Welcome to Transtopia

Hi. You’ve reached the blog of Lily Maynard. Welcome.

In late 2015, my teenage daughter Jessie declared she was transgender and the experience tugged us into a rabbit hole of Orwellian double-speak and general insanity. I read so much during that time and it was such a vast learning curve that I felt compelled to bring all the threads together in an article.  I was especially struck by the exponential surge in the number of teenage girls who were ‘identifying’ as boys, usually young lesbians and usually after lengthy sessions on social media. After Jessie desisted, I wanted to share what I’d read as well as what I’d learned and eventually I finished writing an article which contained over 100 links. Jessie added a short postscript of her own and I was delighted when 4thwavenow published it in December 2016 under the title ‘A Mum’s Voyage Through Transtopia – a tale of love and desistance’.

I’ve since re-published the article here on my own blog, under the title

‘My first article – A Mum’s Voyage Through Transtopia’.

Before you ask me any questions; before you critcise or praise my stance on transitioning kids, or the appropriation of womanhood by men, please read that. It’s where it all began.

After Jessie re-identified as a girl and things settled down at home,  I expected to put my time in Transtopia behind me and move on. Instead I became more fascinated- and angry- with the culture of misogyny and homophobia which underlies transgender theory.  For without stereotypes there can be no ‘brave transgender children’. Without the dolls and the pink tutus, a love of glitter, a gentle nature and a will to dance, what could possibly make girls of the little boys of ‘My Transgender Summer Camp’? What other than her love of Batman, karate and jumping around could make that short-haired, fierce little girl into a boy trapped in a female body? A feeling?  How does a boy feel? How does a girl feel? Without sexism, there can be no transgenderism. Without the idea that there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to be a boy or a girl there would be no need to beguile and medicate these kids in an attempt to make them ‘fit in’. Our current culture of blind affirmation is not doing anyone any favours.  It is nothing short of abusive to tell a child that they are ‘wrong’, that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’ or that medication and surgery can make them into the opposite sex.

donttranskids

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TranSage – the tale of Chrissie & Nigel

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 02.48.00This is Chrissie. Chrissie is TranSage. Chrissy was born in 1973, but she doesn’t feel 45. She’s always hung out with people younger than herself, using the same slang phrases and jargon as people half her age. Chrissie knows all about the latest up-to-date technology and social media. Her clothes are the latest fashions. In fact, Chrissie feels uncomfortable and awkward around people who were born around the same time as her. They seem boring, staid and she doesn’t share their interests and goals.

Chrissie works out and is careful what she eats. She buys a lot of expensive body lotions and uses hair colourants to cover up her spattering of grey. She has good genes too. Chrissie’s skin is great. People often think her 28 year old niece is her older sister. Chrissie can dance half the night without getting tired and run for the bus without getting out of breath. She listens to Radio X. Chrissie can drink five bottles of WKD and snort a line of coke and go to work the next day without a hangover. Her doctor says she has the liver of someone half her age.

Chrissie wants to get her passport changed to say she was born in 1993. Why shouldn’t she? She identifies and presents as someone much younger than herself. Why should society’s narrow view of what a 25 year old should be restrict her like this? People’s refusal to tell Chrissie that she actually really is 25 really upsets her and she has become depressed recently. She knows how she feels. Chrissie says that society’s refusal to let her change her age is oppressive and cruel.
Chrissie would like to go on an 18-30s holiday and purchase a 16-25 railcard.
Should we all be obliged to tell Chrissie she is 25?
If not, why not?

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 02.50.02This is Nigel. Nigel is TranSage. Nigel was born in 1973 but he doesn’t feel 45. Nigel has always had friends much older than himself. People his own age view him as a bit slow and placid. Nigel has never really caught on to the internet, although he owns a mobile phone and has an email account. Nigel likes reading books about World War II and doesn’t understand ironic beards. In fact, Nigel feels really uncomfortable around people his own age. He has no desire to hang out in wine bars and would rather go to bed early with a nice cup of Ovaltine and watch East Enders repeats.

Nigel has never had good health and started going bald in his early 20s. He’s had trouble with his posture since he was a teenager and often gets back ache. He has mild arthritis in his fingers and he hasn’t run for a bus since 1993. The last time he liked a song enough to dance to it, the Spice Girls were Number 1. Last week someone in the supermarket called him ‘grandad’. Nigel listens to Radio 4. Beer gives him wind. His doctor says he should take it easy.

Nigel wants to get his passport changed to say he was born in 1953. Why shouldn’t he? He identifies and presents as someone much older than himself. Why should society’s narrow view of what a 65 year old should be like restrict him like this? People’s refusal to tell Nigel that he actually really is 65 really upsets him and he has become depressed recently. He knows how he feels. Nigel says that society’s refusal to let him change his age is oppressive and cruel.
Nigel would like to go on a Saga (50+) holiday and get a Senior Citizen’s travel pass.
Should we all be obliged to tell Nigel he is 65?
If not, why not?

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“Ban it! Bin it! Shred it!” Transgender Trend’s new guidelines for schools & the activists that hate it.

transactivism

Twitter erupted in a storm today and yesterday with the release of Transgender Trend’s free resource pack  ‘supporting gender non-conforming and trans-identified students in schools’.  Transactivists- mostly late-transitioning men & parents who have chosen to transition their own children- seem determined that as few people as possible should read the guidelines, with calls being put out to shred the document, bin it, ban it.

Firstly I should say that reading this blog post is no substitute for reading the guidelines yourself. You can download them here, and if you find them to be practical, compassionate and all-inclusive, I would urge you to share them with your child’s school.

For those who are expecting something sensational, you will be disappointed. The document is somewhat tome-like, 48 pages long, and the first half of the document contains the following observations:

“We have developed this.. so all children feel supported and safe…. 
We provide research‑based evidence and alternative strategies….
Schools are places of learning and adults working in them have a duty of care towards all students.
Transgender children.. have the same rights as all children to learn while feeling safe and to be free from bullying, harassment and discrimination….
Schools should use scientifically and biologically accurate language….
All training (should) allow for critical issues to be openly discussed.. and not silenced by claims that asking challenging questions is transphobic…. 
Schools should be cautious of giving a transgender child rights that are not afforded to other children….
The wishes of a biologically male teenager to access female changing rooms and toilets must not outweigh the rights of adolescent girls to dignity, privacy and safety..  when navigating their way through the complexities of puberty and periods…
 Where sport is sex‑segregated, it is essential to examine issues relating to sex differences in size and weight….
Staff should be role models in demonstrating calm and accepting behaviour towards an individual transgender child and in promptly stopping and reporting any bullying or harassment.
 It is not the role of the school to provide (validation), just it is not the role of the school to be disapproving and unkind.
 If schools can widen the space in which young people feel comfortable in their non-conformity, and all gender expressions are accepted then it may become clear that transition is not the only answer for all.
 It is important to remember that at the heart of any policy and decision-making is a vulnerable child. Acceptance, understanding and prevention of bullying should be the guiding principles as with any other child who is vulnerable or ‘different.’
 Do encourage children to be considerate and thoughtful towards a child who identifies as transgender and try to remember to use their preferred name if this has been agreed with parents.
 The school has a responsibility to balance the rights of all students and facilitate a culture of respect.
 It is ultimately unhelpful for a child to be taught that his / her emerging sense of self is dependent on consistent validation from others.”

You get the gist. If you’re looking for a sensationalist hotbed of hate, you’re certainly not going to find it within the pages of the TGT guidelines. Page 5 of the document explains why the authors feel it is needed, and touches on some facts and figures that should raise very real concerns among anyone who has the welfare of young people at heart.

