My pansexual cisgender nonbinary friend Chrysanthia (pronouns: she/her/they/thym) called to tell me she had some exciting news, and would I meet her for a coffee? Off I went, wondering what her announcement could be. As we cradled Espresso Loco’s hot and eco-friendly cups of locally sourced, organic Locolatte, Chrysanthia could contain her excitement no longer. She withdrew from her hemp satchel a used pregnancy test and thrust the urine-encrusted paddle into my face. Once my eyes had stopped stinging, I could see that it was positive.
‘OMG, are you serious?!’ I asked, my eyes filling with hot tears.
‘Yes!’ she cried ecstatically. ‘I’m having an abortion!’
We hugged, stamping our feet and squealing with joy. We didn’t care how we looked: we were completely absorbed in our celebration. Many more Locolattes were quaffed that afternoon, along with a couple of ethically sourced free-range muffins.
That evening on the tram home, I put my own thoughts in order. My best friend was about to go through one of the most empowering experiences a woman can have. As a transwoman, the chance of me ever being able to have an abortion in my lifetime is slim. As a small boy with gender and racial dysphoria, I had naively dreamed of one day terminating my own child. I wondered what it would be like to look my mother in the face and inform her that I was getting rid of her grandchild because my human rights activism was too important, and to Hell with society’s expectations. I lay in bed at night, imagining how angry my parents would be, and how proud I would feel, as I stormed defiantly out of the house to the family-planning clinic.
As I grew into adulthood it became apparent that this momentous occurrence, so often taken for granted as a ‘natural’ female function, would never be a part of my own lived experience. I had to learn to live in a world where my body would never undergo that womanly miracle, the termination of a fetus. I was jealous of Chrysanthia, but I felt so very happy for her and was determined not to spoil this beautiful time in her life with my own selfish needs.
She had been trying to conceive for so long, monitoring her ovulation cycle with intricate charts, using crystals, reiki and inserting bunches of white sage into her front hole. Eventually, on the point of despair, she had sex with a cis man. After everything Chrysanthia had gone through, I couldn’t surrender to self-indulgent envy. I decided to channel my energy into something positive and began planning a Feticide Party for her. I was making a list of all the friends who would be supportive of her woke-as-Hell decision when my cell rang.
It was Chrys. For a moment there was silence. I was afraid she’d had a miscarriage and that her plan to abort the child was ruined. But it was worse than that. She spoke six words, enough to send my phone flying across the room. The six simple but devastating words I’d hoped I would never hear.
‘I’ve decided to keep the baby.’
My world shattered into as many pieces as my iPhone XS’s screen. It was like I’d been punched in the gut, like I could hear Gaia crying as overpopulation surged out of control. The sheer cruelty of Chrys’s decision disgusted me. I’d thought she was caring and nurturing, a strong, empowered woman. How could she consider such a horrible thing? Bringing a baby into a world filled with Trump supporters and single-use plastic?
My disappointment turned into anger as I saw her complete disregard for my own predicament. Did she not understand that womyn like myself will never be able to experience the elective empowerment that is abortion? Womyn who would do anything to go through the magical process of terminating a fetus? And here Chrys was, selfishly throwing that away in favor of actually giving birth to a child. Typical white entitlement.
My phone began to ring again as Chrys’s name flashed up on the broken screen. I kicked it down the stairs. I couldn’t speak to her. I feel sick at the thought of her feeble justifications for carrying a baby to term, just so she can cruelly give birth to it. I will never drink an organic latte from an eco-friendly cup with her again.
This article is in The Spectator’s March 2020 US edition.