Rachel Dolezal, who claims she is black, under fire for comparing herself to transgender people
Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who is famous for claiming she is black, is under fire for comparing her identity to transgender people.
Ms Dolezal – the former head of a branch of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington – rose to fame when she was ‘unmasked’ as a white woman back in June after her own family spoke out about her.
Her actions provoked outrage across the globe, with many accusing her of racism or claiming she is mentally ill.
The activist, who has also come out as bisexual, is under fire this week after comparing herself to transgender people.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Ms Dolezal claimed: “Gender is understood… we’ve progressed and evolved to understanding that gender’s not binary or even biological, but what strikes me as so odd is that race isn’t biological either.
“Race to some extent has been less biological than gender if you think about history and our bodies. There isn’t white blood and black blood, there isn’t body parts that are certain races.”
The comments sparked anger from writer Guilaine Kinouani.
She said: “Comparing transgenderism with trans-racialism is a fallacy. It’s a false equivalency, which in my mind doesn’t advance our understanding of race, of transgender issues, neither of black womanhood.
“[She’s a] white woman who’s quite oblivious to the fact that black women’s experiences and bodies have been appropriated.”
Ms Dolezal continues to insist she did not “lie” about her race, however.
She said: “It didn’t feel like a lie… the idea of race is a lie, so how can you lie about a lie?
“It felt like a true representation of who I am and what I stand for. Even though race is a social construct, you have to take a side and I stand on the black side of issues. For me to not check that box would have been some sort of betrayal.
“I definitely did not feel at home in the white world. It felt foreign to me and it felt uncomfortable and awkward to be there. It also felt oppressive because I had to constantly repress parts of myself in order to survive socially.”