Caroline Johnson: LGBTQ and the vibrance of female identity

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Published: 03-08-2024 1:37 PM

Modified: 03-08-2024 8:12 PM

I care deeply for, and try to be an ally to, my family, friends, and neighbors who identify as trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive; I also identify as a feminist. I was hit hard by a recent guest column in the Gazette [“LGBTQ and the erasure of true female identity,” March 4], because it made striking claims that suggest these two things are incompatible.

They’re not. I am a feminist, and to all of the non-cis women out there, I see you (as do so many others), and I am so glad to have your company. Together, let’s continue to fight the patriarchy. Let’s rage.

Academically, I was “raised” by a feminist adviser in grad school who instilled in me the importance of intersectionality, a theoretical approach that considers how our various social identities weave together to produce complex manifestations of oppression. By recognizing how categories such as (but certainly not limited to) race, class, gender, and sexual identity intertwine, we can have a fuller understanding of the patriarchy and in result, better odds of dismantling it.

Think about how much richer the dialogue became once the primarily white feminist movement incorporated the voices of Black women, and economically disenfranchised women — and how meaningful it is to talk about the role toxic masculinity plays in women’s and men’s (and boys’) lives. The history of feminism is one of growth, and the experiences of non-cis women contribute to that growth; they are a critical part of our shared narrative.

I am so proud of who we are. I hope that women will continue to listen to one another to learn about all the ways our systems work to undercut us, ultimately to advance The (figurative, white, cis, straight) Man.

When we come together as a collective, all of it matters — these diverse backgrounds are everything. No one erases anyone. We magnify each other, lift each other up, promote healing. It’s what makes the feminist movement so strong and so vibrant. I don’t care how you got here (colloquially speaking; I of course care very much about your story); if you’re a woman, we’re in this together.

See you in line for the bathroom. Let’s keep each other safe. We got this.

Caroline Johnson