To affirm trans feminism as part of a fourth-wave feminism is to affirm that intersectionality means recognizing how institutional and structural barriers cut across different intersectional axes.
It means recognizing that racism is still real, deeply ingrained everywhere around us, and part of your responsibility to dismantle (especially if you don’t think you’re at all racist) — just as cisnormativity is still real and part of your responsibility to dismantle (especially if you’re a cis person who doesn’t believe you’re cissexist, transmisogynistic, or transphobic).
If you’re a woman who is trans, and you’re not a woman of colour, then you stand to see how your intersectional privilege of being white still matters, despite the systemic barriers you face of being trans. Facing down cisnormativity isn’t enough. Facing down intersectional barriers — even ones you don’t experience — is the only way cisnormativity will be undermined.
Renieddolodge’s post, “This is white privilege” (re-blogged here), is necessary reading for every trans person, and especially for every trans woman who isn’t a woman of colour.
[Ed. note: This is the opening instalment of a five-part narrative. Subsequent instalments to come. Monica is preparing this narrative as part of a forthcoming book on her life experiences.]
|||| Monica Maldonado
[WARNING: References to rape, physical violence, clinical gatekeeping, and transphobia.]
Personal note: I’ve chosen to tell this story to confront a larger phenomenon — the wholesale exclusion, isolation, desexualization, and near-universal disgust directed at trans women — strictly and specifically through my individual lens. I chose this not because I felt I couldn’t discuss this in more abstract and universal terms, but because I think in this case it’s actually beneficial and it adds to the conversation a narrative context which I feel is often missing. As a result, this narrative is a bit more involved than usual. Rather than continuing to allow cis people to frame this discussion on their terms and making it about them and their sex, it’s time we told our own stories because this has never really been about cis people.
|||| Patience Newbury
Cisnormativity has thus far been raised all of once in scholarly peer review.
That paper, co-authored by a team in Canada (called the Trans Pulse Project), was drafted not so much by queer theory scholars or other social science disciplines. Rather, this paper came from empirical field research by registered nurses and social workers who work with a wealth of everyday people seeking access to basic health and social care — including trans people. They invited a survey on the experiences of trans people in medicine and social services. Continue reading