The notion that trans women aren’t “woman enough” is outdated and invalidating to those who identify as women. Our society’s gender norms have conditioned us into having a predetermined idea of what it means to be a woman; one that can’t be further than the truth. Here are a few reasons why transgender women are just as woman as you are.
The idea that gender is based on sex is inherently wrong
Many people believe that the terms “gender” and “sex” are interchangeable. Although they may be related, these terms are not equivalent by any means. Sex is assigned at birth, based off of the newborn’s genitalia. Gender is presumed upon birth but actually develops later in life. A baby assigned as male at birth might not necessarily grow up to identify with that gender. People don’t have the luxury of being able to choose their anatomy upon entering this world; if they did, the term “transgender” wouldn’t even exist. Some people’s sex may align with their gender; other people’s may not. Gender can be described as the complex relationship between body, identity, and expression; the level to which one is comfortable in their gender identity relates to how well these three aspects interact with one another.
Upbringing doesn’t determine one’s gender
Experiences people have as a result of their anatomy doesn’t directly correlate to which gender they identify as at all. Someone who is born as a boy may feel as though they are a girl from a very young age, but may not know how to or be able to communicate that to their parents. A girl may grow up as a boy and have the stereotypical “male” experience throughout their childhood, and upon entering adolescence, have the necessary tools to be able to begin to become a woman physically. Just because someone is raised as a man doesn’t mean that they are a man. Some might argue that a trans woman isn’t “as woman as they are” because she’s grown up with male privilege and hasn’t experienced the same trauma that cisgender women may go through. However, defining womanhood as how we are treated at the hands of men not only devalues what it means to be a woman but empowers the patriarchy.
People’s appearances shouldn’t determine their rights
Many people have a preconditioned idea of what a woman should look like due to the expectations set for living as that gender by society. Any deviations from the norm may make said people extremely uncomfortable. Instead of ostracizing the people who appear different than what you have deemed “appropriate” to look like as a woman, re-evaluate your own ideas of femininity and what it means to be a woman. A woman can have the biology of a man and feature male characteristics and still be as much of a woman as you are. Trans women should be allowed the same rights as cisgender women because they’re both women.
The term “transitioning” is incorrect
Congruence is defined as “the feeling of harmony in our gender.” It relates how we feel on the inside to how we express ourselves on the outside. When trans women take the steps they feel necessary to developing gender congruence, many people mislabel this experience as “transitioning.” This term can be misleading because it implies that the trans woman was a male and is becoming a female, when in fact they’ve always felt like a female and are simply now changing their outward appearance to match how they feel on the inside. Oftentimes, the “transition” that occurs is not with the person undergoing the congruence themselves, but for their friends and family around them, as they are transitioning in how they see that individual’s gender.