Gender is not biological. I think it’s safe to say radical feminists have that down. We accept that there is a difference between gender and sex. Why don’t we accept trans* people as a natural result of a world still swamped by the gender binary?
Trans* women go through violence and hatred to be recognised as women. Transitioning is not something undertaken on a lark. We cannot conflate those who wear drag for a few hours with those whose entire lives are affected. These women give up their ability to pass as male in culture which isn’t exactly woman-friendly. This is why they should have support from those who will not judge them for straying outside of mandated lines.
We critique the gender binary and gender essentialism. Speaking the truth to power is something that radical feminists are not afraid to do, yet we’ve allocated a disproportionate number of that criticism to trans* people, which is not so much speaking the truth to power but using our limited power to marginalise those who don’t have a lot. We cannot attack trans* women to make our viewpoint more accepted or mainstream (and I genuinely believe that no one is deliberately attempting to do that).
The reason why I’m a radical feminist is that for the most part, we’re pretty awesome, but in excluding trans* women we’ve really dropped the ball. We are excluding a group that is the living embodiment of the fact that gender roles are imposed and not biological. Not only are we being bigots, we’re being less than brilliant by alienating what could be a core constituency.