Welcome to Transtopia

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 01.11.38If you’re looking for something specific, there’s a search bar on the lower right hand side of the page.

 

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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Pride & Prejudice – who is standing with lesbians? #GetTheLOut

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 01.54.02This year’s Pride in London parade was ‘hijacked’ by a lesbian activist group called ‘Get the L Out.

I was on the tube on my way to Pride when my phone buzzed.

“OMG have you seen this? Are you there?”

I clicked on the link Emma had sent me.

Hijack? Anti-trans group? What had been going on while I obliviously consumed a lemon muffin and a 3 shot Americano in Starbucks?  I flipped through the article to read that a group of women ‘seeking to exclude trans people’ had hijacked the front of the Pride march and were parading with ‘anti-trans slogans’. Was this more hyperbole from Pink ‘Penis’ News?

The tube went into a tunnel and I lost my reception.

Arriving at Charing Cross, I negotiated the hordes of rainbow-garbed youngsters walking backwards with their phones in the air or sitting on the pavement rolling joints, and skipped nimbly over the discarded beer bottles and coke cans. The atmosphere was still charged with energy; outlandishly dressed people laughing and dancing & uploading pictures to Instagram.  There were more rainbow flags than ever. MacDonalds, that staunch supporter of all things revolutionary and cutting edge, had adorned its store front with a bunch of multi-coloured balloons & the guy who usually sells hoodies & sweatshirts at the edge of the square had added a string of rainbow merch to his bow. The obligatory adorable gay-ally dog trotted past me & I joined the queue to get into the central compound.

Pride in London

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As a teenager I once joined a protest march against Barclays involvement in South Africa; a march ending in a rally at Trafalgar Square, where the name ‘Barclays’ was met with boos. Barclays has a new slogan now, crafted from the finest word salad: ‘diversity is important but inclusion is essential’. How times change: Barclays is now also a headline sponsor of Pride in London. I try not to be too cynical about the commercialism. Yay for democracy & all that. As one Twitter user put it

“I’m ok with it. I’ll rather have the commercial soft support than no support at all.”

But still. Pride sponsors. Barclays. Starbucks.  Amazon. Nandos. Even Tesco, FFS.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 02.52.36.pngI made it past security and offered a fiver donation for a ‘Pride’ tote goodie bag. Inside was a magazine, a couple of rainbow wristbands, a lot of flyers advertising holidays in Italy and an Oyster card holder with a picture of Jerusalem on it.

I spoke briefly to the Stonewall people who wouldn’t give me an ‘I rainbow-heart NY’ badge unless I signed up to go to NYC Pride. Or something like that. Maybe I got a bit confused. Perhaps it’s catching.

I grumble about commercialism and, of course, in the same breath I embrace it. After taking some photos, I found myself drawn into the ‘Gay Shop’ where I passed on the ‘pansexual’ beaded bracelet- no really, I’m fine- in favour of a bright blue water bottle.  I bought Jessie & middle-child a T shirt each. They’d come up with friends in the morning and had ‘run out of money can you get us a T shirt please mum’. I nearly bought a ‘Pride’ Oyster Card holder but it was three quid. I paid with a Barclays bank card.

Lily Maynard Pride

Pride Lily Maynard

I managed to find a takeaway coffee and perched myself at the top of the steps, just as Courtney Act tottered onto the stage to tumultuous applause. I took a few photos of the crowd and a sip of coffee and sat down in a quiet corner to flip through my phone and see what was going on on Twitter…

Anne Ruzylo

… and there they were. The lesbian hijackers!

On 7/7/18 group of lesbians from ‘Get the L Out’ jumped into the London Pride parade, bearing banners, to protest against lesbian erasure.

I had arrived at Pride late, bought a couple of T shirts, whinged a bit about corporate sponsorship and taken some photos. These women had a plan. These women were there right at the start, banners ready, fearless and outspoken, to stand up for the rights of lesbians like my daughter. I wanted to hug them all. It’s on my bucket list to hug them all.

Their blog is here.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 20.01.15Get the L Out’ is a group of lesbian and feminist individuals and organisations, opposing the increasingly anti-lesbian and misogynistic LGBT movement and the erasure of lesbians. We believe that lesbian rights are under attack by the trans movement and we encourage lesbians everywhere to leave the LGBT and form their own independent movement, as well as to be vocal and take action against the proposed changes to the GRA (Gender Recognition Act).”

They recorded a short video of their action, which you can see here.

#GetTheLOut

The video, which begins just before the women leapt onto the Pride flag and began their protest, starts mid-conversation.

“… I think we’re going to get lost otherwise.”

“Yes, I think so too, I think we should do it now. Come on!”

The women run forward, chanting and shouting slogans.

Get the L Out

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“Come on, you’ve had your moment,” says one organiser briskly, trying to get them to move off the flag, but the women aren’t budging until they’re ready.

Ten minutes or so into the parade they lie down in the road and start chanting, ‘Get the L out of Pride’.

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‘They’re losing our respect,’ one beardy bloke told a journalist, seemingly unaware that it was unlikely that a group of lesbians would be overly preoccupied with gaining his respect.

It’s a hot, hot day and the sun is beating down overhead.

“I should’ve put some sunscreen on,” one protestor says to another, and they laugh.

An organiser approaches them.

“We don’t mind you being here, we appreciate it, but maybe just advance a little bit, just so we can gradually move on.”

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The women move on. En route, one hands her phone to some young women at the side of the march. “You want to know what sort of messages we get online just for being a lesbian?” she asks. “It’s just here.”

“That’s so bad.”

“I know.”

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Later I watched a video that had been live streamed by a Pink News journalist. He scuttled down the parade route ahead of the protestors, somewhat like a disorientated and quivering squirrel, repeating over and over again the phrases, “Anti-trans campaigners… what has it come to, Pride in London?… Sadiq Khan was meant to be leading the parade… More as it comes….”

In the course of the video he describes the protestors as:

“A group of radical feminist campaigners who are opposed to transgender rights…  the group who were protesting against transgender rights… a group campaigning against transgender rights… a group of radical feminists who appear to have issues with transgender people… carrying signs opposing transgender rights.. the anti-transgender campaigners… a group who clearly upset many people… distributing these leaflets which are vile… anti transgender rights campaigners…

He mentions the word ‘lesbian’ only once, when he scathingly refers to the protestors as ‘a group of women who describe themselves as lesbians.”

Get the L Out

“Do you disagree with transgender people being here?” he asks one.

“No, absolutely not,” she replies. “Absolutely not. But I do disagree with men saying they’re women and that they’re lesbians.”

“Get the L out of Pride!” chant the women behind her. “Get Lesbians out of Pride! Stop lesbian erasure! No man is a lesbian! Lesbian, not queer!”

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Pink News Journalist asks another of the women why she is there and suggests that the sign she is carrying means she has “issues with transgender people”.

“I don’t have issues with transgender people.”

She tells him she is protesting, “because I feel that lesbians are no longer represented by LGBT organisations…. I’m carrying this sign,” gesturing towards her banner, which reads ‘LESBIAN = FEMALE HOMOSEXUAL’. “This is a positive sign.” she adds, firmly.

PNJ takes one of the leaflets and reads part of it out to his audience. He then continues to refer to it, and the protesting lesbians, as ‘opposing transgender rights’.

Later,  PNJ asks another of the women what the protestors want, and if it has anything to do with the Gender Recognition Act.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 13.56.24“To get the L out of Pride.” she replies.  “Lesbians are lesbians. A man cannot be a lesbian; a person with a penis cannot be a lesbian.”

“Is this to do with changes to the Gender Recognition Act?” he enquires.

“It certainly is, we need a proper, open debate and we’re sick of trans-activists preventing that with violence, intimidation and threats…

A man who alters his body is a man who alters his body. He is entitled to the same respect as everybody else. He is not a woman and should not be in a woman’s space…

The sex that you’re born, unfortunately, is the sex that you will remain. When archaeologists dig you up in 1000 years time they will look at the chromosomal evidence. Your external organs will have faded away…”

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Have you tested your own chromosomes?” asks the journalist, bizarrely. When she replies no, he goads, “But you believe you’re a woman; you believe sex is defined by it, so how do you have that belief?”
The woman looked somewhat astonished but was polite enough not to laugh in his face.

“Look at me. No one has ever questioned that I’m a woman…  Read Cordelia Fine. The Royal Society gave her a prize for a reason.”

“That’s interesting,” he replies, in much the tone I would adopt if smallest brought me yet another kitten house sculpted from cereal packets, poster paints and toilet rolls.

“I think there’s a lot of sympathy in the crowd,” she continues.  “We are getting a lot of cheers. A lot of lesbians feel the same as us but people are scared to speak out because of all the violence and all the threats. I’ve had death threats, I’ve moved house; people are doxxed. Maria MacLachlan was beaten and the guy pretty much got away with it. There’s a lot of intimidation going on and people know that.”

The journalist turns to another woman and asks her to tell listeners about the reason behind the protest.

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“Pride is not representing lesbians at all, and we feel that we have been erased, and that is why we are here basically… 

because men are saying they are trans, they are lesbians and are pressurising the lesbian community to actually sleep with them… 

we are pressured online, we’ve been called TERFs; there are lots of women who wanted to take part in Pride and they were frightened to come because of this, because of the hostility against lesbians.”

This is the A5 double-sided leaflet that ‘Get the L Out’ handed out to the crowds lining the parade route.

Get the L Out

Get the L Out

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PNJ suggested that the when the crowd cheered the women it was because they didn’t understand the message. He suggested the crowd were cheering the empty space immediately behind the protestors rather than the protestors themselves. He then claimed that the cheers following the women must be sarcastic. At one point he referred to loud cheers as ‘a smattering of applause’.

“The message is going down in a mixed way,” said Pink News Journalist. “I’m not sure people understand what their message is.”

The one thing we can be sure of is that PNJ didn’t like it one little bit.

“The crowd earlier were chanting shame,” he reminded his viewers.

“‘They seem pretty pleased with themselves. They have spoiled the Pride march!” he complained at one point, only to follow it up a few minutes later with, “The group appears to be here to provoke some sort of reaction but really they failed.  There doesn’t seem to be much of a reaction at all.”

Oh the confusion! Even now, a few days later, critics of the protest seem confused. On the one hand the protest was a minor disruption by ‘only eight or ten’ women’, but on the other hand it’s a huge display of hatred that left many ‘feeling unsafe’.

Which is it to be?

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If, like me, you aren’t seeing any actual ‘hatred’ in the words or banners of these women, the first important question has to be,

‘does pro-lesbian now automatically mean ‘anti-trans?

This seems to be what the mainstream media believes; what the Mayor of London believes; what Stonewall, Pride London and Pink News believe.

This is not about hatred, at least not about hatred coming from lesbians and feminists.

Get the L Out

The second question we need to consider is,

‘Is lesbian erasure now a trans right’?

I have honestly never heard anyone say ‘I hate trans people’. Believing that it is not possible to be born in the ‘wrong’ body is not hateful and erases no-one. We all have a right to our religious and spiritual beliefs, and if you want to believe that souls are gendered and that we have pink and blue brains; if you want to worship at the altar of the gender fairy, then go for it. Nobody can tell you what to believe. Your beliefs are your own business. It’s when you start demanding that everyone around you agrees with you and that if they don’t share your ideology then they must be evil people who hate you and wish you ill; that they must be silenced – well, that roar is the sound of transactivism rearing its tyrannical, despotic head.

The ideology of transactivism purports that a man who believes he is a woman, is a woman.

An astonishing number of people are willing to say this.

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Transactivism also purports that a woman who believes she is a man is actually a man, but nobody pays much attention to that, because… misogyny. The women who think they’re men aren’t shouting that gay men should have sex with them, and gay men aren’t feeling they have to hijack marches to make people listen to how threatened and angry this makes them feel because a) Biology and b) Patriarchy.

A good trans-ally is expected to support the idea that a man who believes himself to be a woman has the heart and soul of a woman.  If a man ‘identifies as’ a woman, he actually IS a woman. And if he is a woman, so it follows that he has the right to be in spaces designated for women. Sports teams, changing rooms, bathrooms, women’s festivals specialising in workshops on vaginal steaming, women’s intimate waxing salons, women’s refuges, to name but a few such spaces around which controversy has recently risen.

gaslighting

The gaslighting of an entire population.

If we accept that the group of men who call themselves transwomen ARE women, it follows that they can also ‘identify as’ lesbians.  And if actual lesbians don’t like this – if they reject the idea of sex with these men purely on the grounds that they are… er… men, those women are automatically transphobic.

You see where this is leading?

A lesbian, attracted by very definition to other females, who points out that she doesn’t want to have sex with someone on the grounds that they are a man- any woman who points out that a person who has (or has ever had) a penis is not a lesbian- is transphobic.

Lesbianism is transphobic?  WTF? No wonder lesbians are pissed off enough to take to the streets of Pride protesting about this. Their banners didn’t read, ‘We Hate Trans People’, they didn’t read, ‘Trans People are Dirty and Stupid‘, they didn’t read, ‘Trans people are second rate citizens’. Remember what they read?

“Lesbian = Female Homosexual”

“Transactivism erases Lesbians”

“Lesbian not Queer”

Where is the support for lesbians? Who in the LGBT movement is fighting for the right of lesbians to actually be lesbians? Who is standing up to those who insult, threaten and even strike these women? Well, not Stonewall, that’s for sure.

Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt released this call to armsstatement shortly after Pride.

“The event was marred by a transphobic group… a transphobic group who are actively working against the community… distribut(ing) leaflets filled with myths and lies… not everyone was safe… hatred directed at trans people… these people have deserted the fight for LGBT equality, they have no place at Pride… Be an active, fierce ally.”

Stonewall

Over and again the lesbian protestors are referred to as ‘anti-transgender’: not just by Pink ‘Penis’ News, but by the Guardian; by the Independent.

The Independent refers to the women as ‘anti-trans protestors’.

Patrick Greenfield writes in The Guardian of “a group of about 10 women carrying anti-trans signs…  anti-transgender campaigners…  women carrying anti-trans signs…”.

He goes on to quote a Liberal Democrat LGBT chairperson who talks of “transphobic protestors… a betrayal of the thousands marching”.

Owl Fisher churns out a quick piece, in the same paper, calling the protestors “divisive, hateful and misguided.”

There’s no pride in hatred,” he pontificates profoundly, adding, apparently with no trace of irony, “Trans women wanting to be accepted as women – some of whom are lesbians – does not erase anyone else. On the contrary, it enriches our community.”

Get the L Out

Er… hang on… the claim that men can be lesbians doesn’t erase lesbians? Saying that penises are female doesn’t erase lesbians? Would permitting white people claim to be black, for example, ‘enrich’ the black community? Of course not. What planet is he on? Where is this ‘hate’? Just how does this work? How much doublespeak are we supposed to be able to swallow?

LGBT Labour said “these people should never be allowed to march at Pride again”.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said, ‘The vast majority of those present at yesterday’s march respected and embraced that and the Mayor condemns the tiny minority who did not. Transphobia is never acceptable.”

Viking FM DJ Alex went so far as to call the banners ‘hate crime and surely they will now all be arrested and charged?”

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After initially claiming that ‘hot weather’ was their reason for not stopping the women, then acknowledging that the protestors hadn’t done anything illegal, Pride in London released a statement saying they would be ‘reviewing what happened with the Metropolitan police. They went on to call the protest

“shocking and disgusting…a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable… we condemn it completely… we reject what this group stands for… we are shocked and appalled…  some felt threatened by the protesters…”

So there you have it.  PRIDE rejects lesbians who claim penises can’t be female. To say a man cannot be a lesbian is threatening and an act of hatred. Is it any wonder lesbians are wanting out from under the LGBT umbrella?

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Not one review I have read in the mainstream press even acknowledges the issues these women were trying to raise awareness about. It was as if those speaking out to condemn the women had not even taken the time to read the writing on their signs, let alone think about the very real concerns expressed in their leaflets.  Their action was doubleplusbad and even thinking about what it entailed could be dangerous and problematic.

It couldn’t be clearer that LGBT will not protect lesbians. This level of misogyny makes me scared & sad for young lesbians everywhere. Is it any wonder that so many lesbians want out?

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Meanwhile, back at the parade, Pink News Journalist points at the protestors and shoves his microphone into the faces of two young women observing the parade.

‘‘This is a group of radical feminists who appear to have issues with transgender people.’ They have occupied the Pride march. They’re being allowed to lead it…”

He pauses and, when no response is forthcoming, asks them directly what they think.

“That’s ridiculous,” says one, smiling.
“That’s pretty shit,” grins the other.

“Organisers, police, nowhere to be seen!” he adds, inviting them to share his outrage. They nod blandly.

“I don’t know if either of you are trans,” he adds. “I see you’re wearing a trans wristband.”
“Yes,” says the girl wearing the band.

“Presumably this is not a great l message to send? They’re distributing these leaflets which are vile,” he says “I don’t know if I can say that and be impartial?” 

The girl with the wristband shrugs and she and her friend look away.  After a moment’s awkward silence, during which he realises he isn’t going to get the reaction he’d hoped for, he thanks them and moves on.

“Still distributing leaflets to the crowd,” he observes, his voice growing slightly higher at his inability to find anyone quite incensed as himself.

What has it come to, London Pride?” he wails for the twentieth time.

Elsewhere, one of the women is speaking to other lesbians in the crowd, telling them she gets called a vagina fetishist or a transphobe online for saying she won’t sleep with people with penises.

“Do you think that’s normal?” she asks another lesbian.

What, sleep with someone with a dick?”  responds the other woman, taking the proffered leaflet. “Why would I? I’m a lesbian!”

“I’m really tired of this,” the protestor says, handing a leaflet to another couple. “Lesbians shouldn’t be shamed for loving women.”

“Fuck you, TERFs!” calls a man from the crowd.

This is what happens when we ignore the fact that Pride was started as a riot,’ says PNJ, meaninglessly, seemingly oblivious to the irony and forgetting that only minutes before he had bemoaned the lack of a police presence.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 19.20.45“Trans women started Pride! These people hate trans people! They’re ignoring the history that Pride is a protest started by trans people!” yells a bloke in a black net top with roses on it.
“These people are here to erase the history of Pride, to erase trans people! They don’t just hate trans people, they hate sex workers, they hate anyone who doesn’t fit into their oppressive ideology. They are just as bad as the Westboro Baptist Church & the bigots who come out here saying gay people are going to hell!”

PNJ is so happy to come across someone as incensed as himself that he overlooks the absurdity of the suggestion that lesbians would tell gay people they were hellbound, and bounds over to net-top to introduce himself.

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 01.10.31“Oh, you’re Pink News!” coos net-top into the lens, as his friend flicks his hair back & grins at the camera, “They were taking photos of me… (he points at the protestors) I can guarantee you they’re going to try to go after me and attack me personally.” He taps his fingers on his chest. He sounds strangely happy at this unlikely prospect.

“They were trying to get cops to arrest my friend for no fucking reason… these people are absolute bigots, they’re the worst.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 03.31.37.png“I fucking had a go at the TERFs! I had a go at the TERFs! The police are angry at me, fuck it, I don’t care!”  boasted a green-haired bloke who sounded remarkably like Rik Mayal in The Young Ones.

“I’m angry that the first thing of Pride was the TERFs. Fuck them. The opening thing was ‘transactivism erases lesbians’? Fuck off with that! I almost got in trouble with the police but I don’t care, Pride is a riot! Why is this group opening, saying ‘you are not welcome at Pride trans people’? Don’t tell trans lesbians they’re not welcome at Pride!”

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“The anti-transgender campaigners appear to have continued down the march, They’re no longer near… This is what Pride is all about, this is the real Pride!” exclaimed PNJ happily, as the charismatic, heterosexual Mayor of London pressed a button turning the advertising screen at Picadilly Circus into a giant rainbow.

And perhaps, in a time when the gay rights movement is willing to chuck lesbians under the wheels of the gender identity bus without a moment’s thought, perhaps it is.

************

POSTSCRIPTS

GetTheLOutGetTheLOut

The Lesbian Rights Alliance has written an open letter to Stonewall which collected 135 signatures in two days.

Open Letter to Stonewall

Dear Ruth Hunt
Remove the L from LGBT

We demand that Stonewall removes lesbians from the list of groups you claim to represent as a national LGBT organisation. Since its foundation, Stonewall has rarely represented our interests. Now, in your single-minded campaign to promote the trans political and ideological agenda, you not only fail to represent us, but you actually promote lesbian invisibility – and lesbian erasure.

Lesbians are biological women who are sexually attracted to, and have sexual and emotional relationships with other biological women, only. Being a lesbian is primarily about sexuality: it is a same-sex attraction. Stonewall no longer accepts this basic, socially-accepted definition of lesbians. In fact it defines homosexuality as ‘attraction to the same gender,’ not biological sex.

As a consequence you support the absurd idea that male-bodied persons can be lesbians, and you demand that they be accepted as such by actual lesbians. If we refuse to accept these men as lesbians you label us transphobes and “TERFs”, unleashing a torrent of hate speech upon us from your supporters.

The vast majority of biological males who self-identify as lesbians retain their penises. So Stonewall is not only promoting hate crime against lesbians, but imposing compulsory heterosexuality on lesbians.

Stonewall does not recognise or represent the many young women who reject conventional feminine stereotypes in appearance and sex roles, and who become lesbians at puberty. Instead you support the trans argument that many gender non-conforming lesbians must really be men, born with “male brains” in the “wrong body”.

This outdated definition of lesbians was first promoted by male sexologists at the end of the 19th century. It has now become the dominant narrative. In the absence of alternative information, young women are stigmatised and bullied into taking on a male identity, rather than being healthy young lesbians. As one young woman told the Lesbian Rights Alliance, ‘there was no one who looked like me or acted like me who I could turn to as a role model.’

In your support for trans ideology you are literally erasing young lesbians, telling them they must mutilate their own female bodies to impersonate men and appear to be heterosexual. In 2016- 2017 female adolescents comprised over 70% of young people seeking to transition at the Gender Identity Development clinics, the majority of whom are attracted to their own sex.

In your educational programmes for schools you claim to address homophobic bullying, but none of your school materials represent gender non-conforming young lesbians.

For the few lesbians who have managed to escape lesbian conversion to trans and joined LBGT groups at college or university, they are often told that they should not use the term ‘lesbian’ since it is too ‘exclusive’. Instead they must define themselves as ‘queer,’ which means in practice that they must be open to having sexual relationships with men.

You also misrepresent the suicide statistics, claiming that young, transgender people are the most likely to attempt suicide. This is untrue: in fact young lesbians are the group most likely to attempt suicide, which is unsurprising, since they have become the most stigmatised group out of all LGB people.

According to your website, Stonewall has an income of over £7 million in 2018. You also support numerous LGBT groups and LGBT youth groups around the country. Women-only and lesbian-only space is crucially important to lesbians in the development of our lesbian lives and lesbian community. Yet as far as we are aware you have not supported a single lesbian-only youth group, or supported lesbian-only groups of any kind.

It is clear that being ‘stronger together’ in Stonewall does not include lesbians. So we urge you to stop claiming to represent us and leave the L out.

Yours
The Lesbian Rights Alliance

GetTheLOut blog:

https://getthelout.wordpress.com/

Lesbians protest Pride: GetTheLOut:

Comments on the YouTube video:

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Tweets

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Critical Sisters

jb

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Guest Post: The 2018 Gender Games

 

A few weeks ago,  when this year’s World Cup was still in its early days, (I’ll be honest here, I had to Google that. I had absolutely no idea when the World Cup started, it just mysteriously, suddenly WAS EVERYWHERE) mumsnetter ScarletBegonias pontificated on how a football match between transactivists & a gender critical team might go.

The thread took off, with various gender-critical mumsnetters putting in a line or two, until it reached hundreds of comments..

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You can read the thread here, but it gets a little convoluted.  When I retweeted it, DJLippy asked if I’d want to host an version that she had edited, here on my blog.

Excellent plan!

 

 

So here it is, a footy-themed piece by the women of mumsnet, nothing to do with me at all, welcome to:

 

THE 2018 GenDEr GaMeS

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FIRST HALF

Welcome to the opening match of the 2018 Gender Games. It’s the first match of the tournament and team Trans Rights Activists (TRA) are facing up against the plucky underdogs Team Mumsnet.
It was always going to be a highly contested game.
Trouble started early in the pre-match warm ups when Team TRA demanded no one should have to wear the number 2 as that suggests a binary. Everyone on Team Mumsnet is – quite confusingly- wearing the number 2.

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There was controversy about the eligibility of the American players in the TRA team. Officials decided the use of the potentially offensive term ‘soccer’ was permitted, but not before officials confiscated all baseball bats.
TRAs win the toss and we’re off!

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 21.32.45Lees, passes to Peto – Peto to Brown, Sarah Brown, a last minute substitution there by manager Maria Miller.

Brown – Munroe.

And that was a dangerous run by Munroe, neatly blocked at the last minute by AngryAttackKittens – such a whole-hearted, physical player!
There seems to be a bit of a fracas on the pitch as team TRA are adamant that team Mumsnet, with their ladybrains, are unable to fully understand the offside rule. Much ladysplaining going on by team TRA. I must say it’s strangely indistinguishable from mansplaining.Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 23.01.10
Team Mermaid captain has intervened and is trying to make it less confusing for Team Mumsnet by explaining it is like a beauty pageant only with wickets and spherical objects.
No one seems any the wiser.

Mumsnet Captain Sarah Ditum is holding back an irate Posie Parker there. She doesn’t look happy does she?

 

But what’s this? Madigan is throwing a temper tantrum on the pitch!Apparently it’s transphobic to play with balls and they want Corbyn to step in and take them away as they’re distressing for the TRA team.
Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 21.35.39Commentator Owen Jones suggests a parliamentary inquest into the transphobic nature of playing with balls in general and asking that the items formally known as “balls” must be referred to as SPOFS (spherical playing objects for sport).
This is agreed. The crowd applauds.
What now!? Team Mumsnet’s Star goalkeeper Yardley is being forced to leave the pitch after refusing to use the term SPOFS and colourfully telling Bergdorf to F off. Mumsnet fans in the stadium have erupted in solidarity as Yardley walks off the pitch with two middle fingers raised, protesting loudly.
“WE’RE BOTH MEN!!!!” becomes the viral meme of the game.
Unbelievable folks, unbelievable.
Yardley will join team mates Venice Allan and Lisa Muggeridge on the bench, who have both received three match bans.
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Madigan off at the side there. We’re getting word their shirt has been ripped and the referee has ordered them to get a new one. They’re now off begging from the other players in the dugouts. A crowdfunder has been started.
Team TRA want to put in Muscato up front for Team Mumsnet, despite the protestations of Team Mumsnet.
The referee is being forced to consult the new inclusion rulebook…

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Magdalen Berns is on a run for the goal now- she looks unstoppable but what’s this? Foul by Muscato! And the crowd don’t like that.
Shocking, absolutely shocking!
What’s this? We’re just hearing that the medical team Dr Adrian and Dr Christian are refusing health care to Team Mumsnet on the grounds that these women are literal monsters.
Never mind, Berns is up and it looks like she’s getting ready to take the penalty…
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Fae seems to be tying something on their head. I can’t quite make it out – it looks – no it can’t be. – yes it is – it is a helmet that looks like an egg. Fae is making quite a show of putting it on –

it says on the side …. “See I’ve got a lady skull”

 
Back of the net! She certainly knows where the goal is doesn’t she?

