As you know I butt heads against anti-tranner types a lot – anti-tranner being my new word for TERFs and tradcons and etc who dislike trans people. Because lets be honest, they don’t actually stand for the values they claim to, TERFs in particular are staunchly anti-female if said female doesn’t fit their specific mould of a woman; such as women who can’t conceive and go through pregnancy.
Anyway, I listened to their arguments for months and months and months, one of the recurring ones I’ve seen around is “woman = adult human female”. So I hatched me an idea.
Obviously, its totally irrelevant what it says in a dictionary – dictionaries are descriptive, they describe word use. They are not prescriptive and they do not prescribe word meaning. Even if the anti-tranners really want them to. But I thought heck it, if this is the hill they want to die on, why not hurry their demise along a little? So I wrote to a few dictionaries to ask about the word woman in particular – purposefully leaving out man because I knew this would trigger the anti-tranners even more. I asked them if they would consider updating their definition in their dictionary to better reflect how the word is used, as is the literal purpose of a dictionary.
Of course, dictionaries are already considering doing this because it is how the word is being used and their job is to catalogue said word use. So the email I got was fairly positive, said they were going to review what I’d said and stuff. Email below.
And you would not even believe the amount of mad coming out of the anti-tranner community right now. Oh my god its SO DELICIOUS. From calling Harper Collins misogynist, to claiming they’re taking my side because I’m a man, to outright calling for a boycott. Hundreds of likes and retweets on the posts. This is pure gold. Below is some of the greatest hits I’ve been able to find so far, I hope you enjoy!
OBVIOUSLY. We can’t just let this sit here, we can’t just let the couple hundred to a few thousand of these ideologues win by spamming up Harper Collins with their bullshit agenda. Which is what it is, their position on the word woman is pure ideology, rather than respect for linguistics and how dictionaries actually work. As is their whole damn argument re: “woman = adult human female”.
More than likely HC are going to change the definition regardless of their screeching, but just in case I think we should maybe all consider writing our own emails to help out a little. Below is a template email you can use and I highly recommend you sending it to multiple dictionaries and not just HC. I personally have emailed about 10 dictionary publishing companies so far, and I don’t think I’m going to stop there. Thesauruses next!
I’m writing today to ask for an update to the definition of the word “woman”. As dictionaries are descriptive and describe how words are used, it would be important to include trans women in the definition of the word, which the current definition fails to do. Trans women, with a space between trans and women, uses trans as an adjective to describe a kind of woman, much like how tall can be placed in front of the word woman and have the same effect.
I apologise greatly for the amount of emails and anti-trans rhetoric you are currently receiving. The people writing to you to exclude trans women from the definition of the word woman are ideologues. They often rely on dictionary definitions in their exclusion of trans women, claiming that woman means adult human female because it says so in your dictionary. They are trying to push their ideology onto your dictionary and spit in the face of what a dictionary is even supposed to do – catalogue word use, not prescribe word meaning. Please do not let them influence you and please continue doing your job as a dictionary.
Thank you for your time,
I look forward to hearing back from you,