Working for the summer to provide direct reproductive and family planning services, the question of who gets pregnant (and who doesn’t… and who needs those services, whether they do or do not get pregnant…) has started to play a role in how I think about outreach. The language of the last reproductive justice wave was about women, “women’s health,” “women’s needs,” and “women’s rights,” and with good reason, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that that language is exclusionary – too exclusionary, to my mind, for the movement I hope to be a part of building. We’ve had the start of this conversation several times on this blog. Women are no longer the only ones who get pregnant. Many people now can and do get pregnant who do not identify as women. This war on reproductive justice may in many ways still be the “war on women” it is often referred to as, given the narrow gender identities the antichoice community too often ascribes to, but it is not only a war on women when so many people suffer in a silence imposed by language and many kinds of violence. (And what else? What else imposes this silence? Please tell me. I am writing this in the hopes that I can learn.)
So I am wondering, how do we begin to address trans issues, particularly trans reproductive issues, outside of transitioning itself? How do we make prochoice about more than the gender binary? How do we work with language? How do we do direct outreach, how do we make clinics and doctor’s offices and family planning centers truly safe spaces? What other questions do you have? I have so many!
I do not want to see hard-fought cisgender identities subsumed to political correctness. Cisgender identity is valid, and I fight to know and love myself as a woman every day. But that fight has a name and words and acknowledgement; I believe the fight for transgendered identities is silenced a billion ways. So I’m asking you to talk to me. I’m also asking you to talk to me, and to each other, respectfully. If you feel I have already made grave errors in the way this is written, please let me know and I will address them. I know sometimes there is a lot of pent-up anger that, given a release point, can feel very good to vent, but ideally, if people want to talk about this, I would love to see a productive conversation get started here.