I have a lot of thoughts about this topic. Maybe it's best if I bring them up as as separate but related points...
First off, I think for the question "are trans women women?" I feel like this is something where we first have to define "trans" and then define "woman"... I know this might make people go , but I feel like this is often an overlooked part of the whole discussion!
Personally, I think trans women are women. Personally, I have also seen transwomen erase my own gender identity and that of other female-bodied but maybe not wholly female identifying people. I find this regrettable, as I feel the position of white trans women within the trans/genderqueer community mirrors that of white gay men within the gay community... I feel like often they have an easier time being heard than other people within the community. Recently Rebecca Sugar, creator of the cartoon Steven Universe, came out as what she describes a "nonbinary woman," and there were trans women in my social sphere ridiculing the notion that such a thing would even exist. I just... look, I don't have the words for that. It's like entering a clubhouse and then pulling up the ladder behind you.
Also, white trans women are in a unique situation where they frequently come from outwardly a position of high privilege that was afforded to them as cis-appearing men, with all the privilege that entails, while inwardly facing a lot of struggle. There is no getting around the fact that trans women were socialized as cis men, and I have personally witnessed situations that were just... well, not fucking okay! I'm sure we've seen the screenshots, I don't need to link them but... look, how can it be that the people getting the hate and the "choke to death on my transgirl dick" memes are almost always female? Does Graham Linnehan get told to chocke on dick and die? If he does, he bloody does a lot less often than just about any woman who dares wade into this argument!
If you profess to be a lesbian, if you say "yeah I'm a woman who loves women," how does something like that fit with being, well, a woman! If you deploy the same tactics as the incels who think the government's sole purpose should be to provide men with a girlfriend/sex slave maybe re-evaluate your views on women!!!
(I am not saying that anyone here has done or said that, but look I am just so bloody tired of this shite. I am also very, very wary of anyone who uses sexual violence as a joke or as a threat.)
Also, to circle back to privilege, no one deserves a pat on the head for giving up their privilege. I have heard this argument of "well they've given up their privilege so..." so often and well, so what? If you were always a woman, well, welcome to being a woman and being treated as one. Yeah it sucks a lot of the time because the deck is often stacked against you. There is a common theme where trans women have told me how easier they would have had it if they had been born female-bodied like me and... look, I am a survivor of sexual abuse, I have been harrassed at work and in public, I have had to defend myself from being groped on public transport, I work in a male-dominated field now and a lot of the time I have felt doors slammed in my face because I'm not part of the 'Boys Club'... I'm not saying this for sympathy, but because just about every single cis woman I have met has had at least one of these experiences in their past. In fact, I have had it way easy compared to some women I know. Maybe we can agree that everyone has their parcel to bear, and no one's life would not have been necessarily rosy and perfect if they had been born with female plumbing. so like
YEAH ME TOO. Probably a lot of other women on this forum. You talk about privilege like abuse and sexual violence aren't a fucking epidemic in America and just about bloody elsewhere on this plant. You say "get off your pampered ass" like you know the experiences of the women on this forum, like you are somehow wise to something they haven't copped to in their time on this planet.I've been RAPED, BEAT,and been the victim of POLICE BRUTALITY on multiple occasions. so what i'm trying to say is all the shit talking you all do can jump in the back of the bus.
And maybe examine why you think this is something out of the ordinary to experience that you have to stress it and use it as a weapon here. Both of my grandmothers were regularly beaten and raped by their husbands. This is not new, in fac I think during their time this was the rule, rather than the exception. No one should experience rape, no one should be beaten or abused just for trying to live their life. But again, why do you write this like oyu are the only one? My experiences are what drove to me to feel so strongly about feminism being necessary, and to invest my time, money and passion into the projects I have been part of. I want girls to not have to experience what I did. I want them to have resources I had not.
A lot of late transitioning trans women have a really shitty 1950's idea of what it means to be female and also that women have it sooo much easier. That's not on them (but as adults we have to take responsibility for the toxic ideas we carry, too), that is on how we raise boys to be the protagonists of their own stories, while we raise girls, in general, to minimize conflict and be sweet and agreeable and supportive.
This toxic image of what it means to be a woman harms them, but it also harms the women they are around. There is no good answer to this outside of "see the privilege you held and recognize that it is a fake, harmful idea constructed by a broken society." I realize that that is a painful realization that takes a lot of work. As an example, I was part of a conversation where a woman I know was feeling quite shaken after an episode of street harrassment. A trans woman who was part of the conversation offered the unbelievable tone-deaf opinion that the woman, who was shaking with fear should have taken it as a compliment. While I realize that cis women have shitty opinions too 1. no, you don't say that, 2. NO YOU DON'T FUCKING SAY THAT, 3. you have lived as a woman for what a year now. You are like a toddler who is still learning to walk and talk. Maybe hold off on the advice for a hot minute. If someone is terrified, don't tell them to just loosen up and enjoy it.
Cis women of course also have a lot of matrix shit to wake up to, as a rule. We all need to get better and we all need to support each other. But also, if you are a new woman, maybe listen to people who have around doing this been a lot longer than you. I never wanted to either when I was a kid, but sitting down shutting up and listening to other women has led to some of the most valuable lessons in my life.
Transitioning is hard. It's painful physically, emotionally and psychologically. I wish every trans woman the best of luck and for them to grow into the women they want to be.
But I have to wonder... on this forum, why is one of the first topics that was created people demanding to know whether trans women are welcome? why not also "are trans women wlecome here as women and trans men welcome here as male allies?" Oh yes ftms get mentioned sometimes as fig leaf. But really, say transgender once, then go back to trans woman this, trans woman that.
I already know that to some trans women, the answer is "because only mtfs get angry pushback! ftms are treated soooo much better."
Like corrective rape is not a thing that happens to ftms and nonbinary people (and lesbians and and and...).
Like ftms don't get murdered all the time either (people just claim they are lesbians, like with Brandon Teena.)
I'm sorry but... it just makes me angry. A lot of the time it feels frustrating, like trans women aren't fighting for women's rights, or trans rights, or queer rights... they are fighting for trans women's rights. And I'm not willing to give people headpats anymore who will go "fuck you got mine lol!" later on.
Sorry for this being so jumbled, I tried to compress a lifetime of experience into one post, maybe that was a bad idea. I want to love trans women as sisters, but I often feel like a stepping stone instead.