COMPARISONS TO ROSA PARKS ARE AN INSULT.

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists need a reality check, here. Rosa Parks was an African-American woman who resisted Alabama’s racist code that required a Black person to give up their seat and move to the rear of the bus or stand so that a white man could take her seat. If Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists mean that they won’t make way for transwomen, then they are no better than the racially exclusive immigration policy that was in application in Australia between 1902 and 1973.

Under the Immigration Policy that Australia had, non-Europeans (more specifically, non-British) could not immigrate to Australia. Yes, Asian people (Alfred Deakin recognized the industry of the Japanese and the Chinese and yes, Asians could enter on business visas for temporary residency, but they could not become citizens). Unlike the TERFs, there were exceptions made to the Dictation Test and not all were high profile. A high-profile case was that of Annie O’Keefe, an Indonesian woman who came to Australia as a refugee, who married an Australian widower. When Calwell tried to deport her after the Second World War, the High Court ruled that she was now a British subject and could not be deported. A low-profile case was that of a Malaysian woman who came to Australia to work and who married the butcher in Katherine, and whose daughter grew up with my father.

It is one thing to respect the sex rights of women, but quite another to resort to stomach-churning paranoid nonsense based upon the beliefs and experiences of a few. And let’s consider this. While I would never support Harold Holt’s “All the way, with LBJ,” I applaud him for exempting the Japanese wives of BCOF Ex-Servicemen from the Dictation Test, and I have personally met some of those women, and they assimilated into the Australian culture. Yes, at the time, there were only 22, and mono-culturalists carry on about people not assimilating, what they ignore is, typically, the second generation does assimilate, and some of those 22 women would have grandchildren and, not through any forced policy, but some may only have one Japanese grandparent. Some may have three Anglo-Australian grandparents, some two Chinese, one Japanese and one Anglo-Australian, and the combinations and possibilities continue.

What many transwomen want is not to establish patriarchal domination of women’s spaces, but assimilation into womanhood. Okay, a transwoman will not menstruate, but consider a transwoman as being like a Japanese bride of an Australian ex-serviceman. I know of at least one Australian who married a Japanese woman who was living in Japan 50 years later, who spoke Japanese like a Japanese man, but for those who accompanied their husbands to Australia, some may have encountered social and even familial resentment, while others might have had more accepting people who showed them and taught them the local ways.

A personally satisfying experience for me, when I was leaving Japan was speaking to a Japanese woman in Japanese and having her turn to a Japanese person to her left and answer and that Japanese said, in Japanese, “I didn’t speak to you; the foreigner on the other side did.” Okay, I didn’t mind being referred to as a “gaijin” but I felt pleased that I wasn’t clocked by a Japanese that I wasn’t Japanese. We need to start thinking of transwomen and transmen a bit like we would learning a foreign language. If an older transwoman has gone through male puberty, there will be some residual masculinity, just like if a person starts learning Japanese at 30, there will still be a residual foreign accent, whereas if they start at 7, it may be harder to detect.

Rosa Parks is deservedly a national hero for fighting Southern State Apartheid, and for standing up for the right of a person to be treated equally. Isn’t it time for women to start treating transwomen equally and transmen equally. And isn’t it time for someone to follow a man who was inspired by Rosa Parks who made the statement, “I have a dream,” and say, “I have a dream where people are treated equally, and where transwomen and transmen are viewed not according to sex assigned at birth but gender orientation without prejudice? And a society where transwomen and transmen can be accommodated?” Is that too much to ask?

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Diagnosed with autism at 35. Explained a lifetime of difference.

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Peter Wynn

Diagnosed with autism at 35. Explained a lifetime of difference.