Sunday, December 8, 2019
Home News Trans Watch – a dispatch from the gender minefield

Trans Watch – a dispatch from the gender minefield

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THINGS have felt worse this past week. The ideology that our biological sex is irrelevant and an inner gender identity determines whether we are man or woman continues to force its way into our institutions and our lives.

John Lewis has confirmed that customers may use whichever changing rooms make them feel comfortable. I pity the staff who have to go along with this. Of course, generally life will go on as before; we mustn’t overstate the threat. But until now, if bullies or perverts turned up, staff could resort to company policy, and presumably security, to turn them away. Not so easy now. 

A Milton Keynes school has removed its single-sex loos and replaced them with gender-neutral ones. All the toilets are cubicles with external shared-space wash-basins. It’s hard to know what governors/administrators think they are achieving. I feel sorry for girls dealing with their periods, and both boys and girls worried about noises, smells, and teasing. According to a Milton Keynes newspaper ‘Unisex loos . . . are approved by the Department for Education as long as privacy is ensured by having an adequate cubicle enclosure and a full height door’. The Safe Schools Alliance disputes this. 

In Chicago, a high school district has gone further and voted to allow male pupils identifying as female into the girls’ locker room, where they change. A video of the meeting where the vote was taken brings us face to face with the transgender movement. A young man with long pink hair, barely bothering to pass visually as female, celebrates while a young women who needs to get changed in the rooms to participate in sport cries. Watch till the end. 

When I watched the video and saw the parents waving posters in support of young men going into girls’ changing rooms, I thought, We’re going to lose this in the end. But since then, on Twitter, people have described how trans activists took over the school board, stacked the meeting, did much of the talking. Adults without kids at the school voted to let the boys into the girls’ locker room. Tweets from brave strangers give us hope. But the fightback will be long and hard. 

Corporations and wider culture

The Coca-Cola company has produced a marketing campaign that seems to endorse chest-binding. Advertising the drink Sprite, and seemingly aimed at teens, the ad shows a mother helping her daughter bind her breasts to appear as a male, a mother helping her son dress as a drag queen, and a mother applying make-up to her son so he can present as a woman. 

Never mind that chestbinding can lead to multiple health problems. 

Meanwhile, YouTube suspended an interview with feminist Posie Parker on Triggernometry, in which she talks about the reality of being a biological woman. As TCW’s Gary Oliver reported yesterday, it was removed from YouTube because it ‘violates our hate speech policy’. 

In the interview, Parker restated her apparently controversial view that men who transition to female are still men. It was later reinstated on YouTube and you can see it here. 

Fighting back

It seems rather optimistic to use the term ‘fighting back’. It feels like we’re simply exposing what’s going on. Here is a great article that illustrates where this heads, if we don’t fight it. In Canada ‘Sex educators ask the elementary-school kids “if everyone born with a vulva is a girl”. Most of the kids say yes. But they’re wrong. The correct answer is that “our genitals don’t determine our gender and people born with vulvas can be boys”.  Gender, the young kids are told, is “how you feel on the inside about whether you’re a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, if you’re nonbinary, feel like neither or both. People can also be fluid, feel more like female, more like a male based on the day or time. It’s all individual”.’ 

A longer read looking at how this tragedy is unfolding in the US can be found here.

And people who regret their transition are at least becoming more visible. 

Two major cases related to the trans issue got under way in the UK last week. 

Maya Forstater lost her job for tweeting that transgender women are not women. She has taken her case to an employment tribunal, arguing that her dismissal amounted to discrimination against her beliefs. 

Meanwhile TCW reported on the case of former police officer Harry Miller, recorded as engaging in a hate incident for tweeting comments about transgenderism. Mr Miller found out that his ‘hate incident’ could appear on an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check and that he is unable to get it removed. He is seeking judicial review. His lawyers argue that the police are acting in breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which preserves the right to freedom of expression. 

These are two important cases that will move us forward or back.

The election 

Ultimately politicians will determine how this issue pans out in the UK. So far things are not looking good. 

The Liberal Democrats are unequivocal that a trans woman is a woman. They see no need for any protections or caveats around that. On BBC Radio 4, Nick Robinson asked Liberal Democrat candidate Luciana Berger a clear question to which she gave an unequivocal answer. Robinson: ‘Is it the Liberal Democrats’ view that if I now declare that I identify as a woman you want the law to treat me as a woman?’ Berger: ‘Yes.’ 
Robinson grilled her on the competing rights of women and those men who wish to identify as women. Berger answered, ‘I don’t think they are in competition . . . There shouldn’t be a competition. There shouldn’t be a hierarchy of equalities.’ If only it were so simple to wish problems away. 

The Labour Party tried to have it every way in its manifesto and hoped people wouldn’t notice. On page 68 the manifesto says: ‘Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people.’ But on page 66 it says it will ‘ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision’. How is that going to work with full-on self-ID? It’s not. Confusion reigned. Within hours Dawn Butler cleared it up. Under a Labour government, a simple self-ID as a woman will allow a man into women’s protected spaces. 

Who thinks the Conservative Party will do better? 

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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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