“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 supercede 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.
“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.
Radical 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 she was averse to looking at her scrotum, even after doctors warned her there was an anomaly.