 

Oh dear. There’s disagreement among the commentators in what is proving to be a tetchy match-up. Graham Lineham’s stating that Mumsnet lead by 1-0 with Owen Jones responding that Lineham has just denied the existence of Team TRA and that Lineham is on the wrong side of history.

It’s 1-0 to the Mumsnet Feminists, but the TRAs are self-identifying as having scored 6 goals.

HALF TIME

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It’s half time here in the dug out here and my, my what a match. Less than 50% of Team TRA are playing for their starting team, nobody knows which changing room to use and one lone player has self identified as the referee and is demanding a full enquiry.

A protest has been logged: Team TRA have identified as Team Mumsnet and are demanding their right to access the Mumsnet changing room and bath.
It looks like they’ve blocked access to the tunnel:. If Team TMA (or Trans-Mumsnet Activists as they must henceforth be known) can’t have it, then no-one will!
More half time shenanigans. Someone has hacked the Wikipedia entry on Team Mumsnet and retrospectively transed them on the basis that some of them had short hair and they all clearly liked football. They are now suspected of being the people who really started the Stonewall riots.
It was always going to end in chaos when they scheduled the match for a Friday.

 

SECOND HALF

We’re back but there’s a delay in kicking off. Team TMA has refused to take to the pitch until after they’ve each done their Soccerette catwalk to Mr Big Stuff.
And we’re off.  But what’s this? The TMA goalkeeper  Fae has lost their mooncup and is demanding a break in play while they find both it and their cranberry juice. The referee has agreed, giving the ground staff chance to pick up all the errant chicken fillets.
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Bergdorf is rolling around the pitch in agony complaining of period pains and the start is suspended. TMA have rushed to the other end of the pitch and they’re waving their tampons and pads. A discussion about the virtues of a mooncup vs sanitary products has ensued. This is new to the TMA team as yet another new novelty in the lady experience.
Yet more delays as cries of, ‘Die TERF scum’ can be heard from the stands causing confusion, prompting an official pitch inspection.

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No dye or scum is found on the turf and play resumes.

Parker – Bewilderness – back to Parker.
Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 23.55.09We’re just hearing match commentator Graham Linehan has been attacked by fellow commentator Owen Jones for daring to say that team Mumsnet have scored some points and seem to be playing a fair game!

Jones is in time-out in his own media room, which has been soundproofed and furnished with soft toys so as not to offend his delicate sensibilities.

 

Bewilderness – Parker – Berns on a run for it now – passes to Ditum.
And it’s a red card for Fae!!!
The ref has sent Fae off for skewering the SPOFS with a knitting needle whilst saving a cracking shot to goal from Ditum.

Schoolboy defending there!
A penalty has been awarded and Sweary steps up to take the shot as team Team TMA hastily replace Fae with substitute goalie Faye.
Faye’s taking a while to get on the pitch – we are hearing from the dugout that there’s been an issue with Faye’s pre-match ritual whereby inspirational songs from Erasure seem to have been appropriated by Team Mumsnet.
Mumsnet supporters have got wind of the development and are now singing ‘Respect’ loudly from the stands.

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Faye steps into goal attaching a talisman of some sort to the post. Ah we are informed it’s an inspirational picture – what’s that? Yes we can confirm – it’s a mirror.
Sweary lines up the shot and “GOAL!!!” Right in the top corner!
And what’s this? Faye’s booked as he’s caught trying to erase the Mumsnet score from the scoreboard!
Team Mumset don’t look happy.
You couldn’t write a script like this! Unbelievable.
Interesting to note Madigan has only had three touches of the spherical playing object for sport in the entire game because they’re too busy trying to get all the Mumsnet players sent off.
What now!? Match suspended! Little Owen Jones has taken the SPOFS and gone home, but not before shouting ‘My Gender Neutral Parent is bigger than your Gender Neutral Parent.’
Absolute scenes here, folks, absolute scenes!
Team Mumsnet have got a SPOFS from one of their cars and the game’s on again.
But what’s this? After conferring with team TMA, the ref has announced that mentioning or kicking the ball is a literal foul and, depending on the context, could lead to a yellow or red card- or not.
Team TMA are swishing their hair and grabbing their crotches in triumph while Mumsnet seek clarification to know how to proceed with the game.
After consulting with TMA the referee can confirm they’ve changed the laws of physics and the game resumes.
But wait! Madigan has run off the field in tears. Action replay here we can see the SPOFS came towards them – they cowered and tried to swat it away but it looks like they broke a nail. Another crowdfunder has been started.
Oger has been sent on as a replacement and is threatening legal action against said SPOFS for violently attacking Madigan and all on the TMA team. They claim that’s the law in Canada and by extension in Europe.
In newer developments, the referee has ruled that hands CAN be used in the game, but only if they identify as feet.
Team TMA is now wearing the same jerseys as team Mumsnet, and accuse team Mumsnet of literal murder because they’re not passing the SPOFS to them.
Well, despite some dirty tactics from team TMA, it seems team Mumsnet are holding firm.

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Their defence has been particularly solid. Critics of their play have suggested they needed to bolster their attacking play and to be fair they seem to have responded. New recruits from the Friday Academy have definitely added a new dimension to the team. I think Mumsnet definitely have the squad to take not just the match but the tournament.
The match is resumed.

 

Rowland receives and that’s a beautiful bit of footwork there, past Lees, past Chandler – interception by Lees. Free kick!
Team Mumsnet’s star striker Berns is going to take it.
Team TMA are having trouble protecting their crotches and looking lady-like at the same time.
Play is stopped to find a solution that isn’t ‘outing’.
A scuffle breaks out on the pitch as Bergdorf snatches the ball from Berns and insists on taking over their job as free kick taker.

Recently Bergdorf – before even getting a chance to get stuck into their new role as Mumsnet manager – resigned following a mass protest from fans about the suitability of a manager who both badmouthed the team and knew literally nothing about football. Mumsnet defender Amy Desir has since been suspended pending an internal investigation.
What’s this? There’s a chant coming from the Mumsnet crowd – what are they saying? “Penis, Penis, Penis – he’s got a penis!”
And now it seems Bergdorf is angrily demanding that the Mumsnet fans are ejected from that stadium! The officials have been consulted. The request has been denied.
The referee in a surprising twist has given the SPOFS back to Berns .

Interception by Izzard.
Izzard to Zinnia. And what’s this? Zinnia  has picked up the SPOFS and they’re putting it -oh my days! – that’s not in the rule book is it? Jones has certainly put the ball away. I must say it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘squeaky bum time’. Jones is down and it looks like we’re going to need another SPOFS.

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India Willoughby comes on as a sub and is greeted by boos from the Mumsnet fans. Willoughby’s sulking and stamping around the pitch shouting “I am a woman!” and flashing their boobs to prove it.

The boos continue.
Unbelievable folks, unbelievable.

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And what’s this? Willoughby is holding out an arm saying they were hit. I think we can all agree that supporter was at least three metres away. Did we get it on film?
Team Mumsnet battle against their female socialisation and try not to help.
The Mumsnet mods are the unhappy lineswomen being yelled at by everyone.
The crowd is getting wild.
With a few minutes to go, Mumsnet Manager, Justine Roberts, dressed as a clown fish, has changed all the rules.

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There is chaos on the pitch. The crowd’s going wild!
They think it’s all over.
It is now.

 

POST MATCH ANALYSIS

This has definitely been the group to watch in the playoffs.
Of the four teams in Group A in the Gender Games trying to make it to the last sixteen, Mumsnet have been seen as the underdogs by the other three in their group; TMA, MRA and Mermaid.

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It’s still unclear if the heavily anticipated Mumsnet/Mermaid match will go ahead as officials are still debating certain demands for the match to be played in Thailand, whilst Team Mumsnet have launched a counter claim that many Mermaid team members are underage and therefore not eligible to play.
We contacted them for comment and received the following statement.
“There is no debate to be had. I’ve named my squad and the location. Frankly the game shouldn’t be played at all. I’ve already decided it will be a 5-0 result and Mumsnet are just bloody meanies who don’t like football”.
And now we are getting perplexing reports that the offside rule has been redefined by the Scottish Government to include any onside play identifying as offside. Pundits are claiming the offside rule has been stolen behind their backs.
There’s also been an appeal against the VR ref decisions, but it has been confirmed that potential, imagined and fabricated fouls will be treated as actual fouls, depending on both the context and which team the individual referee supports and, in some cases, their mood on the day.
Just a reminder to tune in tomorrow for coverage of the Group C matches where we will be watching team GCJ (gender critical journos) vs team STHP (Spineless Try Hard Politicians).
Both teams are looking to field some strong players with team GCJ putting forwards Turner, Freeman and Kirkup on from start of play. It’s a solid and experienced team of whom much is anticipated.
STHP have already announced star defenders Corbyn and Butler will be playing despite scoring a number of home goals in the pre-tournament friendlies with the forwards largely being pulled from the LibDem LGBTQXYZRDG academy (known for its particularly combative style of play).
The other match in this group is expected to be less well contested with team YTL (YouTube Lesbians) captained by Peach Yoghurt to dominate from the kick off over Riley Denis’s YTGDM (YouTube Genitals Don’t matter) team.

This could prove to be our least triggering game so far.

 

 

“The Mumsnet Football Match” is a Guest Post. It was a collaborative effort by the gender-critical women of mumsnet and was edited by DJLippy.

 

 

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‘Inconvenient Women’ @Camden Town Hall 13/6/18

Text & photos- Lily Maynard

Sketches-Michèle M

‘Inconvenient Women’ is one of a series of lectures organised by Venice Allan as part of the ‘We Need to Talk’ tours. Key speakers were Sheila Jeffreys and Nicole Smith. Chaired by Anne Ruzylo, the meeting took place at Camden Town Hall on the evening of  Wednesday, June 13th 2018. The event was livestreamed on Facebook, and can be watched on YouTube here.
Lily Maynard

‘Inconvenient Women’ by Michèle M

 

To lessen the chance of protests by transactivists the venue was not made public before the event, and the main meeting place, also kept hush-hush until the day, was a nearby branch of COSTA. This seemed like a pretty good start to the proceedings to me.
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“You could go straight to the venue if you like, Lily.” Venice offered when I spoke to her on the phone shortly beforehand.
I was horrified. “God, thanks but no. And miss the coffee?”
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Venice Allan (organiser) speaks to the media.

So thus it was that I arrived in the smoggy evening sun at COSTA coffee on Euston Road to meet with old friends and new for the brilliantly named ‘Inconvenient Women’ talk.  I arrived with just enough time for a quick chat with a few people and to down a triple shot Americano.
I’d never been to the spectacular and imposing Camden Town Hall before. There’s so much stylish architecture in London that it’s easy to walk past a building a score of times without really noticing it. And, surprisingly, there wasn’t a transactivist in sight!
Lily Maynard

Attendees entering Camden Town Hall.

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The first thing that confronted us on entry was a gargantuan Gatsbyesque marble staircase. For some reason I didn’t quite manage to fathom, we weren’t permitted to use this gleaming escalier, but were huddled eight at a time in two small unreliable lifts on either side of the foyer. On first attempt ours went to the top of the building and back down again without opening its doors.
From the lift we emerged into a labyrinth of corridors and then, through an unimposing door, into a huge, spartan, glass-ceilinged chamber, already half filled with inconvenient women and a sprinkling of menfolk.
Inconvenient women

The meeting room at Camden Town Hall

inconvenient women

The audience

Inconvenient Women

‘Inconvenient Women’ by Michèle M

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We shuffled around, we changed seats, we waved at each other. Some chatted excitedly, some waited in quiet anticipation. the room was bright and clean and the acoustics were excellent. Some opened notebooks and fumbled for pens, one woman fed her baby.
Then Anne took the microphone and we were ready to begin.
The first speaker was Sheila Jeffreys.
Lily Maynard

Left to right: Anne, Nicole, Sheila

Sheila Jeffreys

Sheila Jeffreys

Sheila Jeffreys @ Inconvenient Women – Michèle M

Sheila Jeffreys taught politics at University of Melbourne for 25 years and is the author of 10 books on the politics and history of sexuality, including ‘The Lesbian Revolution’ coming out on the 29th of August 2018. Her book ‘Gender Hurts’, a feminist analysis of the politics of transgenderism, was published in 2014.

Jeffreys called her lecture ‘The Protection of Men’s Sexual Rights in International Law’.

