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I don’t think Women and Trans-Women’s Issues can be Considered the same – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | WATCH



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in this interview with Channel 4 said that it is difficult to equate the experience of trans-women with that of women.

According to Chimamanda, this is because a man who switched gender after being accorded the privileges the world grants to men, cannot be said to have the same experience as that of a woman who has lived without those privileges.

“It’s about our experiences. It’s not about how we wear our hair, it’s not about having a penis or a vagina, it’s about the way the world treats us,” Chimamanda said, referring to “the whole problem of gender in the world”.



  1. Manny

    March 11, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Everything is really so complicated these days.
    If it’s really about the way the world treats us, then a now female who was quite effeminate as a male and was thus treated like sh*t and didn’t really enjoy the “privileges” of being male is welcome to our struggle? No?

    • slice

      March 11, 2017 at 2:10 am

      No, that’s a different struggle. Same way Africans can’t claim to fully understand the African American struggle just cause we now live in the u. S

    • Joke

      March 11, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Dalu! Biko tell them oh! Most don’t even study African American history or interact with African Americans to hear their reality, but they know it all. May God deliver us from I Too Know Syndrome….

    • Lilian

      March 11, 2017 at 2:39 am

      Most trans women are not feminine prior to transitioning. Some are (especially in the past) but today many are overtly masculine in both appearance and profession (soldiers, sports stars, etc). Many do enjoy the privileges of being male and are still retain a large portion of that privilege after transitioning.

    • Mildred

      March 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      I believe Trans women are faced with a far more complicated and difficult bias than women are generally recipients of. It is almost unfair to equate both. And like Adichie mentioned, Gender is sociology not biology and truth is society still struggles to accept trans people in a more defined gendered category.

  2. Anonymous

    March 11, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Where is the lie?? This may be a rather grotesque comparison but it’s like a white man waking up and deciding to be black. The man that makes this decision has had the privilege of being a white male all his life and now has the privilege to decide he wants to be black. We cannot equate his experience with the experience of someone who was born black and cannot change that…

    It’s rather odd the way society allows trans-women to claim womanhood and everything it comes with when often times the general experience is starkly different from that of a cis-woman…

    Privilege is the major distinction here. The option to choose… which natural-born women will never have. Some may argue that, “There is no choice” and maybe from a mental/emotional standpoint… there is none. But we cannot deny that biologically, trans-women had a choice and made it.

  3. Klaire

    March 11, 2017 at 2:19 am


  4. Sonny Oram

    March 11, 2017 at 3:52 am


    1. “Gender is about our experiences and how the world perceives us.”

    Gender a lot more than that. Gender is our inner sense of self, the most central part of our being. Most of us have a sense of gender is from a very young age. When children are able to do so, they are expressing their genders as young as 2, 3, 4. I was one of these children. Unfortunately, I was not able to transition until I was much older.

    2. “If you have lived in the world as a man, then you have male privilege.”

    First of all, trans women were never men. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, trans people often have a sense of our gender from a very young age. If we are prevented from living authentically, we suffer high rates of depression, HIV, suicidality, and homelessness. 41% of trans people have attempted suicide.

    To assume that trans women are profiting off male privilege is also assuming that they are able to carry through life successfully while suffering from debilitating health problems. The bottom line is that if we as trans people are prevented from living authentically, we CAN NOT be judged on how the world perceives us.

    3. “I don’t think women’s issues and trans women’s issues can be considered the same.”

    Again, trans women are women. Trans women of color are getting murdered at least 2 times a week. I hope you consider this a women’s issue. Trans women are repeatedly denied health care and suffer high rates of unemployment, sexual assault, and other forms of discrimination. I hope you consider these to be women’s issues.

