Does accepting transgender people mean perpetuating harmful gender binaries?
Some people – like radical feminists who try to exclude trans people from the movement – believe it does. As intersectional feminists, we’re working to eradicate harmful gender norms – which might make you wonder if trans people would exist if we succeed.
Kat Blaque gets this question a lot, and in this episode of her True Tea series, she has a really insightful answer. Find out why this conversation is a harmful attempt to invalidate trans people’s existence. And learn the difference between dismissing people’s identities and having genuine conversations about how perpetuating gender roles causes harm.
Those genuine conversations are worth having – but talking about eradicating gender just for the sake of invalidating trans lives is not okay, and this video will help you understand why it needs to stop.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
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True Tea: Your questions, my brutal honesty.
Hey guys, it’s Kat. It’s time for your weekly dose of true tea. If you’re not already subscribed, feel free to subscribe so you can get True Tea every Sunday right here on my channel.
Today I am drinking once again some Trader Joe’s vanilla and cinnamon black tea. It’s quite delicious, actually. It actually really smells nice. This is the first time on the show that I’ve actually done steeped tea. It smells really nice and I’m always looking for tea suggestions, so be sure to tell me what’s in your cup in the comment box below.
Anywho! Let’s jump into today’s question!
Hey Kat I was reading a lot about radical feminism and trans exclusionary feminism and some radical feminists believe that accepting transgender people perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes. Many rad fems believe that if we got rid of gender that trans people would not feel the need to alter their appearance to fit into socially constructed gender binaries. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this topic? Thanks.
Okay, so first of all, to be honest with you, I’ve heard this question a lot. This is a conversation that I’ve heard several times. What I hate about it, it’s only something people ever bring up to trans people. We only really talk about this idea of eradicating gender roles and holding trans people accountable for perpetuating them when we’re trying to basically invalidate a trans person’s existence.
What I love about this – I love, love, love about this – it’s not like these people are trying to really eradicate their own genders or trying to say there is no gender that exists for them personally. They’re trying to basically invalidate the concept of trans people.
To me, I feel like, you know, I understand why the question is asked, I understand, I get it, I completely get it. It’s a waste of time because it’s not the world we live in, it’s not the situation that we live in. We can have this whole “what if” conversation, “what if,” but it’s still not going to change the current environment that we live in, right? You know, it is what it is, and personally, when it comes to interacting with radical fems, exclusionary feminists, I really don’t. I just don’t do it.
I have had so many conversations with radical feminists where it’s like you can tell that maybe 80% of something that they’re saying is real and true and makes sense, and you’re like “I agree with that, actually.” Then you get to the trans part of it, then they’re like, “No, not at all. You’re invalid.”
It’s just like, to me, can we have a conversation about how trans people perpetuate gender stereotypes and gender roles? Yeah, I think we can because there are definitely really binary trans people who, from my perspective, do perpetuate a lot of the binary gender roles that do hurt people. I think that’s true.
Especially when you see people who are very much, you know, “if you don’t have this type of surgery or that type of surgery, then you’re not a real person, not a real woman, not a real this, not a real that.” That’s real. I think a conversation about that is real. I think the conversation where we’re trying to reinforce and redefine what you have to look like and what you have to be in order to be a certain gender, I think that is something we can talk about.
Trans people absolutely do perpetuate that, right? However, that all being said, to me, the issue is less about that these roles exist, but it’s more about when people are born a certain way, they are forced into these roles. The pressure for men to be hypermasculine is hurtful to society. The pressure for woman to be hyperfeminine is hurtful to society.
I believe in making space for alternative expressions of gender, alternative identities, alternative gender roles. I don’t believe in eradicating them or getting rid of them because they are very important to some people. To me, I guess my feminism is about choices. It’s about allowing women if they want to be housewives be housewives. It’s not about taking a women who is a happy housewife and yelling at her and telling her you’re perpetuating the gender roles and gender stereotypes. At the end of the day, that doesn’t solve anything. That doesn’t fix anything.
