Look how many people will say: “This argument makes sense, but I’m not going to listen to it because …”
Because tone. Because women won’t use the right words for men. Just call us what we want, do what we want, and we’ll start listening to you, feminists. We promise.
Let me be very clear: misgendering “erases” no one. I have several people in my family whose primary “identity” group, as such, is Christians. If I were to call one of them an atheist, or a Buddhist, or the man in the moon, I would not be “erasing” them. If someone identified, primarily, as a very funny teller of jokes, it would not be invalidating their existence to tell them that they are not particularly funny after all. It’s worth noting that they’re not erased *even if someone is telling lies*.
The only way, in fact, that denying an identity is “erasing” that identity is if the person doing the denial is telling the truth. Then, the simple act of saying “I refuse to participate in your delusion” shatters the reality of the delusion.
Let me put this another way. If I identify myself as an excellent writer and, say, a very bad fanfiction writer says to me: “You’re a terrible writer,” my identity remains entirely intact. Why? Because I have no reason to credit what they say, there is no reason to doubt my identification. In the same way, if someone says about a novel I have written and am very proud of, “this is garbage, not worth reading,” my identity as a good novelist remains intact, because I really did believe I’d written it well.
If, on the other hand, a writer I respected and admired, or an editor I desperately wanted to approve my work, wrote back with comments amounting to “this is bad writing and I’m not sure why you’d think anyone would like this,” I would feel like my identity and sense of self had, in some way, been diminished. In the same way, if I was unsure of a work’s quality and someone told me it was pure shit, I’d be much more inclined to feel deeply hurt, lashing out, and resentful about it.
I believe the trans people who talk loudest about “erasure” when it comes to pronouns and statements like “was born a girl” are the ones who, deep down, are least settled in their own identities. I certainly never feel that my identity as a feminist, or my reality as a woman, is somehow threatened when they have misgendered me or called me names or said I was transmisogynist. Insecure people who know that they’re lying–on some level–are the only ones who feel that the very fabric of their being is threatened by a contradiction of their own internal narrative.