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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 'sank into a depression' over backlash to trans comments

The author says she "no longer has any time for nonsense".

2021-07-19

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2020 (Wiki)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has said she "sank into a depression" after backlash to her four-year-old comments about trans women - but "no longer has any time for nonsense" in 2021.

The 'We Should All Be Feminists' author famously told Channel 4 News in 2017 that "trans women are trans women." 

She added at the time: "I think if you've lived in the world as a man with the privileges the world accords to men, and then 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 those privileges that men are."

"I genuinely did not mean any harm"

Discussing the backlash from anti-trans activists that followed, Ngozi Adichie told The Times in a new interview: “I have felt for a long time a kind of great discontent with the liberal western world - and that’s my tribe. It didn’t start when I gave the interview in which I said I think a trans woman is a trans woman. It was before that.

"I had started to bristle at a kind of orthodoxy, at the end of good faith and the end of goodwill. Arguments were no longer an exchange of ideas - they had become performances of empty piety, and I found it increasingly uninteresting.

“When I said I thought a trans woman is a trans woman, I genuinely did not mean any harm. If anything it was my way of saying we need to be able to acknowledge difference and still be an inclusive group."

The 43-year-old added: "It was a really difficult time and I sank into a depression and I couldn’t write. But then came my father’s death, and then my mother’s, and grief. Grief fills you up and you feel you no longer have any time for nonsense."

Ngozi Adichie also caught heat last year for calling 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling's infamous sex and gender essay "a perfectly reasonable piece."

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