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” Around 50% of children referred to the Tavistock have underlying mental health issues… there has been nearly a 1000% increase in referrals to the Tavistock child and adolescent gender clinic over the past six years… nearly 70% of child referrals were girls… Patients at gender clinics are more than six times as likely to be on the autistic spectrum as the general population… 93% of young women who regret transition say they didn’t receive adequate counselling”

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You might expect the trans community to want wide discussion of these issues. Interestingly, I haven’t seen any Tweets that directly address these concerns.  To be honest, I am left wondering how many of the critics have actually waded through all 48 pages. I got through several cups of coffee and half a packet of Oreos.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 01.43.43Page 13/14 – Broadening gendered expectations and relaxing rules – is one of the most inspiring things I have read in a long time. If you read nothing else, check out page 14. If schools could follow the guidelines listed there, we would go a long way to ironing out sexism and gendered expectations in a generation. How wonderful would that be?

Other sections of the document deal with personal experiences, existing guidance, legal guidance and a glossary of terms, which seems to be partly what has angered any activists who have genuinely read that far, although it is hard to see why. The definitions of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ here are pretty much the same as those in Biology & Sociology textbooks throughout Britain.

So, for those that have borne with me so far, let’s have a look at some of the incoming Tweets concerning the new TGT guidelines. You know that sensationalist hotbed of hatred we couldn’t find earlier? Hang on to your hat…

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Everydaytrans calls the guidance ‘deliberately distorted’ and ‘potentially dangerous’ and refers people who want advice to contact Mermaids (whose CEO took her trans-identified child abroad to undergo GRS on his 16th birthday). Andrew White of Stonewall Wales uses the same phrases in his Tweet & refers people to TransformCymru– (who run a-currently closed- O2 sponsored binder bank)
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Stonewall’s Colin MacFarlane then tweets, urging teachers to ‘bin it’ if they encounter the pack. This is too mild for Stonewall Scotland, who tweet again, this time urging people to ‘shred it’. Neither tweet contains any explanation as to why the document needs to be destroyed or why nobody should read it.

Yet perhaps the strangest of the Stonewall responses came in the form of  Hannah Kibiridge’s hastily-written ‘Creating a Trans Inclusive School Environment – Response to Transgender Trends (sic’).  Hannah’s inability to get the name of the guideline creators right does not fill one with confidence, but you should, of course, read her post yourselves, because it is by reading information and discussing what we read that we educate ourselves, not by binning, shredding or otherwise destroying things that challenge us!

I read Hannah’s post THREE times but still couldn’t make any sense of the dramatic but non-specific accusations she makes, especially the ominous and slightly menacing suggestion that following the guidelines might result in breaking the law- which is, of course, nonsense. This is my personal synopsis; of course, your interpretation may be different.

School is crap, transkids are bullied and nearly half try to kill themselves. Parents are mostly crap and unsupportive. Transgender Trend is ‘dangerous’ ‘masquerading as professional’ ‘deeply damaging’ and ‘factually incorrect’. TGT is trying to spread ‘damaging myths, panic and confusion’.  If schools do what TGT suggests they are also crap and may be breaking the law. HOWEVER, it doesn’t have to be ‘difficult or scary’ to fix all this! Just do what Stonewall says!

As Twitter user @NoToMisogyny, observed “Stonewall seems to be geared towards suppressing anything other than total affirmation.”

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Mimmymum (parent of a transitioned child) calls TGT an ‘anti-transgender cult‘ & the guidelines ‘harmful & misinformed‘ & is retweeted by Jess (a middle-aged trans-IDd man) who suggests TGT is ‘anti-LGBT‘ & advises contacting a Reading LGBT group for advice… which in turn muses ominously  ‘we’ll sort it out’ if the TGT document turns up in local schools.
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Further spectacular accusations fly as more trans-identified men turn to Twitter, comparing the document to Mein Kampf and accusing TGT of ‘a deliberate attempt to harm trans children’.
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Trans-identified teacher ‘C’ begs ‘beware’ and ‘don’t touch it with a barge pole’ while Integrative Therapy accuses TGT of ‘adult harassment’ and recommends Gendered Intelligence, the organisation with this wonderfully phallocentric piece of advice for young people: ‘A woman is still a woman, even if she enjoys getting blowjobs. A man is still a man even if he likes getting penetrated vaginally.’
Roy, a teacher & NUT member, says he doesn’t think it’s vile; it’s actually ‘a breath of fresh air’, which provokes Mimmymum (yes, her again) to call him ‘A raving transphobe who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near LGBT kids’
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Shon Fay and Owl had opinions too – of course. Owl called the guidelines ‘deplorable‘ and accused TGT of ‘disguising their hatred’, while Shon called TGT an ‘anti-trans crusade front’ who encouraged ‘institutional transphobia’. Neither explained why.
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Mimmymum popped up again to tell teachers that following advice in the pack would contravene the Equalities Act & break the law (it wouldn’t) and by the time I reached the tweet from @lampsofgold I honestly couldn’t tell anymore what was hyperbole and what was parody.

I urge you again, if you haven’t read the guidelines, read them.  Look for the hatred, the exclusion, the harm, the conversion therapy, the misinformation, the evil. Then, when you can’t find it, ask yourself what possible reason certain people could have for not wanting this guidance to reach schools.  You might want to have a look at what they’re saying about the pack on mumsnet.

You might also want to ask yourself just who it is that has an agenda here, and what that agenda might be.

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The pack is currently being downloaded at a rate of 50 copies every hour. Not everyone is so horrified by it. Some think it’s been a long time coming, although in the light of the aggressive fury being directed at the creators, it’s easy to see why. Daring to question Transtopia, even as gently and compassionately as this, can be dangerous and you need nerves of steel.  I’ll leave the last word with some other twitter peeps.

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Still not read the new guidelines? Here’s the link again.

I suggest a pot of strong coffee and a packet of Oreos.

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What makes somebody ‘real’ trans? Part 2 – Kids.

What are the real differences between boys and girls?

What really makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl?

Lily maynard boys

The boys in these pictures will lead very different lives in very different parts of the world. They will have some shared experiences but the thing that unifies them all is their biology.  A male child has XY chromosomes. They are of the heterogametic sex and their reproductive organs, which become functional during puberty, are the penis and testes.

 

lily maynard girls

The girls in these pictures will lead very different lives in very different parts of the world. They will have some shared experiences but the thing that unifies them all is their biology.  A female child has XX chromosomes. They are of the homogametic sex and their reproductive organs, which become functional during puberty,  are the ovaries and uterus.

Yes, this is simplistic. It is absurd to have to state the obvious, but we need to get this straight from the start.  Male. Female. One species. Two sexes. Sometimes things go wrong and children are born intersex.  Being intersex is a genetic and physical condition and has nothing to do with the psychological condition of transgenderism. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but it should also be mentioned here. The Intersex Society of North America has this to say:

People who have intersex conditions have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female. Most people with intersex conditions come to medical attention because doctors or parents notice something unusual about their bodies. In contrast, people who are transgendered have an internal experience of gender identity that is different from most people… these two groups should not be and cannot be thought of as one.

While  ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ are definitions based on reproductive potential, that doesn’t mean all boys and girls will reproduce.  Some girls may never menstruate; some boys may never produce sperm. These are physical conditions that occur when biological development goes wrong and they have nothing to do with brain function or transgenderism.

Girl and boy, female and male, woman and man are, and always have been, descriptors of sex categories.

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Masculine and feminine are descriptors of behaviours that a given culture associates with being male or female.

Individual brains are a mosaic of these behaviours. We are not born with pink or blue brains. We all have personalities and they are all different.

Christia Spears Brown, PhD, a developmental and social psychologist asks:

“Why does the myth of pink brains and blue brains stick so firmly in our collective consciousness? … My husband and I are sincerely different. This is primarily because we come from different cultures, mine (the culture of being raised as a girl) encouraged emotional expression, and his told him that “boys don’t cry.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 00.56.50So what ARE the physical differences? Well, firstly, you can’t tell a girl from a boy by the size or patterns of their brain. You can make generalisations: boys’ brains are usually slightly bigger than girls’, although girls’ brains usually have more ‘folds‘ which gives them an increased surface area. Boys are slightly bigger than girls so this makes sense. (BTW it’s surface area which  determines how many neurons and synaptic connections the brain can store. So size isn’t everything.)  Girls reach puberty before boys. These are physical differences. Some minor sex differences in the brain may exist but an individual brain is… well… an individual brain.  It’s also impossible to predict what mix of features any one brain may have.  You can read more about this here, here and here.

