Some time ago a friend asked me why does international women´s day exists, why does the international day of the girl child exist if there is already a day dedicated to all children designated as such by the UN. Why make these differences if we are all equal, right? In theory he was right and in an ideal world his statement would be very accurate.
We are all equal in dignity and rights but we need to understand that the challenges women go through in their lifetimes are bigger and quite different from the challenges men face, and this is a fact almost through the world. In a similar way the international day of the girl child exists because the necessities of young girls are different from the necessities of young boys therefore the establishment of a day to recognize such differences by the UN back in October 2011.
In the context of International women´s day I ask: what about trans women? This is a very complicated question for me, a Cisgender man, but I will try to answer it and try to make the voices of my friends be heard through mine. I have become acquaintance with the hard realities trans women in El Salvador face ever since they started sharing their stories with me a couple of years ago. What I have learned helps me understand just a little bit the difficulties they face and how hard the lives of trans people can be, specially trans women.
To grow up in a machista society (such as El Salvador) it’s not easy, giving up your back to your role of been a man and entitlement is not easy either. But when your soul and your mind tell you there is something else, there is something more on the image you see reflected in the mirror there is not turning back.
Among the many things I’ve learned, I learned that some trans women identify as women plain and simple, but that others identify as trans women and they wear that capital T with pride as they try to make the rest of us realize that their lives circumstances are very different than those who were biologically born as women or cisgender women. Their fight has been different, their stories are different, but the oppression remains the same.
Besides the discrimination trans women faced from the heterosexual majority, they also received it from homosexuals, mostly men, who do not and are not willing to understand what gender expression and gender identity are. A friend once told me “They discriminate on us because of them” … I was shocked.
Sadly trans women have been discriminated also by feminist groups that see them as a second class group of women inferior by the fact that they weren´t born with a vagina, denying spaces in women´s groups, associations, parades, marches and even bathrooms.
We are on the eve of international women´s day, as a feminist man I extend the invitation to all of you not to forget about those women who were born to this world without a vagina and to remember that discrimination and gender based violence it’s a problem that affects us all, the solution starts when we act together not when we start classifying one another.