Without endorsing the binary implicit on this day of observation, on this International Women’s Day, our greeting goes out to all. On other pages, digital and print, and on social media you will find history and predictions, exultations of how far we have come and lamentation about how far there is to go. Women’s struggles to be heard and respected are unique as they are individual but similar because they are universal.
Here we invite you, however, to the moment: March 8, 2021, from which we can in part imagine the past and present struggles of our sisters – contemporaries, forebears and descendants. If we are going to talk about “women” or “females,” it is imperative that we expand the concept. Gender is more fluid now than before – women can be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transsexual, questioning – and we should welcome them all. Anyone who identifies as a woman should not have to fight for acceptance by other women.
On April 20 of last year, Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Jennifer Finney Boylan about her journey from boyhood to womanhood. Ms. Boylan described how her mother reacted to her transition:
“When I came out to my own mother 20 years ago, she was 85. She was an evangelical Christian. She was a Republican, and I had a pretty good sense that my coming out as trans was not going to strike her as the greatest thing that had ever happened to her — and yet I came out to her.
“I told her the story and I started to cry. And she got up out of her chair and she put her arms around me and she said, ‘I would never turn my back on my child. I will always love you.’ And I said, ‘But, mom, won’t it be a scandal when everyone finds out that I’m your daughter now?’ And she said, ‘Well, quite frankly, yes, but I will adjust.’ And then she quoted First Corinthians and said, ‘The greatest of these is love.’ She said to me, ‘love will prevail,’ and in large measure, it has in my life.”
Love and acceptance do not erase all pain but they help mitigate loneliness and isolation.