This is one place I struggled with for years and it was a major roadblock for me. I knew what could and couldn’t be done. I just knew I couldn’t be a real girl because and then I could list some reasons. It almost made me (in my head) like a trans exclusionary radical feminist except I was excluding myself from a happy future.
I went to my therapist and on one of those first visits we hashed out the real girl problem. Her argument was “close enough” and honestly, isn’t it? Most of the arguments people make against trans women being women don’t actually hold water. Read on if you’re interested.
Let’s start by saying that there’s a group of genetic males that are automatically considered female from birth on. Nobody knows they aren’t female until they don’t get their period and then bam, they find out that they have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. Swyers syndrome is somewhat similar.
The scoffers are scoffing. Well, do they realize that it isn’t that uncommon to have some parts of a person be genetically male and other parts female? In genetic mosaicism two zygotes (fertilized eggs) merge to form one embryo. If the two embryos had different genetic sexes than there will be portions that are male and others that are female. Last time I looked nobody is taking biopsies to label people as being of “mixed” sex.
Oh, and then there are those that we modernly call intersex that historically were called hermaphrodites. These days they are starting to let them choose, which in my mind is pretty much what trans people are doing.
To muddy things further there are many genetic variations in combining the X and Y chromosomes. Genetic sex therefore isn’t a 100% reliable predictor of gender or even the body’s phenotype, i.e. how the actual body develops from the blueprint in the DNA.
Just on the physical scale we find that while the majority of people nicely fall into the male and female bins, there are an awful lot of people who don’t. This is uncomfortable for the box consumers who really, really want everything neatly labelled. The problem is that labels aren’t reality.
But let’s concentrate on the real girl issues:
- Not been brought up with female socialization – well, this is undeniable, but not all girls are raised the same way, and will the transwomen being raised as women now just encounter a new straw woman to knock down? Would you say a girl isn’t really a girl cause she was raised by a man who treated her like a boy?
- Can’t get pregnant, have a period – does that mean that every woman who needs a hysterectomy is no longer female? How about extreme athletes who have low body fat and therefore stop having a cycle – not woman?
- Don’t understand, grew up with male privilege – A substantial number of trans women have learned far too well exactly what barriers women face in the workplace. It’s equal opportunity misogyny out there, nobody is checking under our skirts before being condescending. I’m not sure that having had male privilege may even make it harder to adapt to a new reality. Let’s ask the opposite – if a girl grows up rich and privileged, does that make her a man? (I hope you think that’s silly)
Well, I missed not getting to be a girl and a young woman, but then my father, god bless him, wasn’t necessarily even handed when it came to my sister and me. It might have been nice to have experience pregnancy and motherhood (and I’ve experienced plenty of pain including a kidney stone were dihydromorphine did nothing), But I cannot change how I was born, I can only change how I move forward.
I accept that I’m close enough and I encourage all my sisters to accept themselves for who they are. Be joyous and enjoy your life. Bring light to others as well.