Neuroscientists cannot tell whether any random brain is male or female.

“We separate girls and boys, men and women all the time. It’s wrong, not just politically, but scientifically – everyone is different.”

Daphna Joel

You can read Daphna Joel’s study ‘Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic’ here.

Human brains develop through experience.  Show 6-12 month old babies a truck and a doll and both will prefer the doll. There is no scientific basis for all of our stereotypes and prejudices about what boys and girls should and shouldn’t do.

Yet this neutrality quickly changes. Ask a group of five or six year old children which of these fairly non-gendered Scleich toys is meant for boys and which for girls, and most of them will  be pretty clear about what they are expected to say.  It is pretty safe to assume that human children have not evolved to have a specific preference for a certain style of plastic toy depicting an unfamiliar species of creature. Kids learn which behaviours meet with approval, and generally, they follow them.

 

Tricia Lowther who works with Let Toys be Toys  tells the story of buying her car-loving daughter ‘Cars’ juice cartons instead of princess ones. Her daughter hid the cartons and told her mother they were ‘boyish’. She liked cars, she assured her mother, “but I don’t want anyone to know.'”

The images below are of things that are not especially ‘gendered’ yet we can all identify in a flash which girls and boys are ‘supposed’ to prefer.

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Nowadays, we are more gendered than ever. Even toys like magic sets, Lego and globes are now marketed to girls in varying shades of pink. By the time a girl is four she has a pretty good idea that she is ‘supposed’ to like all things pink, whereas a boy has a pretty good idea that he is not supposed to like pink- or flowers, or hearts or love. A boy is supposed to like trucks and superheroes and breaking things. A boy is LOUD. A girl is QUIET.  A loud girl is bossy, but a loud boy is the boss.

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As Alice Baumgartner-Papageorgiou discovered in her 1982 study (see Joan Ferante’s ‘Sociology- A Global Perspective’) boys and girls know their lives would be very different if they were the opposite sex. Boys believe life would be worse and girls that it would be better. From ‘I’d have to shave my whole body’ and ‘I couldn’t have a pocket knife‘ (boys) to ‘people would take my decisions and beliefs more seriously’ (girls) it become clear that kids are aware of the different rules for the sexes, and many become understandably confused if they don’t have a natural inclination to follow them.

Where does that leave the children that don’t fit the stereotypes? Who is pushing these stereotypes onto kids? Surely none of us want to restrict or limit our children?

I once went to a swimming party with my youngest, then aged 4.  The house was a large white-bricked Victorian terrace in St John’s Wood with its own pool; the hosts educated and hipster. Many of the mums had their own high-flying careers. If I’d asked them if they treated boys and girls differently, I imagine they would have said no. I didn’t ask. Throughout the afternoon I watched as the boys were praised for their jumping and splashing and the girls were praised for how pretty their swimwear was and how nicely they played together. The girls jumped and splashed. Not all of them played ‘nicely’. The boys had cool swimwear and played together too. None of the adults did this consciously – they just did it.

Globally, of course, sexism runs far deeper than the thoughtless damage done at middle class swimming parties. What separates girls from boys is not flower-and-love-heart bejewelled swimsuits and Incredible Hulk swimming trunks. Girls are discriminated against because of their female biology, not because they have an innate desire to wear sparkly pink tops and giant Jojo bows.

Female foetuses are more likely to be aborted; girl babies starved; girl children sexually assaulted. Girls are subject to more media pressure about their bodies, more likely to be valued for their bodies and exploited for their bodies through prostitution or surrogacy. Girl children are more likely to be raped & more likely to be subject to physical abuse from those close to them. Girls are less likely to receive an education; less likely to be able to read; more likely to be married young.

It is not possible for boys to identify into, or girls to identify out of, these outcomes. They happen to girls because they are female-bodied.

This is the crux of the matter. If we can really understand this (below), we can start to realise how we have reached a point where we are happily transitioning children, telling them they are born in the ‘wrong’ body and deluding them into thinking this is something they can change.  The problem is not the children, it is the importance that society attaches to stereotypical behaviours.

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Toys and fashions change. Our preferences for certain things are not innate. In many cultures, boys wear skirts or dresses and long hair is just fine. Nobody tells them they are girls. Time, location and situation all affect what is considered to be ‘normal’ gendered behaviour.

boys in dresses

Are the boys above ‘born in the wrong body’? Or do they simply come from cultures where long hair or dress-wearing is acceptable?

 

Historically, pink was considered a boy’s colour, a watered down version of red, the colour of Mars and war. Little Henry Wentworth is pictured here (1596) in a dark pink/ burgandy dress (his sister & mother wear white) with his curled hair tucked into a lace bonnet. He was the very epitome of youthful masculinity at the time.

 

Here are a few thoughts from Twitter on the history of gender conventions through the ages.

 

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gender stereotypesgender stereotypes

Yes, let’s not forget the ever-changing dictates of fashion. While those of us who grew up female in the 70s and early 80s were spared the horrors of pinkification, men in the 11th century (below left) were happy to wear dresses. These warlike paragons of 16th and 17th masculinity (below right) were making some pretty poor fashion choices by today’s standards. These men were pretty keen on their heels and skirts. There’s an excellent article about historical men’s clothing by Purple Sage,  here.

The biggest difference between male and female brains? Male brains are found in men’s heads & female brains are found in women’s heads. That’s biology.  Man. Woman. Girl. Boy. We need those words to describe sex differences and we need them more than ever because of the differences that form after we are born.

There are undoubtedly some differences at birth. Boy and girl babies are born with different hormone levels. Male babies are said to be born with as much testosterone as a 25 year old man (these levels fall rapidly after birth).  Lise Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that these few small differences at birth become amplified over time, as society, teachers and parents – like the ones at our swimming party – unwittingly and generally well-meaningly, reinforce gender stereotypes. So what does this mean for girls?

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James Gallagher reported similar findings in his research.

As Sarah Ditum wrote scathingly in The New Statesman:

“Here’s a story we like to tell ourselves. Once upon a time, we were sexist, but then feminism happened and now we’re not sexist anymore. But boys and girls carry on being different because they are different.”

In the BBC TV program ‘No More Boys and Girls’  Dr Javid Abdelmoneim finds that at age seven, boys are more likely to overestimate their abilities and girls to underestimate theirs- yet at this age there is no difference in the strength or abilities of boys and girls.

As Ditum observes ‘Genitals aside, they’re simply kids.’

So why are we pedaling the narrative that liking certain toys or clothes makes a child ‘transgender’?

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Almost from the day we are born, those around us respond differently to girl and boy babies.  Adults perceive infant girls as smaller, softer, and finer featured (Rubin, Provenzano, & Luria,1974) and handle boys more roughly than girls (Lewis, 1972).
One study showed that mothers of new born boy babies tended to describe them as ‘stronger’ although there was nothing to suggest this was the case.   Another showed that when mothers of 11-month-old infants estimated their babies’ ability when crawling down slopes, mothers of girls underestimated their performance and mothers of boys overestimated their performance. This bias had no basis in fact. Girls and boys achieve early motor milestones such as reaching, sitting, crawling and walking at roughly the same ages.
So we take these small differences, mix them up with our expectations of male and female development, and as a result many of our projected outcomes become reality. Most kids want to please. Girl toddlers generally – #notallgirltoddlers – receive approval when they play with dolls: adults around them smile and admire their nurturing qualities. Boy children are smiled on indulgently when they dash round screaming: they are blowing off steam and ‘boys will be boys’. Girl children have their clothing and their hair admired. Boys have their power and their energy admired. Boys are taught to focus on themselves, girls are taught to focus on others.  Those who doubt the truth of this need to look no further than the kids’ clothing section of Primark on Oxford Street where I took these six photos on the same day.

gendered clothing

Boy’s T shirts are about ‘bigging up’ the boys. Girl’s T shirts are about beauty and compassion.

