Content note: this post discusses anti-choice sentiment and transphobia
Today, I got a tweet from a TERF expressing a desire to reduce the abortion time limit, using the same concern-trolling language as noted womb-botherers such as Nadine Dorries.
It didn’t surprise me.
Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first: TERFs are about as feminist as Jim Davidson. They’re also very comfortable with forming political alliances with conservative men, and indeed prefer to date conservative men as they have more in common with them politically. So it’s hardly a shock that they’ve been parroting patriarchal talking points.
Then we have the media transmisogynists like to pretend that trans women pose a problem for reproductive rights activism, which is a deliberately disingenuous misrepresentation of the fairly uncontroversial demand that when we talk about reproductive organs and human bodies, we’re gender-neutral about it, because that’s more precise. It simply isn’t true that trans women are a block to reproductive rights. In fact, they’re doing more than any media transphobe ever has.
How do we know this? One of the places to look is Ireland, where there is a huge struggle for access to abortion. I follow this activism keenly, and do what I can to support and boost their work, so I’m aware that there are a lot of trans women deeply involved in this crucial action. I’ve met many Irish trans feminists who participate in reproductive freedom work. And likewise, Irish feminists don’t want these UK TERFs anywhere near their work, having recently produced a widely-signed open letter telling TERFs exactly where to fuck off to.
If you actually care about reproductive rights, you’d know this, and that’s how it becomes abundantly clear that your transmisogynistic bigots are simply using abortion access as a dogwhistle for “women are defined by reproductive organs and only that.”
To me, feminism is always and has always involved liberating women from our biology. A refusal to define us by whether or not we can bear children. I’ve written before about how this biological essentialism promulgated by transmisogynistic bigot feminists is identical to that promulgated by misogynists. I’ve also defined my stance as pro-trans and pro-choice.
But I want to say it once more, loudly, for the people at the back: trans rights and reproductive rights are intimately linked. You cannot have one without the other. It all boils down to bodily autonomy.
Organisations like Planned Parenthood understand this, and provide therapy for trans people as well as reproductive care. On the flipside of this, 20 countries in Europe still require sterilisation for trans people if they want legal gender recognition.
It is no coincidence that the religious right and fascists want to crack down on both reproductive healthcare and trans healthcare: all they want to do is refuse us bodily autonomy.
Our struggles are the same, and scratch a transmisogynist, and it’ll bleed womb-botherer in the end. Don’t let them win, and let’s continue to stand shoulder to shoulder against these attacks.