Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Questionable Comments About Trans Identity Spark a Needed Dialogue.

Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sparked controversy over the weekend after a clip from a recent media appearance went viral.

Adichie, who is promoting her new book Dear Ijeawele Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, spoke with the U.K.’s channel 4, earlier this week. When the topic of trans women and gender arose, Adichie had this to say:

“When people talk about, ‘Are trans women women?’ my feeling is trans women are trans women.”

“I think the whole problem of gender in the world is about our experiences,” she continued. “It’s not about how we wear our hair or whether we have a vagina or a penis. It’s about the way the world treats us, and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”

While Adichie did take care to denounce discrimination against trans individuals by saying that they should be “allowed to be,” she also maintained that the experiences of trans women should be “conflated” with the experiences of cis women.

Adichie’s comments were quickly called out on social media, prompting her to post a response.

Adichie’s comments exemplify a particular bias that often arises, even in feminist spaces, when it comes to discussing the identities of trans women. By stating that the experiences of trans and cis women can’t be conflated, she’s making broad assumptions about what the experiences of trans women actually are.

Transgender activist Raquel Willis perfectly broke down the issue in this series of tweets.

Actress and activist Laverne Cox also shared her thoughts on the issue.