A girl is not an ‘epic dude’ or an ‘awesome kid’.  A girl ‘sees beauty in everything’;  she is ‘mummy’s little lady’ and a ‘little love’.  A girl can step outside this box but only by crossing over, physically and metaphorically,  into the section clearly marked ‘BOYS’.

When my facebook friends and friends-of-friends post pictures of their daughters, most of the comments are along the lines of how ‘pretty’ ‘stunning’ ‘gorgeous’ or ‘beautiful’ the girl is.  This happened most recently on a thread where a friend had posted a picture of her daughter who had just won a medal at a top Judo competition.
Sociologists call the process of pushing girls and boys down different paths ‘canalisation’ and it is canalisation that Juno Dawson refers to when he writes about his childhood.

“When I merrily skipped across the playground, I was told to walk. When I chose My Little Ponies at the toy shop, I was firmly told no.”

Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids tells us, in her TED appearance,  that she was ‘terrified’ when her 4 year old son told her he was really a girl. Green’s husband made her throw away all the ‘girly’ toys and clothing in the house because he ‘did not approve of our child’s effeminate behaviour’.  In order to dress in a skirt for school, be allowed to play with tutus and Barbies, and wear his hair long, her child had to ‘live as a girl’. He was taken abroad where he underwent full ‘gender reassignment surgery’ at just sixteen.

Her son, singer, model and ex-pageant princess, Jacky Green, now 24, says

“It’s in my DNA. I am a girl.”

It isn’t, of course.

Scan

Here’s a little diagram that covers the basics of how DNA works. Male DNA cannot become female. Female DNA cannot become male. It is not possible for a boy to literally become a girl. If you want to know more about basic DNA you can read about it here.

Some parents seem to believe that medication and surgery are both inevitable and essential for their trans-identifying children. Some of these parents are giving advice to the worried parents of children who do not conform to gender stereotypes. Susie Green, for example, tweeted as recently as June 2016 that ‘between your ears needs match what’s between your legs’.

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If you’ve read Part 1 of this article, you’ll remember it ends with Corey Maison’s mother talking about how he is ‘looking forward’ to undergoing sex-change surgery at 18. It all sounds so reasonable and sanitised. We hear cute stories about Jazz Jennings and other kids asking when the ‘gender fairy’ will ‘fix’ them, and how ‘God made a mistake’ and we imagine that science and technology have reached a point where it is easy to recreate functioning genitalia. The gender fairy waves her wand and ‘hey presto!’ everything is fine. In fact the reality is quite different.

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The next bit of this article is a bit gruesome, but believe me, it’s nowhere near as gruesome as it could have been. The photos I’ve chosen to feature here are not extreme examples, importantly they are not surgeries that are considered failures. If you want – and I wouldn’t advise it – you can find many many more photographs of faux genitalia via a few clicks on Google.

Here are some of the results of female ‘gender reassignment surgery’.

A neopenis is made with skin taken from the arm or thigh. Some are fuctional for sexual intercourse but will need a pump to help mimic an erection  (and to deflate it afterwards). Many neopenises get infections; some leak a slow but steady trickle of urine. Surgeons are still experimenting with the procedure. Can a child really understand this? Does the little girl who is told she can ‘become a boy’ and ‘get a willy’ when she grows up have the ability to grasp the implications of such surgery?

Here is what happens to a male when he undergoes ‘gender reassignment surgery’.

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A ‘neo-vagina’ will need dilating several times a week forever, because the body feels it as a wound and tries to heal it. Sometimes a male will experience ‘phantom penis syndrome’ where he feels as if he still has a penis when he become aroused. In reality, a functioning vagina is not created. The best a boy can hope for is that he will end up with some sort of flesh-tunnel, a ‘penis sheath’ that enables him to be penetrated from the front.

And here are some girls who have had ‘top surgery’.

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The photos above are not what gender- confused teenage kids see when they look on YouTube. They see videos like this and photos like this (below): it all looks so simple.  The scars from surgery; the acne from testosterone injections are photoshopped away and the happy smiles say that all is well. Young people that transition seem to think they are breaking gender stereotypes: in fact they’re conforming so utterly and entirely that they can’t even see it themselves.  In reality, levels of self-harm, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts rocket among trans-identified children and young people.

 

So, surely adults in positions of power are speaking out against transitioning children? Quite the contrary.  This week it was revealed that Mermaids are currently making presentations to the police seriously suggesting that a young person’s ‘gender identity’ falls somewhere between Barbie and GI Joe – and the police are calling it ‘insightful and practical’.

So where does all this leave the idea of ‘real’ transgender children?  In the 80s, when girls had short hair and ‘girl toys’ weren’t all pink, GNC behaviour would have usually been looked upon as a sign that a child was probably going to be gay. No more.  No need to pray the gay away – a girl can ‘become’ a boy now! Except she can’t.

Despite having read everything I can get my hands on and watched YouTube videos til I feel like my eyes need bleaching, I can find nothing that suggests it’s actually possible for a child to be born in the wrong body.  Whatever ‘real trans’ might be, I’ve yet to read anything that convinces me it’s anything beyond problems dealing with stereotypes.  I have asked over and over again for someone to answer ‘What makes a child transgender?’  and been met with only silence, stereotypes and/or circular definitions.

I don’t for one minute deny that these kids are confused and that they really believe they are ‘born in the wrong body’ but the fact is that they are not. We need to be changing society, not our children: teaching children to love their unique, wonderful, powerful bodies, not making them part of the problem. We are depriving children of the experience of puberty – rarely fun for any of us, but essential to our development – with puberty blocking medications, and changing hormone balances at crucial times in the development of young brains. We are putting children on hormone treatments that render them sterile. This is not progressive, this is eugenics.
A child who believes that they’re something they are not is suffering from a mental, not a physical problem which is made worse by a society that worships gender stereotypes and by adults who tell kids ‘Yes, you are wrong and you can be fixed- like this’.

I can understand that worried and confused parents want to do what’s best for their child, I really can. I’ve been there. But a child cannot even begin to understand the implications of ‘gender reassignment surgery’ & a lifetime as a medical patient.

Time will tell how the fashion of transitioning of GNC kids works out and I fear it will be badly. We need to teach kids that it’s ok to smash stereotypes, not worship them.

 

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Bra-gate – Yellowberry products now ‘for everyone’

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“Before a fruit is fully ripened…  it passes through several shades of yellow. Those yellow stages take time, but they are what will eventually create a beautiful berry.”

                                                                                                         Megan Grassell

So reads the ‘about us’ section on the homepage of the Yellowberry bra website, where Megan Grassell writes movingly about her reasons for setting up Yellowberry.  Seeing her 13 year old sister trying on a leopardskin push up bra and realising there were few real alternatives for growing girls, she decided to found a company making bras that were comfortable and practical & didn’t put pressure on girls to ‘grow up so fast’.

“our mission is to support “everything girls” and encourage them to celebrate and enjoy this time as they are…

We support girls through each stage of their journey to become confident and extraordinary young women….

My team and I are here today with the goal to support your daughter, both literally and figuratively, as she grows up at her own pace.

My goal was for my sister Mary Margaret, and other girls her age, to feel confident in whatever they wear.”
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Google hit for ‘yellowberry’ brings up ‘Bras for Girls’

Ms Grassell has done a great job of this. She started Yellowberry at just 17. She has won awards for it: been mentioned in TIME, Forbes & The New York Times. Her bras are now available all over the world. She should be proud.

Until yesterday on Twitter, when bra-gate broke. Someone, ostensibly a social worker, contacted Yellowberry complaining that their products were ‘too gendered’.

A Yellowberry worker sent out this jaunty reply:

“Sorry, Jillian. Our market is strictly tween/teen girls. We don’t feel that growing boys need bras. Thanks for your input and have a Happy New Year!”

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The response from mothers was swift:

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But before the happy parents could get out their cheque books, Ms Grassell panicked and Yellowberry caved.

Ms Grassell responded with effusive apologies, assuring the OP that Yellowberry products weren’t just for girls after all.  They are suddenly now ‘for anyone’ and Yellowberry’s aim is to make every young person feel comfortable’.

