So Far I've Refrained

"This is a butterfly. On the outside, it looks more like an owl. But it's a butterfly." ~Alia
I've seen facebook posts several times over the past week and finally found I could no longer refrain from responding. They contain rants about how a transgender woman should not identify as a woman. In one post, the author points out that since transgender women cannot have a period, give birth, experience miscarriage, or fear the possibility of a man being violent toward her, she lacks what it takes to be a woman. Another points out that fake boobs and plastic surgery aren't what make a woman.

I met a woman once who was born without a reproductive system. She cannot get pregnant nor give birth. She mourns her inability to have a child of her own. So according to over 200,000 likes on facebook, she shouldn't identify as a woman.

I know another woman who had a double mastectomy and decided to have reconstructive surgery. She has fake boobs. I don't believe that makes her any less of a woman.

And as far as a transgender woman not having to fear a man's violence - I beg to differ.

It seems to me that people have a very closed view of what it really means to identify as a woman. 

It seems that, as offended as people get about human beings expressing a gender identity that doesn't match their physical make up, they most likely have offended a large number of women who have either battled and survived reproductive cancers or who have other reasons for not having female organs, and/or women who are strong and self-confident. If I'm reading their words correctly, presence of a female reproductive system, the absence of plastic surgery, and women feeling helpless to help themselves seem to be the identifying factors of womanhood.

One of the comments had to do with the concept of a person not being able to identify as a widow, because she isn't one, so someone who is not a woman (according to her definition of a woman) shouldn't identify as one. Well, she should thank God she hasn't had to go through the pain of the death of her partner, but it's not the same. Identifying as a woman or a man has nothing to do with anything that's happened to you, but has everything to do with the feeling of who you are at your core.

To me, identifying as a woman has more to do with how you feel on the inside than what body parts you may have or lack, what you look like on the outside, what fear you experience, or whether or not you are capable of pregnancy or hot flashes.  In my opinion, having the right to call yourself woman has nothing to do with how you express your womanhood on the outside, whether it be flashy and flamboyant or Susie Homemakeresque. 

If you are a woman, no matter what your physical appearance, you are a woman. If you're a butterfly, no matter what your physical appearance, you are a butterfly. It's a simple as that.

And if you want to bring religion into this picture, please choose to do what Jesus did - love people. All people. And leave judgement to God.


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