JK Rowling and the Prejudice of the Penis

Jesus Christ. I’m pagan, but Jesus fuckin’ Christ. Again? I’m talking about her latest transphobic tweet, of course. Here’s a screenshot:

I’m not even following her, guys. Twitter just thinks I want to see her shit ’cause of all the arguments I get into in her reply sections. But okay, Twitter. I guess we’re doing this again.

I thought about not even clicking on it and going about my day, ’cause I know. I know, guys. It’s not gonna be all rainbows, butterflies, and acceptance. It’s gonna be Facebook: Twitter Edition. But how can I judge the contents of the article before even reading it? So of course I freaking clicked it.

What followed was a novella-sized article about how at first this gay guy was totally on board with LGBTQ+ rights and worked towards equality with Stonewall and all of that. Then his friend messaged him and said, “I’m a TERF. Wanna talk?” After that, he realized he was prejudiced against trans women (only trans women) who had no desire to medically transition. Once he realized he couldn’t see non-medically transitioned trans women as women, he was done with Stonewall. Why? ‘Cause Stonewall was all, “Trans women are valid even if they don’t medically transition. They should still be legally viewed as women.” Insert paranoia about trans women predators.

JK Rowling shared this. She doesn’t outright say in her tweet that she believes the same, but I suspect that’s purposeful. When I first realized JK Rowling was a TERF, I was heartbroken that my favorite childhood author was a bigot. Now I’m just angry. I’m angry that despite so many dissenting opinions in her replies, she hasn’t realized what she’s saying is harmful. She has a very “Us versus Them” attitude.

Let me explain that last line. It is my understanding that she views this fight as between cis women’s safety and trans women predators. To protect cis women, I believe she thinks the only possible solution is to keep penises out of female-sex spaces. I believe she sees penises as weapons. As someone who was born with a vagina, I can understand that way of thinking. I grew up with constant vigilance (See what I did there?) around men, because I was repeatedly told of the dangers they posed to me. What they might do to me if they caught me alone in a dark alley. That fear is instilled in those born with a vagina from a very young age.

Here’s what changed for me, even before I knew I was a trans man. I started thinking, “How many men in my lifetime have actually tried to hurt me when they were alone with me?” and “Is it fair to automatically suspect every man based on what a few have done in the past?” It didn’t make sense to me to distrust someone based on the sex they were assigned at birth, even before I started thinking about what it meant to be transgender. It’s the same, in my opinion, as judging a race of people based on actions of a few from that race. It’s misandry. We hear about misogyny all the time and have a lot of awareness surrounding it, but we almost never hear anyone say someone is a misandrist. “He’s a misogynist,” is something that elicits disapproving looks from women and men alike in today’s society. But, “She’s a misandrist,” fails to garner the same response.

What I see from TERFs are people demanding equality while simultaneously refusing to offer the same to those born with a penis. Cis women don’t want to be seen as weak, just because they’re born with a vagina. They don’t want to be considered less capable in the workplace, just because they have a vagina. They don’t want to be considered anything based solely on the fact that they have a vagina.

But put a woman in front of them who has a penis and all of a sudden, that’s all that woman is to a TERF. Her penis. You can’t use this restroom, because you have a penis. You can’t change in this changing room, because you have a penis. You can’t play on this sports team, because you have a penis. You can’t be recognized in this woman’s magazine, because you have a penis.

TERFs think trans women are stealing their positions in the world. They think trans women are going to hurt them or their children because, in their opinion, they’re carrying a weapon between their legs. Or maybe they just think a penis is unsightly and they shouldn’t have to see it.

It’s okay for cis women to see other cis women’s vaginas and breasts, of course, but it’s not okay to see a woman’s penis when they’re changing with you. Now, I’m not saying anyone should put up with being forced to see a naked body if they don’t want to see it. But if you’re in a changing room, it’s time to be a grown-up and adopt a much more clinical mindset. If you think someone is going to hurt you simply because they have a penis, you need to deconstruct that mindset. It’s outdated and sexist.

It’s a long-held tradition that a penis is only seen by a sexual partner, a medical professional, or other people who also have a penis in a changing room. Same thing for breasts and vaginasβ€”if you have the same parts, you’re allowed to see them.

It’s modesty.

Modesty has evolved over the centuries, though. What was once unthinkable is now the norm. Remember when we learned that women could not show their ankles, once upon a time? Now bikinis are par for the course. Men wear speedos at the beach, too. Basically what I’m saying is get over it. It’s a penis. It’s a body part. You’re being super immature, pretending that it’s gonna all of a sudden jump out and attack you while a trans woman is changing next to you.

TERFs view trans women as a threat to their safety simply because they might have a penis.

That is misandry.

Another thing TERFs like to bring up is how trans women are taking up space meant for cis women. The latest outrage involves a swimmer (Lia Thomas) who has transitioned from male to female. This swimmer took testosterone blockers for two full years before competing. She’s well behind the time for the record-holding female athletes, too. But because she won a race, all of a sudden, it’s unfair. Lia Thomas isn’t the first trans woman athlete, by the way. There are others. You just haven’t heard about them, because they didn’t win. For more info, check out this article from The New Yorker.

TERFs argue that trans women in sports hold an unfair advantage, but the science doesn’t work.

Next up is trans women being recognized as women in magazines and for awards and such. This one is just pure transphobia. What they’re saying is, “I don’t recognize a trans woman as a woman, so they have no place in a woman’s magazine.” So where do they belong? In a men’s magazine?

Trans women are women. A TERF refuses to believe that and rejects trans women as women. And if they don’t see them as women, then they see them as men or as “other”. Othering people is against what our society stands for in the 21st century and forcing a trans woman to be categorized as a man or be left out of society is unconscionable. The fact that TERFs either don’t think that far ahead or don’t care makes them the villains in this segment of the history book.

Honestly, I don’t give a single flying fuck about sports. I don’t care about changing rooms. I don’t care about a fucking public toilet. Although, the toilet thing has been a point of anxiety for me once or twice. And not because I fear the penis-wielding population is gonna do some crazy shit to me. It’s because I worry that I’m going to encounter a wild transphobe in the men’s room. Transphobic people are what make me anxious, not men.

But as a trans man, I just stay home for the most part. If I do go out, it’s to gay bars where there’s gender neutral restrooms. Guess how many problems happen in those restrooms, by the way. Zero. I’ve never had or heard of violence occurring in those restrooms. Maybe the LGBTQ+ community isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s the angry people who think trans people aren’t valid who are the problem.

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