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Ms Grassell described her employee’s suggestion that ‘we don’t feel growing boys need bras’ as ‘incorrect and insensitive’.

This massive turn around was not enough for the translobby however, who said the employee who sent the polite and perky reply had made the brand ‘look bad’ and called for her to be sacked.

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Ms Grassell was keen for her apology to reach the strangely elusive social worker who had made the original complaint, and apologised repeatedly that one of her staff had DARED to suggest that bras were for girls.

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Ms Grassell’s email address is there, for anyone who would like to email her, supporting and praising her previous stance, or assuring her that yes, bras actually are for girls and it’s ok to say so; that and she is right about yellow berries and yes, girls do need non-sexualised products made especially for them, and no, she should not feel obliged to pander to men creepy enough to demand she make her products more ‘inclusive’- and that they hope she will support her employee, who did nothing more than tell the truth.

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It is interesting to note that big clothing companies, who also market underwear and other clothing directly at girls and women, have not been targeted. Far easier to intimidate and bully a small philanthropic business, run by a young woman who is barely out of her teens herself.  Why approach Yellowberry? Why not Target or NEXT ?

I wonder what CEO of Marks and Spencer, Steve Rowe would say, approached with such a message? Or Paul Marchant, CEO of Primark? Or Lord Wolfson, CEO of NEXT? Or Brian Cornell, CEO of Target? Would these men (below) be replying to such criticism saying “I’m so, so sorry..” ?  Do you see a pattern here?

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Who and where is this elusive ‘social worker and sex-ed teacher (among other things)’, who recommends bra companies to so many parents and who wrote to Yellowberry in the first place?  This ‘advocate’ so concerned with the welfare of non-binary teens? This social worker with nothing better to do than harass young women? Do you smell bullshit too?  This is just more shameless bullying of women.

Some of the Twitter responses to Ms Gressell’s backdown are below.

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Ms Grassell messaged the OP with repeated apologies “I am so sorry… I am so sorry… I am so, so sorry”  but has to date not responded to any of the women expressing concern at her backtracking.

Several things strike me as being of note at this point.

  1. How entirely terrified women -especially young women- are of the translobby. Ms Grassell has been put in an unenviable situation: but all women are being put in an awkward situation as more and more people curtail to the idea that a girl can become a boy and a boy a girl and some, just a few, very special people are neither or both. The main advocates of this idea seem to be adult males. Is Ms Grassell really now expected to deny the very origin of Yellowberry: that she designed her bras for young women with growing breasts?
  2. In what way were Yellowberry bras NOT inclusive in the first place? Was there anything stopping anybody buying one (apart from the rather eye-watering price tag)?
  3. Does the person who wrote the complaint actually want pictures of boys and men wearing the bras to be featured on the Yellowberry  website? If not, what was their point in writing?
  4. Now Ms Grassell has stated that her bras are for everyone, will she be featuring pictures of men and boys on her website? Because if not, it really is just lip service, isn’t it?
  5. Have we really reached a point where we aren’t allowed to speak the truth? Are we really no longer allowed to say

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What makes somebody ‘real trans’? Part 1- Adults

real trans

“I just have a hard time now seeing anybody as ‘really trans’.” confided a friend the other day, which got me thinking: what makes somebody ‘really’ trans? Let’s try to unpick this.

First we need to clarify the difference between sex and gender.

We are born with a sex, male or female (see notes on intersex later). Society assigns us certain expected roles based on our sex. We do not always have to conform with these roles, but often we are under a lot of pressure to do so. We are expected to take our place somewhere in the pink or the blue box.  These gender roles based on sex are a social construct and vary from culture to culture.

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Social constructs are explained brilliantly here, and if you fancy a quick refresher course, that’s the place to get it.

While some behaviour is considered more typically feminine and some more typically masculine, we all have a mixture of masculine and feminine traits and at times most of us resent the idea that we should comply with them. It is tough on women to be expected to look ‘hot’ all the time. It is tough on men to be expected never to show vulnerability.

We are all made up of this mixture of masculine and feminine, and no two people will have exactly the same mix of characteristics. Very, very few of us are entirely masculine or feminine in our behaviour. This is what forms the basis of our PERSONALITY.

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One day I might decide to wear a long skirt, bangles and lipstick; the next, for no particular reason, I might wear old tracky bottoms, no make up and not bother brushing my hair. One day I might feel kind and nurturing, another I might feel angry and volatile. This is because, emotionally, I am non-binary. AND SO ARE YOU! We are ALL non-binary. The word, in the context of gender, is completely meaningless. Nobody is 100% masculine or 100% feminine.  Most of us are hanging out somewhere in the middle.

A woman might wear trousers, fix cars, smoke a pipe, love another woman – that does not make her a man. A man might cry easily, make daisy chains, spend a lot of time doing his hair- that doesn’t make him a woman. ‘Woman’ and ‘man’ are not feelings or stereotypes, they are biological categories. That does not mean that everyone is expected to look like the man and woman below: size, skin tone, age all have their effect on us.

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Women as a group are discriminated against because of our female biology, not because we have long hair, wear bras & lipstick & giggle girlishly. We are the female of the species: we carry the young, we birth the young- with all the risk that entails- we feed the young and usually we raise the young. We are usually smaller bodied than men and have less brute strength than men. These facts, historically and culturally, have given men power over us. Women are valued for their bodies and exploited for their bodies. Women are more likely to be prostituted or raped; more likely to be subject to physical abuse from those close to them. Women do most of the work on the planet and are paid far less for it, both at the top and at the bottom end of the pay scale.  It is not possible to identify into, or out of, these outcomes. They don’t have to happen to all women to be women’s issues. But they do happen to women because they are women.

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Our biology is the thing that unites us; the thing that makes us women. We all had a mum and she was a woman.

While ‘man’ and ‘woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ are definitions based on our reproductive capacites, I’ll state the obvious and add that some humans don’t choose to breed and some don’t have the capacity to breed. Some are born sterile.  Some women may never menstruate; some men may never produce sperm. These are physical conditions that occur when biological development goes wrong and they have nothing to do with brain function or transgenderism.

A tiny proportion of people are born intersex. Just as someone being born without a leg doesn’t mean humans are not a bipedal species, the existence of intersex people doesn’t mean humanity doesn’t have a biological binary.

Intersex is sometimes tacked onto the alphabet soup that used to be LGB, and some people confuse the condition with transgenderism.  Being intersex is a genetic and physical condition and has nothing to do with the psychological condition of transgenderism. An intersex person may well be ‘assigned’ male or female at birth,  but the rest of us have our sex observed, not assigned, often while we are still in the womb. The idea that we are all ‘assigned a sex at birth’ and that our ‘gender identity’ is the thing that makes us a man or a woman is deeply insulting to many lesbian and gay people who feel that the idea erases them and the idea of same-sex attraction.

“What do you think I, as a gay man, am attracted to? Male ‘souls?’ Are lesbians attracted to some metaphysical ‘female essence’?  …. you know the difference between a stag and a doe, right? Or a bull and a cow? A ram and a ewe? Why stop at people, at men and women?”                                                     @throwaway_gay

Many intersex people are also unhappy that their condition is being confused with transgenderism. The Intersex Society of North America has this to say:

People who have intersex conditions have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female. Most people with intersex conditions come to medical attention because doctors or parents notice something unusual about their bodies. In contrast, people who are transgendered have an internal experience of gender identity that is different from most people… these two groups should not be and cannot be thought of as one.

There is a lot of misinformation about intersex on the internet, mostly written by those who would like to link it to transgenderism in order to give transgenderism some sort of perceived biological basis.  The Intersex Society of North America’s website is well worth reading if you are interested in learning more from a reliable source.

“Some people are born in the wrong body!”

Ask yourself how could it be possible to be ‘born in the wrong body’?  You are born in your own body. The brain is an organ, it’s part of your body.  How could your brain be wrong but the rest of your body be right? Is there such a thing as ‘real trans’? And if there is, how do we define it?

