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Learning About Woman v Transwoman

(22 Posts)
SheDoneAlreadyDoneHadHerses Thu 26-Nov-15 00:55:52

As I've got older, I've realised the work that women have put in to make my existence as easy as it is, and how much work is needed to make it equal to that of men.

However, I have several trans* women friends and have felt an unsettled feeling around them. As I've read about feminism and transgenderism, I've become more conflicted. To me, if you have surgery to make you a woman, you're a woman, not trans - a WOMAN. You have the same hormones, bits, self-agreement as me. But then I thought about autogynephilia and a couple of my friends fit into that. Then I thought about how I'm being told that a trans* woman is allowed to be in my safe space above my consent (rape victim that I am) and I don't feel comfy.

And I feel conflicted.

I can't talk to my trans* friends about it, nor my "cis" friends about it.

It's just such a huge sodding grey area and I'm heading more towards TERF. It's fecking hard being a woman, who gets to take that away from me?

Dornan Thu 26-Nov-15 01:30:12

It's a complicated a difficult area. I haven't reached any answers

I'm particularly confused about why I hear quite a bit about transwomen but scarcely anything at all about trans-men who presumably have very similar issues.

WombOfOnesOwn Thu 26-Nov-15 04:44:43

What do you mean, "surgery to make you a woman"? Do you think your vagina is just a hole? That's what's put in to transwomen--a hole, not musculature that self-lubricates and self-cleans. Their parts are made to cosmetically resemble those of a woman's for purposes of intercourse, but vaginas are not just for intercourse. To diminish a vagina to a literal penis sheath seems like a step backwards.

OneMoreCasualty Thu 26-Nov-15 06:51:19


You hear more about trans women because (a) there are more of them (I think something like 3/4 of trans people are MTF but am not sure!) and (b) although some men might be embarrassed by the presence of a biologically female person in their changing room, very few are likely to feel threatened and (c) as women are the less privileged group compared to men, they tend to specifically self-segregate more on political/campaigning grounds (ie the Tory party is largely but not exclusively male but the WEP is female; there are political actions about FGM, child brides specifically aimed at females)

You might also argue (d) that women are far more socialised to accommodate men's wants than vice versa, so that it's almost unthinkable that a trans man would state that a discussion of circumcision centred on penises being male was trans phobic because that trans man's parts were not penis shaped. But since socialisation also forms gender (YMMV), we might be getting into a cyclical argument here...,

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 26-Nov-15 06:55:17

To me, if you have surgery to make you a woman, you're a woman, not trans - a WOMAN. You have the same hormones, bits, self-agreement as me

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Taking synthetic female hormones and inverting the penis to create a vagina type opening isn't the same as female biology.
Apart from that you are raising relevant points.

VashtaNerada Thu 26-Nov-15 06:59:43

There are loads of transmen around Dornan but I think it's generally easier for them to 'pass' as men so you wouldn't necessarily recognise them as such. I personally know more transmen than I do transwomen but if they hadn't told me their histories I'd never have known.

dontcallmecis Thu 26-Nov-15 07:52:09

A trans woman is not a woman. Woman = adult human female. A trans woman is not female. A trans woman does not have a vagina/cervix/uterus/fallopian tubes/ovaries/breasts etc. A trans woman requires prostate examinations, not smear tests. a trans woman will never die of cervical cancer or ovarian cancer and is very unlikely to die from breast cancer. This is simple biology.

Please don't give me the argument about women who have had hysterectomies and mastectomies. Having your reproductive parts and breasts removed makes you no less of a woman than having your penis and testicles removed makes you more of one.

All of these things above, when said out loud, hurt the feelings of trans woman. But, I'm sorry, hurt feelings should not get in the way of facts. They also should not get in the way of quotas for women (on boards, for scholarships, sporting teams etc) or crime statistics. When a trans woman commits rape, that should be recorded as a man committing rape, not a woman. Ever. But it is, in some places, and that makes me want to howl.

Trans women want to be women. They really, really do. I get that. I'm sorry that the fact that they're not makes them sad and sometimes suicidal. But they're not and they never will be. And I think we haven't considered that their desire to be one is not that they have the wrong body, but that they have a psychological problem, and we as a society have a problem with sex and gender expectations.

They may also say they feel like a woman. But my answer is, well, what does that feel like? Everything that makes me feel like a woman is related to my sex. Breasts, periods, trying to get pregnant, trying not to get pregnant, childbirth, menopause (not yet, but it will come), my body after pregnancy. All the good and the bad. UTIs, abortions, thrush, a pelvic floor shot to hell and brought back to life (thanks, pilates), sore breasts every month. Lumpy breasts for no particular reason.

Transpeople should wear what they want, fuck whoever they want and do whatever they want to their bodies (though I wish they wouldn't) , and feel safe, without being abused. I know that this is not happening to them at the moment and that is a bad thing. I saw a Ted talk recently that featured pictures of a trans woman after she had been beaten. I felt sick about it and have been thinking about it ever since. It does not change my view. If we must have gender, then what the hell, choose yours. But you can't choose your sex. It's out of your hands. Your sex was chosen the moment sperm met egg.

Despite what some trans people will say, my views do not contribute to their abuse. If everyone thought like me, then trans woman would not be recognised as women, but they would be safe and be able to freely walk around identifying as whatever they wanted, wearing whatever they wanted and (ideally) not mutilating their bodies.

I don't need a qualifier. I'm a woman. I'm not a ciswoman. I wish you well, but I'm not your cister.

