Are Transwomen Women?

“I don’t identify as a woman,” my spouse said. “I literally am one.”

“There are different types of women,” my spouse said, “and I am one of them.”

Later: “Transwomen are a subset of women.”


Actually, though, transwomen are not a subset of women. Transwomen are a subset of a superset that contains transwomen and natal women. The superset is new and has been named the same as its older subset (women), in order to be intentionally confusing.


The old set “women” had an objective definition (let’s not waste time hashing out what we already know about chromosomes and reproductive organs). The superset does not have an objective definition, except, “A set that happens to contain these other two sets.” You could similarly invent a set that contains apples and Siberian huskies. That’s semantically possible, if not very applicable to reality.

When a group of activists redefines a word, or more accurately, creates a new word by the same name that serves to supersede and erase the old word, does that act redefine the underlying reality? It does not. There are still some people who were born with female reproductive organs and some other people who were not.

Trans people know this. That’s why they can recognize whether someone is “AMAB” or “AFAB” and why they made up those terms to replace “man” and “woman,” concepts that it turns out are useful and that even they need to use from time to time.

“Transwomen are women” is a semantic trick. I get that it’s an important one for transwomen, but it is a trick nonetheless. My spouse, a MtF whose primary “womanly” quality is the application of makeup and feminine clothing, has nothing in common with, for example, a particular butch lesbian friend of mine. I’ve asked my spouse, and others, for the traits that overlap in that venn diagram, but they can’t be produced because they don’t exist. It is logically nonsensical to say that these two types of people are both part of the same “woman” set, however politically expedient that may be.

There are objective realities that apply to one set and not the other, as with our apples and Siberian huskies.

Feminists are not excluding transwomen from the set of women. Reality is excluding transwomen from the set of women. Math and logic are excluding transwomen from the set of women.

If I decided I was a dolphin, it would not be the dolphin community that kept me from being a dolphin. It would be my lack of dolphin chromosomes, flippers and tail fin. I could redefine the word dolphin to include dolphins and humans who feel like dolphins, or even dolphins and apples, but that would neither reflect nor change reality.

Everyone knows this. Those who have chosen to call transwomen women are being nice. And hey, it’s great to be nice, and I get that. Sometimes being nice is more important than being accurate. Often it is.

But saying transwomen are women is a denial of reality. It’s a political, semantic move to make transwomen feel better about themselves.

What difference does it make whether we deny reality? That’s a topic for many other posts.

But then again, let’s look at just one example. Here’s a transwoman who developed advanced testicular cancer because of being averse to examining a scrotum anomaly found by doctors.



5 thoughts on “Are Transwomen Women?

  1. Definitions of words change. And in the US the direction of change is very, very clearly defined, thanks to Justice Kennedy.

    There was once “marriage” – a relationship between a male and a female, intended as permanent, which society supported as a means for conceiving and raising children.

    In Obergefell, the new definition of marriage was given, now linked not to the needs of society or children, but to individual “intimate choice of personal identity”. It is a very clear definition, just a new one. I was an opponent of SSM before the decision but now I see that the definition is in many ways preferrable to the original definition, because the original definition implied subjugation of individuals to society and this one givs great respect to personal autonomy. (I would ideally see parenthood legally decoupled from marriage now, as marriage is about the identity of the spouses and parenthood is about the interests of the child; but that’s a separate topic)

    In the same way as “marriage”, “woman” is now primarily an identity, as is “man”. It is an unavoidable logical consequence of Obergefell and I expect this to be cleared in US courts soon, thanks to North Carolina.

    As for “denial of reality” – that’s the main argument of the conservative anti-SSM crowd, too, and one that I was never comfortable with.


    • I love your blog. It is very clear, and gives voice to real, yes, REAL women. The sad reality is that the trans folks are in abject denial of their physical reality. This used to be called a delusional belief system. And if women wish to be polite, or “nice,” does that mean we must be co-opted into that belief system as well? I suspect that is exactly what has happened to our society. Women’s innate empathatic nature is being used against us. To redefine us. To control the discussion.
      To silence us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not “nice”. The way I see it, transwomen are their own entity. If they don’t want to be men, FINE. But they are not women. & all the “identifying” in the world & changing their pronouns & whatever else they want to do, is NOT going to change that.

    I am polite. I’ll call you “she” if you’re really a “he” if that’s what you want … the way I see it … what’s it to me? If you’re a man & you want to be addressed as a female, it really doesn’t take away anything from me. Lots of people play silly games.

    BUT. If I’m in a place which is supposed to be for WOMEN ONLY & I see a transwoman in there, I might have to speak up. Because … you should REALLY be advocating for YOUR OWN PLACES. Sorry, that’s how I see it & I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY VOICE, TOO.


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