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Acceptance, Empathy, and Feminism: Navigating Conversations on Gender Identity and Language

Part 3 of 3


I did something that I rarely do; I unfriended someone. This person is an acquaintance with whom I had the opportunity to spend a weekend a year together over several years through a women’s program in Canada.

Tips on Empathy for All Women

How can I show empathy towards my cisgender sisters?

  • Acknowledge and respect the differences: It’s essential to recognise that the experiences of transgender women and cisgender women are not the same. Each group faces unique challenges, and it’s vital to acknowledge and respect these differences.

  • Listen and learn: Transgender women can help reduce divisiveness by actively listening to the experiences and concerns of cisgender women. By showing a willingness to learn and understand, transgender women can help foster empathy and build bridges.

  • Be an ally: Transgender women can help support cisgender women by being an ally and speaking out against gender-based violence and discrimination. By standing together, both groups can work to create a safer and more just society for all women.

  • Recognise the commonalities: Despite the differences, transgender and cisgender women share many everyday experiences, such as discrimination and harassment. By recognising and highlighting these shared experiences, both groups can find common ground and work towards a shared goal of gender equality.

  • Engage in dialogue: transgender and cisgender women must engage in open and honest conversations, even with disagreements or misunderstandings. Both groups can work towards a greater understanding and peaceful coexistence by talking openly and respectfully.

Likewise, There are several ways that cisgender women can show empathy towards transgender women:

  • Listen and learn: Transgender women face unique challenges that cisgender women may not be familiar with. Take the time to listen to transgender women’s stories and experiences, and try to educate yourself about transgender issues.

  • Use respectful language: Use the pronouns and names that transgender women prefer, and avoid using language that could be hurtful or offensive.

  • Speak up: If you hear someone making derogatory comments or using disrespectful language towards transgender women, speak up and challenge their behaviour.

  • Be an ally: Show your support for transgender women by advocating for their rights and equality and amplifying their voices.

  • Recognise your privilege: Cisgender women have privileges that transgender women do not. Acknowledge this privilege and use it to help uplift and empower transgender women.

  • Practice empathy: Try to put yourself in the shoes of a transgender woman and imagine how it feels to navigate a world that may not always accept or understand you. Show compassion and understanding towards transgender women, and strive to be a supportive ally.


Ultimately, reducing acrimony between transgender and cisgender women requires a commitment to empathy, respect, and understanding. By working together and supporting one another, both groups can create a world where all women can live free from harm and discrimination.

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