As of Sept. 27 of this year, 18 transgender women have died according to The New York Times. The violent deaths of these women and the lack of attention their deaths have received are a reflection of a society that does not care about transgender women of color.
A feminist is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Feminism is about wanting equality, not about being superior in any way. Many people tend to shut down when they hear the word “feminist,” they have an issue with the implication of the word. Many people view feminists as having the desire for women to take power from men. Others view feminism as only elevating white women, while ignoring women of color.
Looking back on the history of the women’s liberation movement, the idea that feminism only catered to wealthy white women is a valid point. Today, white women have certain privileges. For example, there is a statistic that has been used by the media countless times regarding equal pay between men and women.
The statistic that has been used as one of the primary statistics of the recent feminist movement is that a woman makes seventy-nine cents to the dollar a man makes. This statistic is shocking and highlights the unfair compensation between the sexes, but what is more shocking is that it only considers a comparison using white women’s wages. Black women make sixty-one cents to the dollar a man makes, Latina women make fifty-three cents to the dollar. No one is talking about it.
This statistic about the wage gap is controversial because of how accurate the numbers are, but the fact remains that women of color are not treated as equal under the umbrella of white feminism.
Under white feminism, transgender women are not included in the narrative. Injustice facing women, whether it is violence or unfair compensation, is a problem that all women must unite to fight. The term for the only kind of feminist anyone should be is an intersectional feminist. Intersectional feminism is acknowledging the barriers that many women face when fighting for equality, such as racial and sexuality discrimination. Transgender women of color have been murdered, and it is something that every feminist, every human being, should care about and unite to fight. If you support women, regardless of race and sexual identity, then you are not a radical. You are an intersectional feminist, and a decent human being.
Clara Capone is a senior graphic design major from West Hartford, CT. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.