Is it wrong to say that trans women are not women?
A ‘woman’ is defined as:
1. the female human being (distinguished from man).
2. an adult female person.
3. a female attendant to a lady of rank.
4. a wife.
5. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.
For the purposes of this, (4) may be disregarded as it is a mater of social convention, (5) may be disregarded as it is about women. So, whatever a woman may be, a woman is definitely female.
What is defined as a female?
1. a person bearing two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei and normally having a vagina, a uterus and ovaries, and developing at puberty a relatively rounded body and enlarged breasts, and retaining a beardless face; a girl or woman.
2. an organism of the sex or sexual phase that normally produces egg cells.
3. a pistillate plant.
Okay that’s all pretty clear, (1) and (2) apply to humans and both are immutable, biological conditions. We now know what it means to be a ‘woman’.
What is a ‘trans woman’, is a ‘trans woman’ the same as a ‘woman’.
Having no apparent definition at Dictionary.com, we turn to Wikipedia which says:
“A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a male-to-female (MTF) transgender person with a female gender identity. The label of transgender woman is not interchangeable with that of transsexual woman, although the two are often combined or mistaken for the same thing. A transsexual woman is someone who was assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is that of a woman; transsexual women may undergo physical changes to align their body with their gender identity (known as transition).”
The important part is here:
“A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a male-to-female (MTF) transgender person with a female gender identity”
That’s easy to understand. (Although this link is to Wikipedia, which often has its veracity questioned, corroborative definitions or explanations of what it means to be a transwoman may be found here and here).
So, we can now wrap these definitions together and see if the statement ‘trans women are women’ is correct. A woman is female. A female (human) has characteristics in part (1) of the definition of ‘female’ above. A ‘transwoman’ (as defined above) does not share these defining characteristics, a transwoman is not female and so transwomen are not women. A transwoman is biologically male and so transwomen form a subset of those born biologically male. This is a statement of fact, not opinion.
So, is it important? Yes, it is: first, it is important for women for many reasons, apart from anything else, being a woman cannot be reduced merely to someone’s identity. I will return to this in a later post (and also the reasons why I have been getting shit on Twitter about it).
Secondly, it is important for transwomen, unless they are able to come to terms with this, and themselves, they will never be happy with who they are. Being happy with yourself, and happy in your own skin, is a fantastic feeling.
If you can accept this, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(This post is intentionally simplistic, a more comprehensive discussion of sex/gender may be found on Gia’s blog here).