I was asked today what my thoughts on JK Rowling were.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this topic in my attempt to understand the Gender Critical (GC) and Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) points of view and have had many conversations with GC and TERF people trying to work through exactly what their concerns with me are.
Specification of the problem
Basically, it comes down to:
You’ll never be a woman, don’t enter women only spaces, you’re causing distress to real women, you’ll always be a man, if you don’t agree that just proves you’re a man because men never listen to women.
A reasonably solid argument with a nifty little self destruct clause in there should I try to stand up for myself.
However, when you drill down and come to the core of the problem, there are men in the world that cause women to feel unsafe. They use their superior size, strength and aggressiveness to sexually and otherwise abuse women.
As I have had the same primary sexual characteristics as these men, I obviously cannot be trusted with women’s safety in their spaces.
You‘ll never be a woman
I am now and I have always been a woman, 100% through and through for my entire life.
Yes, I have grown up with men. Yes, I have developed an ability to almost perfectly imitate the way men act and can almost flawlessly pass as a man in society if I need to. I know all the little micro-gestures and secret guy codes to make for silent guy-talk. My survival literally relied on me learning these things and perfecting them over the course of the 40 years I spent living incognito.
But I have never been a man. Just a nearly flawless actor with an almost 100% rate of passing as a man.
As a woman, however, my passing rate is low.
I have male pattern baldness from decades of the poison Testosterone flooding my system, I still have a slight beard shadow (as I’m only halfway through laser), my body still hasn’t quite achieved the right womanly shapes (but it’s getting there), and I’m still learning to perfect my voice, walk and micro-gestures to be more feminine.
Passing as a woman
Do I pass? No.
Do I care? No (yes).
I’m fine with being that visibly transgender woman that people see walking around.
The one that some people laugh at behind her back, or sometimes to her face. That sometimes generates disgusted looks or outright hostility. I recently got compared to a dog that thinks it’s a cat and the supposed ridiculosity that such a phenomenon ensures.
But I do it anyway, while I can. Before my hair all grows back, I finish my laser, my boobs flesh out, hips grow, anterior pelvic tilt completes, my voice training becomes effortless, and you can’t tell the difference between me and any cis woman anymore.
I do it because I’m seen by other trans, non-binary, queer, lesbian, bi, gay, straight and cis people. I’m a genuinely friendly, happy, sociable and reasonably otherwise normal person. Normal, apart from the fact that I think I’m a cat… apparently.
I do it because seeing me there, apart from the really small but hurtful percentage of assholes, who make me feel like shit, makes being transgender more mainstream.
I do it because of the smiles I get from people who recognise me for me or see me as a kindred spirit.
I do it for the other transgender or gender non-conforming people out there who maybe are not out yet and get to see another of their kind doing regular, ordinary things like going shopping for groceries.
Can I be trusted?
This is what it comes down to though. Can I be trusted with the safety of other women in women-only spaces?
So this is the tricky part. Because you can absolutely 100% trust me. But instantly that makes me suspect because you should never trust someone that says “you can trust me”. So I can’t say “yes” directly.
What I can say is that I am absolutely a woman, I’ve never hurt a woman, I don’t understand how any man (which I’m not) could hurt a woman, even though I know that it does happen, and I fear for my own safety just as much, if not more so, than I do for yours.
And not that it’s relevant, but in my case, I’m also taking hormones that affect the way that my sexual drive works. It literally does not work in the same way that males work anymore, not that it actually really ever has.
But none of this is even pertinent because if women who fear men see a “man” entering their safe space, they don’t know any of this. Even though 99.999%+ of trans women are legitimate women, non-violent and probably so very scared of even being in that space with them, there’s that tiny little percentage of a possibility that the person is pretending, and is actually a predator.
So this results in the reaction, “Let’s keep all ‘men’ out, just to be safe. If you don’t agree 100% with this then you must be a man, or a predator, or a groomer, or just not care about the well-being and safety of biological women.”
I’ll admit. It’s a good argument and one that’s structured in a way that’s not really possible to win.
So have I burnt all my Harry Potter books?
No, but only because I don’t burn books (joke).
Seriously though, I really enjoyed the book franchise and the movies. I still remember the anticipation that I had, waiting for each book to come out. I was there right from the start. As a girl, seeing myself in the smart, witty and capable Hermione Granger.
The only thing that I really regret is the money I had eagerly given to JK for her books (all first edition hardcovers) and then all the movies (at the cinema box office, on opening day), and the love that I had for this author has all been turned against me.
It pains me that I had to break the streak and I can’t watch the latest movie because some small portion of my money would get back into her war chest.
I’ve also read her manifesto, trying to understand why she hates me.
Does JK hate me?
I don’t think she specifically hates me, no.
She hates the potential of “all men” to be dangerous to women and sees that percentage in “every man”, even those that are women.
Because trans women “used to be men” according to them, we, therefore, have that potential as well.
Then there’s the possibility that we’re just pretending to be women so that we can worm our way into women’s safe spaces to be predatory.
I feel really sorry for her, and all women that have suffered abuse, that their lives have had such trauma. I can’t understand what it feels like and don’t ever want to. I pray that it never happens to me, but constantly fear that it will.
So when they tell me that they fear men in women’s spaces, but expect me, a woman, to go into men’s spaces, I’m terrified.
So what do I do?
I try to go every time before I leave home.
When I’m out I try to hold it in until I can get back to a safe restroom.
If I absolutely can’t wait and there’s a gender-neutral option available I’ll use that.
If not and I am with a girlfriend or my spouse, I’ll ask them to accompany me.
When I do have to go, I’ll sneak in as quickly as I can to a stall, do my business, listen to make sure the coast is clear on the way out, and then wash/dry my hands and exit as quickly as possible.
I will absolutely never go into a male restroom unless there's literally no other choice. Sorry, not sorry.
What is the solution?
I don’t know, but the problem is the people who abuse women.
The problem is the mentality that allows or excuses this behaviour. The “He/she/they said, she said”, “She deserved it”, “She asked for it”, “She dressed provocatively”, or “She changed her mind” excuses. The lack of enthusiastic consent. The willful ignorance of no meaning no. The cunning pre-meditation and planning to get women alone and vulnerable. The apathy to take action, which is “bystander syndrome”. The ineffectuality of the justice system to prosecute these cases. The certainty in the minds of predators that they’ll get away with it because they have before and will again.
The problem is that one person out of a thousand. The one person who is a predator.
The one in a thousand, that should be zero in a thousand.
So what’s the solution? Get to zero.
And please, stop persecuting trans women for something we’re not doing and not responsible for any more than any other person. The responsibility of every person, to stand up and say something, to scream, to yell when we see evil being done.
We, the trans women of the world, would stand with you against the injustices and discrimination if you let us.
Do I hate JK, GCs or TERFs?
No, I do not.
I even understand them to a certain extent, I just can’t accept their conclusion.
I love and cherish them all as fellow women.
I just wish they loved us instead of hating and fearing us.