I’ve never considered myself old-fashioned. In my younger days I would’ve died before I aligned my thinking with Republicans, the political right wing, or worse; my parents! Now, when it comes to this whole concept of “gender self ID”, I feel like I can’t help but agree with Conservatives, although I am as liberal as they come. But the Left isn’t taking the side of women. So where do I fit in? Which political party will protect the rights of women?
I’m an American expat in my late 30s and I’ve called Taiwan my home for nearly 10 years.
I’m sure you’ve all heard terms like “peek trans” and TERF. When this whole business started JK Rowling was at the center. I was pregnant at the time and didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. However, lately it seems like I can’t get away from it. I’ve given the whole thing the ‘side eye’ since its conception but lately it’s just everywhere. It’s inescapable.
I’m pretty active on social media, especially Instagram, and follow many accounts aimed at moms. Fitness for moms, romance post-baby, healthy toddler meals, etc. More and more of those accounts are using language like “uterus owners, baby havers, chest feeders” and my skin crawls each time I read that. Women have worked so hard for so long to win the right to equality with careers, the right to vote, the right to have their own credit cards, the right to be considered more than “baby makers”.
One incident sticks in my mind the most. I was a brand new mother. My daughter was about 3 weeks old and I was having issues with breastfeeding. I posted in a local, Taiwan based, mothers’ group asking for help and someone commented right away. I was thrilled for someone’s help after struggling so much and going on maybe 3 hours of sleep. Instead of the helpful words I hoped for, I was met with hate and disdain for daring to use language like “breastfeeding” as she said “it’s not inclusive”. Functioning on a few hours of sleep, my brain didn’t comprehend. Inclusive to who?! I couldn’t figure out the issue. I’m not the confrontational type so I ignored it. Many other moms gave me the help I needed and my issues went away but that comment stuck with me. I’m a woman. I’m a mom. I have breasts and use them to feed my baby. I seriously couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
This was nearly two years ago and it seems like this isn’t going away. The new concept of ‘Self ID’ isn’t making things any easier. Imagine (as a woman) accidentally walking into the men’s restroom and seeing urinals on the wall or worse, a man using them. In recent months here in Taiwan women could walk into the ladies room and see a man exercising his “right to self ID” as a woman. Men, who are clearly men, could choose to ID as women so they could take advantage and enter women’s spaces, such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and even prisons! Prisons. Yes you read that right, men choosing to ID as women are being placed in women’s prisons around the world to take advantage and prey on vulnerable women. Will this happen in Taiwan as well?? I shared an article about this a few months back about how female inmates are turning up pregnant because there are men living with them. The focus of the article was male sex offenders raping female inmates. One of my (former) social media followers replied and said that some of them were willing participants. Queue the eye roll emoji. Though this happened in the US, it’s only a matter of time before garbage like this happens here in Taiwan, and the new Self ID law being pushed forward by the government here has made that possible.
I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a world where she has to share sensitive spaces with men. Locker rooms? Bathrooms? Where do we draw the line?
Author asked to remain anonymous to avoid harassment.