#YesAllWomen, Even Trans Women

Today of all days, my womanhood doesn't require anyone's approval.

The dishes are clean, the laundry is folded, the lunches are made, and tomorrow’s dinner is defrosting. I actually have time to finish my glass of wine—and maybe that box of Girl Scout cookies—while I ponder life, liberty and International Women’s Day.

Around the world, women will spend today at home (or someplace else) instead of going to work. We won’t shop, except at women-owned businesses. We will leave childcare, cooking and housework duties to others, if we have such an option.

Not me.

Many of us will spend International Women’s Day doing what we do every other day: We will work, cook, clean, and mom. Sure, some of us are moms to cats, dogs, fish and friends, but for me it’s my honor to be a mom to three children.

As a widow, it falls to me to raise these kids alone—and nothing on Earth is more important. Look, I didn’t endure all the crap it took to be the woman I’ve finally become, just to give the world a chance to see what it would be like without me.

However, as a woman, I still cannot believe—as the National Organization for Women and many others declared during the Women’s March—that we’re still protesting this shit.

In 2017, there are still some who say a woman’s place is in the home, tending to children instead of careers. Just like there are still those who will say that I am not a woman because I was assigned male at birth. I lump both those ideas into the same category as birthers, flat-earthers, Islamophobes, and homophobes. They’re what my former boss Mo Ruddy referred to as “the assholes among us.”

There always will be assholes, she told me during my job interview, “so it’s better if you know who they are.” Oh, and they are so much easier to spot these days.

Today conservatives will again argue there is no pay equity gap, that women only earn less than men because we choose to have babies. It’s convenient then, that right wing men insist we carry those babies to term, because they respect life. (Just not ours.)

And today, Republican lawmakers will attack trans women like me, claiming we undermine what it means to be a woman. Ironically, they’re allied with trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) in trying to keep us out of the ladies room, the locker room, the spa, and the womyn’s gatherings because we didn’t have a traditional girlhood.

They forget many of us didn’t have a typical boyhood, either. They presume that every transgender woman has a penis, and is just waiting to assault a cisgender woman with it. It’s nobody’s business, but it’s also no secret, that many of those taking female hormones are not interested—or in some cases, able—to use that penis.

I’m not in the habit of revealing what I have between my legs to anyone other than my sexual partners and my gynecologist but, suffice it to say, I have no choice but to sit to pee, the cells in my body are as feminized as anyone who was assigned female at birth, and I’ve used my breasts for exactly what nature intended.

Take it from me, I’m a woman; what more does anyone else need to know?

Because I am a woman, my boss was able to joke when I came out as trans that he could pay me 80% of what I earned when I presented as male.

Because I am a woman, auto mechanics talk to me as if I am an idiot.

Because I am a woman, the men in the conference room half-listen to my ideas and then present them as their own. (And then mansplain to me what my own idea was.)

Because I am a woman, I have to deal with “the male gaze” and remind some men of where my eyes are.

Because I am a woman, even if I do find a husband who wants to marry a trans woman, I’ll bear the greater responsibility for childcare, cooking, cleaning and laundry.

And because I am a woman, one who is ferociously devoted to her children and hoping to put the oldest through college this fall, I will work on Wednesday. The privilege of being white does not mean I can afford to strike.

But, since I did manage to do the laundry, I will wear red today in support of all women. Because, I’m proud to say, that includes me.

Writer, producer and public speaker Dawn Ennis was the first out trans journalist in TV network news. A widow raising three children, she's the subject of the documentary "Before Dawn/After Don." You can find her on YouTube, Twitter and LifeAfterDawn.com.