Most dictionaries seem fairly consistent in their definition of transgender.

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Some people are so uncomfortable being perceived as their birth sex- and being expected to comply with the stereotypes that accompany their sexed bodies- that they feel their discomfort can only be settled by attempting to change the way they are perceived.  A male who wishes to be perceived as female or a female who wishes to be perceived as male is ‘transgender’. Being transgender usually involves conforming to stereotypes of the opposite sex – trans-identified men (TIMs) wear lipstick and grow their hair and frequently have surgery to give them the appearance of breasts. Trans-identified women (TIFs) cut their hair short and bind or remove their breasts. Most say this is the only way to become their authentic selves. Some even claim this is challenging binary gender stereotypes.

Alex Bertie, worshiped by a generation of trans-identified teenage girls, takes testosterone in a quest to grow a beard and has had a double mastectomy, yet doesn’t see the irony in taking selfies in a T-shirt proclaiming ‘Gender Roles are Dead’.

If authentic means not false, not copied, genuine, original, unmodified- what is authentic about medicating yourself and removing healthy body parts in order to create an illusion based on stereotypes?  Is it even possible to be transgender without recourse to stereotypes?

“In my case, becoming ‘myself’ has involved a mix of doctors, pills and surgeries.” writes Juno Dawson, paradoxically.

So what makes somebody ‘real’ transgender?

Is it having ‘gender reassignment surgery’ (GRS) that makes a man a ‘real’ woman?

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Some say that it’s having the inclination and money to change your body with surgery that counts. Some trans-identified men talk about ‘earning womanhood’ with their surgeries, almost as if it is a prize for compliance.

Tallulah-Eve (above left) has undergone full GRS.  “If anything, I’ve earned more right to womanhood than a cis woman,” he claims, inferring not only that womanhood is some sort of prize to be bestowed upon the compliant, but also that womanhood is little more than the fabrication of secondary sex characteristics: long, wavy hair and spectacular eyebrows; bowling-ball breasts that could never feed a baby and a ‘vagina’ whose only function is to act as a potential penis-sheath.

No amount of surgery, hormone injections or anything else can change your DNA, and a DNA test will always show whether you are male or female.

Veteran feminist Germaine Greer made her position on this pretty clear when she said: “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress, doesn’t make you a fucking woman.” She points out that a man who undergoes such surgery is ‘“inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself”.

If womanhood is a prize, as suggested by Tallulah-Eve, gifted to those who attain the necessary level of ‘fuckability’, then we are led to another question-  who is the ‘real’ woman? Veteran Greer, with over 50 years of feminist campaigning behind her, or youthful Tallulah, with DD fabricated breasts in front of him?

Only about 25% of all TIMs go so far as to have their penis surgically removed. So what of the other 75%?

Is it ‘passing’ that decides?

The idea of passing again suggests that there is a correct way to be a woman.  Let’s look at two TIMs. Blaire White (below right) has achieved his look with surgery. Danielle Muscato (below left) has not had surgery.

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Blaire is one of the ‘best-passing’ high-profile TIMs.  Danielle is not. They have different takes on what it means to be transgender. White claims “You don’t get to change definitions or scoot around them in pursuit of your own narrative.” whereas Muscato is adamant that ‘some women have penises‘ and women who disagree should ‘suck my dick’.

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Most people would assume that White is a woman but Muscato is not- but their DNA is male. So is it how much you can make yourself look like a stereotypical het-male-fantasy of womanhood that decides if you are ‘real’ trans or not? How much effort do you have to put in to win that elusive prize?

What age is the oldest you can become ‘real’ trans?

Kellie Maloney has always been a woman. She isn’t becoming a woman or pretending to be one.” wrote Paris Lees back in 2014. Well, hang on a minute…

Can sixty years of male privilege really be wiped away with the brush of a freshly waxed and manicured hand? And if it is, as some women have pointed out, does that mean Bruce Jenner got his gold medal under false pretenses?

Boxing promoter Frank Maloney  (who once nearly strangled his wife) changed his name to Kellie Maloney and came out as transgender in his early 60s. The NHS were happy to chronicle and applaud his brave journey on their website.  Jazz Jennings was seven when he made his first TV appearance as a ‘transkid’.  Is Jazz more trans than Kellie?  Is Kellie more or less female than Jazz? Is it actually possible to be more or less of a woman than someone else? Surely you are one or you aren’t one? Who is more trans, Jazz or Kellie? Is your head spinning yet?

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Were detransitioners ever ‘really’ trans?

There are a growing number of people who transition and then change back. Often they feel rejected by the trans community who see them as traitors. They are frequently told they were never really trans in the first place.

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Walt Heyer is probably the most famous detransitioner: a man who surgically transitioned at 42 and ‘lived as a woman’ for 8 years before undergoing further surgery to ‘change back’.  His website is here. Is he transgender? Was he ever really transgender? ” …no matter how feminine I appeared, like all transgenders, I was just a man in a dress.” says Heyer, his words a sad echo of Greer’s.

But Heyer is not alone. Young people are detransitioning too.

One detransitioned man writes  in a comment on a YouTube video “My body is now destroyed by transgender medicine. I never wanted to die before this. I feared being bi. My doctor said transition would help me fit in. And I could always go back. And therapy wasn’t important.” Elsewhere he comments “As a detrans male (ex “transwoman”), I usually feel either invisible or hated.”

Another detransitioned male writes:

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A detransitioned woman writes that her therapist unintentionally “helped me hurt myself” in enabling her transition.  Another writes “Looking back on it, I believe I transitioned almost on an impulse.”

Many young detransitioners are uncomfortable with their experience being used to suggest, for example, that ‘real trans’ is an elusive concept. But we need to talk about these things.  Why is trying to define such a complex and nuanced term as ‘transgender’ seen as transphobic? Is transgenderism such a holy grail that no discussion of it is permissible? Of course trans-identified people exist- but you can’t turn a woman into a man or a man into a woman. It just isn’t possible. And trying to do so doesn’t always result in a happy outcome.

I recently read details of a case that involved a ‘transwoman’ who became disturbed by his transition when he developed dementia. He couldn’t understand why he had breasts or was being called by a woman’s name. It is so sad, it haunts me.

 

What do you have to do to be ‘real’ trans legally?

To get a Gender Recognition Certificate from the UK government, you still have to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to prove you have ‘lived in your acquired gender for at least 2 years.’  To prove this you will need a passport, driving licence, payslips and bills.

But to change your sex on your passport in the UK, all you need is a letter from your doctor saying your decision is ‘likely to be permanent‘.

Which leads us to where we are now. If you say you’re a woman, you are a woman, and anyone who says otherwise is transphobic and full of hatred.

You don’t have to amputate your penis, get artificial breasts, take hormones or even break out the lippy anymore, let alone work in your local charity shop ‘as a woman’ for two years. You just have to convince your doctor that you really, really ‘feel like a woman’ and get him to put it in a letter.

How can a man know how a woman feels? There is no one experience of womanhood. We cannot even know how our loved ones feel. You cannot possibly know how I feel, and your next door neighbour cannot possibly know how you feel. It’s not possible for a man to claim to ‘feel like a woman’ unless he invokes sexist stereotypes.

What about trans-IDd sexual predators?

A man can now rape a woman, and end up being transferred to a women’s prison. This is not sensationalist speculation.  It’s happened.

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If a man can say he’s a woman just because he says he ‘feels like one’, then ANY man can say he’s a woman.  It’s not a prize to be handed out for being good.

A TIM called Dana Rivers recently murdered two lesbians and their son.  Julianna Fialowski, a former counselor to trans youth, is now in jail for possession of child porn. These are not isolated cases. Numerous others are chronicled at the open Facebook group This Never Happens.

Recently, the UK gutter press reports that child-murderer Ian Huntley has declared that he is actually a woman.  As asked below, is Ian Huntley a woman if he says he is one? What do YOU think?

