Do You Understand What Being An Ally Is?

Okay, so I’m seeing  a lot of arguments going around that say because (some) transwomen have been active within the feminist movement and within feminist campaigns, this means that they are entitled to enter any and all women’s spaces, including the few (very few!) spaces reserved for women born women, or FAB women, or biological females.

This is a bullshit argument. Being a good ally to women does not entitle you to acceptance into private spaces of an oppressed class when that class doesn’t want you there. Women are a class oppressed on the basis of our biological sex, and this happens to us regardless of how we present or identify. We have the right to set up and maintain autonomous spaces for those of us who are oppressed along this axis.

Transwomen who argue that they have earned the right to enter women only spaces because of their feminist activism betray evidence of the common nice-guy syndrome. You know, that nice guy who gives his female friend a lift late one night so she gets home safely and then, at some later date, believes he has earned the right to have his dick sucked or whatever else, because he did her a favour. It betrays a sense of entitlement. It betrays an inability to understand that it is not your automatic right to have access to all and any spaces you desire.

White people being political allies to Black people does not give white people the right to enter spaces reserved for people of colour. Men being allies to women does not give men the right to enter women only spaces. Straight women being allies to lesbians does not give straight women the right to enter lesbian only spaces. Are you seeing the pattern here?

Biological women as a group do not have systematic societal power over transwomen as a group. We are not accorded special privileges that transwomen are not. Even stupid ‘cis privilege’ arguments like saying, no one will question your womanhood, is not the case for many non-conforming biological women (especially lesbians) who are frequently accused of not being real women. When biological women organise together on our own behalf, we are not hoarding power and resources that we intend to keep for ourselves to give us an unfair advantage over other groups in society. The fact that transwomen also experience discrimination and oppression does not mean that their situation is in every way the same as that of biological women. Recognising difference is not hatred. Asking for spaces in which to organise around issues specific to biological women is not oppressing anyone. Not going along with the views expressed by another group is not hatred.

Hatred is stalking and harassing those who disagree with your views. It is sending death threats and rape threats to your political opponents. It is disregarding, again and again, the voices of those who are asking for their own spaces. It is shutting down events whose politics you disagree with.

It is the trans* and their allies who are doing this, not those of us trying to maintain the integrity of our own political spaces.