We’re told a lot of things today: that we should be woke, we should check our various privileges, women are all oppressed, etc. I don’t subscribe to any of them; I’m one of those people who says, oh YEAH? when I’m told I need to be or think a certain way, but the one I find most annoying is transgenderism.
I am a woman who believes firmly that there is a distinct biological difference between men and women, and that difference is rooted more firmly in the body than in the mind. The female physical experience is very different from that of the male experience. We bleed every month. We experience that unusual stress, positive or negative, that is the potentiality of pregnancy. We carry another human being within ourselves, and are both blessed and burdened with a special emotional bond as a result. We are physically weaker, in general; and even when individual men are weaker than we are, we know the vast majority are stronger. And yes, we do think differently, perhaps a hardwired difference or perhaps a difference created by those early uniquenesses. I make no judgment here because its origin is unimportant; only its existence is.
So it really pisses me off when a guy comes along and is convinced, utterly certain, that he is a woman on the inside. Because guess what? He isn’t. He can’t have the beginnings of an inkling of an idea what it is like: the misery and sometimes pride of a period, the knowledge that your body can cradle a baby, the combined ecstasy and fear when a boy pressures you for sex, the realization that the boys around you can perform physical feats that you likely never will, the sometimes revulsion and sometimes joy at a boy’s more aggressive play. He cannot know those things because he is born and experiences childhood as a boy.
But I can’t change that. I can’t make some dude not think he’s a chick. Nor would I try. It’s not my business or my responsibility.
However, I don’t have to CARE. I don’t have to modify my language to recognize his reality, his belief that he’s a girl, and I don’t have to share my bathroom without a fight.
I also don’t believe that alternate reality. Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, change the name or the appearance however you like.
But for the sake of this piece, I’m going to pretend that his reality is REAL. That somehow, he is actually a girl trapped in a dude’s body. That his/her experience makes him/her special. Here is why I don’t have to care about that.
Special doesn’t mean important. Different doesn’t mean important.
Let me explain what I mean.
I’m short. Not super-short, but significantly shorter than average. I hate that I can’t reach the top two shelves at the grocery store without finding something to stand on (first furtively looking about for employees who might get upset). This does not mean that Walmart should be required to lop off the top two shelves so that I might be able to reach all the merchandise. And the fact that I have bad knees and, hence, trouble reaching the bottom shelf does not mean they should not use the bottom shelf for merchandise.
Short isn’t important.
I have bad vision. That does not mean that all street signs should be large print so that I can read them when I forget my glasses. Boo-hoo, me.
Nearsighted isn’t important.
I’m overweight. That does not mean that designers should create all their cute bohemian misses’ clothes in a size that works for me. That’s on me, too. I can make my own or shop online for my floral, lacy, bell-sleeved tops.
Fat isn’t important.
I’m mildly autistic. That does not mean parties have to have a special host to accommodate me. That does not mean I should be cushioned from the mean, crowded world that makes my blood pressure skyrocket and exhausts me when I move about in it. These are changes I can make to my life, though they are often limiting and frustrating.
Neuroatypical isn’t important.
The world does not have to accommodate itself to me.
And the world cannot accommodate itself to me. I have some serious issues with normal functioning in the world. I like to pretend I’m shapely, not fat, and that I have much longer legs than I do, and that I can swan gracefully through social interactions, and that if I just squint a little, I can see that sign just up ahead oh oops missed the damned intersection again.
But pretending does not make me a slender, tall social butterfly with 20/20 vision. Even extensive surgery and intensive therapy will never do that.
I will never be a tall black man with an aura of cool and a distinct talent at basketball.
I will never be an average-height woman of Italian descent with a Grace Kelly sense of style and a magnetic personality.
I will never be a butch gay genius femme intellectual with glittering knife-edge wit and a sprinkling of pop-culture philosophy books about contemporary glamour.
I will never be a brilliant black philosopher who journeyed from Black Pantherism to common-sense conservatism and is generous enough to share his insights with those who will listen.
And a person born a guy will never be a girl. Never.
So why are we trying so hard to pretend, in this one case, that what one tiny group of people wishes – and by tiny, I’m saying less than one percent – should be accommodated by the world at large? That we can be the cultural Fairy Godparents to this one minute group and, by discommoding and even harming enormous numbers of women and girls, create their dream space? What right have we, as a culture, to decide that the purported needs of these few trumps the proven needs of half the human population?
Because women need their space. Women need their sports. Women need to be treated as the very special set that they are, distinct from men, just as men have every right to their own space and specialness as well.
Women do not need men invading their most private and intimate spaces – public bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms. We don’t even need men who think they are women – no matter how sincere his belief, it introduces discomfort to the much more numerous set of women.
We especially do not need men invading those spaces who clearly have no respect for the needs of biological women.
Hence, I simply don’t care about transgenderism. I don’t hate transgender people, not in any way, just as I don’t hate any group. I’m a strong believer in “you do you.” But I’m also a strong believer in mutual respect, and when people born male – who are therefore biologically different no matter how much plastic surgery and hormones are used to change their appearance – who insist on forcing their way into women’s private areas – who are determined to overpower and penetrate the things that are uniquely female – who demand women open themselves to their wishes, ignoring what women want for themselves – who aggressively and abusively invade womanhood, denouncing those who resist –
Well, you, my reader, are a thinking human being. I will let my language speak for itself.Published in