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.

8 thoughts on “Do You Understand What Being An Ally Is?

  1. Mary Sunshine says:

    Trans have never been allies to feminists, ever. In no way, shape or form.

    Another bloody prickish lie.

  2. Nicky says:

    Reblogged this on Kallmann's syndrome life and commented:
    It’s clear that trans and genderqueer are using the entitlement system, they grew up from birth.

  3. karmarad says:

    Well said, and very clearly. Thanks!

  4. I’m genuinely curious as to what excluding trans* people from “women’s” spaces actually achieves, apart from othering that group of people? It’s all very well saying “they’re not entitled to join”, but why must they be excluded?

    • weirdward says:

      Women are an oppressed group within society. We have the right to decide who does and does not belong within the category of ‘women’, we have the right to exclude those who we consider not to be women. I don’t accept transwomen as women. Many other women don’t either. Sure many women do as well, which is fine. Invite them into your spaces, by all means. But for those of us who want separate spaces, we can have them. It is not being exclusionary or otherering for a group of specific people – in this case biological women – to meet in order to deal with the issues we share. Fear of pregnancy would be a big one there, reproductive rights in the form of abortion etc, consequences of motherhood under patriarchy – I could go on and on.

      Keep in mind also – and I should write a whole post about this one day – to a large degree, women are being told we have to accept transwomen as women by external societal forces – in other words, lawmakers, psychologists, doctors, academics, therapists, politicians and other powerful representatives are making these pronouncements from on high with the full weight of (conservative, patriarchal) power behind them. This is being forced on us by people who are very often not even members of the oppressed group they are trying to control. Or who don’t understand the need for the spaces they are thoughtlessly destroying. You might want to think about that. Trans* are always seen as the most oppressed of the oppressed, and yet they have ALL the most powerful institutions of our patriarchal society supporting them and supporting their ‘right’ to enter female only spaces, when females do not want them there. If we were talking about primarily white politicians who were trying to ban Black-only political associations or something, or saying that white people who identified as Black inside had to be included, and writing laws to that effect, there would be huge protests against that, and rightly so.

      The bottom line is that these are our spaces, and quite frankly we don’t have to justify ourselves as to why we’re not inviting the whole world along to play. All we have to do is say no. Hurt feelings do not equal political discrimination, though men think they do – see my previous post for evidence of that! Anyone who can’t accept and respect that no is already showing me that they are not someone who I would want in my spaces anyway, because they don’t know how to be respectful.

      Also I think there is a great deal of confusion about inclusion/exclusion and how they work as political concepts. In queer spaces, it’s assumed that it’s bigoted to exclude anyone from any space, but that’s not how it works. Exclusion was (and still is) used as a political strategy by the domiant group/s to hoard power and resources and keep the oppressed powerless by denying them access to information and education, to participation in society, to economic opportunities etc. Women are not politically disadvantaging or oppressing transwomen by excluding them from our spaces, because women are already an oppressed political minority. Nothing is stopping transwomen from building their own spaces, their own movement, and then inviting us to collaborate with them, rather than just demanding entry into our spaces and our political movement and then skewing the entire thing to focus only on themselves (which is what I have seen happen over and over again).

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