For Some Liberal Massachusetts Politicians, Women Are ‘Womxn’

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What do you call women?

Some people, including liberal politicians in Massachusetts, use another term to describe women:  “womxn.”

It’s a term that has been used since the 1970s, although not frequently. It’s an alternative spelling of the word “women.” defines the term as “a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women).”

Though it’s spelled with an “x,” “womxn” is pronounced “women.”

While it’s not a common term, a few Massachusetts politicians have used the term online in recent years.

Most notably, longtime state representative Kevin Honan (D-Brighton) used the term twice during his re-election bid in 2020; he was fending off a left-wing primary challenger in self-identified democratic socialist Jordan Meehan, who is openly homosexual.

Honan, who has been a state representative since 1987, first used the term in a June 24, 2020 tweet where he touted an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. He did so in a tweet where he reiterated his support for abortion.

“Our federal administration does not care about reproductive justice,” Honan tweeted. “Their callousness fuels my fight. I’m ready to make our pro-choice protections the strongest in the nation. MA womxn deserve nothing less. TY @ProChoiceMass for your continued partnership & support.”

And five days later, he used the term again in a tweet about abortion.

This time, Honan supported the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a Louisiana law that would’ve required abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. 

“Another week, another great decision from #SCOTUS,” he tweeted. “We must trust womxn to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.”

Honan has an 80 percent rating from Progressive Massachusetts in this legislative session; the median House Democrat has a 76 percent rating.

Boston city council candidate Tania Del Rio also likes the term “womxn.”

On December 29, 2021, she held a virtual campaign event called “Fearless Womxn for Tania.”

“There are still some hours left until we begin our Fearless Womxn for Tania virtual fundraiser at 7pm!” Del Rio tweeted on December 29. “For those who haven’t signed up for the event, there is still time left to secure your tickets at! We can’t wait to see you all there!”

The Democrat is running in the city’s First District. The preliminary election is scheduled to take place on April 5, 2022, and the general election on May 3. The special election is taking place because Lydia Edwards (D-East Boston) resigned from the city council after winning a state Senate seat.

Brookline town meeting member Meggan Levene uses the term, as well.

For example, when at a June 15, 2019 event in Roxbury in support of female politicians in Boston such as then-city councilors Michelle Wu and Kim Janey, Levene used the term.

“It’s a beautiful day in #Roxbury to celebrate womxn running for office (and the womxn led teams, @RiveraConsults, @MelanieIraAlba, @RonDurk that support them),” Levene tweeted.

And following a November 9, 2019 event put on by Progressive Massachusetts, Levene tweetedThe best part of every #mapoli event? @EmergeMass womxn!”

Brookline, a town of more than 63,000 people, elects its town meeting members. There are 240 elected town meeting members in Brookline, according to the town’s web site.

Honan, Del Rio, and Levene could not be reached for comment on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday this week. 


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