Transgender women suffer a great deal of discrimination in their lives. Even with the rise of advocacy organisations lobbying better conditions for trans folks, it is always transgender women who pull on the short end of the stick. Why is this?, you may ask. The answer to that is very short and very sweet. Society still sees transgender women as “men in dresses”. So where do transgender women turn to in the face of this challenge.
I will tell you a little something personal about myself. When I came to “pass” (horrible, horrible term) as a woman, I thought all my difficulties had come to an end. Little did I know I was just at the beginning of a race that was going to exhaust me to no end. I did not realise the complexity of it at the time. To my friends and family I was now a woman. A woman! This was but the beginning of my struggle because little did I realise I transitioned into the struggles of women generations before me. Its quite complex when transgender women now have to stand up for their rights. Where do you turn? I can tell you from experience, there is little room in the LGB feminist room and the same can be said for cis-gender feminists (these would be known as “biological” women) or those who have not transitioned from one to another gender.
And so you might be questioning the reason or the need for another movement. Indeed friends, I am encouraging transgender women to take up the struggle, not just within our communities but also in political spaces, in religious spaces, in every small space you can possibly imagine. Like women before us and women that will be born in generations from now (whether they be trans or cis-gender), it is up to us to claim our citizenship and tell the world we are here to stay.