We are pleased to share guest posts by local Rochester community members throughout Women’s History Month
We are near the end of Women’s History month, as an exciting time for women making history right now. There are more women in Congress than ever before in history. More women are taking the helms at traditionally male domination fields. More importantly, we are all recognizing and the contributions that women have made in the past but never got credit for their efforts. Sadly, some of those accolades are showered upon women who are no longer alive to receive them.
In our praise of women, past and present this month, we should not forget that transgender women are women as well, and though their numbers are few, they have been leaders of change for years.
People like to depict the rise in news of transgender issues as a new phenomenon, concocted by “progressives” who ran out of causes to fight for. That narrative is as false as “white genocide”. Gender fluid people have been around since people have existed. Many of the Indigenous nations of the Americas had a “third gender”. Some pre-colonial African nations had third genders as well. Queen Nzinga of the Mbundu (in Angola) had a harem of men who she required to live as women. Ancient India had Hijras, a third-gender caste. The Greek and Roman empires were also not hung up on gender roles. The members of the cult of Goddess Cybele castrated themselves and lived as women in service to her. There is nothing new about transwomen. The only thing new is the hate.
Trans women have been at the forefront of fights for equality for years. I am not sure why, but in my history as an activist, trans women seem more fervent in their actions when it comes to all people’s rights. Perhaps it is just and inherent need for justice. Or perhaps it is the next logical step one takes after living your truth, even when that truth is to portray yourself as a member of less than 1% of the population, yet you are depicted as a top 5 threat to the world and society’s “morals”. I am sure that some of you will think we can wait until LGBTQIA History Month. Sure, we can wait until June, but why? Why not do both? A lot of people are a mix of different demographics. Did you know that black WOMEN exist? Would you believe that there are black TRANS folks? These months are made to emphasize contributions made to the world, not separate history from “mainstream” history. Why should we constrict ourselves to celebrating each other in 28 to 31-day chunks? Black people don’t stop existing after February 28th. Women aren’t going away after the end of this month. And transwomen are here to stay, as they always have been.
Chris Thompson is an engineer, writer, comedian, and activist who made Rochester, New York his home in 2008. He currently writes the Chronicles of Nonsense segment for the Almost Tuesday show on WAYO-FM 104.3, and regularly posts and writes on his own on Instagram and Twitter at @ChronsOfNon.