 

 

 

Lily Maynard

Sheila Jeffreys & Nicole Smith

 

“What I’m going to talk about tonight is how important it is to think internationally when dealing with the threat of men’s cross dressing activism- commonly called the transgender rights movement- to women’s human rights. I fear there may not be as much humour in my talk tonight as some might wish because it’s a big, complicated and quite serious subject.”

Jeffreys spoke of how in the UK the feminist resistance to ‘men’s cross dressing rights’ had been growing exponentially in the last year but was concentrated on the tip of the iceberg, the situation in the UK. She suggested that the feminist focus needed to be more international as a variety of important documents which do not have any influence in law- yet- are increasingly promoted as human rights best practice. Jeffreys called this the ‘agenda of gender rights’ and these developments often take place without the knowledge or scrutiny of feminists.
In March 2018 the EU parliament adopted a report calling for the depathologisation of transgenderism and condemning states such as Britain which require medical evidence to support change of gender. ‘Psychiatric consent’ as this is named, argues that transgender people do not have a mental illness yet paradoxically suggests that easy access to medical treatments and surgery should be easily available.

So what are the Yogyakarta Principles?

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 02.04.06The Yogyakarta Principles is a 35-page document about human rights concerned with the areas of sexual orientation & gender identity.  The Yogyakarta Principles were signed and created in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2007 and were updated in 2017 with 10 extra principles, (the plus 10).
In 1995, a group of cross-dressing men in the USA produced the International Bill of Transgender Rights. It had no standing in law but the demands have now been accommodated in domestic law in many countries through the vehicle of the Yogyakarta Principles which state that:

‘gender identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal individual experience of gender’.

The word gender, when placed in front of the word identity, means any person’s belief that they have some essential personality traits normally found in the opposite sex.
Gender identity is a problem for the vast majority of us who have no internal sense of gender and reject the gender stereotypes that feminists have always sought to abolish. The notion of gender identity makes gender- the behaviours of a system of oppression wherein women wear high heels and restrictive clothing and men are seen as assertive and taking up more space- appear to be something natural and inevitable.
The Yogyakarta Principles are signed by human rights campaigners and lawyers, some of whom may feel obliged to sign, or sign without looking at the situation more closely, believing that gender identity is somehow inextricably connected with the rights of women and children, and lesbian and gay rights.
Sheila Jeffreys
“Hair flicking is very important,” commented Jeffreys sarcastically. “It’s something women do to show men they’re interested in them. Now I haven’t been heterosexual for a long time…”
People don’t actually change from being heterosexual,” called a heckler from the back of the room. “You’re either heterosexual or you’re not!”
Scan

Kat – Michèle M

The heckler, I was later told, is called Kat. She was a contestant on ‘Big Brother’ back in 2004, and yes, I did Google her and she was described as “a political activist who tried to bring a wee bit of anarchy to the house”. Evidently she tried to move a fridge of booze into the BB bedroom. That’s all you’re getting from me. No, really. This isn’t ‘Take A Break’.
“I’m often called a straightbian.” shot back Sheila, gesturing towards Kat. “She’s got this ideology that means that anybody who has been anywhere near a a penis isn’t actually a lesbian- which means that 99% of lesbians in the world.. well… it wipes out Adrienne Rich, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin…”
Applause and cheers ran through the room, although some women looked unsettled.
“You’re a bit of a cunt…” was Kat’s retort.
The response to this was gasps and angry cries of “Out! Out! Security! Boo!”
In the middle of this confusion, Kate got to her feet and began loudly singing a rousing version of ‘Every Woman can be a Lesbian and a few others joined in the chorus to further applause. Kate’s strong and powerful voice was strangely soothing in the general kerfuffle, but no-one seemed quite sure what might happen next.
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Inconvenient Women: mother & baby – Michèle M

The film crew in attendance were loving it. Many women were standing up. It all seemed a bit surreal. It struck me as a good time to go to the loo. It also gave me the chance to coo over a cute baby at the back of the hall.
On the way through the halls, I looked out through the vast glass windows over the network of rooftops that comprised the top of the Town Hall and reflected on how fun it would be to hop out onto the roof and try to see the view of the street below. (The fearless Julia Long, I later discovered on Facebook, realised this dream.)
When I came back things seem to have calmed down.
Sheila was reminding the women present that it was Eleanor Roosevelt who managed to get ‘sex’ included as a protected category at the United Nations in 1946, and pointing out that in most languages the word ‘gender’ doesn’t even exist.

“Sex is biology and it’s on the basis of biology that women are oppressed: it’s on the basis of biology that women have gained rights and become a protected category… the idea of gender arises from the oppression of women and cannot exist without it.”

Activists are very keen to see more women and children transition, said Jeffreys,  because ostensibly if children are doing it it can’t be about sex and if women are doing it, it can’t be about male fetishes.
This made total sense to me. The plethora of late transitioning males on Twitter, so concerned that kids’ gender identity should be respected, has always seemed strange. Wouldn’t it be great if these men were as concerned about children going hungry, missing education and living in sub-standard housing as they are about giving them access to hormone treatments & irreversible non-medical surgeries? But I digress.
Jeffreys pointed out that lesbians are not attracted to women because they are feminine or because they wear make-up, hair flick & walk with small steps but because they are women- biological women.
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Sheila Jeffreys by Michèle M

“As a lesbian feminist I am extremely aware of the need for the protection of the rights of lesbians- and gay men- internationally… these rights need to be separated off from the rights of heterosexual male cross dressers if the rights of lesbians and all other women are to be protected…. we are going to end up with the stereotypes as acted out by men for sexual purposes protected in national and international legal systems.”
In 2000 Jeffreys attended CEDAW – the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She says that many religious organisations are able to attend because they have access to large amounts of money, yet there may be, for example, just one woman representing the whole of West Africa because of insufficient access to funding.
Until 2007 lesbian and gay organisations were unable to attend. Jeffreys attended one meeting where the church had brought along schoolboys who were sat at the back of a lesbian and gay talk, “clicking their rosaries with terror”. The idea that homosexuality was the result of men and women having the brains of the opposite sex mysteriously transplanted into their bodies has always been furiously rejected by the gay liberation movement and lesbian feminism.
The Yogyakarta Principles combined sexual orientation and gender identity so closely that they now have one short acronym which incorporates both: SOGI. This language is now being used all the time. With what result? Well, firstly, women are not in any way advantaged by this. As Jeffreys puts it:
“Lesbians in South Africa are relentlessly raped and murdered and the state ignores any responsibility, and right now we cannot campaign to support them without promoting the right of heterosexual male cross dressers to take over women’s spaces and opportunities.”
Jeffreys concluded by saying how important it is that women should attend the next CEDAW, if possible by joining a woman’s organisation that already challenges trans rights, which few do, and is an recognised NGO (non-government organisation) able to send representatives to CEDAW. Another option would be setting up an organisation of our own so we can apply for accreditation with CEDAW, which is not too complicated, and go there to challenge the trans-push. While the well-financially supported trans and gay organisations and churches find attending no problem, travelling to and staying in New York would be very expensive without funding.  In Europe, Jeffreys suggests we need to be lobbying our MPs and the women’s groups in the European Parliament.
“I’m open to many, many other suggestions,” she concluded, “because I think we are in an urgent situation.”
Bursts of applause and a cry of “I love you, Sheila!” greeted the conclusion of Jeffreys’ talk.
Anne Ruzlyo

When the applause had died down, Ruzylo took the microphone to announce the next speaker.

“Our next speaker is Nicole Smith. She is a student and feminist activist.”

 

 

 

 

Nicole Smith

 

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith @Inconvenient Women – Michèle M

“The TERF had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that transgender ideology is stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that (s)he admired the world in being so long deluded by it.”

1697, Smith told us, 20 year old Thomas Aikenhead became the last person in the UK to be executed for blasphemy. Now, she says, the idea of blasphemy is replaced with the idea of ‘hate speech’ when organisations wish to persecute someone whose speech they believe to be ‘unholy’. Jones pointed out the similarities in the passage from the indictment of Aikenhead and read it out, replacing the word ‘prisoner’ with ‘TERF’ and ‘scriptures’ with ‘transgender ideology’.
Nicole Smith
Nicole pointed out that Venice’s event in Bristol was the first event on this topic to go ahead in the advertised venue. She spoke of how Jenny Murray had been reprimanded by the BBC for her article entitled Be trans, be proud — but don’t call yourself a “real woman”’ .
According to the BBC, Smith reminded us, what women are is a ‘controversial topic’ for women to speak on. Any woman who criticises trans-ideology or the potential forthcoming changes to the Gender Recognition Act, is denounced in a manner reminiscent of the Harry Enfield sketch ‘Women Know your Limits’
Rachel Cohen of Stonewall had replied to Murray:  ‘They are women just like you and me… whether you’re trans or not your identity  is yours alone. I wouldn’t question your gender identity journey, Jenni, and in return I wouldn’t expect you to question mine or anyone else’s. What right do you have to do so?”
An argument constructed on the sense of a gender that is yours alone, says Smith, cannot be challenged because it is self-referential. She mentions non-binary YouTuber Ash crying on the phone to her mother as she comes out as trans; saying her identity goes ‘beyond clothes and roles’ and is ‘just like an internal sense’. Of course, her mother can’t dispute this; no-one can dispute this, in the same way that a Christian purporting to have a personal relationship with God cannot be challenged. The only evidence is their own conviction.
Currently to get a gender recognition certificate (GRC), you need to ‘live as’ your desired gender for two years and sign a form saying you intend to live that way forever. Children are supposed to be ‘consistent, insistent and persistent’ before they are diagnosed as ‘trans’. Changes to the act would mean that self declaration of identity is sufficient. Faith is all! Yet in theory, if it takes nothing to be transgender, surely the government doesn’t have to give anything to transgender people?
Smith calls the changes to the law “ill conceived”. If a resource is available to anyone who identifies as x, the resource is available to everyone. Gender Identity is a faith-based claim, evidenced only by your own conviction and like notions of the soul or the holy spirit, it is not scientifically verifiable.
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Nicole Smith – Michèle M

“The use of preferred pronouns is a dynamic involving tacit agreement on the part of the oppressed that the subjective interpretation, no matter how removed they are from our reality, are in fact correct…  to most women, cis is as onerous distortion of the truth as is Eve having come from Adam’s rib…  when you operate under faith you are immunised from standard methods of reason.”

“Together,” concluded Nicole, “we must resist the modern day scripture that is gender ideology.”
*****
After the claps and cheers that greeted the end of Nicole’s talk we had a short break before people were invited to speak from the floor.
“I know there are a number of women in this room who would like to ask some questions and speak,” said Anne, “if anybody would like to be on the live stream.. come up here.. please go through me, I will be quite strict but try to fit in as many women as possible.”
I should put in here that I haven’t been able to write about all the women who spoke in the second half of the evening. If you want to watch the livestream of the whole event, you can see it here.  Apologies to those I’ve left out. The power and commitment with which you spoke was inspiring.
Kate spoke first and expressed her admiration for Sheila Jeffreys. She spoke of the fetishisation of oppression and pornographic interest. SKate described herself as a ‘lifelong lesbian’ and she knew women who were lesbians who had decided to get married and lesbians who had been married before they became lesbians. She objected to the phrase ‘sexual orientation’ and claimed that the idea of ‘born this way’ had been developed to silence the church.
Mumbles of dissent came from the back of the room, but nothing discernible.

Magdalen Berns was introduced to cheers, interspersed with a few shouts from the back.

Magdalen Berns

Magdalen Berns – Michèle M

Magdalen Berns – Michèle M

Magdalen began speaking about having got in trouble for ‘safe space’ violations at Edinburgh University but was interrupted again.
“Lesbians! Sexual orientation!” called someone from the back, or at least that’s what it sounded like to me. I suspect it was Kat again, but I couldn’t be sure. It might have been ‘Lesbian isn’t a sexual orientation.”
“I’m not talking about that,” replied Magdalen, exasperated, when she was heckled for the third time. “Can you stop shouting at me? I’ve got a microphone and you haven’t, so I’m gonna be much louder than you!”
This was met with loud cheers from the audience, who were obviously hoping to hear what Magdalen had to say- and hear it they did.
IMG_7448.JPGBerns raised her voice so she could be heard over the rumblings at the back, and said that we need to be making connections with women all over the world, because there are massive numbers of women pushing against ‘this nonsense’.
She suggested that we need to find out what’s going on in their countries, and we need to unify women all over the world.  We mustn’t get picked off one by one: we need to make sure we are resisting internationally, using all kinds of media to get our message across and to act as a collective. She suggested we meet up locally more often, and set up local groups to fight trans-ideology together.
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Lisa – Michèle M

Lisa spoke next. She said she felt that UK women are well placed to win this battle.  The laws we have concerning intersectionality are laws women demanded concerning violence and abuse and when women stand up and demand to be listened to, we are invincible.
“We already have the laws. We just need to make sure they’re fucking applied. Transactvism is narcissistic abuse.”
Bett
ina told us about ILAW (International Legal Action for Women), an new organisation, recently set up with a plan to stop the Human Rights Act being corrupted.

Stephanie Davies-Arai from Transgender Trend told how the replacement of the word ‘sex’ with ‘gender’  is being led by Stonewall in schools.

