At the Risk of Alienating Some…

For the life of me, I don’t understand why people think that JK Rowling is transphobic, or that I am less of an ally because of my love of all things Harry Potter.  I’ve asked many times for someone to explain it to me, and the best anyone can say is that “trans women are women.”

Ok.  Let’s talk about that.  I was born with estrogen producing organs.  “It’s a girl,” was pronounced at my birth, and as a result, by the age of six, I was already experiencing trespass by men.

At puberty, my body changed dramatically.  I went from being a little girl who loved Barbie, the color pink, kittens, and Shaun Cassidy, to fighting off boys/men and having adults call me a whore because I had boobs at 12.  Aside from a very few male family members, I didn’t trust men and to this day, I won’t be around men who are drinking.

I remember…

  • the humiliation of starting my period for the very first time at my aunt’s house with my teenage male cousin there to hear my little sister blab it.
  • being hit on by my 9th grade science teacher.
  • being groped at my first job.
  • being told that the Virgin Mother was the standard we were supposed to strive for.  Impossible much?
  • being impregnated by a boy who told me he was sterile, and was worried about me putting those hormones in my body.  That pregnancy nearly killed me, so that’s especially female.
  • being pressured into every sexual experience I ever had between the ages of 16 and 30?
  • being called “Hon,” by my supervisor when I worked at Target, and being considered difficult because I asked him to stop.

All of these are part of the experience of being born female.  I have no doubt that trans people experience some or all of these events, and those are part of their experience of being a trans person.

Being a woman is a choice that we make.  Many who refer to themselves as women are not, despite their chromosomes.  This is not judgement on them.  Becoming a woman is about taking ownership.  Many females never have the opportunity to take ownership of their lives.
Trans women do that when they come out, and I will proudly shout it with you, “Trans women are women!”

I am not worried about a trans person in my bathroom.  I’m concerned about straight males exploiting every avenue to victimize women and girls.  That’s no reason to deprive a woman of using facilities that feel comfortable to her no matter what’s in her pants.

Our experiences are very different, however, because of the bodies that we were born into.  That biology does not change, and no one has been able to show me anything that Rowling has said or done that is different from stating that.

It’s a nuance, but aren’t human beings nuanced?  That doesn’t make us villains.

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September 6, 2022

A fabulous entry.  Bravo!   😎

September 6, 2022

@tracker 💝

September 6, 2022

I wrote an entry about this in terms of J.K. Rowling a few weeks ago. It’s kind of too exhausting to me to go into it at the moment but I saved your post and hopefully when I have more energy I’ll think more about your question. It makes me really sad because I am *also* a lover of all things Harry Potter but it just makes me too sad to even think about reading the books now. The things she has said and done really hurt to the point where it makes me sad to think about reading the books without a friend who understands the same pain to be around to comfort me.

Anyway, I am certainly NOT going to say you are less of an ally because of your love of all things Harry Potter, because I totally understand loving all things Harry Potter more than anyone could possibly know! It makes me happy to see people who are both fans of Harry Potter *and* allies. I do think Rowling’s words have been transphobic (and at least really ignorant) which makes me feel distant from a world that gave me so much joy and comfort and that breaks my heart.

You say, “our experiences are very different, however, because of the bodies that we were born into.” There are a lot of things that make our experiences different: the shape of our bodies, the colour of our hair, the way our voice sounds, our personalities, and the biology of our reproductive parts is just part of that. To what extent are our experiences different based on biology and which of those differences are universal (shared by everyone with that particular biological characteristic) and which are only more likely to correlate with that particular characteristic?

To what extent is who we are determined by biology and what does it mean to say biology doesn’t change? You say, “that biology does not change,” and I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. When someone has surgery to confirm their gender/sex identity, certain parts of their biology do surely change (hormone levels, etc.) or maybe this isn’t what you mean. I don’t quite know what you mean when you say that biology doesn’t change so I can’t exactly respond to how this may be different than what Rowling is saying.

If you write an entry stating in more detail what it sounds to you that Rowling is saying I’d be happy to read it and if you wanted I could comment on how I see her words similarly or differently.

Thanks for sharing!

September 9, 2022

@willowoceanseed I have had friends visiting, so I haven’t had a chance to come back to this.  I want to start by thanking you for trying to understand without attacking.

I don’t know how to say this, really, which is why I’ve been so reluctant to address it.  It is my understanding that what Rowling did was “like” a tweet from someone who said that trans women are still biologically male.

I don’t think there is anything phobic or hateful or even insulting about that.  I don’t think it makes a trans woman any less of a woman.  But medically, she will have to be treated differently than a cis woman would be.

I don’t think that surgery to change one’s body makes one a woman, anymore than having had a penis before made one a man.

Does any of that make sense?

Again, thank you for your ability to discuss.

September 6, 2022

Wouldn’t a “transperson” be a woman? If they were in the ladies room… it would be a woman. No? Not offended. I see it as a very complicated situation. But just because someone has a monthly cycle does not mean that they are female. That is how I see it. The body might be but the person is not necessarily.

October 10, 2022

I like what you said here. One thing sticks out in my mind though:

“Being a woman is a choice that we make.  Many who refer to themselves as women are not, despite their chromosomes.  This is not judgement on them.  Becoming a woman is about taking ownership.  Many females never have the opportunity to take ownership of their lives.”

Can you expand on this please… just for clarification in my muddled (at the moment) head. If a woman has not taken ownership of her life due to lack of opportunity, upbringing, whatever… what is she? Still a girl, or a woman who has been unnaturally held back and she couldn’t get through it?

October 10, 2022

@caria I think we all know ladies who have yet to take ownership of their lives.  I was in my late 20s when I first began to, but well into my 40s before I really took the reigns.

I honestly don’t want it to sound judgmental.  It’s more about the fact that that I used to teach at an all-girl high school.  I spent a lot of time trying to guide them to embrace other women.  When I was growing up, we believed that other women were competition.  I think that’s all part of the patriarchy.

October 10, 2022

@oniongirl that explains things for me :). I didn’t think you were being judgmental.