Don’t judge by appearances, but with knowledge and common sense.

This is what I thought to myself that one time I was walking down Peachtree Street, curbed a man’s catcall and he announced out loud I was trans.

Another man close by raised his hand as to hit me and I had to quickly announce I was born female and that man was a hater.

“Oh”, he said. “You were about to catch these hands.”

Everyone looked on, no one said a thing.

I am happy I had the privilege of walking away from that incident because I was born female.

Imagine if every time a man wasn’t immediately forthcoming with his criminal background, HIV status, or sexual orientation, women flew into a rage and killed them.

Can you imagine a society that sympathized with this behavior?

Society would call women crazy and men would create stringent laws for the erratic behavior. Men would say women should keep their legs closed and be emotionally and physically unavailable until they got to know who they were dating and men would say there is no requirement to disclose any of this information until they were ready, or at all.

Their retort would be valid yet there is a phenomenon in America where men kill transwomen for being trans and society sympathizes with men, and that’s dangerous for women everywhere.

Murder is wrong and there needs to be accountability for those who choose death over walking away. Men excuse their violence by saying “He should have told me he was a man” or “I am not attracted to men so I lost control.”

When a man claims that a transwoman has a duty to out herself before getting to know her, what men are really saying is they want transwomen to accommodate their transphobia.

This expectation undermines the entire concept of dating and reinforces the notion that something is wrong with transwomen, and there isn’t.

Something is wrong with bigotry.

Transwomen, like women everywhere, are a diverse group so there is no surprise that men find themselves attracted to transwomen. Have you seen the gorgeous Amiyah Scott or Laverne Cox?

Attraction isn’t the problem, it’s frail male egos.

Zella Ziona, 21, was shot in the head by her own friend after she playfully flirted with him in front of his friends. Mercedes Williamson, 17, was murdered and buried in her boyfriend’s backyard because her boyfriend was afraid of what his friends would think.

It’s no surprise that at least 24 transwomen were murdered, with most of their cases unsolved, in 2016. It’s also no surprise almost all of these women were women of color.

It’s crazy to think that one man could call me trans and another man would be ready to attack me. I hate the term “transphobia” because it isn’t fear driving this behavior, it’s assholes with egos in a male dominated society that perpetuate disgust towards trans women while everyone looks on and says nothing.

Why else would the murders of these women largely go unsolved every year, leaving them as a useless social media hashtag, like #BlackLivesMatter?

Hashtags are cool but action is better. The next time someone makes a trans joke, speak up. As women, if we know a trans woman, share with her the dignity of sisterhood. It is unity that will make us great; there is strength in numbers. Even if we don’t agree, there is no harm in embracing womanhood, regardless of where it falls on the spectrum. There is no cost to be kind to someone different than you.

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