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If you agree with a cute, naive, young man who says he’s a woman, then surely you have to let a middle-aged child-murderer claim womanhood too.  A man can either become a woman or he can’t. You don’t get to choose who is good enough. You aren’t Father Christmas.

Someone who believes that they’re something they are not is suffering from psychological confusion. Their problem lies in the mind, not in the body, and the problem is accentuated by a society that worships gender stereotypes. Our bodies are not wrong or right, they just ARE.

Racial appropriation is not acceptable. If I say I am black, and demand that you see me as such, because because I like ‘doing things black people do’ and ‘dressing like black people’, you would rightly cringe.  (I cringe even writing it.) Yet somehow we have reached the point where a pouting man who calls himself a woman tells us that:

‘”a fashion trend that needs to die is any form of cultural appropriation”

and we all rush to tell him how brave and authentic he is.

Pricking the surface of transgenderism reveals little but stereotypes, sexism, circular definitions (a woman is anyone who says they are a woman: a woman is anyone who feels like a woman) more stereotypes, more sexism and even more stereotypes. This whole absurd worshiping of stereotypes has become a runaway train. Eighty year old trans people! Four year old trans people!

A few weeks ago, Pink News ran an article about an entire family who identify as transgender. It started when the boy child wanted to join the Girl Scouts. When mum ‘looked it up’ she realised “‘Oh my gosh, they’re trans!” Since then the whole family has transitioned.

National Geographic recently ran an article about mother and son, Eric and Corey Maison. Corey hit the news a few years ago as poster-child for the bathroom bill and mum Erica became dad Eric as Corey’s fame began to dwindle a little. Corey, we are told, is ‘looking forward to becoming 18 so she can have surgery’.

Which brings us to the children and the terrible lies we are telling them.

Watch this space for Part 2 – Kids.

 

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I know who’s going to be on the wrong side of history – and it isn’t me.

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Owen Jones wrote in the Guardian today that those who don’t support transgender rights will be on the wrong side of history’. ‘Anti-trans zealots’ he proclaimed dramatically, ‘know this: history will judge you.’

Jones’ article – like so many before it, and undoubtedly like so many yet to come- was illustrated by a photo of a blonde, long-haired boy-child sporting a large pink bow, accompanied by an excited and glamorous mother. The boy is probably not more than ten years old.  He is clasping a sign that reads ‘Please let me use the girls’ room’. This is a shameless exploitation of a child and puts me in mind of another trans-identified little boy, Corey Maison, who has also been used in the ‘battle’ for trans rights . Of course nobody is bothered by little boys using the women’s bathroom. I have a friend who frequently takes her long-haired, small-for-his-age, 12 year old son into the Ladies with her and no-one blinks an eye. Women know that the men’s room is unlikely to be a safe place for pretty little boys.

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Corey Maison, a poster child for the ‘Bathroom movement’

These articles are never accompanied by a photo of a 6ft tall bloke in a wig & a dress, with 5 o’clock stubble, captioned ‘You think I belong in the men’s bathroom?‘ for good reason. Because we bloody well do, yes.

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 Owen Jones, of course, has the upper hand here. He is a journalist for the Guardian & I am a not-very-prolific blogger who spends way too much time on Twitter. Jones has never deigned to answer me when I’ve tagged him on Twitter: why would he? After all I am a bigot, full of hatred, scared and scornful of trans people, a mad, bitter hag who wishes to erase them all and leave brave transgender children to spend a lifetime trapped in the wrong body…

… except I’m not. I’m the mum of a teenage girl who identified as a boy for nearly a year – insistently and persistently- the mum of a girl who is now a happy lesbian. I did not support my daughter Jessie’s transition and, as she told Janice Turner in a recent interview for the Times, Jessie believes she would probably have been on testosterone by now if I had done so. A friend of Jessie’s, Hazel, identified as a boy for over a year. Hazel is now a glamorous young woman, who dresses in conventionally female clothing and dates boys. So I know, first hand, that children DO desist, baby-butches and glamourpusses alike. This is not rare.

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Jessie speaks to Janice Turner in an article for the Sunday Times

In general, kids that desist are a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. They don’t want to be paraded through the press, admitting they ‘made a mistake’, or to be on the receiving end of accusations of transphobia and deception: they just want to forget about it and get on with life. You won’t hear much from them.  You won’t see photos of them in glossy magazines & on the internet. Their parents are mostly so thankful that the whole awful scenario is over that they also want to move on and who can blame them? Some of us, however, are so horrified at the level of beguilement and damage going on that we won’t shut up; that we can’t shut up. But I digress.

When Owen Jones wrote in the Guardian today that those who don’t support transgender people will be on the wrong side of history, he was a little late to the party: that cry has been fashionable for a while now. I first came across it when it was thrown at me by a young woman boycotting the gender debate at the Women’s University Club. “You’ll be on the wrong side of history! You’ll see!” she screamed, as I entered the building. It seemed a strange accusation at the time and it stuck in my head. Surely we believe what we believe: you don’t change your mind out of fear that the majority might not agree with you at some point in the future. Since then the cry has gained popularity. I’ve heard it over and again on Twitter. It’s almost as popular as the mantra ‘transwomen are women’. Transwomen are NOT women. How do we know this? Simple. Can I be a transwoman? No. Why not? Because I am not a man.

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How can a man know how a woman feels? He can’t. The one thing that unifies woman- infertile women, post-menopausal women, menstruating women, breast-feeding women, lesbian women, het women, young women, old women, feminine women, GNC women – even women who think they are men -is our biological experience of being female-bodied. THAT is what a woman is and that is what the word woman describes. Females bleed. They give birth. They feed their young. Not every woman experiences these things but when it comes down to it, we all know what a woman is. We all came out of one.

People like Jones can play around with words, they can try to redefine them; they can tell women they are bigots for not accepting men as women and many women will go along with it ‘because it seems unkind not to’.  Most of us are well-trained like that. We want to be good trans-allies.

Jones speaks of  ‘brilliant trans voices emerging – like Shon Faye (and) Paris Lees’

Er, hang on, you mean Shon Faye who told people he referred to as ‘children’ to ‘suck dick, get tits early’? The same Paris Lees who wrote a ‘bathroom’ article accompanied by a picture of himself sitting on the toilet? Paris Lees who routinely calls lesbians who don’t want sex with men ‘transphobic’?  Inspirational stuff.

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Shon Faye tells ‘children’ to ‘suck dick’ and ‘get tits early’.

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Paris Lees on the toilet. Inspiring and brilliant.

Jones tell us that trans people aren’t hurting anyone. Well, it’s true that you don’t often hear trans-identified women demanding to use men’s bathrooms, although I’m sure some of them do, and the chant ‘transmen are men’ is bandied about far less than its blushing feminine equivalent. In fact, you don’t hear much from trans-identified women, full stop. Despite claims that trans-identified women have male privilege, they are remarkably quiet about it all. None of the three ‘brilliant trans-voices’ that Jones refers to in his article belongs to an actual woman. Yet trans-identified men calling themselves women are demanding access not just to women’s toilet facilities, but to women’s refuges, clubs, sports teams and colleges. They are being housed in women’s prisons. They are joining lesbian groups, becoming Women’s Officers, and closing down women’s events for excluding them. They are trying to redefine womanhood as a feeling, which by implication suggests that women who don’t identify as men are quite happy with the discrimination we face – after all, if we minded that much surely we’d all just identify out of it?

Jones likens gender critical women to those who opposed LGB rights in the 80s. How dare he? While #LittleOJ was still being fed on mummy’s milk, I was kissing girls- and boys- in the woods at school. While #LittleOJ was not long out of nappies, I was protesting against Clause 28.

The problem with Jones’ article, the reason that it never really gets going, is that it is based on a lie.

Transgenderism is absolutely nothing like LGB. The LGB fight for acceptance & equality is nothing like the fight for transgender rights. The two are worlds apart. They are not comparable.

