Why We Must Protect Our Trans Students, A Future Female Perspective.
Students with trans identities are the future. We have much to learn from the young person who is brave enough to live as their truest gender identity, despite societal norms telling them to conform. There is so much to be valued in the young person who is brave enough to know themselves, to be themselves, and to reject oppressive gender constructs that have been designed to control.
The ban on gender neutral bathrooms symbolizes an archaic move to enact control in a way that only reflects fear and insecurity. It signifies a last ditch effort of the old world, of a Trumpian era and the obsolete models it clings to. Gloria Steinem often explains: those who are resistant to change are the ones who have the most to lose. Fucking up the gender hierarchy topples the patriarchy, topples hyper-masculinity as the desirable trait it once was, and instead opens up an avenue of equality for all gender expressions to take on their fullest and freest forms.
When the slogan “The Future is Female” found its way into my life (by way of a t-shirt gifted to me from a friend who runs Otherwild) 2 years ago after I ran the London Marathon, I was deeply inspired. I felt this slogan embodied my understanding of feminism, of womxnism, of equality. It represented to me a love for what is feminine, and more over a need for us to look to femininity as a place to reimagine the future of leadership for our very survival. To look to circles instead of triangles, to look to collaboration instead of competitiveness, to look to emotional intelligence instead of brute force strength.
While the roots of this slogan may have had trans-misogynist intentions in its past, its current meaning for me has been about celebrating the feminine in all of us. Combatting misogyny then serves as an entry point into combatting homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny.
As I stated earlier, there is much to learn from the modern trans liberation movement. The bravery to reject gender identity regardless of ones sex is to reject the constraints and expectations placed upon us to conform, to expect us to be dimmer versions of ourselves. It comes from a hyper obsession with the masculine and an oppression of the feminine. But if we moved from a system in which femininity is ranked below masculinity, and instead a system where we understand and value that feminine and masculine exist as energies along a spectrum upon which each of us exist, it would no longer matter what gender identity we were – it wouldn’t matter where along the spectrum we existed, nor would it matter who we are attracted to. We could also allow our sexuality and our gender identity to exist as they
We are deeply threatened by this idea today because maleness equals privilege and power. No person dealt power or privilege at birth wants to relinquish it. And those women who have benefited from sexual power, which is arguably the only sort of power (albeit synthetic) women have been dealt in the patriarchal systems of the west today, also don’t want to change the system because they have found a way to make it their own. All of us navigate today’s oppressive world as a give and take of power exchange, seeking privilege where possible, and analyzing our own privilege as a way to move forward in the world, whether consciously or unconsciously.
I know how to make someone relinquish their privilege and join the movement to seek alternative forms of leadership. I think it is when the systems stop working for them. When they start to awaken to realize that they are just as brainwashed as any of us. That hyper-masculinity and the pressure to quiet our emotions and true states of being, which may or may not to relate to ones own femininity, is just as oppressive as anything else. That having to perform masculinity daily is exhausting and inauthentic. That it inhibits ones ability to love. That it makes someone spend a life time seeking happiness when instead it could be accessible by rejecting social constructs and dialing in to what makes that person feel joyful and true.
It is for this reason that we cannot contribute to the oppression of our trans population. That in fact our trans youth, in their freedom and ability to shine their light, is quite honestly the beacon of hope for any sort of modern feminist agenda.
That if anyone understands how to best fuck up the patriarchy, its someone who has the bravery and foresight to reject constructions of gender altogether.
I will continue to stand up for my body and those who share my anatomy and gender identity. But I will just as fiercely show up for the bodies of those who may be different from mine but just as oppressed. Systems of inequality are linked, and not ranked in importance, as Gloria Steinem often explains. The powers that be depend on us to tear each other down, but we are not so foolish.
The future is female, the future is queer, the future is trans, the future is of color, the future is collaborative, the future is emotionally intelligent, the future knows that in order for us to survive as a planet, we must value femininity in all of us just as much as we value masculinity.
- Each of us are oppressed and oppressor in the same body.
- Empathy is the key to relating to someone else’s oppression.
- Do not place the burden of education around an issue on the shoulders of the oppressed.
- Just because you have not expressed oppression does not mean it does not exist very deeply for someone else.
- Oppression often presents itself as subtle subliminal social cues.