The problem with comparing Rachel Dolezal to any trans person

Rachel Dolezal almost broke the internet this week after it emerged the 37-year-old civil rights activist and National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) chapter leader was apparently misrepresenting herself as black.

Dolezal's Caucasian parents told a local news station in Spokane, Washington that their daughter's heritage is actually Czech, Swedish and German.

In response, she told a local news channel on Friday: “I would say that if I was asked I would definitely say that yes I do consider myself to be black.”

The news has prompted some people to suggest that Dolezal's belief that she is black is the same thing as people who say they were born in one gender and believe they should be the other. Those people are wrong.

Dolezal is clearly committed to the struggles of the black community. But instead of being an ally to the cause, she appropriated a black identity, which is insulting to the discrimination and marginalisation non-white people face because of the facts of their birth.

Dolezal can assume her white privilege again anytime she feels like it because she's just misrepresenting her identity. Transgender people do the opposite: they are honest about their identity even though it usually comes attached with a lot of stigma.

As Caitlyn Jenner put it in Vanity Fair: "I'm not doing this to be interesting. I'm doing this to live."

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