The Trans Women Who Say That Trans Women Aren’t Women

Originally published at Slate

Last month, a 42-year-old English accountant who goes by the pseudonym Helen Highwater wrote a blog post disputing the idea that trans women are women.* Helen is trans herself; in the last few years, she says, she has taken all the steps the U.K.’s National Health Service requires before it authorizes gender reassignment surgery, which she plans to have in 2016. Yet she has come to reject the idea that she is truly female or that she ever will be. Though “trans women are women” has become a trans rights rallying cry, Highwater writes, it primes trans women for failure, disappointment, and cognitive dissonance. She calls it a “vicious lie.”

“It’s a lie that sets us up to be triggered every time we are called he, or ‘guys’ or somebody dares to suggest that we have male biology,” she writes. “Even a cursory glance from a stranger can cut to our very core. The very foundations of our self-worth are fragile.”

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