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HISTORY

Why don’t radical feminists and trans activists always get along?

While it’s not a view shared by all feminists, some feminists see it as necessary to preserve the distinction between transgender and cisgender women. The argument put forward is that transgender women don’t experience the same forms of oppression, and cannot meaningfully contribute to the radical deconstruction of male supremacy. This is often referred to as “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism” it’s adherents commonly referred to as TERFs. It is a worldview understood by many as hostile and discriminatory towards transgender people. Critics assert that feminism must be inclusive of all types of women if it is to be a meaningful force for equality.

Do non binary people really exist?

Ultimately yes. There’s a growing number of people acknowledging a commonality of experiences that are to be taken seriously. While the way non-binary gender is currently understood and described is perhaps more recent, there are significant historical and cultural precedents for non-binary gender all over the world.

If ‘intersex’ refers to biological variation, is it really an identity?

It is important to understand that intersex characteristics are present from birth, regardless of when they may be detected, and represent very specific variations in sexual characteristics. The idea of an intersex “identity” or “pride” commonly misunderstands that endosex (those born with typical sex characteristics) people are able to make a choice to be identified as intersex. Instead intersex “identity” should be understood as a term to describe the diversity of intersex experiences, including those that are heteronormative. Meanwhile intersex “pride” perhaps describes those who are out and visible and fighting for human rights. As a descriptive term that identifies a number of human rights issues, it’s important that intersex is understood specifically, without being co-opted by other movements.

What happens to people with intersex bodies?

Due to significant social and medical pressure, intersex people and the parents of intersex children are pushed to “correct” traits that do not conform with more typical sex characteristics. In many cases this involves medically unnecessary surgery, and a chance of needing to take hormones or other medications for the rest of your life.

Even worse, this is often done without the informed consent of the intersex individual. Parents are pushed towards these medical interventions long before a child is able to consent, or even present a gender identity. Even as adults, intersex persons can be pressured into making decisions without the best available information offered first.

It’s an issue that’s particularly difficult to deal with. Doctors are often quick to put the blame on the demands of the parents, parents can often feel like they weren’t given enough information to make the best possible decisions. When there is oversight, it is often in the hands of those without enough experience, such as the family courts. The upshot is that medical intervention is still performed on intersex people without their consent. This is why advocates are currently pushing for legislative prohibition / protection.

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