“For me, inclusion means ‘make room for everybody.’” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reveals

“For me, inclusion means ‘make room for everybody.’” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reveals

In a new interview with Open Country, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about a wide range of issues, from her storytelling to her grief over the loss of her parents.

And of course, about her pushback against the orthodoxy of the trans ideology.

“For me, inclusion means ‘make room for everybody’,” she says, as though in response to the frequent claims that she is transphobic. “The problem with the liberal left in America – and I have a huge problem with that – is that on one hand, they advocate to embrace difference, but actually the response to that is to squash difference. Because my whole life has been one where—I think difference is normal, that’s how I was born.”

The interview revisits the controversy that started in 2017, when she said during a Channel 4 News interview that “trans women are trans women.” She went on to say, “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 changed, switched 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 in the world as a woman and who has not been accorded these privileges that men are. I don’t think it’s a good thing to conflate everything into one. I don’t think it’s a good thing to talk about women’s issues being exactly the same as the issues of trans women. What I’m saying is that gender is not biology, gender is sociology.”

Following a furious backlash that has persisted till recently when she published an essay that called out some of the relationships she had lost due to the controversy, she admits, “I cannot tell you how deeply hurt I was.”

She adds that in order to check for any “blind spots”, she had to read “every trans memoir published. I’ve read everything about transgender ideology, because I needed to understand what was going on with the reaction. I genuinely didn’t. … When that happened, there were lovely trans women who wrote to me, through my manager. And I think there’s a generational thing, they were mostly older people. They wrote to me very lovely letters, saying, ‘We’re sorry that you’re going through this, we know what you mean,’ and I really appreciated that.”

In her reading on the stories of trans people, she has also been thinking about anti-lesbian homophobia. “There are lesbians who are still trying to carve out a space to be, and suddenly you’re telling them that they cannot define themselves? Mba nau, no, no, no, what is that?”

And on the topic of gender ideology, it would seem that the Americanah author is penning something, as she says elsewhere in the interview that she is “actually writing something now, because, just as I said, since June 10, I’m just like, no, I need to.”

Read the full interview on Open Country here.

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  1. Mandy
    October 11, 09:32 Reply

    I believe that the Liberal Left’s determination to crush difference – even when they preach for us to recognise and welcome difference – is because of this perception that recognizing difference is akin to othering those who are different.

    And that may be a valid concern, but you have to wait and watch people who speak about difference and listen to what they say. Not all opinions about difference are discriminatory. It is okay to recognise that we are not all the same, whilst advocating that we all deserve our human rights in full. The subject of inclusion must NOT mean that everybody must occupy everybody else’s specific spaces. Until we recognise this, there will continue to be this great big divide amongst liberals.

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