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Stephanie Davis-Arai – Michèle M

Stephanie Davis-Arai – Michèle M

She spoke of how homosexuality is being defined by Stonewall and transgender groups as an old fashioned medical term – gay is now described as attraction to the same ‘gender’ rather than the same sex. In the Stonewall and GI schools’ resources and anti- bullying materials, sex is replaced by gender.
The erasure of biological sex is the erasure of the female sex because male is the default, & likewise homosexuality is erased but heterosexuality is not, as heterosexuality is the default.
This ideology is being led by Stonewall & the transgender youth ‘support groups’ springing up all over the country. In schools children are being indoctrinated into the idea, from the start, that whether you are a boy or a girl is
‘not a question of biology but a matter of an internal sense of feeling’.
She spoke of the material used to teach these ideas such as the genderbread person and the gender unicorn and the Allsorts Toolkit that promotes this ideology, and emphasised the importance of the accessibility of alternative resources.
Stephanie Davies-Arai

Stephanie Davies-Arai – Michèle M

Davies-Arai referred to the ‘tsunami of harassment, abuse and defamation online’ against her personally, and against Transgender Trend, when they released their schools pack (I wrote about this extensively here)
She noted that no actual body, not the Department of Education, not the Equality & Human Right Commission, no teaching union nor human rights organisation, has actually denounced the Transgender Trend resource, despite concerted attempts by activist organisations to get them to do so. The reason for that, she suggests,  is that it clearly explains the difference between sex and gender and nobody can argue against what it says.
When the Crowdfunder was started, the harassment and complaints increased. She thanked those who wrote to Crowdfunder asking for the project to be reinstigated. After six days of investigation,

‘… we were cleared of hate. There is not hate in this document, there is only truth. This was a massive victory, for truth and reality, and the protection of children.’

Stephanie concluded by thanking those who had supported the resource and saying- to resounding cheers- that the money raised  from the Crowdfunder, over £10,000 to date, would help get the resource pack into every school in England.
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Posie Parker, self described as ‘blunt, brutal and belligerent’ spoke about the importance of free speech and the right of free expression.

Posie Parker

Posie Parker – Michèle M

“Americans under Trump have more freedom to speak than you do.. objective justice has been sacrificed at the altar of the individual. ‘I’m offended’ is the new shut up, don’t speak, be silent. If we have no right to offend we lose the ability to speak freely, to share and evolve important ideas.”

Parker pointed out that organisations like Mermaids and GIRES want the law to be used to stop ‘misgendering’. This means that in theory a woman could be charged with a crime for objecting to seeing a man’s penis in a female changing room. She said she had been told by the Somerset police that a male police officer who identifies as a woman could search a female suspect. She suggested we contact local forces and demand FOIs to see what the policy of our local force is.
“Beneath this mask of progressive, liberal thinking, hides misogyny.”
IMG_7745Posie spoke of the social consequences and disciplinary hearings that are so often the result of women speaking the truth. She suggested that we go to our children’s schools and ask what they’re teaching; ask our local police forces, local councils and local hospitals how much money they’ve spent on diversity training.
“The road to tyranny begins with small steps. Controlling language is the first, second is your thoughts and before you know it much of the truth we know will remain unspoken.”
*****
Joani Walsh

Joani Walsh – Michèle M

Joani Walsh raised the subject of the announcement that the British Film Institute planned to use transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf to headline their women’s festival (boos) and suggested that we protest it (cheers).
Elizabeth, an environmentalist, spoke about big pharma and oestrogenic pollution, due not only to trans, but HRT & the pill. She spoke of various other hormones that are endangering the oceans.
Sheila was asked if she had anything else to say. She said that the phrase ‘sexual orientation’ was a problematic phrase and dangerous because anything- for example paedophilia-  can be added on to it.
When asked what we should say instead, Sheila suggested that ‘lesbian and gay’ worked perfectly well.
Sheila also pointed out that lesbian & gay right organisations now get huge amounts of money from promoting transgenderism and their focus has been diverted: now they can’t give up supporting or promoting  trans ideology because their funding will be cut.
“We have nothing but our rage, which is going to have to be good enough for the moment.” she concluded.
Someone mentioned that Mumsnet had brought out a list of phrases and words that would no longer be allowed and speculated as to how it would be possible to get round this. TIM and TIF had been banned, although so have the words cis and TERF. Sheila replied that TIM seemed a perfectly respectable acronym to her, and that the shutdown showed the power of patriarchy to control our language.
“Get the L out!” shouted a voice from the back. “Get the L out of LGBT!”
A woman spoke who had been part of the mass resignation from the Labour party.  She said Labour had phoned her and asked her to reconsider her resignation. When she told them she had raised thousands of pounds for them in the past but had left over their support for the changes to the GRA, they put the phone down on her. She spoke about how her own body dysphoria was a result of repeated child sexual abuse. She said she could understand how women could want to renounce womanhood and spoke of the barrage of hate and abuse that people who are openly gender critical receive.
Claire spoke about the Girl Guides and how a boy who identifies as a girl will be included in the Guides but a non-binary identified girl would be directed to join another organisation. “We shouldn’t allow this organisation to turn these girls away!”  She pointed out that male trans-identified leaders can take on all the female role in the organisation, including overnight stays and chaperoning, and how this should be a safeguarding issue.
Another woman asked if anyone wanted to buy her badges.
‘There’s always one,” quipped Anne.
“Well, I’m skint,” she laughed.
The Conservatives are as guilty as Labour of supporting the transagenda, another said.
Another suggested that the media and elite culture would soon discover how terrible some of these organisations are and that hopefully our laws will prove fit for purpose and protect children.
A woman who worked in Brussels as a feminist lobbyist in 1991 said at that time the Labour Party Women’s Officer became a Gender Officer & EU Women’s Rights Unit was changed to the European Women Gender Equality Unit – and within a year both posts were filled by men. These men had no shame, no conception that this was a problem.
This ongoing change of words is another opportunity for men to get women to shut up.
Another spoke about ‘deadnaming’ and of a feminist campaign in America to stop any man who’s committed a crime against women or children changing his gender. This was met with cheers from many, although to me it seemed a bit of a double standard: gender identity shouldn’t be a prize for good behaviour, nor a reward to be handed out for not molesting people.
Someone asked Sheila if she would go to CEDAW. again She said she’d love to go but women really need to go as part of organisations. She said there were many older women working there, some in their 80s and 90,s and that we very much needed to be represented.
“We have got to do it and we have got to organise.”
A man said he was struck by the constraint on the use of language made it ‘so difficult to articulate safely and accurately your own ideas’ and how it was something he was really going to go home and think about.
Lily Maynard

‘Inconvenient Women’ Venice Allan & Anne Ruzylo

Anne Ruzylo spoke of how she resigned as Women’s Officer Labour Party Women’s Officer; despite rumours, she assured us she wasn’t sacked for ‘transphobia’.

Ive never been phobic and there’s no such thing as trans, so I can’t be guilty of that”.
She commented on how, after having resigned, she was contacted and asked to chair the women’s forum meeting on Friday as the now officer couldn’t make it.
Ruzylo spoke of the high levels of sexual abuse in our culture, and how many young women think that transitioning will help save them from this abuse.  She spoke of how Stonewall has always been very corporate but now they all give each other awards. Anne told us she now likes to nickname Stonewall the ‘clitorati’.
“I’ve never seen a hierarchy of lesbians before in my life, if you’ve got money and power you’re put on this little pedestal.”
She suggested that in most LGBT organisations it’s all about the money; there’s a huge investment in trans, it’s all about ‘power and men reinventing themselves’.
“Let’s get the L out of LGBT – let’s get the T out quite frankly, I don’t see why we have to move, it only used to be LG, so let’s get the T out.”
“At the end of last week,” Anne told us, “Myself and some others discovered that councils up and down the country had slipped in gender rather than sex in protected characteristics.”
She urged people to check their own local council policies & write and challenge them. These policies can have devastating effects for some women. If women see refuges are ‘trans inclusive’ they’re stuck. They may not feel safe because if they go to a refuge they’re likely to be alongside a man. Anne told us that for 8 years, Cambridge’s policy has included gender not sex: this isn’t acceptable.
Finally, Anne paid tribute to Venice, who, she said, “does everything on her own & it’s absolutely remarkable.”
Venice said “I think we’ve had a great meeting; I think we’ve had enough. When the livestream goes off I’ll tell you where were going if you’re still up for a drink and a chat. Thank you so much to the venue…  thank you to the women who are here tonight who were here at our first meeting on Speakers Corner. A lot of people on Mumsnet say you have to be brave to come to one of our meetings- I don’t think we’re brave, I just think we’re doing the right thing & we’ve got to keep on doing it…. we need feminist networks in every corner of the country and all over the world.”

“We’ve had seven meetings since September” she concluded, “and tonight there were no protest with activists. We did the meeting, we protected the venue… I’m really pleased.”

She turns to Nicole “What was it you said in your speech? You can’t punch all of us! Goodnight!”

 

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Michèle M spent most of the talk sketching while she listened. I was really glad she’d agreed to do some more sketches for my blog, following on from her excellent work at Transgenderism and the War on Women in parliament earlier this year. Below is a selection of audience members from her brilliant drawings.
Lily Maynard

Inconvenient Women 3 – Michèle M

So finally, I give you a toast:

To inconvenient women everywhere! Long may our voices be heard!”

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Transgender Trend – raising money for resource packs; standing up to bullies.

Transgender Trend was established in 2015, by a group of parents who questioned the current trans-narrative. Over the last few years it has grown into a well-known and respected organisation with a strong ethical and empathic foundation. Although considered controversial by many of those who would support the transitioning of children, Transgender Trend is emphatic that there is nothing hateful or phobic about its position.

We believe that transgender people deserve the same civil and human rights as all of us and should not face discrimination. As the term ‘phobic’ literally means ‘irrational fear’ we want to make it very clear that we are not afraid of, or prejudiced against, transgender people in any way.”

So who are Transgender Trend? Well, the best way to find out is to visit their website, of course. Read what they have to say and decide for yourself.

We are a growing network of parents, teachers, other professionals and academics.” says spokeswoman Stephanie Davies-Arai.  “We are the mouthpiece for the large and growing numbers who are dismayed by the sudden introduction of a non evidence-based approach to children in schools, without any consultation.”

Transgender Trend was concerned that the schools packs produced by transgender and LGBT organisations promoted the new ‘affirmation’ and social transition model, which has been shown to increase persistence of gender dysphoria in children.

The Allsorts ‘Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit’, for example, co-written by trans-identified Ryan ‘teddy bear’ Gingell and Sam Beal in 2014, and updated in 2017, is used by many schools in Brighton. The pack claims that children ‘under the trans umbrella’ may not just identify as boys or girls, but can be ‘both male and female (this may be at the same time or over time)’ or even ‘have a gender identity that we don’t yet have words to describe’. It suggests that 5 year olds may be given ‘scripts’ to repeat if questioned while deciding which toilets they wish to use. It infers that teachers may have a responsibility to provide SEN kids with required ‘gendered’ clothing; possibly even behind the backs of their parents. It suggests that pupils who are boys one day or girls on another could wear badges to signal to the teacher which pronouns everyone is required to use that day. It says staff may need to use judgement to decide if bullying is homophobic or transphobic, but must be ‘careful not to under record transphobic bullying’ – in fact ‘anyone who challenges the gendered expectations of their natal or assigned sex can be subjected to transphobia’. The pack writers claim that the Equality Act supports the idea that where sex education classes are segregated, trans-identified children should be able to choose which class to attend. They claim that ‘trans’ children should be able to choose which changing rooms to use for PE: if a girl feels uncomfortable changing with a boy ’it would not be appropriate to remove the trans pupil from the changing rooms’. Rather the girl who feels uncomfortable should be moved. The writers of the pack are under the illusion that the Equality Act supports this. It does not.

The Allsorts toolkit is a muddled, misguided and confused document, that never really touches on dealing with the needs of the non-trans children in the class, or creating an environment that is comfortable for everyone. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. I WANT you to read it, and come to your own, educated decision.

Under the circumstances, it isn’t surprising that by 2017 it was decided that something more egalitarian, something slightly more grounded in reality, something that truly embraced diversity was needed. Transgender Trend was up to the task.  In February 2018, after months of work, TGT released their own schools pack.

Lily Maynard transgender trend

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 23.24.09The TGT pack was the Marmite of the month: parents and teachers worldwide sang its praises, while magazines like Pink News, organisations like Stonewall, and transactivists accused it of being a work of hatred that would literally cause young people to kill themselves.

The transactivists lobby attempted to whip up a media frenzy and turn TGT into a modern-day folk devil: I wrote about the ensuing furore in my article ‘Bin it! Ban it! Shred it!’ here.

 

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Luckily, despite transactivists claiming that irreversible harm could be done if anyone so much as read the pack, enough rational and respectable people were impressed that its success was guaranteed, and in the fifteen weeks since its release the Transgender Trend schools pack has been downloaded nearly 6,000 times, by parents and educators all over the globe.

 

 

Useful and easy as downloads are, being able to hold paper in your hands and share it with others by post or in face-to-face conversation is invaluable.

TGT began working out how much it would cost to print paper copies of the pack and distriblute them to schools throughout the UK.

According to the Department of Education, there were 23,528 schools in England in 2017. 3,408 of those are state-funded secondary schools.

