On Saturday, many rallies were held around the country decrying the Republican War On Women, a very real offensive that is seeking to turn back the clock on reproductive freedom. I wish I could have gone to the one in Harrisburg, but alas, I had a prior commitment here in Philadelphia.
I am pro-choice, and have been for as long as I even was interested in politics; in fact, one of the first major protests I went to was the March For Women’s Lives in Washington, DC back in 2004, when I was still in disguise as a “cisgender male” (which goes to show how old I am and how close I am to “aging out” of Amplify). Although I do not have the proper equipment to give birth, I stand with the cisgender women, transgender men, as well as genderqueer/agender individuals who may potentially get pregnant, and may want to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancy with birth control, or, if already pregnant, terminate said pregnancy.
The War on Women goes far beyond reproductive freedom. and the perpetrators transcend partisan politics. There, of course, is still wage disparity between genders, the average state legislature is only 23% women (and Pennsylvania is even worse, with a paltry 16%), domestic violence services being the victim of austerity measures, and the fact that Planned Parenthood, which does many great services beyond abortion, is being vilified by the right. These are all issues that should be viewed as co-equal to issues involving reproductive health, however, there is one issue that has been consistently left behind,
Transgender women face unique challenges, not only by coming out have they forfeited the male privilege which may have kept them safe and/or advanced them (I know this, when en homme, I used to be able to walk anywhere and not be picked on, but that ended up changing as I came out), but they are in a position where they are not even recognized as their true selves. When a transgender woman is forced into a men’s shelter, that’s misogyny; when a transgender woman is called “sir”, that’s misogyny, when a transgender woman is beaten up simply for using the restroom most suitable for their gender identity, that is misogyny, when a transgender woman is forced into the men’s prison, that is misogyny, and when cisgender women, who claim to be against misogyny, vilify or throw under the bus women of trans* experience, well, that is misogyny as well.
And it goes beyond sex-segregated settings too. During an endorsement meeting for a local LGBT organization, I felt infantilized and shut out by certain people’s misogynistic and overbearing behavior, and was even told by an elderly cisgender male that I talked too much. That is too close to the “women should be in the kitchen” trope that has threatened us all. That, my dear readers, is misogyny.
Being pro-choice, or claiming that you vote Democrat, or giving lip service to the issue, does not necessarily make you a feminist. I do not wish to use this platform to prioritize one issue over the other, or to create some form of hierarchy. There are but so many vectors of oppression, and while I hope that these rallies brought to attention a variety of issues that women of any experience face, let us always look at the War On Women through an interdisciplinary lens.
I am woman, too; and it’s a shame that I as a woman of transgender experience have to put the “too” there.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis