I think of Rachel Dolezal in two contexts: one, that she is insanely cute, and two, that she forces a discussion on an issue society still can’t deal with. The conversation is just turning to transgendered people, and she wanted to push it into a realm literally unheard of: that of trans-racial people. (Note that a professor at George Washington University recently “came out” and admitted to the same thing — and avoided all of that backlash by declaring herself a terrible person, etc etc.) But I support Rachel. I don’t even know if she’s got her own back on this issue anymore. But I see that she has the right to define herself. Not to lie, of course, and expect anything good to happen. But the underlying issue shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The fact that this is another form of trans means that the logic of the TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) would probably work here, as well. Certainly the idea of being trans-racial raised a million red flags, and received universal condemnation. But this same attitude, when applied by the TERFs to transgendered people raises its own million red flags, and receives almost as much criticism. JK Rowling has picked this very hill to die on, and her brand is now more toxic than Drano’s. Where is the line when it comes to appropriation? Is there one? Why is it appropriating to be black on the inside, and yet not when trans-gendered? Is there a line at all? Should there be? I don’t think there should.
Going with our gut is one of the most important skills we can learn in life. But specifically in terms of learning to listen to one’s intuition. A visceral reaction is not that. It’s a reflection of how far a person has yet to progress.