renders transsexual as non-beings and frankly makes a mockery of feminism. Read the whole post here……… and Part 1 here…..

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1 Comment

  1. Mia Nikasimo

    I’m reminded of some of the themes I mentioned in “Fighting Oppression 3”. I read this piece and recognised exactly what was going on. I have experienced “cis womanists” and their constantly shifting exclusionary policies which reminds me of an encounter with Mein Kamph.

    I support this expose and would happily call for women generally to be mindful of the implications of internalised brands of sexism, racism and or any other aberrant ism going. Silence is complicit and so is collusion.

    Keep up the good work Sokari.