OneMoreCasualty Thu 26-Nov-15 07:58:29

That's true, don'tcall, I missed out quotas and sports teams from my "reasons women self segregate" - a trans man is very unlikely to be an asset in a male sports team but a 6ft 3 trans woman or two have been known to join women's basketball teams.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 26-Nov-15 08:11:46


I think I may slightly luff you grin

You have managed to say what I've been thinking about the whole thing but completely unable to articulate, so thank you.

dontcallmecis Thu 26-Nov-15 08:43:02

Don't thank me Milk!, thank the other posters here (and elsewhere) who have helped me clarify my thoughts and the Ummm, I'm not so sure about this trans woman are women thing feelings I had.

Don't get me wrong, I used to be on 'the other side'. I recognise now that it was born of my desire for everyone to feel respected and accepted and to live without prejudice or abuse regardless of what they wore or what they called themselves or what 'gender' stereotypes they were drawn to (or not drawn to). Trans people, unfortunately can't live freely as they wish to, for all sorts of reasons. It made me sad, and sickened to see how some of them were treated. I watched documentaries and read stories of trans kids and I just wanted them to be happy. I don't like to see people in torment. It made me think "why can't we just accept them as the men/women they want to be??"

Then, slowly, I started to feel uncomfortable with a few things, then a few more things, and my views slowly changed and now I can articulate why.

dontcallmecis Thu 26-Nov-15 08:54:43

This is an interesting read

Dornan Thu 26-Nov-15 08:59:09

Thanks Onemorecasualty some very interesting points there. I have some questions though:

Point b) I'm not sure that's true - after all straight men have regularly felt 'threatened' by a perceived lack of masculinity in gay men leading to verbal abuse, exclusion and physical violence - why would that not apply to Transmen too? (Not that I'd want it to iykwim)

Point D) that's a confusing argument, you seem to be saying that Transmen aren't as politically strident because they are women. But it's not acceptable to make the statement that Transwomen are politically strident because they are male - is it?

Don'tcall a very thought provoking post.

LauraMipsum Thu 26-Nov-15 11:03:25

it's almost unthinkable that a trans man would state that a discussion of circumcision centred on penises being male was trans phobic because that trans man's parts were not penis shaped

But wouldn't this be a beautiful troll of some of the MRA groups? I have a pet troll who keeps on at me about male circumcision (although I've said a million times I don't support male circumcision). I mostly ignore him but maybe I should accuse him of being cissexist and throw him to Twitter.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 26-Nov-15 11:09:30

yep i was all lets love each other, what you want isn't hurting me, till one day i realised it was hurting me.

There are many other threads you can read OP save us all typing it out AGAIN smile

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 26-Nov-15 11:13:02

my husband says the reason you don't hear about transmen is because "men are used to ignoring women"

CrayonShavings Thu 26-Nov-15 11:37:43

Fantastic post dontcallmecis - sums up my POV perfectly flowers

VestalVirgin Thu 26-Nov-15 14:49:33

@LauraMipsum: Do that. I think that would be hilarious. smile Not so sure anyone will be as angered on behalf of a woman as they are on behalf of men, but one can try.

@Dornan: Men feel "threatened" women feel threatened. Therefore, sensible men won't campaign to keep transmen out of men's spaces, but violent men will be delighted to get to beat up a transman in those spaces.

I really hope for transmen that they will continue to use the women's facilities. (I wouldn't mind at all as long as it is obvious they are actually women. Research says transmen get the same violence levels as men and transwomen, but they'd still be smaller, etc.)

As for the differing behaviour ... I read a blog post where a transman wrote they were reluctant to share their abortion story, as that could be perceived as "making it all about men", and they didn't want to do that.

That's transmen for you - just as over-polite and nice as women. Because they are women and socialised to be nice.

With transwomen, it is the other way round.

OneMoreCasualty Thu 26-Nov-15 16:31:05

Yes, I meant that male bodied people pose more of a physical thread to femAle bodied people than vice versa, nothing to do with psychological "threat"

OneMoreCasualty Thu 26-Nov-15 16:34:53

"But it's not acceptable to make the statement that Transwomen are politically strident because they are male - is it?"

I don't like the word strident. But I don't think pointing out that those who grew up and were socialised male had a different experience than those who grew up and were socialised female, with the latter being less accustomed to having their voice heard (cf studies that show people consider women to have dominated discussion if men speak for 70% or less of the time)

SheDoneAlreadyDoneHadHerses Thu 26-Nov-15 17:34:35

Cool! Thanks everyone and PassiveAgressiveQueen, I'm rifling through threads this evening.

dontcallmecis - your post is excellent. I'm aligned with that, it speaks the sense.

SomeDyke Thu 26-Nov-15 20:09:30

To hear a different voice, and some writing that I've found very illuminating and moving, try this blog by Redress Alert.

Because WHY do we keep talking about transwomen all the time...........

Movingonmymind Mon 30-Nov-15 20:09:00

wow,dontcallmecis, I luffs you too... you encapuslated exactly what i feel about the issue of trans gender self-identifying women. yes, they have rights, yes they are equal etc etc. and I had thought case closed until recently when i pondered some more. what about our real, huge issues? what about the patricarchy, domestic violence, the need for safe spaces?

what about the threatening TG woman that time who tormented me as a young teen in a quiet public ladies loo? what about the focussing on how we look but not how our biology runs our lives - periods./pg/birth/feeding/menopause. how can you be a woman without these? you can't! you have no bloody idea and some dress as a cruel parody of womenhood. which pisses me off.

I am not a cis either.

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