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I believe in equality between the sexes. I want to see women and men have the same fair treatment in politics, jobs, and society in general. Equal rights for men and women seem like a given, yet in the time that I’ve been alive, there have been countless instances where it has not happened. Feminist waves date back to the 1800s and continue today with #MeToo and transfeminist movements. My definition of feminism includes trans and cis women, and today we are talking about transfeminism (also written as trans feminism).
This movement combines feminism and transgender views. It is a submovement of feminism, as is queer theory and intersectional feminism.
These forms of feminism see many layers to what is sexism than only the traditional definition between men and women. Often, sexism intertwines with racism, classism, and more. For example, a black woman who is facing sexism likely is also racialized; the two cannot always be separated.
A major facet of transfeminism is that sexism intersects with other types of oppression. For example, sex is assigned from the minute you are born, with the societal expectation being that the female sex will grow up to identify as a woman. For the male sex, the expectation is to identify as a man.
There are more expectations that come with sex too. The woman will be exclusively attracted to other women and feminine in their gender expression. As for men, will only have an attraction to other men and be masculine in gender expression. Failing to act as expected, such as a transgender woman, can lead to a person being ostracized, harassed, sexualized, and more.
So, at its core, transfeminism is about challenging sexism. Each person has a right to create their gender identity, whether it aligns with their assigned sex or differs from it.
More about social gender norms
Sometimes I wonder when social gender roles will change. I still see babies being dressed by their parents in pink based on the assigned sex as a girl. I also see friends dressing in tight clothes for dates because they feel that showing their feminine side is necessary. Then, there are the times when men struggle to keep it together emotionally, holding back tears because they are expected to be strong.
If you see gender stereotypes happening, such as someone making sexist comments, I encourage you to speak up. Explain what is happening is not right and call the person out on their assumptions. You might just help them to see another point of view! For instance, shemale is a derogatory term to avoid using when talking about trans women.
Transphobia is real and it is not right. Policies that ban trans people from using the bathrooms of their gender, for example, are offensive. So are sports bills that ban trans women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
A few last words
Breaking down the walls of gender stereotypes is a vital part of transfeminism. It is a feminism that includes trans people, and they have journeys that we can all learn from. Together, by respecting the viewpoints of one another, we can create a world with equal opportunities.