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LGB people and their allies know that our bodies do not define who we love or desire. Men can love women and women can love men and that’s just fine. A female-bodied person who loves other female-bodied people is a lesbian. How can a man possibly be a lesbian? The claim is absurd. Attraction is a feeling, our physical bodies are not a feeling. LGB does not advocate that bodies should be modified to fit stereotypes. LGB doesn’t care what we wear or what hobbies we have. LGB wants to get rid of those stereotypes!  LGB people do not demand that the rest of society complies with a delusion. LGB rights ask that we are all accepted just as we are, whatever body we are born in. The LGB fight for equal rights is not dependent on the erasure of the rights of another marginalised group and LGB people do not go into schools asking little kids if they might be gay.

So no, @OwenJones84 I will not be on the wrong side of history. History will not judge me and my concerned sisters and brothers who are being silenced by your accusations of hate and demands for no-platforming.

History will judge those who beguiled & medicated a generation of gender-non-conforming children; those who transitioned gay boys & lesbian girls; those who told a girl she could become a boy and vice versa, when they knew it wasn’t true. History will judge those who told kids there was a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to be a boy or a girl and those who told a generation of baby-dykes they could become ‘straight’ boys. Boys who like dancing & pink & sparkly hearts & tutus are being told this might mean they are a girl. People are going into schools right now and telling kids these things. How is that progressive?

History will judge those who denied kids a puberty; with all its angst, stresses and pain, it is an essential part of forming us into the adults we become. History will judge those who have left now-adult men with non-functional 1” penises; those who cut the healthy breasts off girls who were still children. History will judge those who skinned the thighs of young women to make penises that will never work.

History will judge those who lied about & glorified suicide stats in the press; who told kids that ‘real’ transkids self-harmed & tried to kill themselves. Over, and over, and over again. History will judge those who say puberty blockers are harmless and reversible in all cases; that nothing permanent is done to children. That isn’t true. Girls as young as 14 have had their breasts removed & the CEO of Mermaids took her son abroad to have his penis removed when he was just 16. History will judge the parents who told their disturbed kids they could ‘get a penis when they’re bigger’ and that ‘people out there want to erase you’; the ones who spanked and screamed at their GNC kids for playing with the ‘wrong’ toys, and prayed to their judgemental gods for an answer. And history will cry with the parents who didn’t realise what was going on until it was too late; who trusted the doctors & therapists who told them this was the best thing for their child, who believed the press & lost their quirky, confused kids to the cult of transgenderism.

History will judge the therapists and surgeons who made blood money out of this. The gender therapists who befriended confused girls on social media and posted quirky jokes on Twitter to draw them in; who offered them hormones and pocketed the profit, calling it ‘care’. You know who you are. History will judge the surgeons who cut healthy body parts off children for money and to satisfy their own curiosity. You want to talk about Nazis? Nazis experimented on humans too. How do you sleep at night? There should be a special ring of hell in Dante’s inferno just for you.

History will judge those who fought for laws that said any man can walk into a women’s bathroom or changing room & that an uncomfortable woman has to STFU. History will judge those who shouted ‘TERF’ and ‘bigot’ at women who were only trying to protect their children & at feminists fighting to preserve their hard-earned rights.

Today’s pro-trans media is promoting sexual stereotypes; eradicating a generation of young gay & lesbian kids & condemning them to a lifetime of medicalisation.

History will judge YOU, little OJ, with your male privilege & your not-very-well-written & badly-researched articles.  Inspiring stuff, indeed. You are complicit with the eradication of women’s rights & the medicalisation of a generation of kids. And you’re not stupid.  In your heart, you know it.

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Guest post: “To the woman who shrieked at me that I am a bigot…”

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Sometimes a post is so powerful it needs to be shared far and wide. Logging on to facebook this morning, the first thing I saw was this powerful post from CR. I too have been shouted at, by other women, that I am a bigot and that I will be on the wrong side of  history. I too join the ranks of women who say this piece of writing has moved them to tears.

CR  has kindly agreed that I can share it here.

 

‘To the woman who shrieked at me that I am a bigot and a terf and a hateful transphobe for defending women’s rights,

Ten, fifteen years from now, I ask you to remember me.

Remember me when you have your first baby and you’re referred to throughout your pregnancy as a birthing individual, a pregnant person, and it makes you feel kind of dehumanised and you wish they’d just call you a woman, a mother, because that’s what you are. But they’re not allowed, because it’s illegal to say only women can be pregnant and give birth.

Remember me when you give birth and you feel vulnerable and exposed and you really want a woman beside you who understands what you’re going through and instead your midwife is a six foot man with stubble in a dress and you know he isn’t a woman but you’re not allowed to object, even when you need to be examined and you just want a woman to do it but you know you can’t say anything because that would be hate speech, even though your body is screaming no.

Remember me when your elderly mother, who has lost her mind to dementia, goes into a care home and is told that her carer, Susan, is a woman, because you asked that she only be cared for by women. And even in her addled state of mind, she knows that Susan is a man, and you know Susan is a man, but you cannot object, and she has to allow Susan to perform her intimate care, because to object would be hate speech.

Remember me when your daughter comes home from school crying, the daughter who has spent the last five years training to be the best athlete in her class, her school, her district, she’s crying because Lucas in her class, one of the fastest boys, has decided he identifies as female for now and so is allowed to run in her race, and she knows it doesn’t matter how hard she trains, he will always beat her, and she can only ever hope for a silver medal now. Or bronze, if there is another Lucas.

Remember me when you go into a toilet late at night, perhaps in a bar, and there’s noone else around, and a guy walks in, he has a beard and is wearing jeans and a t shirt, and the way he looks at you seems off, and you feel afraid and unsettled and worried he might hurt you. But you can’t challenge him, because if you do he’ll say he’s a woman and has as much right as you do to be in this toilet, a place where many years ago you might have come to feel safe.

Remember me when you go for a promotion, for a board position at work that’s designated for a woman. You’ve put in the hours, you’ve worked so hard, you know you deserve it. And the position goes to Lola, who until last year was a 50 year old man. Lola will never do anything inconvenient like needing time off to have babies, or to deal with any health issues that you, a woman might face, like endometriosis, breast cancer, PND. Lola is a woman just like you, and your company are happy that they have fulfilled their quota of women members on the board.

Remember me when you read on the news that crime statistics for women committing rape and murder are on the increase, and now women carry out a much higher number of rapes and murders than they did when you were a teenager or a young woman. And you know that these ‘women’ are men and that the statistics are wrong, but to challenge this would be hate speech. Remember me too, when these women rapists are locked up with vulnerable women in female prisons and cannot escape, because to challenge the presence of the women rapists with penises in prison with them would be hate speech.

Remember me when your son comes home from school and says that he’s learned at school that you can change sex and that some girls have penises and some boys have vaginas and that his teacher said that because he likes playing with girls and dolls that maybe he is really a girl in the wrong body. And you think, no, you are just my wonderful, unique, son, and you were born in your own body. Remember me when a few months down the line the teacher calls you in and says she’s concerned that you are not validating your son’s identity and that she’s noticed you are still referring to him by the name you so carefully chose for him when he was born, and calling him a boy, when he is actually a girl, and that she doesn’t want to have to involve social services but she’s worried she might have to if you continue to misgender your son and deny his real identity. And you know that she will, because it’s happened before in a school near you, and you are afraid.

In this brave new world that you helped to create, look around for your transactivist friends, your lefty male allies, the ones you stood beside and yellled ‘terf, transphobe, bigot’ with, with you shouting the loudest, because you wanted to show what a good ally you were, how inclusive, how progressive. Where are they now? Why, they are where they always were. Benefitting from the patriarchy. Enjoying the new, improved version of it that you helped them to build by crushing the resistance from the women who spoke up for their rights. This has all cost them nothing; it has made the world a better, easier place for men. It has cost you and your sisters who campaigned with them for virtue cookies, everything.

And me? I’ll be where I’ve always been. Fighting for your rights. Fighting to undo the damage.

I’ll have your back, as I always have done.’

C.R.

 

Thank you C, for summing up how this affects all of us, not just the worried parents of GNC kids, not just radical feminists, the religious and academics… every women, every girl. All of us. If we don’t speak out now, this will be the future.

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