This is About My Tits and My Vagina, Not About You
I’ve never written an article as difficult as this one.
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Creative Director: Natasha Tabunova Model: Natasha Kuptcova Photographer: TASULA
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I’ve never written an article as difficult as this one. I published my first novel and am writing streaming shows. And trust me, if you don’t already know it, that’s difficult, but not as much as this article would be. The world has become a terribly uncomfortable place where most of what you say always seems to hurt or offend someone else. And that, obviously, goes directly against my ideas about freedom of speech. Though, I won’t get into that. I’ll get into something way more severe. After approximately six weeks of thinking about this article, here I go.

I was about seven years old when I learned to braid my hair. That’s the first time I remember feeling like a woman. I was 15 years old when I got my first period. I started to cry. I had waited for it desperately because all my friends had already gotten it. At that moment, though, I wasn’t happy because, well… it was going to be a LONG ride and I wasn’t that excited about it anymore. But my mother hugged and congratulated me because I had become a woman. I was around 18 years old the first time a guy mentioned my tits. He wanted to know whether they were real. Oh, they were. Still are. Feminists may say that was inappropriate, but I’m not a feminist and don’t get easily offended (let me make that real clear: I am not a feminist even though I live a feminist lifestyle and am incredibly grateful for all the rights the original feminists allowed me to have). That was the first time I felt power as a woman. I lost my virginity at 21 years old just to get it over with. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t bleed. I felt as though I had graduated. I was now a sexually active woman. Again, I felt enormously powerful as a female.  

I wasn’t stereotypically raised like most Latin-American women and was never the little girl with the pink room; my room was decorated with Mickey Mouse (actually, pink only became one of my favorite colors a few years back). But the things I’ve mentioned were what made me feel like a woman.

Two years ago, when I was 41 years old, I exited the doctor’s office after an intravaginal ultrasound. When I looked at my cellphone, I saw the latest Colombian news about a trans woman being the first of her genre to lead the Secretariat for Women and Gender Issues in the city of Manizales. I was furious. I thought: How can a trans woman know what I just went through? How can a trans woman understand that I had an accident when I was about ten years old where I hurt my vagina, got stitches without anesthesia, and eventually became emotionally draining to go to the gynecologist?

To me, it’s straightforward. I agree with feminists when they don’t want men to be the ones deciding about abortion and making laws about it. As much as I don’t want a trans-woman representing me as a woman. It’s the same thought process.

I do believe in trans women’s rights because all human beings should have rights. But I don’t think a trans woman is a woman like I am a woman. And as such, only women should represent women, like only trans women should represent trans women. I wouldn’t dare represent a trans woman, never. I used to hate labels before, and now -as a middle-aged woman- I believe we need them. If each gender group has its own label, why do people from another gender represent mine?

Since all this nonsense started, I’ve wondered what makes me a woman. And every time I’ve thought about my tits, my vagina, and my menstruation, I’ve stopped myself because it’s not those things that make a trans woman a woman. So, I decided to ask my female friends on Facebook what they believe makes them women:

I respect all these women, but I wasn’t asking for spiritual or emotional characteristics. Plus, all those things they mentioned aren’t exclusive to women. I know different men who can do all of it. Only two friends were brave enough to answer: “Adult, human, female.” And when speaking of “female,” they basically referred to the vagina and the capacity to give birth. Why do I refer to them as brave? Because since about five years ago, it became inappropriate and politically incorrect for a woman to define her gender based on her reproductive system and genitalia. And that’s just plain WRONG.

I am a woman because I was born with a female reproductive system and a pair of heavy tits I didn’t even ask for and believed – because I have no interest in being a mother, they’re only meant to be enjoyed by others, specifically men. That makes me a woman, and I refuse to be confused about how I define my gender.

And this is precisely why this article isn’t an easy one. Because it’s not an easy matter. I know very well that there are women born with damaged reproductive systems, others that lost them, and others -like myself- who will never be mothers. I know they’re different ways of being a woman. I also know there are people born genderless or with all genders. I also know there are more than just two genders. I know all of it. I do not deny it. This is not against trans women. This is in favor of women. Why can’t we welcome all genders without mixing them up? Why is it ok for women who’ve always identified as women to now doubt what makes us women? Why is it ok for us to fear defining ourselves biologically? Why will I be called transphobic for writing this when all I’m doing is defending my gender’s right to biologically define ourselves as women?

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