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The "I have a ... friend" Defense


We've seen this many times, somebody says or does something that is racist, homophobic, transphobic, or anti-semetic in some way and the truth of that gets pointed out to them. However, rather than apologizing and learning from it, they double down in defense with "I have a ... friend" defense.

A couple of days ago, Congresswoman Cori Bush testified before the US Congress on her experience as a Black woman giving birth. She noted that as a Black woman, her pain was ignored and dismissed by Doctors to the point she almost lost her children in child birth. While she was testifying, she used the inclusive terminolgy "birthing people" in order to include intersex and trans men who give birth in her speech. Not surprisingly, the right wing went bonkers about it as did more than a few who style themselves as left wing. Says a lot, as Cori Bush noted, about the racism and transphobia in America.

One wild example of this reaction was a tweet from Rose McGowan:


Let's unpack that for the moment. First, we have the dog whistle of "bio-women" here, a popular one amongst transphobes to tell us that trans women are not really women, but she also implies that using the term "people" is smearing women to virtue signal trans women. Huh? Trans women cannot give birth, Cori was not talking about them at all. As this tweet so ably highlights:


Rose McGowan defended her original posting with:


Instead of listening to all of the trans men and trans women explaining why her tweet was transphobic, and then learning from that, she went into the "I have a trans friend" defense. Let's be really clear: having a friend in a marginalized group of any sort is not a license to speak for or over that group, ever.

Once again, though, the ire is directed at trans women, as it always seems to be...








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