Read this article, “Cis People: Give Your Pickles To Trans Women.”
“Shared girlhood” is a lie, construed from a model of white-centric, patriarchal, capitalist social progression. It’s not some otherwise ironclad system disproven with freak outliers. We likely all know someone who’s life experience is failed by the model of shared girlhood. I don’t want to speak out of turn and condense the experiences of poor, non-white, disabled, intersex, immigrant, refugee, and other people, AMAB and AFAB alike, into a gotcha on some food blog. But to provide a degree of lived experience on this front: I went to a cultish Christian private school for my first two years of undergrad, and many of my classmates had been homeschooled or educated in private schools all their lives, and even those women, themselves the very ideal of white western womanhood, are failed miserably by the fallacy of shared girlhood, even if they would agree with it.
Trans women crave pickles. Not all of us; some don’t take hormones, or are on hormones but no longer need to take spironolactone, or just don’t like pickles and prefer to get their salt fix through crackers, soups, or other condiments.
But it is common enough. It’s not uncommon for trans women in a group to share stories of drinking straight pickle juice or loading a burger order with lots of pickle spears on the side (we in the Bay Area are blessed with burger places that are generous with pickle sizes).
The biochemistry’s pretty simple! Many of us take spironolactone, which is an anti-androgen and diuretic. Pickles, and pickle juice, are a way of taking in fluids and replacing lost salt that helps retain those fluids, keeping us hydrated. I’ve also drank chicken or beef bouillon straight in a pinch.
If you want to be an ally to trans women, give them pickles. It’s good for their health, and it demonstrates your understanding that trans women aren’t “honorary” women, but a subset of an ever-expanding umbrella. You might not ever be able to fully comprehend their struggles and experiences, but realize they have needs that are quantifiable, like all marginalized people.
Some of those needs are ideological (putting the space between “trans” and “woman” doesn’t shunt them off into a separate linguistic category from other women), and some are very, very base: you need salt, friend. I care about you. Have some pickles.
“Universal girlhood” is a lie that is used to justify other transphobic lies like, “trans women have male privilege.”
If you are a trans woman and crave fermented pickles, hit me up. I care about you! I would love to make you some pickles! They’re salty, sour, and as spicy as you want them.