‘We want to get a pack to every school that has requested one and every parent who has asked for a pack for their child’s school,” explains Stephanie Davies-Arai. “We have been swamped with requests from all over the country,”

transgender trend

Everyone who works with Transgender Trend does so voluntarily. There are no government grants, no allowances for travels to meetings, seminars or training courses. There are no multi-millionaires sponsoring their work. The cost of producing and distributing the packs would inevitably be thousands of pounds. It seemed that it wouldn’t be possible to get a pack to everyone who wanted them… until someone suggested a Crowdfunder.

Crowdfunder helps people fund business ideas, charities, community groups, sports clubs and political movements. “Crowdfunder is available to use for anyone with an idea that matters. You can be a social enterprise, business, charity, community group or individual – everyone’s welcome!”

It seemed the perfect place to collect funds from those who had often pledged their support to the organisation, and on the 25th May 2018, three months after the schools pack was released as a pdf document, the Transgender Trend Crowdfunder went live.

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The response to the crowdfunder was incredible. In less than 48 hours, the fund had been donated over a quarter of the £10,000 it hoped to raise. Transgender Trend’s crowdfunder page was swamped with messages of support.

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It seemed that the necessary money would be raised to start producing paper copies of the packs, with support also coming in on Twitter and other social media.

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But certain transactivists were less than pleased by the support the project was receiving. Twitter was again awash with fury, wild accusations and inaccuracies.

The fragrant, ‘non-binary’ Owl, of course, had something to say. The pack is just dangerous bigotry disguised as concern: but luckily, Owl is so very special as to be able to see through it right away!

 

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One fiercely pro-transition mother of a trans-identified child, who used to work voluntarily as Mermaids’ marketing manager, was especially vocal about her feelings, casting aspersions that some might consider libelous (but that’s another story). She also perpetuates the lie that the pack contravenes the Equality Act.  It’s almost as if some people believe that just saying something often enough will make it true…

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“I’m sure the person who donated £1 would be thrilled to be called a powerful financial backer,” observed one supporter of the project.

 

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Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 03.11.10Personally, I donated twenty quid. I’m privileged enough to be a position where that won’t adversely affect my family’s budget for the week, but I hardly think it puts me on a par with the multi-billionaire, late-transitioning man who now goes by the name of Jennifer Pritzker and has donated millions of pounds to the cause of transgender children and their transition.

 

 

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Um. What? Who hates gay people? Who pays people to hate gay people? What has that got to do with this? Pinatas? I’m so confused.

 

 

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I could go on with these Tweets, but you probably get the idea. A campaign was quickly organised to mass-report Transgender Trend to Crowdfunder, and on Tuesday 29th May, Transgender Trend received this email.

“Dear Transgender Trend,

I am getting in touch today because we have received a high number of reports from the Crowdfunder Community about your project Transgender Schools Resource Pack. The majority of these reports have reported that the project is in contravention of our terms and conditions:

2.1.2 We have specific rules regarding the types of Projects that you can post on Crowdfunder.co.uk. Please see our Projects and Rewards Guidelines which contain these rules and form part of our Terms.

The particular guideline which these reports are referring to is the following:
 
What’s not appropriate:

– Offensive material – this means any hate speech [or pornographic material].

We take reports of this nature very seriously, and in light of this, the project has now entered our review process. As part of this in process the project will be hidden from search results on the website, pending review. This process will take up to three days and there will be three possible outcomes:

1. The project will be allowed to continue to run for it’s full duration.
2. The project will be closed and any money raised so far will be collected by you, the project owner.
3. The project will be closed and the supporters refunded.

We hope that you understand that our guidelines are in the best interest of Crowdfunder’s community, and as such is it our duty to uphold them.

All the best,

Katie Austin
Customer Experience

The crowdfunder has been suspended. At the time of writing, Transgender Trend still aren’t sure what will happen next; if the crowdfunder will be reinstated and allowed to run its course, or the money raised so far returned to the donors.

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The Haters were less than happy with what happened next. The campaign to shut down the project backfired. Scores, if not hundreds, of supporters have written or emailed Crowdfunder in support of Transgender Trend.

“I was going to donate later today. Is there a way of donating directly?” asked one parent on Mumsnet“My donation has just doubled because I’m pretty passed (sic) off.”

Another parent posted the email they’d sent to Crowdfunder:

“…the aim of this crowdfunder is simply to fund producing printed copies of information for schools to help them support gender non conforming children and trans children alongside all other pupils. It has been produced in consultation with teachers, child protection and welfare professionals and lawyers.
It would be very sad if you allowed the extreme activism of a small minority to stand in the way of fund raising for this excellent cause.”

A third had this to say:
“I can only imagine that you haven’t read the pack or you would see how respectful it is of all students. It is also important to remember that many children ( my own nephew included) desist from a transgender identity if not affirmed, and grow into happy, well adjusted gay kids.”

 

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The Times ran a piece on June 1st, exposing the bullying the project had been subjected to.

Transgender Trend, wrote Andrew Gilligan, is considering taking legal action against activists for claiming that the resource pack is “transphobic”, included “hate speech” and was “a modern edition of Mein Kampf”.

 

More people than ever, angered by the bullying tactics and the lies, began to donate via paypal and within a few days not only had the fund crossed half way to its target, but downloads of the pack were peaking again.

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I asked Transgender Trend if they had anything to add before I published this article, and Stephanie Davies-Arai made this statement:

“We are not just a small group of parents. We are a growing network of parents, teachers, other professionals and academics. We are the mouthpiece for the large and growing numbers who are dismayed by the sudden introduction of a non evidence-based approach to children in schools, without any consultation. The accusation of ‘hate’ is being directed towards the very people who are most invested in the protection of the welfare of all children.

We are not cowed by the vitriol directed towards us, it only serves to strengthen our conviction that such people should not be involved with directing policies affecting children.

We are the only organisation advocating a more cautious approach towards children who are confused or distressed about their sex and, contrary to misconceptions, our resource has been legally checked to ensure it complies with EA2010 (The Equality Act).

Our supporters can rest assured that we will continue our work no matter how many attempts are made to silence us.”

 

Fighting words indeed.

Anyone wanting to give to the fund can do so here by donating via paypal or directly into the Transgender Trend bank account.

Anyone wanting to download the Transgender Trend Schools Pack and read it for themselves can do so here.

 

 

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Yes, but today is Monday! Swimming in the Men’s Pond on Hampstead Heath

I was delighted to be a part of the latest Man Friday initiative, a Bank Holiday Monday dip in the Men’s Pond on Parliament Hill.

(photos by Lily Maynard)

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Some members of the posse of fearless men make their way to the swimming area.

When is a woman not a woman? Why, when it’s Friday, of course!

I surveyed my reflection in the Primark changing room mirror.

“They aren’t very flattering,” observed my mother, who follows my political antics with a vague mix of admiration, resignation and disapproval. She was looking at my bum, clad in a pair of neon orange swimming shorts from the men’s department.

“The black ones might suit your shape better,” she added, tactfully.

She was undoubtedly right, but this wasn’t about looking cool on the beach. This was about the forthcoming bank holiday Monday when I was joining the Man Friday crew for a swim in the men’s pond on Hampstead Heath. I was going to be a man for the day!

We bought the black ones (my mum paid, bless her!) and headed off to Starbucks for a coffee.

*****

“I’m going swimming in the Men’s Pond at Hampstead today, with the Man Friday lot,” I announced at breakfast the next morning, boring black shorts packed in my bag. “We’re identifying as men for the day.”
“But it’s Monday,” observed Jessie, without looking up from her phone.
“Oh god, you’re not going topless?” gasped middle child, aghast. “Mum! Please no.”
“I’m not going topless,” I assured her, although to be honest I hadn’t made my mind up about that yet.

“Lily is a man, Lily is a man,” chanted smallest as she fixed a hideous, pink, sparkly Jojo bow into her unbrushed hair with jam-covered fingers. “Look! I’m a gendered child!” she smirked.

Nigel emerged from the bedroom sleepily.
“Good morning, Sir,” he greeted me.

I hugged him, grabbed my coffee and ran for the train, leaving him to deal with jamgate.

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Kentish Town from the tube station

We’d arranged a rendez-vous in a pub in Kentish Town, where we’d be having lunch and meeting with some journalists and a film crew wanting to interview ‘Sweary Godmother’ and Amy Desir about Man Friday’s latest ventures.

Hampstead Heath has a network of swimming ponds, including a Ladies’ Pond and a Men’s Pond, both open all year round. Until recently, men were not allowed to swim in the women’s pond. Over the last year all lifeguards and managers, and the swimming associations that use the ponds, have undergone ‘transgender awareness training’. The result? Towards the end of 2017, the City of London Corporation came to the stunningly unprogressive conclusion that men who ‘identify as’ women should be allowed to use both the Ladies’ pond and the female changing rooms.

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View of the Men’s Pond from Hampstead Heath

Whether you are a man or a woman, according to this way of thinking, is based solely on an inner feeling of ‘gender identity’. If you don’t have a gender identity, don’t worry. Lots of us don’t, which is hardly surprising- if you take away biological differences between men and women you’re left with nothing more than a gauntlet of stereotypes to negotiate. It isn’t possible to see someone’s gender identity – a portly gentleman with a moustache may identify as a woman, and, although it seems strangely less frequent in those over the age of 25, a woman can identify as a moustachioed, portly gentleman. Age and race, somewhat inconsistently, remain unaffected by identity. I mean, come on, that would be absurd!

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Fellow females, if you’ve never been to the Ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath, it’s well worth a visit. It has a leafy meadow feel; an all-female space has a different vibe to it that it’s hard to understand unless you’ve visited one: women hold themselves differently, the atmosphere is more relaxed.

On a sunny day, women of all ages sit around on the grass, reading, chatting, napping, wearing as much or as little as they choose and free of the concern that an inch of naked flesh will provoke some lascivious neanderthal into making unwanted advances. In this male-free space, conversations are started easily, respect for personal space is observed and women seem happy to trust strangers to ‘keep an eye on my stuff for a minute’ while they pop in for a swim.

It all feels a bit different when you know that the magic words ‘I identify as a woman’ can let male-bodied people into the space.  Of course, this also means that women who ‘identify as’ men can use the men’s pond.

Sweary had written for confirmation of this, and received the following email from the City of London:

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So that was that settled: “trans women and trans men are welcome to swim at the relevant single gender ponds.”

*****

Eight of us met for lunch beforehand, a pricey but delicious affair at a hipster pub near the station. I’d give them a recommendation- the quinoa burger was delicious and the coffee dark and strong, but the place would probably be targeted by activists for unknowingly serving TERFs, and an official apology demanded. (No, I’m not joking.)

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I met Amy Desir of Man Friday, for the first time, as well as a couple of women I had met before, and some I hadn’t. We exchanged hugs and one showed me a stylish beard and moustache combo that she’d purchased especially for the occasion. (Little did we suspect that her bearded visage and ample cleavage- along with Amy’s barely-there, neon-green mankini- would adorn the pages of both The Mail & The METRO the next morning.)

The journalists turned up, interviewed Sweary and did a bit of pseudo fly-on-the-wall filming of us chatting over lunch. It was a warm afternoon and, tempting as it was to remain nestled under the parasols outside the pub, we finished our food and drinks and headed off to  the ‘Stone of Free Speech’ where we were meeting the rest of the women joining us for the protest.

Yes, the ‘Stone of Free Speech‘ actually is a thing!

Man Friday Stone of Free Speech

Some of the Man Friday women gathered at the Stone of Free Speech.

The sky was clear and the air was still. Birdsong filled the air. The grass was covered with cute kids playing football and adorable puppies basking in the sun. Most of the people lounging on the grass barely gave a second glance to the posse of self-identified men strolling purposefully along the path in a manly manner.

*****

While the world frequently hears the clarion call, ‘transwomen are women’ we are rarely exposed to its sister cry ‘transmen are men’.

I’m not the first person to point out that while trans-identified men (transwomen) make the press for a variety of reasons, modelling, joining all-women’s shortlists, running as female MPs, winning women’s sports competitions and awards: trans-identified women (transmen) seem to only make the news when they have babies.

Likewise, while women are expected to make way for trans-identified men in their safe spaces, the opposite is rarely true. More and more of us are waking up to the fact that men will only take an interest in the erasure of sex-based spaces when it starts affecting them.

So here we were.

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Much as we might joke about all straight men loving the sight of a pair of boobs any time, any place, anywhere, it really isn’t true. Most men, gay or straight, want a single-sex space to change- if they didn’t, they could use one of the mixed ponds. Because yes, there are mixed swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath, although they close for the winter at the end of September, whereas the other ponds are open all year round.

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We obediently paid for our entry tickets (£2 a head) at the machine by the unlocked gate and walked into the men’s area.

The Daily Mail’s report that ‘female protestors break into a men-only lido!’ made it sound much more wild and exciting than it really was.  We got a few strange looks from men entering and leaving the area, but it was far from a military mission.

“Er, this is the men’s pond.” offered a young man in his 20s as we fiddled with the ticket machine.
“Oh we know,” breezed one of the women I was with, “But we identify as men today. Would you like a leaflet?”
Somewhat puzzled, he took the proffered paper and disappeared.

A few of our group remained outside, giving out ‘Man Friday’ leaflets to passers by, those sitting on the grass nearby and the men entering the pond.

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“If you’re going to identify as a man, it might as well be Batman!” declared one woman, as she peeled off her T shirt to reveal Batman stickers strategically placed over both nipples- although I think she covered them up again for the swim.

