Cis women who explain things

October 5, 2008

A remix of three key paragraphs of Rebecca Solnit’s piece in the LA Times, from way back in April 2008.

I think it’s self-explanatory.

Cis women explain things to me, and to other trans women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some cis women. Every trans woman knows what I mean. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any trans woman in any field; that keeps trans women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young trans women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises cis women’s unsupported overconfidence.


The battle with Cis Women Who Explain Things has trampled many trans women — of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to mention the countless trans women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.


Most trans women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being. Things have certainly gotten better, but this war won’t end in my lifetime. I’m still fighting it, for myself certainly, but also for all those younger trans women who have something to say, in the hope that they will get to say it.

Oh, and a respectful curtsey from this ol’ lady to Cedar for telling me about the original piece in the first place.


3 Responses to “Cis women who explain things”

  1. Cedar Says:

    (I’m a bit confused. That was a I-did-this-in-the-past-oh-gosh-that-was-dumb kind of comment.)

  2. Cedar Says:

    oh & thanks!

  3. Helen G Says:

    Hello Cedar…
    1. Snark defanged to match. Sorry, couldn’t resist; I’m a bit (over-)sensitive about my age :)


    2. No, thank you. I think everybody, trans and cis, should read Beyond Inclusion.

    We’re cool. it’s all good.


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