The following text is my contribution to the discussion at the Women’s Place UK Meeting on 27 February 2018. None of this is new, having covered much of this in more detail here, here, here, here, here and, years ago, here. Anyway…
If you’re going to fight oppression you need to be able to describe how that oppression affects your life.
To do this you have to be able to describe your oppression and name your oppressor.
Use of the term ‘trans woman’ and female pronouns for males may seem like a compassionate compromise.
There are three problems with this.
First, you’ll notice this compromise is one way and not reciprocated.
Second, it’s cruel to lie to people about what they are. People should be accepted for what they are, and you should not base friendship on a lie.
Third, being a ‘trans woman’ is about what what it means to be a man, not a woman.
I believe passionately that trans males should address the fact that we are men, deconstruct that and address the problems that masculinity causes all of us.
I believe also that women have the right to their own language to describe their lives and what they are.
As a trans male, I encourage every woman here to embrace what has now become the most revolutionary thing anyone can do, which is to name men as men.
Do not afford us pronouns like ‘she’ or ‘her’. Do not refer to men as women or ‘trans women’ or ‘transgender women’.
I encourage all of you to fight and to stand up for your rights, identity and the reality of what it is to be a women.
Please, all of you. Keep talking. Keep fighting. Keep terfing.