    The term “women’s issue” is very broad. We can talk about specific women’s issues such as reproductive health or domestic violence, and we are then narrowing the conversation (somewhat) to women who are directly involved in those struggles. That doesn’t mean that women who have never needed an abortion or who have never been in a domestic violence situation are not women. We can talk about issues specific to women of color, but this does not mean that non-POC women are not women. These specific issues, while they may not directly affect every woman, does make an impact on women as a whole, because it supports a culture in which women are respected as people who deserve autonomy over their own bodies.

    • sharon

      March 11, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you Sonny for educating us. Women’s problems are relative and quite broad. One woman’s struggle is different from another.

    • slice

      March 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      In other words trans women have their own issues…This is a legit claim. However, they are not the same issues as born women

    • chris

      March 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Just as the issues of white women are not the same as those of WoC.

      There is a whole cornucopia out there of people facing varying issues, and sometimes they overlap.

      As for this whole attitude of “trans-women are not real women” just ask yourself the question if trans-men face similar issues.

    • chris

      March 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Just as the issues of white women are not the same as those of WoC.

      Some times those issues overlap, sometimes they dont. Best thing to do is not spend time trying to invalidate the issues of those people who are not you.

    • Emma

      March 11, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      No no no and no. TW are not women. You don’t even have reproductive rights so how in the hell can TW be women? :/

    • Stop and stare

      March 11, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      “First of all, trans women were never men.”

      No offense, but that’s kinda irrelevant. You lived as a man, you were perceived as a man, therefore you did in fact benefit from male privilege irrespective of your personal struggle as a closeted trans person. If wish to argue otherwise, please tell me about all the times you were catcalled, were harassed, looked down on or denied equal treatment at a male dominated workplace, were told that you shouldn’t pursue a career or hobby because “it’s not for girls” when you were considered a man.

      “To assume that trans women are profiting off male privilege is also assuming that they are able to carry through life successfully while suffering from debilitating health problems. The bottom line is that if we as trans people are prevented from living authentically, we CAN NOT be judged on how the world ”

      Again, if you are perceived as a male you WILL reap male privilege regardless of your internal struggles with regards to your gender identity. Do you deny that closeted homosexual people benefit from straight privilege even if staying in the closet causes them a lot of mental anguish? Would you argue that a poor, trans and disabled white person doesn’t still benefit from white privilege even if almost nothing about their lives is emblematic of white privilege? In case you misunderstand what i am trying to say, i am not suggesting that you benefit from male privilege while you’re living openly as a transgender woman. I am pointing out that you reaped it while you were living as a man. The world does not judge you by how you identify on the inside, it judges you by how you present yourself and how you’re perceived by others. That is what you need to understand.

    • dee

      March 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      As much as I am sympathetic to the plight of trans-women, in the context of this discussion, things will be much simpler if you replace women issues with ‘trans-woment” issues. Gender is about the way the world perceives. We would not have a term as this if it was not for the world and the social perceptions within it. Anything else is subjective and therefore has no foundation from which to build a “social” debate. Trans-women issues may be more specifically dealt with if the issues are owned by this additional gender classification. Please keep the classifications separate so as not to over complicate a world that is already complicated enough as it is.

    • tunmi

      March 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I think the choice of words matter. The phrase “living as a man” that implies that it was the true goal or intent. Perhaps “passing as a man” or “presenting as a man” would be better.

      Also in stating that trans-women issues aren’t women’s issues, we run into a problem with word choice. Imagine the label of women as an umbrella. Trans-women fall under that umbrella. Women born female, who are called cis-women, fall under that umbrella. So to say trans-women issues aren’t women’s issues kicks them out of that umbrella. So yes, the issues of trans-women and cis-women may not be the same depending on the subject or topic. But the issues of trans-women and cis-women are women’s issues.

  5. Rume

    March 11, 2017 at 5:06 am

    First time she’s said anything that really made sense to me

    • The Real Oma

      March 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

      You mean the first time she is saying something you agree with?
      Good on you though.

