The theory of intersectionality, in a highly condensed form, is this: There are different marginalized groups whose identities are not separate from one another but intersect within society to produce strata of cultural oppression.
I mention this because one thing that happens at a physical intersection is car crashes. And, thanks to transgender cyclist Dr. Rachel McKinnon’s recent attack on those who insist biological males have an advantage over biological females in women’s sports, we had a metaphorical pileup at one very fraught intersection.
McKinnon — who transitioned to a woman and subsequently won a women’s cycling title in October, according to TheBlaze — has been in the news this month after accusing former Olympian Sharron Davies of being “transphobic” and “sharing hate speech” because Davis believed transgender individuals ought not be allowed to compete in women’s sports.
“I have nothing against anyone who wishes 2be transgender,” Davies tweeted March 1. “However I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex u r born with & the gender u may identify as. To protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able 2compete in women’s sport.”
I have nothing against anyone who wishes 2be transgender. However I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex u r born with & the gender u may identify as. To protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able 2compete in women’s sport
— Sharron Davies MBE (@sharrond62) March 1, 2019
Davies’ statement prompted this happy rejoinder from McKinnon:
This remains true even after the Nov 2015 IOC policy making it easier for trans women to compete. No trans woman has won an elite world championship medal. The fear that trans women will suddenly ‘take over’ sport is irrational, which is the very definition of transphobia. (2/3)
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) March 2, 2019
I hope for a day soon when an ex-Olympian’s sharing hate speech from a hate group–Fair Play for Women–is no longer newsworthy.” (3/3)
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) March 2, 2019
McKinnon has also been critical of women’s tennis champion Martina Navratilova and British runner Paula Radcliffe, both of whom have said there should be rules regarding biological males competing in women’s sports. McKinnon decided, in a March 5 tweet, to go after all three — although, when it comes to intersectionality, the cyclist could have chosen a better metaphor.
“If Sharron Davies, Paula Radcliffe, or Martina Navratilova had said we need to keep black women out of sport to ‘protect it’ and the ‘integrity of women’s sport,'” McKinnon tweeted, “That would be obviously racist.”
“That’s why it’s obviously transphobic to exclude trans women now,” McKinnon said. “Not ‘name calling.'”
If Sharron Davies, Paula Radcliffe, or Martina Navratilova had said we need to keep black women out of sport to “protect it” and the “integrity of women’s sport”
That would be obviously racist
That’s why it’s obviously transphobic to exclude trans women now
Not “name calling”
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) March 5, 2019
This didn’t go over quite as McKinnon probably expected:
Uhhhhhh. Dr. McKinnon, I agree with you overall, but it’s really inappropriate for you to invoke a racist trope to make that analogy. Our society has a long history of undermining and calling into question the femininity of black women specifically. Why would you add to that?
— Leo Roisman (@trexandthecity) March 5, 2019
What!?! These comparisons are beyond offensive to black women everywhere! Stop comparing our struggles in this country with that transgenders. I’m floored by how out if touch some white people still remain.
— catherine teresa (@cate_1969) March 8, 2019
“Black women aren’t a subspecies of women. We are not socialized as men. We do not go through puberty as men. We do not live as men. Our bodies are not male. Stop using us as props in your weak arguments. All it does is reveal your own racism,” one person responded, according to TheBlaze.
“Ah, the racism rampant amongst white trans rears its ugly head yet again. No. There is zero comparison b/w exclusion based on race, and sex-separation b/c of clear male advantage. Your position (would) be cleaner if you argued against sex-separation altogether,” another user said.
These were, of course, the posts referencing the intersectional car wreck at play here. The best response was probably this one, though:
False equivalence, and you know it.
— Louise Hall (@LouLouH1975) March 5, 2019
More or less. McKinnon’s argument is somewhat more complex than just claiming that once a male transitions to a female they’re automatically the same as a woman, but the basic point is that anyone who disagrees is automatically a transphobe.
For more on how McKinnon’s line of thought works, you can check out the transgender activist’s YouTube channel, where McKinnon once published a series of “Trans 101” videos, including this gem, entitled, “Check Your Privilege and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology.”
Of course, given that there’s — at best — no medical consensus to support the assumption that there’s no difference between a male-to-female transgender athlete and a biological female, the idea that there’s any equivalency between that situation and banning black athletes isn’t just a false equivalency, it’s a racist false equivalency.
McKinnon should have known better to make this juxtaposition — and thus deserves every bit of the whirlwind of negative attention that’s come as a result.
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