Trying to look nonchalant and manly, we changed into our swimwear while the men around us looked on with a mixture of bemused bafflement and downright annoyance. Amy deftly stripped naked and slipped on a mankini, remarkably like that worn by Borat. The rest of us were slightly less graceful.
“Ouch. I can’t get my hair in my swim hat!”
“Is anyone else going topless?”
“Blimey, I’m not!”
“I’ve got a spare beard here! Would anyone like to borrow it?”

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Amy in her mankini

“What are you doing in here?” asked one older man. Pointing at Amy, he turned to the guy next to him. “They shouldn’t be in here! You shouldn’t be in here! This is the men’s area. This area is for men! You should go to the women’s pond!”

“But we identify as men,” said one woman, calmly.

“You can’t do that! You can’t just say you identify as men and come in here!” The man was outraged. “Imagine if we did that in the women’s area! We’d be kicked out immediately.”

“Ah, but you wouldn’t. Men are allowed in the women’s pond now if they say they identify as women.”
A small crowd had gathered. Some of the men had read the leaflets we’d been handing out and understood what was going on. Several of them were supportive. “Good for you,” called out one. Conversations broke out in small groups throughout the changing area. I only wish I could have heard them all.

“This is a man’s space!” continued the man who’d been talking to and about Amy. “Women shouldn’t be in here!”
“We agree with you.”
He stopped. “You do?”

“We really do. We think the ponds should continue to be sex-segregated…”

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I left them to their conversation, moving through the changing room and down along the jetty.  The woman walking in front of me had left her crocs on.
“Miss! Miss!” called the lifeguard. “Please remove your shoes.”
“Sir, not Miss!” she called back as she slipped them off.
“Sir then,” he sighed, presumably oblivious to the act of hatred he had committed in misgendering her… I mean him…

I dipped in my toe. The water was cold. My idea of outdoor swimming is more along the lines of a hot tub at a hen party, a crystal-blue alpine lake in midsummer, or a hot spring in Keer Ganga. While I’d visited the London ponds before, I’d never actually swum in one. It looked a bit murky. Would there be fish?

“Come on! It’s great once you’re in!” called the bearded lady… I mean man.  I looked at the curious faces around me and did the manly thing. In I jumped. Surprise! The water felt wonderful.

A couple of young men swam over to me.

“Why are you even in here? I can see your friend’s boobs.” observed one, unhappily.
We wouldn’t be able to get our cocks out in the women’s pond.” added his friend. “Not that we’d want to.”
“Well, you would be allowed to change in the women’s changing rooms now,” I said, treading water and wondering if fish were likely to nibble my toes. “So yes, since they changed the rules you’d be able to do exactly that if you said you were a woman.”

“Not just any bloke, though. I mean, we couldn’t do it.”
“You could. If you said you identified as women.”
“Why would we do that?”
“Any man can do that, if he wants to, for any reason, since they changed the rules. That’s the problem. Look, we just don’t want male-bodied people in the women’s pond, any more than you want female-bodied people in here.”

Another guy swam over.
“They’re protesting,” he explained to the first two. “Against men just being able to roll up to the women’s pond and say they’re women. It’s been happening, you know. I don’t blame them. I’m with you on this, love! I think it’s brave of you.”

There are times when I’m willing to let being called ‘love’ slide, and this was one of them.
“Thank you,” I beamed.

“Well, I think your friend’s beard is offensive to trans people,” put in the first guy.
“How is it more offensive than a man thinking he’s a woman by putting on a dress and fake boobs?” I asked.  “I think that’s offensive to women.”
“But it’s a mental illness! Trans people have enough problems as it…”
“So we should tell men they’re women and let them into women’s spaces? Isn’t that just really sexist?”

I’ll never know where the conversation might have gone next, because an authoritative voice behind me called, “Miss, can you get out of the water, please?”

I turned to see three police officers on the jetty and realised I was one of the last women left in the water.

“You’re breaking several bylaws and this could constitute a criminal offence,” said one officer, briskly. “Please get changed and come outside where we can discuss this.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 02.04.04Trying to keep ourselves in a group as much as possible, the other women and I changed hurriedly and moved onto the path outside the men’s pond. There the Sargent explained what the problems were. I have to say, the police were polite and respectful at all times, as were we. The whole exchange was extremely civilised. In fact, we were told that we were the most polite protestors they’d ever encountered!

I missed the start of the conversation between the police and the other protestors as I was balancing on one foot, attempting to squirm out of a wet swimsuit and back into my dress without falling over. Having achieved this momentous and entirely unmanly feat, I joined the others.

Sargent Barry Macefield explained the situation to us.

Evidently we had contravened bylaw 10, concerning accessing male & female facilities, (changing rooms etc) and bylaw 44, concerning obstructing anyone else in the proper use of the grounds (there had been complaints about our presence). I have to say, it was all a bit confusing, so here’s a copy of the relevant bylaws for your perusal.

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The bit of the bylaw that did make sense to me, the bit that struck me as most relevant, was the part that read: ‘no person shall… go into any…  place provided for the opposite sex’. Sweary asked Sargent Macefield if that meant the email (above), which she’d shown to the police as they’d escorted us from the pond, was wrong in stating, ‘trans women and trans men are welcome to swim at the relevant single gender ponds’.

“It’s not necessarily wrong” said Sargent Macefield, tactfully. “It’s about the clarification, in regards to whatever.. it’s obviously getting convoluted.”

He added that the police’s biggest concern here was to prevent a breach of the peace and as there had been complaints they’d had to come and investigate. He suggested that our next step should be to speak to the City of London Corporation for some clarification over the content of their email.

“So those are the issues around this.. hopefully today you’ve had a chance to make your point.. we’re not here to discuss whether you’re right, wrong or indifferent.. if men turn up and do the same thing  (in the women’s pond) they’ll be given exactly the same discussion.”

“We know you guys are in the front line,” said Sweary. ”I said this to the lifeguard. I feel terrible dragging people in to this, it’s important that we are appreciative of you guys doing your job.”

“You are actually the politest protestors we’ve ever dealt with.” acknowledged Sargent Macefield.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 01.52.18I heard one officer say, “It’s not our position to say if you’re right or wrong. You could probably educate us on the issues of trans.”

“This week we’ve actually got some transgender training.” added another.

“The people who do the transgender training often don’t understand how the Equality Act works and it’s quite worrying,” one woman warned him. “Women do have the right to female-bodied spaces under the Equality Act. I doubt your transgender training will tell you that.”

*****

Lily Maynard

Sargent Macefield agreed to be photographed with Amy & Sweary.

Sargent Macefield concluded that he would let his superintendent know there were some issues around the interpretation of the email & that it needed to be clarified. Perhaps the swimming committees need to have a meeting to discuss the issues around self-identification, he suggested.

We said we hoped that would be the case.

After agreeing to be photographed with Sweary and Amy, he wished us a lovely day and the police went on their way.

*****

After they’d gone, most of us went to the Women’s Pond, where some had a swim and others lounged on the grass, discussing what had happened and speaking to some of the other women there.  Sweary and Amy slipped up to the main road to give an interview to the press and joined us shortly afterwards. Our overall feeling was that the afternoon had been a great success. We’d drawn attention to the difficulties involved with self-identification and had found support from many of the men in and around the pond.

I found out that the angry older gentleman who had complained earlier had eventually had a chat with Sweary & Amy, and ended up by totally understanding where they were coming from. He even gave them both a hug when he said goodbye!

The one thing the Women’s Pond is lacking, in my opinion, is a coffee machine. Being a man is exhausting stuff, and I needed a caffeine hit. After half an hour or so I wandered back down to the pub with Amy, stopping on the way to get an ice lolly, coo at cute babies and stroke puppies.

My first afternoon as a man had been an interesting one.

*******

You can follow @ManFriday, Amy Desir & Sweary Godmother on Twitter.

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Thanks to @SandyDrawsBadly for this cartoon.

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Man Friday

Amy & Sweary

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

“But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans!”

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 10.21.41We’re told that nobody is encouraging children to be transgender; that a generation of kids is suddenly coming to that realisation by itself.

There’s an excellent article on the 4thwavenow website about how there is no historical precedent for the transgender child’s explosion into the early 21st century.

Yet here zie is – and we need to have a careful look at the reasons behind that.

 

Teen Vogue tells us (February 2018) that actually, 3% of kids are trans. “Visibility is growing!”  gushes Suzanne Weiss and we are supposed to greet that news with a resounding ‘Yay!’ somehow forgetting for a few brief moments that we are also being told that nearly half of these trans-identified children and young people try to kill themselves.

Children who believe their non-compliance with socially prescribed gender roles means they should actually be the opposite sex- and their concerned parents- are not getting impartial advice or guidance. Often these children have co-existing mental health issues. All of the major UK trans organisations are run by trans-identified people or parents who have transitioned their children. Likewise many gender therapists have transitioned and actually believe themselves to be the opposite sex.

So families are counselled by those who wholeheartedly believe that you can be born in the wrong body and that transition is a solution. They believe there is a right and a wrong way to be male or female which isn’t defined by our bodies but by an inner and elusive ‘sense of gender’.

There is something seriously wrong here. People with eating disorders are not best placed to advise others about healthy eating; those who self-harm are not best placed to advise on coping strategies for anxiety.

Are we really supposed to believe that the continued unhappiness, depression & suicide ideation of young trans people is all because some strangers won’t validate their feelings? Or might it actually be because trans-identification is a psychiatric issue that’s being mistreated?

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Renée Gerlich from Auckland: “Organisations like RainbowYouth and InsideOut, as well as the Pride Parade, must stop endorsing medical experimentation, child abuse, sexist stereotyping, and the destruction of female-only and lesbian spaces.”

If you know that a male can’t become a female, of course you think transitioning children is abusive. If you know that a female can’t become a male, of course you see the act of telling a girl she can become a boy as dangerous, disingenuous and beguiling.  Of course you don’t want to support an ideology that perpetuates supporting kids in a lifetime of delusion and enacting stereotypes in the pursuit of being perceived as their ‘desired gender’.

When life as a trans-identified child is so hard – and I don’t doubt that often it is- why are we not allowed to consider the option that not all children who are trans-identified need to go on to transition?

Mental health issues in both parents and children may cause children to believe they are trans, and when no-one is allowed to even suggest it isn’t so, the child is set down a path that affirms their confusion.  It is absurd that nobody is even allowed to suggest this without cries of ‘transphobia’ and accusations of right-wing bigotry.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 19.39.01Despite the perky, upbeat attitude to transition promoted by people like Gina ‘changing your gender can be fun – but daunting!’ Denham, research from the US and Holland suggests that up to one in five sex-change patients regret the operations. A review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.

If being transgender is such a terrible experience, and sex-reassignment surgery has such poor long-term outcomes, why is it not being celebrated when a child desists?

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Mermaids was told by a mother that a judge had said her child was to have no further contact with the charity.

Fact. There are cases of judges telling parents to keep their children away from certain transgender charities. Fact. There are cases of doctors and gender clinics reporting parents who believe they have transgender children to social services.  Fact. Most trans-identified children desist- especially if they’re not told they’re in the wrong body and can change sex. This needs acknowledging, not hushing up.

If a child desists and the parent- or even the child themself- speaks out, it is met with denial by the translobby. More often than not the child’s parents are accused of bad parenting or even brainwashing. Here is a recent comment on my article on the 4thwavenow website:

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It’s not the first time such things have been said to me and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Yet social media is full of adults who believe that in the current climate they would have been transitioned as children, and the stories of children who desisted remain mostly unreported.  High-profile transactivists, for example, have questioned the very existence of my daughter rather than accept her desistance.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 01.43.30The silencing of those who would dare to ask questions is nowhere clearer than in the current debate over Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.  ROGD is the name given to the situation in which an adolescent child,  who has shown no prior belief that they are ‘in the wrong body’ suddenly expresses a desire to transition, usually after spending a lot of time on social media.  These kids are often autistic, gay, or have undergone trauma.  Many of these kids desist – usually the ones whose parents have not immediately changed their pronouns and rushed them into gender clinic referrals. My daughter Jessie, for example, herself a desister, has two IRL friends who identified as trans for well over a year and who have now desisted.   Perhaps not incidentally, neither were taken to a gender clinic or offered hormones, although one did change her name and pronouns with the support of her school.

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 20.57.45Some parents have presumed that trans support groups would acknowledge the ROGD phenomena.  Trans support groups are understandably vocal on the subject of the high levels of bullying, self-harm and suicide attempts in the trans community and these parents hope that the identification of ROGD might raise awareness of the fact that transition is not the best route for every child.  Instead, attempts to raise the subject are met with complete denial and even accusations of neglect.  ROGD does not exist, it’s made up. You can read about Linda MacDonald’s experience here.

“Looking back, I feel nothing but sympathy for these parents. I am sure they truly love their children and want to do what’s best for them. And they are doing exactly what their doctors and social workers advise. These parents are simply trusting in the system.  They don’t realize the system has been gamed… and our children, naive and trusting, are their pawns.” 

Suzanna Descalzi, relating events as told by Linda MacDonald

The problem with transitioning your child, as I’ve mentioned in my article When is a Girl not a Girl?, is that all your emotional investment goes into having made the right decision.  It has to.  The idea that you might have got it wrong is just too terrible to consider.  What if your effeminate boychild could have grown up into an intact gay man, but you had taken him abroad to have his penis removed on his 16th birthday?  Imagine if your 14 year old daughter underwent a double mastectomy and later turned out to be just a lesbian who likes playing football after all?  What if your 17 year old, global TV star, transkid turned round and said ‘Hey, I’m a boy after all?’

