“The exclusion of trans women from women’s spaces is just like racial segregation during the Jim Crow era.”

This historically illiterate, offensive comparison ignores literally dozens of relevant differences between sex segregation as it exists today and racial segregation as it existed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States. But the most obvious one would be this: Male people pose a unique threat to female people that Black people absolutely do not pose to white people. Any cheap comparison between the fears women have about trans-identified males in their spaces and the fears white people have about Black people in their spaces relies on the assumption that Black people are disproportionately dangerous in the way male people are – a hateful and bizarre claim that we should all condemn.

More broadly, feminists and anti-racists both have long realized that not all “segregation” is equal; as Marilyn Fry said, “It is nothing extraordinary for a master to bar his slaves from the manor, but it is a revolutionary act for slaves to bar their master from their hut.” Black people and female people comprise two intersecting social classes that experience abuse and exploitation at the hands of white people and male people, and therefore have the right to exclude their oppressors from particular spaces. This means that female-only spaces where male people are excluded should be compared, not with Jim Crow segregation, but rather with the existence of Black-only spaces where white people are excluded – and such spaces are not only justified, but often essential.