I think the idea of eradicating gender socially is just not realistic. Gender will always mean something to someone. Even if we talk about something being void of gender, that itself can be viewed as a gender. It’s something that I don’t believe in telling other people what their lives are. I really don’t. I think that there are trans people who can and do perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes. I absolutely agree with that. I also do believe their are some people who that’s who they are.
Someone actually got on my case on my Facebook page because I was talking about my boyfriend, and I was talking about how much I loved him and care about him and things like that. They said, “But you’re like perpetuating these roles. You seem like you need a man and things like that.”
No, I’m just happy and I’m in love, you know? I feel like I should be able to express that and I don’t see people yelling at cis women who are doing the same. I don’t see people yelling at cis men doing the same. But you only come attack trans people. They act like they’re trying to have a genuine, real conversation when the end conclusion is basically you’re invalidating who I am and who many transgender people are. So basically, to me, it’s kind of like, I understand why they ‘re trying to have this conversation, but I don’t understand the final conclusion.
I’m not a radical feminist. I don’t believe in that, and I don’t have that position, and I think trying to tell somebody else what their gender is and that it’s invalid, what they’re doing is perpetuating and it’s just a waste of time and it’s not my place. I feel like we can all define and speak for ourselves. We can have these conversations about how the perpetuation of gender roles and perpetuation of gender binary is hurtful to people but I don’t believe in yelling at people when that is who they are.
You know, you’re not going to be able to yell at me and then suddenly I’m going to feel like I have no gender. That’s not going to happen, you know? I think we can have a conversation about sexism, and we can have a conversation about how when trans people transition, they’re made to feel like they have to have a certain type of body before you’re a valid person.
I’m not going to have a conversation with you about how people who have those bodies are not real. I have this very hard line I don’t give my time to exclusionary feminists. I don’t give my time to radical feminists. I just don’t. It’s a waste of time, and if you ever read or observed a conversation from a exclusionary or a radical feminist, it’s this cyclical logic that never goes anywhere. There is no conclusion.
I save my time. I save my energy. I talk about this all the time and people can sit online all day long and debate about my gender. They sit and have conversations and say, “You’re this and you’re that and you’re not this and you’re not that,” but I’m seen in this society as a woman. I’m still accepted in this society as a woman.
Misogyny is still a real thing for me whether or not I’m was a designated female at birth. It’s a real thing for me, so we can have these conversations and play all these semantics, but it’s not going to stop street harassment or the type of shit that I have to deal with because I am a black woman. So to me, it’s semantics. It’s a conversation that has some degree, some sliver of validity, but is a waste of time to me in the long run. If you want to have that conversation, have that conversation. I’m just not going to be interested in it.
So anyway, on that note, that’s my true tea of the day. Let me know what’s your true tea of the day in the comment box below. What do you think about this? What do you think about eradicating gender? If gender didn’t exist would transgender exist? What do you guys think about that concept?
If you liked this mug, you can get this mug and so much more at my Society6 store. The link is always in the description box below. If you want my true tea, you can send me your e-mail or your short unlisted video to [email protected], and I will try to answer it as soon as I can.
I will give you guys a warning that I have a lot of e-mails, so if your e-mail if it’s not answered the next episode of True Tea, it’s probably coming. It’s probably coming, but it might be a couple of months’ down the line. Don’t get discouraged if I don’t answer your question.
Anyways, on that note, always remember and never forget that you are beautiful and you are loved. Bye.
To learn more about this topic, check out:
- Still Think Trans Women Have Male Privilege? These 7 Points Prove They Don’t
- Why the Feminist Movement Must Be Trans-Inclusive
Kat Blaque is a Contributing Vlogger for Everyday Feminism. She’s also a children’s illustrator and thrift store shopper. Check out Kat’s website and YouTube channel, and follow Kat on Twitter @. Watch her videos here!