Adichie says trans women have male privilege. But if asked, can she elaborate on it?
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Once upon a time Judith Butler said, “Gender is a performance.” She said this among a lot of other things. She even clarified and corrected the statement later.
Yet, so many trans and genderqueer people still hear this from cis allies trying to be cool, in a manner which suggests they are faking it.
Maybe the people who say it don’t realise the full impact of their words. It’s a nice quotable quote after all. But when the listener – a trans or genderqueer person – thinks about it, they wonder if their gender is just a performance. Because that’s what so many people have dismissed with: You’re faking it.
When a friend repeats the sentiment, we wonder if that really is the case.
And that’s why it’s hard to dismiss Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s recent statements, even though we’re far away.
Maybe this is just one of those things that happens on the internet for a few days, and everybody will forget all about in a month at best.
But can we say so for sure? We’re living in a time when stupid politicians utter offensive political statements all the time, and writers and thinkers and almost everyone who believes in progressive politics react to these statements too.
But Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not a stupid (or pretending to be stupid) politician.
For those who don’t know, Adichie said that trans women’s experiences are different from the experiences of cis women. “So when people talk about you know, are trans women, women – I believe trans women are trans women,” she said, then going on to talk about the ‘male privilege’ that she said trans women…