There is a group of people who have been forgotten, even silenced, by our movement. Our legal victories, though necessary, may clash seriously with their rights. Especially the right to form an effective political movement, with focused activist goals.
They are the Gametes. Myself, I am a tinygamete, and I produce the much smaller gamete which in the right conditions could fertilize the Gamete’s larger gamete. Lucky for people with my anatomy, I’m not the one who grows the new human inside of them, so I’m spared quite a lot, such as…well, death. And pain. Lack of control. And unfair expectations and judgement from society. Or a menstrual cycle, or having to go through menopause, or any of the thousand complications that can arise from having Gamete reproductive anatomy.
Once upon a time, the Gametes were known as “women/females/girls.” The term now has come to include tinygametes as well, so the word “woman/female/girl” is no longer approved for use in activism that focuses only on Gametes. Nor are Gametes permitted to congregate (in order to discuss social issues relevant to their lived experience) if they define the meeting as “for women/females,” but only allow Gametes to attend.
However, the Gametes seem not to know their new name, whether it be “Gamete” or some other word. Strangely, the three or so billion Gametes in the world have not yet arrived at a new word for themselves around which to rally politically.
That a portion of Gametes are “men/male” further complicates this use of language to popularize a much-needed activist effort.
While it is entirely reasonable to ask over half the world’s population to uncover a new name for themselves, it may be advantageous for us to loan them the word “woman/female” for use in certain contexts. Political momentum to secure Gamete body autonomy requires the use of a catchy alternative to “woman” such as (and these are just a few ideas): “Uterus-vagina-vulva-complex People,” “Human Incubators,” “Large Gametes.” Strangely, these alternatives have not caught on in the Gamete community, who continue to use “woman/female” to refer solely to Gametes.
In spite of their grave offense, the Gametes are using the word most commonly associated with them by the vast majority of society. After all, any infant that visually appears to have a vulva will be assigned to the social class of “woman/girl/female,” and recieve socialization to make them compliant with their assigned social role. Part of this assigned role is to give birth, which as previously addressed, is really fucking risky and scary and profound.
So we can see why the Gametes might find it prudent to use the word best able to gain traction for their efforts. They may also be confused by assertions from the trans community that use of the word “woman/female” to refer only to Gametes is offensive. They may be unable to comply with using language that is inclusive of trans people, because there is no word to refer specifically to Gametes aside from “woman/female.” At this point, being inclusive of trans people hinders their own movement against oppression – specifically, the oppression of Gametes by the tinygametes.
Why haven’t we come up with an alternative? I’ve provided what I think is a good one in this letter, “Gametes.” Now we just need to tell all Gametes to start calling themselves Gametes (or some other term) and modify their political slogans and activist goals accordingly.
Alternatively, we could shift our interpretation of the word “woman/female” depending on the context, and stop worrying about Gametes using “woman/female” to refer only to Gametes, stop shutting down Gamete-only meetings that use “woman/female,” and stop trying to derail Gamete activist efforts.
Maybe just let them have this one?