“Real tipping point stuff!” exulted my facebook friend. A cis friend emailed it to me. We have won the argument: the radfems trying to exclude us have lost, and here is The Independent on Sunday: When it comes to transgender rights, there’s nothing feminist about being a bigot. I loved her argument that if you force trans men into women’s toilets, That means that people who look like blokes, and therefore blokes, can enter women’s changing rooms. Does that make it less likely or more likely that rapists are going to be in women’s spaces? Most commenters are hostile, one accusing Katy Guest of autogynephilia, as if no cis woman would say this. I would have heard of her if she were trans.
There are a small number of women very angry that men get into women’s space. “Saying you’re a woman does not make you a woman,” they argue, with every appearance of rationality, and the liberal majority say, so what? Or, What harm do trans do?
I am pleased; yet it matters less to me that a trans man trounces a radfem on Channel 4 News than that my friend says I am a man, and evinces horror that her friend’s child might transition, believing that is always wrong, for everybody.
The personal is political is a feminist slogan from the 1960s: personal matters such as access to health care are influenced by politicians, so women should be politically active to make their personal lives better. I turn it round: there is this live political issue with all these cis people engaged discussing who or what I am, which affects me personally, and what matters to me is that H is revolted, or J is accepting: how my own personal relationships are affected. I cycled into Marsley for provisions, and chatted to the woman on the checkout in Tesco, briefly, about the background music- sweet dreams are made of this- and the woman in the butcher’s about nothing at all. Whatever they think of trans as a political issue, both were polite and friendly, and that is what I want.
This might fit with feminist care ethics. Rebarbative as it might be to some feminists that women might think differently from men, personal and concrete situations matter far more to me than universal, abstract principles, and those theorists at least thought this was characteristic of women. Not all women, or no men, and of course I can think abstractly; yet I have these tendencies, which are different and not inferior.