In response to Margaret Wente’s recent ill-informed and transphobic editorial in The Globe and Mail, WAVAW submitted this letter to the editor (which was not published). We felt it was vital to dispute Wente’s assumption that all feminists and all rape crisis centres discriminate against transgender women and ignore the epidemic of violence fuelled by transmisogyny. At WAVAW, our core values explicitly affirm that women are self-identified, and we encourage all women to become involved in our organization as clients, staff, and volunteers.
Re: The March of Transgender Rights by Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail, Saturday, August 2nd
Margaret Wente asserts that rape crisis centres have “bitterly contested” the inclusion of transgender women. While some rape crisis centres do have trans-exclusionary policies, we at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre welcome all women (transgender or not) to participate in our organization and access our services in the aftermath of sexual assault.
To end all forms of violence against women, WAVAW recognizes the importance of attending to the needs of those most impacted by violence. The combined effects of transphobia and misogyny (and often other forms of inequality) mean that transgender women experience disproportionate and appalling rates of violence. Excluding trans women from WAVAW would place them in even greater danger—and deprive our organization of their leadership and expertise.
At WAVAW, we aim to stop violence at its roots. We recognize that both misogyny and transphobia must be confronted to create safety for all women.
-Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre