You’ve accused me of colonizing womanhood. I’d like to address it.
For a few years now, many transgender women like myself have been inundated with online abuse from lesbians who define as radical feminists or pro-lesbian but anti-trans. I don’t want to sound like I’m self-victimizing. I understand that most of you who engage in these missives believe it’s warranted. You are moved to defend yourself because of an opinion you’ve developed regarding transgender women. However, I, and those like me, perceive these exchanges as an onslaught of baseless, unprovoked attacks.
It took me some time to wrap my head around the rise in anti-trans sentiments from lesbians that I though we shared common ground with. We share a common oppressor. We have in common a lack of social equality and our communities each experience violent hostility from people who are offended that we occupy space in their proximity.
While transgender women are murdered in disproportionate numbers, lesbians are often beaten bloody on the street, even on public transit if they hold their girlfriend’s hand or demonstrate affection that your straight counterparts do daily, without challenge. Without fear.
Despite the progress we have made politically, we’re both still thriving on the peripheral. We’re chastised by evangelicals who weaponize the Bible against us; By conservatives who don’t believe we have a place within their world view because they deem us as unnatural. We’ve both been hypersexualized by men; those who think lesbianism is a construct solely designed for their arousal and satisfaction. When it comes to transgender women, we experience a male demographic who want to fetishize us or experiment with their own sexuality using us as props rather than people. We both offend men who feel diminished or emasculated if we’re not interested, whether we’re lesbian or not. That, too, has lead to violence against both of our communities.
I respect that our lived experiences are unique, but they also run parallel and in synchronicity with each other. We have, historically, been besieged as a group. Whether in the 40’s, 50’s 60’s and 70’s we were raided together, we were frightened together, we were beaten together, even prosecuted then jailed for having the audacity to be who we were; brave enough to…