17 April 2020

Lola Olufemi: “I think the difference for a whole subsection of ‘gender critical’ feminists is that they see that category as founded on something fixed and immutable called sex. So the only thing that makes a woman is a certain set of chromosomes. The only thing that invites gendered violence is certain sets of genitalia. For me, sex is merely another system of categorisation — a way for us to be made intelligible to one another, on which gender is then mapped. There’s a whole host of things that destabilise sex as fixed and rigid… It’s less important to ask ‘what makes a woman’ than it is to recognise that this system of intelligibility places us (trans and cis) women in danger. That is indisputable. Feminism is a tool that we can use to lessen proximity to violence and end violence all together for all those read as women, because if you are read as a woman or you disrupt the visual script dictated by gender no matter who you are, you pose a problem in the current schema/binary. The men harassing you on the street do not know or care about your chromosomal make-up… [T]he idea of sex being the sole basis of gendered violence precludes us from even understanding why violence is happening to us in the first place. … [E]very claim to that seeks to reinforce the rigidity of the sex binary is also a claim against queer life which has never fit neatly into that.”