Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi is getting quite a bit of flak from the trans community (we have a community?) over comments she made during an interview with Britain’s Channel 4. In it, she pointed out that the experiences of women and trans women were not the same, that there is a distinction there.
It didn’t take long for the knives to come out, with commenters galore challenging her assertion.
Personally, I have no problem with what she has said. I’ve lived as a male most of my life, and I have undoubtedly had privileges as a result. What I’m going through now, conversely, is something she will not experience. I had a hard time reading between the lines to say that she was referring to trans women as inferior.
I get the desire for trans women to be seen as simply women. I get that very personally. But if we look at the road taken to reach that womanhood, those experiences are different. That’s fine. She’s not devaluing trans people. She’s not being a TERF.
This is a good moment for dialogue. This is a good moment for listening. And every moment is a good moment for compassion. Let’s start there and see if perhaps we’re all actually reading from the same book.