Reproductive justice, cis women, trans women.

I was sent this a few days ago. I was confused when I read it, because I wasn’t quite sure what I was reading. Adoption issues seemed fairly straightforward, but I couldn’t grasp the ‘pregnancy’ part. The ‘pregnancy’ referred to in the article was actually an exhibition of sperm in a test tube.

THis is one of those lines. The difference between gender, sex, and the limits of identity. The author of this piece wants to be a parent, and in order to do so would have to retain the reproductive capacities of a male body or freeze sperm to do so. So someone else could be impregnated on their behalf. As a trans woman she started treatment early and this has been the cause of pain.

What has not been lost here is the ability to get pregnant. Should she want to use the sperm she banks, she needs someone to gestate it into a baby. She needs a uterus and uteruses come in people. Women. She needs a surrogate. A woman who exists who will have to get pregnant and carry a baby for 9 months, and then go through childbirth or surgery so that baby can be born. This can’t be done in a machine. Women are not incubators.

Centring this woman at the core of reproductive justice requires completely erasing the surrogate who would have to carry the baby. That isn’t actually reproductive justice. The description of carrying sperm as pregnancy is erasing the person who actually has to go through this pregnancy because mentioning them is offensive. This is where the line is crossed to misogyny.

These are not straightforward issues. These are not issues resolved by pretending and shouting terf and pregnancy is a point where three people end up with a stake in one persons body. That singularity is at the core of women’s oppression worldwide. It’s why reproductive justice is about us being allowed to control our own reproductive capacities, about us being allowed to manage our own fertility, to suppress it, to own it and not have it  be the route to being abused, silenced, marginalised, exploited and made dependent. You cannot centre reproductive justice around trans women because reproductive justice is centred around the uterus and what happens when it is occupied. The singularity where 2 or 3 peoples interests are combined in one persons body. And the tendency to decide the least important person in that equation is the person with the uterus.

It is not feminism of any kind to erase women from this and describe carrying sperm as pregnancy. Its a bare faced lie. Freezing sperm is cheap, storing it is cheap, even in the US. It can get someone pregnant. Producing sperm is not pregnancy. In any way shape or form.

Trans women are women because gender is about more than sex. That doesn’t mean that gender isn’t directly rooted in sex and the inequality that trans women face is directly rooted in the inequality related to the female sex. Centering trans women in reproductive justice means recognising that reproductive justice is about the uterus and what it does and means for women everywhere. So the women who carry the babies they want to parent are treated well. Standing with women in the fight for reproductive justice for the babies gestated who are girls. Fighting for them too. Not erasing them and reducing them to incubators to be exploited as a service.



One thought on “Reproductive justice, cis women, trans women.

  1. Woman is sex, not gender. Transwomen are feminine, which is the actual gender, but they are not women.

    For that matter I’ve come to my own conclusion that only women actually reproduce. Men are related to the children they father, but they are not actually reproducing. Because the woman actually produces the cell that becomes the child. All the father does is provide the missing 23 chromosomes. Every other aspect of that first cell comes from the mother.

    Which makes the transwoman’s claim of “pregnancy” even more ridiculous.

    But yes, this is yet another thing patriarchy has gotten backwards. Women do not have children for men, for the church, for the state, or for the fertility industry. We do not have other people’s babies. We have our own. Unless we buy another woman’s egg, then we’re having her baby, not ours. You can’t actually “donate” an egg–the egg is the baby, missing only those 23 chromosomes. A surrogate is not having a baby, she’s carrying someone else’s, being used as a walking incubator. From a purely feminist perspective there is something amiss about every fertility technology *except* sperm donation and banking. I look askance at anyone who takes advantage.


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