We should all be in­ter­sec­tional fem­i­nists

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Since my last piece, at least three more trans­gen­der women have been killed.

I wrote about how al­lies need to do bet­ter to en­sure the safety of our trans­gen­der sib­lings. My ar­ti­cle was one of hun­dreds that have been writ­ten about this topic, but some peo­ple don’t seem to get it. De­spite hav­ing Google at our fin­ger­tips, peo­ple choose to be will­fully ig­no­rant.

One of those peo­ple, sadly, is writer Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie. In early March, she gave an in­ter­view dur­ing which she said, “I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the priv­i­leges that the world ac­cords to men and then sort of change gen­der, it’s dif­fi­cult for me to ac­cept that then we can equate your ex­pe­ri­ence with the ex­pe­ri­ence of a woman who has lived from the be­gin­ning as a woman and who has not been ac­corded those priv­i­leges that men are.”

The back­lash was swift. She went on to pub­lish a lengthy Face­book post and re­fused to apol­o­gize be­cause she felt like she didn’t do any­thing wrong.

“What’s in­ter­est­ing to me is this is in many ways about lan­guage and I think it also il­lus­trates the less pleas­ant as­pects of the Amer­i­can left, that there some­times is a kind of lan­guage or­tho­doxy that you’re sup­posed to par­tic­i­pate in,” she wrote. “And when you don’t, there’s a kind of back­lash that gets very per­sonal and very hos­tile and very closed to de­bate.”

That state­ment sounded close to GOP logic, but none­the­less, it was dis­ap­point­ing.

Like many, I wasn’t in­tro­duced to her un­til I heard a snip­pet of her speech on Bey­once’s “***Flaw­less.” Al­though I am a card-car­ry­ing mem­ber of the Bey­hive, I was in­ter­ested to know more about the voice be­hind those words. I’ve been ca­su­ally fol­low­ing her ca­reer ever since. It was nice to see a black woman, es­pe­cially an African one, get credit for her work and her as­sis­tance in bring­ing other sis­ters into fem­i­nism, even at a ba­sic level.

That said, a huge part of fem­i­nism is a will­ing­ness to grow and learn. I’ve messed up plenty of times to get where I am now. I’ve been prob­lem­atic and still am, but I am will­ing to own up to my mis­takes, even if I don’t un­der­stand them at the time. Adichie’s re­fusal to apol­o­gize dis­plays an un­will­ing­ness to learn that leaves a hor­ri­ble taste in my mouth. Weapons are only a small part of what is killing trans women. Ig­no­rance and ha­tred chooses the di­rec­tion of those items. I don’t think Adichie is dis­pos­able, as the kids would say, but sista girl has a long way to go. She once said that we should all be fem­i­nists. She was-half right. We should all be in­ter­sec­tional fem­i­nists.

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