The idea that trans women are not women because they aren’t born with all of the female organs, or because they were born with male organs, is wrong. It is willful erasure of intersex women, women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and women with other medical conditions, such as cloacal abnormalities and Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, that may cause similar presentation of sex that does not conform to the narrow, genital-centric definition.
The idea that trans women are not women because they presumably do not have XX chromosomes is misinformed. It is erasure, even if out of ignorance, of women who do not have XX chromosomes due to Turner Syndrome, Triple X Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, etc. It is also erasure of men with Klinefelter Syndrome. The XX/XY model is both narrow and inaccurate.
The idea that trans women are not women because they don’t “suffer enough” is wrong. Trans women face the same issues that cis women face, and some even more often (47% chance of being sexually assaulted, vs the US national female average of 20%), as well as unique issues (misgendering, erasure and many others).
The idea that trans women are not women because they could theoretically live as though they were men is a non-starter. Cis women can and have lived as though they were men. This would not magically make a trans woman male. More importantly, it is an argument that minimizes all inequalities and dismisses actual solutions.
The idea that trans women are not women because recognizing trans womanhood somehow affects cis womanhood is archaic. Recognizing black women does not take away from white women. Recognizing childfree or childless women does not take away from women with children. Recognizing trans women does not take away from cis women.
The idea that trans women are not women because they may have body parts that are not attractive to someone who identifies as having attraction to women is silly. A person is capable of choosing to not be in a relationship with a trans woman just as they are capable of choosing to not be in a relationship with an infertile woman, a woman with altered breasts, etc. Finding a characteristic unattractive does not justify removing all of those women with that characteristic from the female gender.
The idea that trans women are not women until or unless they “pass” is shallow and cruel. It constitutes erasure of cis women who do not “pass.” It is discriminatory against trans women who do not “pass” regardless of surgical or hormonal confirmation, trans women who cannot afford confirmation, and trans women who do not desire confirmation to an “acceptable” degree. It makes womanhood dependent on bone structure, a high voice and a feminine shape, none of which have ever been, or should be, requirements.
The idea that trans women are not women is harmful to women as a whole. It places undue restriction on what constitutes “a real woman,” just as homophobia does. It drives women apart by encouraging suspicion, judgement, rejection, victim-blaming and -shaming, body negativity, and desensitization toward issues that are perceived to affect “fake women” more than “real women.”
If a person is female in her heart and mind, desires to live her life as a female, and self-identifies as female, she is a woman. She does not need to “prove it” to anyone, least of all to strangers, politicians or service workers. She does not need to take her clothes off or present a card or have a patch sewn on her shirt to get respect and support. Period.