The Spectrum Of Reproductive Rights For Trans Women
"My decision to have children was taken from me"
For some of us, the denial of access to the body we live in can feel like a solitary occurrence. When the immediacy of our own needs can be suffocating, the universality of our experience is at risk of being lost. Purchasing illegal hormones as a young trans girl didn’t leave me with the room to consider how systemic misogyny was also tampering with the bodies of the cisgender women around me. Our bodies, rather than our judgments about each other, drew the line in the sand between us.
What hindered us from communicating across difference was our focus on addressing the needs of our immediate communities. The trans prefix in my identity felt like it had no place in the crusade for reproductive rights, so I bit my tongue. The shift began when the unexpected potential of motherhood greeted me as I settled into my new body.
I knew the estrogen that propelled me into womanhood would also make my body sterile. I never had a choice: Trans woman are essentially required to undergo sterilizing treatments before they can be legally recognized as women. My decision to have children was taken from me. The women outside of my direct understanding felt even further away when I searched for solace and language that hadn’t yet been created. The issues across the spectrum of womanhood weren’t being spoken in the same breath, and isolation ensued. I realized before we could forth an image of solidarity to the world, we must acknowledge the truth at home: All of us, cis or trans, experience genitalia-based oppression because we are women. Race, class, and the gender we were assigned at birth further color the nuance of our lives.