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This inexcusable Tory silence on the trans controversy


ONE thing keeping many women awake at night is the issue of gender identity. We’re concerned that something we didn’t even know existed ten years ago, has gone mainstream and is damaging our lives and the lives of our children.

We are worried that teaching kids in primary school that they have their own inner gender identity, unanchored to their biological sex, which they need to discover for themselves (it may be any one of a hundred) may be highly confusing for them.

Parents of a little girl in Canada are suing her school for scaring and confusing her, after she came home one day, no longer happy and secure in the fact that she was a little girl.

We are worried that this, alongside social media contagion, may be helping to fuel the exponential increase in the number of young people presenting to gender clinics seeking to change their gender.

We are worried for these young people now, and later in life, if they make irreversible decisions that may render them infertile, medicalise them for life, and impact their ability to form healthy relationships.

Here is one of the most heartbreaking sentences I have ever read: ‘My once-beautiful daughter is now 19 years old, homeless, bearded, in extreme poverty, sterilised, not receiving mental health services, extremely mentally ill, and planning a radial forearm phalloplasty (a surgical procedure that removes part of her arm to construct a fake penis).’ 

We are worried that women are going to be hurt as more biological males play in female sports because they self-ID as female. We are also sad for the women who lose their places to these men.  

We are worried about much, much more, including the impact of the presence of biological males in women’s loos and changing rooms, as well as prisons and safe spaces such as refuges.

In fact, we are so worried that more and more women are setting up groups to challenge this ideology. These include Fair Play for Women, WomensPlaceUK, the SafeSchoolsAlliance, the LGB Alliance, ForWomen.Scotland and I will have missed out many more.

We have an election in less than three weeks. For women who are worried about these issues, what is the best way to vote?

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have made their position on gender identity very clear. It is entirely aligned to the new gender identity ideology. The LibDem position is that people should be able to ‘self-identify’ their gender simply by a process of self-declaration.

In the party’s view, the Gender Recognition Act needs to be amended to allow people to be legally recorded as male or female simply if they wish to be so. Biological males, who self-ID as female, should also have access to women-only spaces.

This should not just include workaday spaces such as public loos and retail centre changing rooms, but also spaces protected as women-only under the Equality Act, including women’s refuges. Liberal Democrat election candidate Luciana Berger made this position clear in a radio interview with Nick Robinson last week.

Any lingering doubts that Berger might have been freewheeling somewhat, given this extreme position, were removed by an interview the LibDem leader Jo Swinson gave to Andrew Marr on  Sunday last. Swinson confirmed that the LibDems support gender self-ID. Marr challenged her to be clear on the full implications of this.

He said: ‘Under the Equality Act at the moment, there are certain so-called safe spaces, women’s refuges, prisons and so forth, which are able to turn away trans people. Will you change the Equality Act to stop that happening?

Swinson responded: ‘There is not some kind of hierarchy of equalities. Everybody matters and you can’t say that a trans woman or a cis woman … that one group is more important than another.’

She compared allowing trans women into shelters to allowing lesbian women into shelters. ‘Let’s say a woman comes to a refuge and she is being abused by her partner – her same-sex partner. The refuge needs to make sure they are doing a risk assessment on who is coming in … this is an issue about managing risk.’  

Challenged again to clarify her position, Swinson confirmed that she does not think the Equality Act needs to change. However, this is not because she supports the exclusion of biological males from some female spaces, as anyone would have interpreted the Act at the time that it was written, but because she believes the Act already lets them in.

As far as Swinson is concerned, any residual confusion over this will be cleared up by changes to the Equality Act to confirm that biological males are female if they say they are – and hence allowed into female spaces.  Simple. The only exception to this would be case by case, based upon individual risk assessments.

For the record, Andrew Marr said ‘that seems very sensible’ and is ‘very clear’.  


Whereas the LibDems are nothing if not fully-aligned and clear about what they stand for, Labour appears to be engaged in internal and unresolved warfare.

The Labour manifesto says: ‘Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people.’ (p68). However, it also says that Labour will ‘ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision’. (p66)  

The ambiguity in this is obvious. If biological males can simply self-identify as female, how would the enforcement of single-sex service provision be maintained? Confusion reigned followed the manifesto’s publication.

Within hours, Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, clearly contradicted the manifesto. She said via Twitter that under a Labour government, a simple self-ID as a woman will allow a man into women’s protected spaces. ‘And there is no way spaces will be permitted to discriminate against trans people. That is illegal and it will stay illegal’.  

According to The Independent, a Labour spokesman then attempted to clarify matters by saying that single-sex spaces would continue to be allowed ‘providing that such treatment by a provider is justified’. However the spokesman added: ‘No spaces will be permitted to discriminate against trans people’. 

So we know where we stand with the LibDems and Labour. The LibDems wholeheartedly support gender self-ID and all that it entails. But there is a bitter struggle going on in the Labour Party. While it supports gender self-ID, some people at the heart of the party want to retain protections for women, while others do not see the need.

The Conservatives

While they have the excuse that their time in power has coincided with a major push of trans ideology across the Western world, the Conservatives have done more than any other party to fast-track the incursion of gender identity politics into our schools and across our institutions.

Under the watch of the Conservatives, the BBC produces materials designed to teach primary school children that there are 100 genders. Our state institutions, including prisons, the police, schools, and the NHS pay for trans activists, including Mermaids and Stonewall, to come in to teach them how they too can spread trans ideology.

This has led to schools removing their single-sex toilet facilities, the police recording hate incidents against people’s names for life if they have voiced doubts about gender ideology, and violent male sex offenders being housed in women’s prisons because they say they are female.

What does the Conservative manifesto say about the matter? Nothing.

A feminist campaigner, Sonia Poulton, put out a powerful tweet earlier this week:  ‘Within a year or so, lawsuits will stack up from women hurt by men in female sports, women abused by rapists admitted to female prisons, safeguarding issues compromised in schools, and Girl Guides and lesbians harassed for refusing to have sex with men. Remember who pushed all this’.

In another article elsewhere here on TCW today, Karen Varley urges readers to sign a pledge defending women’s rights over the gender self-identification issue.

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Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske is a former adviser to the New Zealand Government, served two terms as a Conservative councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham and is currently a full-time mother. She tweets as @carolinefff

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