Transgender activists are upset that the women's march over the weekend was not inclusive to biological men who identify as women, as the protest presented an "oppressive message" that having a "vagina is essential to womanhood."
Saturday’s event to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump was largely a "white cis women march," with too many pictures of female reproductive organs and pink hats, according to trans women and "nonbinary" individuals interviewed by Mic.com.
A fight is brewing between "trans-exclusionary radical feminists," or "TERFs," and transwomen, according to the article, "How the Women's March's 'genital-based' feminism isolated the transgender community."
The women's march had an over-reliance on slogans and posters depicting gender norms, like using pink to represent women and girls, said some transgender activists who boycotted the march.
"The main reason I decided not to go was because of the pussy hats," said one transwoman from California. "I get that they're a response to the 'grab them by the pussy' thing, but I think some people fixated on it the wrong way."
"I believe there's a lot of inequality that has to do with genitals—that's not something you can separate from the feminist movement," the transwoman added. "But I feel like I've tried to get involved in feminism and there's always been a blockade there for trans women."
The "saturation of vagina-related messages and imagery," such as a giant hand-knit uterus, "set the tone for a march that would focus acutely on genitalia at the expense of the transgender community," writes Mic.com staff writer Marie Solis.
The signs referencing Trump's infamous comments made on a hot mic during an Access Hollywood taping more than a decade ago were too heteronormative, trans activists said.
Signs that said "Pussy grabs back," "Resistance is Fertile," and "Pussy Power" sent a "clear and oppressive message to trans women, especially: having a vagina is essential to womanhood."
The article explained that transwomen are weary of "trans-exclusionary radical feminists." "TERFs" are people who "equate womanhood with having a vagina" or feminists who "argue trans women are actually men in disguise trying to infiltrate their spaces."
Mic.com also quoted a "nonbinary" individual—a person who does not identify with either male or female, has multiple gender identities, or a gender identity that changes over time, among other things—whose girlfriend is still a biological male.
"For 20-year-old Sam Forrey, a nonbinary student in Ohio, and their girlfriend Lilian McDaniel, who is trans, there had been other warning signs that the Women's March might be a dangerous space for them," according to the article.
The couple was upset by the "genital-based womanhood" espoused by the women's march.
"Since legally McDaniel's sex is still male, she worried that if she were to be arrested she would be placed in a men's jail, a concern she said always lingers at the back of her mind," according to the article. "McDaniel said she'd planned on attending the march despite these fears—until she saw that people were using it as an excuse to invoke what she called 'genital-based' womanhood."
"I think it ended up being a white cis women march," McDaniel said.
Forrey added that the march—focusing too much on genitals—represented a "rigid, Western concept of gender."
"This two-gender system, of course, is excluding of Forrey, too," Solis wrote.