  6. Sandra

    March 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I think she is making a whole lot of sense. women from the first day that they were born are being treated different from men; so a man who has received all the privileges from birth and at a certain time changes his gender cannot equate himself to someone who has been a woman all her life. At the same time, these trans-women have their own problems to deal with, I mean it takes a lot of things to transgender, the courage, the surgery, the discrimination, and the rejection from the society. It is a kind of two different things that are alike but different in it’s own way.

    • Simi

      March 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Exactly, girls (if they are even allowed to be born) immediately starts to feel the burden of their gender. This is the point she was trying to make, that experiences are different. Why can’t people agree with that? How is it not true?

      I even think it is unfair to trans women to conflate their issues with ciswomen. It takes attention away from their specific issues. But, as it were on these streets, kini omode mi mo.

      Let’s stay arguing. It’s kuku serves some people’s purpose.

  7. john

    March 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

    oya feminists , ure queen has spoken and has issued another new law..make sure u abide by it or face the consequences of being exiled

  8. LL

    March 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Oh I miss the days when gender was just gender. Lord how will I survive in this world we are in today?

    • Ça va

      March 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      I know..right?.Crazy world!we are living in…. Where all abnormal things are now open for discussion.

  9. Tranime Girl

    March 11, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Issues that affect women also affect me because I am also a woman. Men hit on me in inappropriate ways, I’ve survived rape, I’ve been groped, I’ve had people assume I dont know how to do something because I’m a woman…
    What male priveledge did my penis get me? If I were arrested or simply needed to urinate, this woman gets stuck in with a bunch of men. Oh, and the “priveledge” of being told I’m perverted, an abomination, not a “real woman” etc etc

    • Las

      March 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      During your teens, were you locked up in a kitchen so you can learn how to cook for your husband? Have you been told you can’t inherit because you are a woman? Has a man come into your office and establishment and demanded to see your husband after telling him you are the CEO?

      Have you ever missed work because of period pains? Have you been paid less because you are a woman? Did your parents ask you to stay at home so your brother could go to school instead? I am not saying this every woman’s story, surely Western women would probably never have experienced any of this, but I believe there’s a common thread.

      There are countries where female foetuses are still expelled by virtue of being female. Please do not devalue our existence as women by appropriation. Anyone who decides to become a woman should tell their own story, as the path is very different.

      Please, do not think for one second you can tell my story because you made a decision. You can empathise, yes, you can tell your own story, yes, but become my voice or speak for me – NO.

    • Nito

      March 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      I am disappointed at how women who cry out about injustice will turn around and give out the same harsh treatment, women you should be able to empathize with other disadvantaged group.

    • Ça va

      March 12, 2017 at 2:40 am

      In my family,my female siblings are more educated than us the male,they achieved greater degree than us, even though my Dad didn’t even attend standard six..(those days)…So whenever I come across articles about female education I always wonder whether my own experience is from another world…..I’m confused!!!

  10. ogeAdiro

    March 11, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    While trans-women issues and women issues might intersect on some issues, they probably belong to 2 distinct sets.

  11. tunmi

    March 12, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Hold up. Where are these comments from? You mean you guys have been hiding such gorgeous intelligentia all along?

  12. kay

    March 12, 2017 at 12:54 am

    era of politically correct is gone. trump it as it is #truth is bitter.

  13. Gruntfuttock

    March 12, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Well she’s not saying anything wrong here – trans individuals face a different set of hurdles whilst growing up than those cis gendered individuals. She’s not denying those people their own identities, just highlighting that you cannot say that the experiences are the same.

    There is a major problem at the moment with the issues that face women and girls during the various phases of their lives being marginalised, derailed and silenced due to people who didn’t experience those issues wanting centre stage in every debate and claiming that discussion of those very issues is not inclusive enough. I’ve seen discussions surrounding female health be shut down for not being inclusive enough for those who have never had a uterus, How is it right that something so essential to be educated about is seen as radically transexclusionary and offensive? How is it OK for people to place their unhappiness at their chromosomal bad luck as being more important than advising others of signs of cancer?

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