The debate around transgenderism and feminism feels as though it’s getting ever-more heated. Journalist, Michelle Goldberg, wrote about the rift recently for The New Yorker, explaining the crux of the argument as such:
Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential.
On August 11th BBC’s Newsnight had planned a discussion on retired boxing promoter Frank Maloney’s announcement that she is in the process of transitioning and is now known as Kellie Maloney, and more generally, what it means to “identify as a woman.” A number of gender critical feminists had declined the invitation to join the discussion out of fear that the response to their arguments and views would be extremely hostile.
Miranda Yardley, a transwoman who takes a gender critical approach to transgenderism and feminism, made herself available to participate in the conversation with two journalists: Paris Lees, a transwoman and Fred McConnell, a transman. At the last minute, both Lees and McConnell pulled out of the debate and the show was cancelled.
I spoke with Miranda about what happened, as well as, more broadly, her experiences as a transwoman, what it means to be a gender critical transwoman, and her perspective on trans activism today.
Miranda is the publisher of extreme music magazine Terrorizer. She blogs about personal fitness, music and transgender politics. You can find her on twitter @TerrorizerMir and on tumblr.
Miranda published some notes about our conversation, which you can read on her tumblr page.