Why The Term 'Womxn' Isn't As Inclusive As Everyone Likes To Believe

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group of women

The term 'womxn' — women with an x — has been tossed around quite frequently. It’s an alternative spelling to ‘woman/women,’ and was proposed as a way to reclaim the identity of womanhood in a way that is more inclusive and intersectional. (See also: Latinx, vs. Latina/Latino.)

With the removal of man or men at the end, womxn is meant to be empowering to some who find it more liberating to have no relation to men whatsoever.

There are two different variations of the word: womxn and womyn and they mean different things.

Womxn is used by well-intentioned feminists who are trying to be more inclusive.

Womyn has become an anti-trans term used by radical “feminists” who (incorrectly) believe trans rights infringe on their own rights. They view gender as being equal to the physical genitalia a human was born with, which is a very harmful view.

Today, we're talking about the former — the term womxn.

There are many reasons why the term womxn is valid and important, but it's not as inclusive as many people would like to believe.

The term womxn can quickly become offensive when applied to trans women and non-binary people without their consent. 

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Trans women are women. They should always be included in the narrative when referring to women in the traditional way that women is spelled. Trans women aren’t a special or separate category. 

Non-binary people aren’t women or men.

When someone classifies themselves as nonbinary, they usually adopt the pronouns of they/them/theirs. Those individuals don’t believe in the gender binary and choose to exist outside of that binary, therefore, they should never be referred to as womxn — at least not without their consent beforehand. 

If you are a cisgender woman, you do not have a right to bestow the term womxn onto trans and nonbinary folks. That is not your decision to make and can come across as silencing. It’s better to ask members of those communities what they would prefer to be called. It’s the same courtesy of asking someone what their pronouns are.

Being a true ally to any community is making sure you aren’t overstepping boundaries which, in turn, can make people uncomfortable. 

Of course, if you're comfortable with using the term womxn when referring to yourself, that is completely fine. It’s a perfect word for some  but not all.

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The number one tip is getting consent to use the term womxn, and being very mindful of how that term can come across to trans and nonbinary people. 

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It’s critical as cis individuals that we take the time to unlearn our own biases when it comes to gender. Giving trans and nonbinary folks platforms to speak up about issues that plague their communities  — while also making sure we never using words that may seem inclusive but are actually the complete opposite — is key. 

There's good intention behind the term womxn. But the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

The best step is to speak out when we see harmful things happening to nonbinary and trans people — especially Black trans women, who experience frighteningly high numbers of violence perpetrated against them.

It’s about making sure you never misgender someone, and that if you accidentally do, you apologize and make an effort to do better in the future.

Nobody is perfect, but it’s taking the active steps to make everyone feel comfortable and seen that matters.

Credit to GirlBoss article by Cassie Barradas.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.