It has come to my attention after lots of discussion around abortion rights, Reproductive Rights, and Sexual Health. The conversation needs to be had that in 2016 “women” aren’t the only people who need access to abortions, birth control and “feminine hygiene” products.
The “War on Women” is a war on me and other transmasculine & gender non-conforming people as well, however, that does NOT make us Women.
The past couple months, many times organizations like NARAL & Planned Parenthood have offended me personally when calling to ask for money. This isn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last time.
Yes even in my home borough of Staten Island, I have been denied services by Planned Parenthood in NYC because of my assumed identity.
My question to these organizations is this, “Why do we not mention people like me?”. The narrative most often used to spread the need for reproductive justice is very “cissexist”. I don’t feel connected to it except that we share one thing “reproductive organs”, but even those organizations don’t seem to care about that. This isn’t just there it’s part of everyday life many times in politics, healthcare and organizations.
Plenty of people know of my transgender identity, my personal gender pronouns, my name is legally Bryan. Those interpersonal efforts haven’t = the change in those areas I had hoped for.
The question is Why? Why do the popular reproductive rights groups continue to erase the identity of transmasculine / gender non-conforming people?
Why do they capitalize on the work of us at some times, but at other times not give transmen/ masculine identities the visibility we so desperately need.
If feminists want to continue to support the push for GENDER EQUALITY, we need to move past the two gender binary way of thinking.
I suggest organizations consider taking some of the following steps to improve this lack of intersectionality, in as many as 4 easy steps. Think Actively About Your Using of the word “Women”
1. Think Actively About Your Using of the word “Women”
Yes, your hashtag or slogan might be catchy, but remember it more than likely only means one type of person: Cisgender Women
2.Try Using Gender Neutral Language
Consider some of the terms like FARS/MARS (Female/Male Assigned Reproductive Systems this includes trans people & intersex people while the decades of medical violence and resource extraction aimed at women and people of color
3. Remember You Can’t Guess Someone’s Identity by Looking At Them or Hearing Their Voice
You cannot guess someone’s Biology, Personal Gender Pronoun, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation by how they look or how their voice sounds. If you are making phone calls ask for donations, talk about the fight for reproductive justice not “a women’s right, women’s bodies under attack, you know the women of America are under attack” Our bodies are under attack too, Our reproductive organs need protecting too, we get abortions, We need birth control. Make it feel like you care about Transgender People not just Women.
4. Make An Effort to Expressly Mention Trans People
If Reproductive Justice is openly discussed and includes ALL People we will be better off. When you give respect to trans people and validate them everyone wins in the fight for Reproductive Justice.
YES! Cisgender Women are marginalized for being women. YES being female adds to the systemic oppression.
It is important to remember that being a women, being female & having Female Assigned Reproductive System aren’t mutually exclusive.
This is how we continue the discussion on Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Health, and Sexual Health and continue moving forward and including ALL People.