Alyssa Milano is a Hollywood actress, singer and activist, perhaps best known for her roles in box-office hits such as Embrace of the Vampire, Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2.
On Saturday, Alyssa posted the following call to arms from her 3.5million follower Twitter account:
Our reproductive rights are being erased.
Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.
JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 11, 2019
She was applauded and supported by the pro-choice movement, and by feminists and feminist allies from all over the media. On the face of it, you might think she was being incredibly brave and progressive. But let me tell you… as a genderqueer Muslim atheist who is both trans and voluntarily celibate, I was disgusted by her lack of consideration towards minorities such as me. The fact that she failed to mention every conceivable variable where intersex and gender identities are concerned irked me greatly.
Her appallingly problematic hashtag not only excludes the trans community, it also insults us by suggesting that the sub-selection of human beings who have a uterus and are capable of gestation are known by the classification of the term ‘women’. Perhaps she forgot to add the ‘cis’ prefix to her tweet? Maybe she didn’t realize that a certain group of women still own penises and also happen to be lesbians,therefore going on a sex strike would have no impact on the issue of anti-abortion for them?
I am sick and tired of trans identities being erased like this.Can we please stop using the exclusionary term ‘woman’ and instead say ‘uterus owner’ or ‘person with a cervix’? That way, the word ‘woman’ can be reserved for those of us who have made a real effort to either medically transition or identify as a woman by adding ‘she/her’ to our Twitter bios. The status of womanhood should not be something you are born to; it must be EARNED.
Fellow trans women; careless use of language and thought must be called out wherever we see it. For example, it’s infuriating when we see ‘Mother’s Day’ trending on social media. Trans men can birth children as well, so the outdated ‘Mother’s Day’ needs to be reworded to: ‘Person Whose Internal Biological System Enables Them to Birth Younglings or Not Because it’s Their Body Their Choice Day’. Inclusivity really isn’t difficult if you throw enough words at it.
Anyway, her clumsy wording aside, I’m not saying I totally disagree with Alyssa’s intention. I mean, what better way to protest anti-abortion laws than going out of your way to not get pregnant? It’s ingenious. Next, she’ll suggest women protest barbaric abortion laws by using contraception until changes are made; ‘I’m protesting anti-abortion laws by having a coil fitted, and just to really stick it to those conservative FASCISTS, I’ll be making sure my lover wears a condom as well!’ could be her next rallying cry across social media.
I will still support Alyssa despite her lack of empathy towards women who own prostates and are therefore excluded from the miracle of abortion. After all, as science advances, hopefully one day it will be possible for trans women like me to become pregnant. When that day comes, I will be making damn sure to speak with my doctor and arrange for the fertility treatment so that I can become pregnant and then demand an abortion – because it is EVERY woman’s right to terminate a fetus if she so choses.