Here’s the deal – there are all sorts of myths when it comes to what feminism is or who feminists are.
Feminists hate men.
Feminists burn their bras.
Feminists are all lesbians.
Feminists don’t shave or wear make up or high heels or fancy dresses or…
And, that’s all a bunch of bullshit, right?
Instead of talking about what my feminism isn’t, let me fill you in on what my feminism is:
My feminism provides spaces for all sorts of people – those who want to fight against patriarchal infrastructure and influence on any level. My feminism welcomes and encourages diversity. It’s inclusive. It is also intersectional, and I fight alongside people whose identities differ from mine.
Why is it so important to detail all of that? Because there are people out there who call themselves feminists and yet they are exclusive, leaving out groups of people, groups of women, from their folds and from their fights. Worse yet, some actively attack, dismiss, diminish, or tear down others.
And it’s important for those who believe in intersectional feminism to speak up and speak out. One way I am speaking out is by signing on to the Feminists Fighting Transphobia website. Transgender women and men have had their voices erased, silenced, and ignored. They have been attacked for who they are. My feminism does not stand for that.
I am a trans-inclusive feminist.
There are very real consequences when feminism and transphobia meet:
When feminists exclude trans* women from women’s shelters, trans* women are left vulnerable to the worst kinds of violent, abusive misogyny, whether in men’s shelters, on the streets, or in abusive homes. When feminists demand that trans* women be excluded from women’s bathrooms and that genderqueer people choose a binary-marked bathroom, they make participation in the public sphere near-impossible, collaborate with a rigidity of gender identities that feminism has historically fought against, and erect yet another barrier to employment. When feminists teach transphobia, they drive trans* students away from education and the opportunities it provides.
You can read the entire Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism & Womanism and sign on to support them at their site. So far many feminists, writers, activists, and more have signed on in support of trans-inclusive feminism & womanism. And why wouldn’t they? As a feminist, we fight for equality and a seat at the table. Why would we limit who else gets to join us there?