Far easier to follow this line: children experiencing ROGD do not exist, they have simply been too scared of their unapproachable parents to admit to such feelings earlier, and their parents have been too disinterested in their child’s welfare to have noticed the warning signs.  Any parent suggesting their child is experiencing ROGD is at best neglectful and at worst an evil transphobe –  what child could trust such a person with the truth?

To claim there is no emotional investment going on is disingenuous. There is plenty.  So, what of the claim that ‘no-one is encouraging kids to be trans?‘ Let’s start with the little ones.

I’ve written before about the brightly coloured picture books available in libraries and for schools to download. Here are just a few books that tell a boy he can be a girl and a girl she can be a boy.

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Frequently these books are placed alongside books like the simplistic but beautiful ‘My Princess Boy, but they are very different.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 01.28.13My Princess Boy‘ is a book about a boy who likes to do traditionally ‘girly’ things, but nobody actually suggests it’s because he’s a girl. The child is supported in his choice to be a non-conforming boy.  “Princess boys stand for difference and expressing themselves differently.” says writer mum Cheryl. A book like this is both empowering and supportive for GNC boys.

 

Introducing Teddy (above, 2nd left) takes a very different angle.

In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy.” confesses Teddy to his friend.

Now, who would be promoting this crazily sexist idea to kids?  Let’s start by having a look at some of the organisations who are making trans cool and fun. In all cases I have included a link to the relevant webpage so you can visit for yourself and make up your own mind.

ALLSORTS

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 02.21.35Allsorts Youth Project are a Brighton, England, organisation supporting transgender youth.  Well, ostensibly supporting LGBT youth, but like many of these charities the LGB seems to be an afterthought.  You can read their financial statement here. In 2017 Allsorts received £50k from Brighton & Hove City Council (incl schools & youth), £45k from the NHS (CCG/BHCC), £35k from BBC Children in Need, £33k Public Health Grant (?), £22k from the Big Lottery Fund, £20k from BBC Comic Relief.  In 2017 Allsorts appeared to have a cool £132,000+ stashed in the bank.

At a presentation to parents at a school in Brighton in January 2017, Allsorts reported that they had 21 children in their 5-11 age group, all of whom were trans-identified. In their 11-15 age group, 48% were trans-identified, the other 52% being LGB. Allsorts surveyed this older group and found that 80% had mental health issues. When this figure was queried, the speaker explained that these kids mostly came from unsupportive families. Sounds familiar? This seems strangely at odds with the fact that the parents allowed their children to attend the Allsorts group in the first place, but I digress.

Back to ‘Introducing Teddy‘. Ryan is a trans-identified woman who works for Allsorts and is here dressed as a teddy bear to read Introducing Teddy to a group of 5-11 year olds.  When I drew attention to this Tweet, Allsorts promptly removed it.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

 

GIRES

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 02.00.28.pngThis article wouldn’t be complete without referencing the transgender penguins produced and promoted by GIRES and aimed at 3-6 year olds. I write in more detail about the work of GIRES in my ‘Snowflake Books’ post here.

At a recent event I was shown and offered a chance to buy a print version of one of these books and I see that they are now available to buy online.  Really, you have to read one for yourself to appreciate the absurdity of telling a child that if they are, ‘not like all the others, I just don’t feel the same,’  then caring parents- who couldn’t actually tell if they were a boy or girl at birth- will immediately change their pronouns and throw them a huge party.

No, seriously. Don’t just take my word for it. PDF links here.

The lesson plans accompanying the books make an (irrelevant) reference to the Equality Act, accompanied by this rather ominous observation:Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 02.16.37.png

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

MERMAIDS

Mermaids, also England based, ostensibly deals with young people ‘who are in any manner affected by gender identity issues‘ and in 2016-17 the charity had an income of £127,900.  Mermaids has received funding from Children in Need, The National Lottery and the Department of Education.  D of E money funds ‘essential training in schools’ and Mermaids has also given presentations to the police force.  You can read more about Mermaids here.

Here are two of Mermaids’ tweets re its presence at ‘Pride’ marches in 2017. Both have since been removed from Twitter.

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and here is one of the header photographs from their website:

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A child who had no friends before joining Mermaids now has ‘loads’, according to their website.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

TRANSFIGURATIONS

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Transfigurations is a not for profit organisation based in Devon, England.  It supports  “all trans people: transsexual, transvestite, intersex, genderqueer, trans youth etc”.  In addition to supplying a useful list of GPs who are ‘trans friendly’ or ‘unsympathetic or even antagonistic to your transition’- including those who will and won’t support transitioning children- Transfigurations run LGBT ‘Fun Days’ sponsored by TESCO METRO.  These offer families workshops on trans issues as well as ‘free fun activities: bouncy castle, play and games, live music, drama, poetry, interactive drumming and free lunch’.  Quite where the LGB fits in is unclear.  But lunch is free and there are inflatables.  What’s not to like?

When nobody seems to be able to define ‘transgender’ without reference to sexist stereotypes, how do we expect kids that don’t fit those traditional gender roles to be able to see beyond the bouncy castles, free snacks and fun? Especially when transvestites – which could or could not be said to include a boy wearing a tutu or a girl in a Batman T shirt – are chucked in so casually under the ‘trans’ umbrella?

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

SOGI

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But do we? DOES everyone really have a ‘gender identity’?

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The SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 123 website produces resources for parents and educators, and their  video ‘Creating more Gender Inclusive Schools’ is aimed at teaching  primary school age kids.

It starts off well, dismissing stereotypes, but soon disintegrates into a scenario where kids in the classroom are encouraged to mark their biological sex on the board and conclude by deciding whether ‘I am female’ or “I am male’, or anywhere in between, along a ‘gender identity’ spectrum.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

Who is making policy in schools? asks Transgender Trend, in this eye-opening article, adding:

“Nobody should be promoting the pseudo-scientific theory of ‘innate gender identity’ to impressionable schoolchildren as if it is fact. Those who are invested in the idea as validation for themselves and their own decisions as adults are the least suitable to be teaching children or dictating school policies to suit their own personal agenda.”

 

Let’s move on from influences on the very young and in schools, and and have a look at some of the influences on older kids.

TEEN VOGUE

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Jamie Raines at 16

Teen Vogue manages to glorify transition in a manner that few other publications for young women can rival. I wrote elsewhere about their article on how to bind your chest.

Another ‘it’s cool to be trans’ article from their recent archives is the ‘transition timeline’ of Jamie Rains, shown below with a packet of testosterone in her hands in picture 1, and ‘thumbs-upping’ the results three years later in picture 2.

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“Thanks to his dedication,” coos Julie Penell, ” we can now see just how much he’s transformed.”  The words ‘fascinating’ and ‘captivating’ are also used in Penell’s article chronicling Jamie’s trans-identification and we are told that her family is both ‘supportive and excited’.

Jamie (now 23) has since undergone both a double mastectomy and ‘bottom surgery’, both serious medical procedures wrought with potential complications, but hey, what the heck? From boring lesbian to brave transman: Jamie now has a cute girlfriend and over 150,000 followers on YouTube!  “Check out how far he’s come!” concludes Penell.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 02.37.32In this 2016 article, 18 year old Alex explains how she had been taking drugs and self-harming, and decided she was trans after speaking to a counsellor at school.

They explained what the term transgender meant and something just clicked in my head,” he (sic) recalled. “Looking back, I was always more male as a kid. I was more interested in toys aimed at boys.”

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

An article like this could go on forever, so  I’ll deal with just one more organisation.  A new, American group which is taking being trans to a whole new level of cool.

GENDER COOL

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Gender Cool’ is one of the latest projects marketing transition for young people.  Fronted by a small group of trans-identified children, including a 15 year old girl who underwent a double mastectomy aged 13, Gender Cool is run by two adult males who identify as women.

 

 

Cool stories, exceptional kids‘ runs the GC tagline on their website.

Gender Cool is indeed ‘buzzing around the country‘, having been featured in the New York Times, on ABC News and on Meghan Kelly Today.  Though I, and others, have asked Meghan Kelly to comment on her promotion of this group, she has not responded.

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“Become part of a community… commit to becoming a GenderCool team member… tell us about what you’d like to bring to the GenderCool team!”

Team Gender Cool  sounds a little like a local youth club or a church organisation, except that hormones and surgery are an essential part of belonging.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

So we’ve looked at schools and organisations that quite definitely aren’t encouraging kids to be trans. Lets have a look at some high profile individuals.

There are lots of adult males who believe they can just ‘become’ women- or even that they always were women- who offer online advice or encourage trans-identified kids to get in touch with them privately.  There are also a handful of young, trans-identified women who have a lot of influence on their social media followers.  We’ll just look at a couple of each here.

DR RACHEL McKINNON

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 10.38.21Dr Rachel McKinnon (Philosophy PhD)  likes to win women’s cycling races and sent an open message to trans-identified kids on Mothers’ Day 2017  saying they should walk away from ‘unsupportive’ parents and find their ‘glitter family‘.

Reach out to me! Email me! Skype me!

he suggested. When concerned parents and feminists contacted the university he works at, it released a statement condemning the ‘relentless misgendering’  Rachel had been subjected to.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

MUNROE BERGADORF

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Trans-identified male Munroe Bergadorf- who has undergone breast implants, facial feminisation surgery and says he would, aged 8, have  “leapt at the opportunity”to live ‘as a girl’, sent an open message to children on Twitter, telling them to contact him by direct (private) message if they wanted to talk.

Bergadorf thinks children should be able to choose their gender so they can “be themselves”.

 

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But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

ALEX BERTIE

Alex signed Jessie’s book

Last year, I paid- lunch & train tickets- for Jessie and her friend Naomi to go ‘undercover’ to the Alex Bertie book signing at the Museum of Transology in Brighton.  I had planned to do a whole blogpost about it but in the end I didn’t – the trip not being my own experience made it just too difficult to write about. (Oh, the endless aborted blog posts! They alone would fill a book.)

Alex Bertie is the famous YouTuber I refer to in my original piece ‘A Mum’s journey Through Transtopia’.  Alex undoubtedly has a huge influence on young women who are questioning their own gender identity.

“I make videos to help people,” says Alex in her book, and I do not doubt that her intentions spring from a genuine desire to help other troubled youngsters. However parents should be concerned when a young woman who wants to help other youngsters believes a solution to being bullied for being a lesbian is to have your breasts removed and declare yourself a man.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 15.33.08You can buy Alex’s book here and read Janice Turner’s recent piece in the Times, where she interviews Alex, and my daughter Jessie, here.

A recent Tweet of Alex’s?  “Really not in a good place right now… I just keep staring into space.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 12.45.06Two things Jessie and Naomi noticed at theMuseum of Transology book signing were the age of the girls present and the self-harming scars borne by so many. Naomi was pretty certain that at 17 she was the eldest and they guessed several to be as young as 13. No parents were in attendance. An anecdote that stuck in my mind was that the curator- a trans-identified woman whose pickled breasts were present in an exhibit jar- at one point got down on her knees, twirly moustache and all, and shuffled across the floor saying, “Trans children! I want to be them!”

The main reason I mention all this is in reference to the Q&A session. While Jake (Alex’s ‘boy’friend) attempted to answer questions about transition in detail, Alex’s responses mostly consisted telling the girls present not to overthink things and just get on with it.

Jessie says, “He* kept saying ‘just go for it’. He* said, ‘You just have to do it, it’s like ripping a band-aid off.'”

*Jessie says she uses ‘preferred pronouns’ out of respect for Alex.

Alex, who is currently planning a hysterectomy, has a book, ‘merch’ and a YouTube channel with over 300,000 subscribers.

But nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

 

MILES MCKENNA

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Amanda McKenna, of ‘the Amanda Chronicles’ started her YouTube channel in 2012.   Her strictly religious family were not happy when she came out as gay, and after a big fallout she moved in with YouTubers Stevie Boebi and Ally Hills.  Amanda’s perky videos and quirky sense of humour established her as a huge hit, especially with young lesbians.  In 2017 Amanda announced that she was non-binary and would be starting on testosterone and changing her name to Miles. At the start of 2018 she removed her popular ‘coming out’ video from YouTube and had both her breasts removed.  There is little left on the internet of her life as Amanda. I believe Miles McKenna, like Alex Bertie, is a confused young woman with nothing but good intentions.  Shortly after undergoing ‘top surgery’ Miles tweeted  ‘I started gettin (sic) panic attacks mid last year for the first time in my life,’  and that anxiety and panic are, ‘no joke and something I’m learning to deal with.’ Miles believes the panic attacks are brought on by the HRT.

“The majority of my audience online are students in middle school, high school or college.”                                                             

Miles McKenna

Miles now has 658,000 YouTube followers. One of her latest videos is entitled ‘Coming out in Middle School’. “What’s more emo than having a coming out experience?… We’re gonna destroy gender roles!” she declares, seemingly oblivious to the irony. “We’re gonna talk about coming out while on helium! Because helium is fun, and coming out is also fun!”

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 21.01.47Miles and her young guest Alex suck on helium balloons, giggling as chirpy music plays in the background; shrieking with laughter when Alex mentions gender dysphoria.

“You sound like a child!” squeaks Miles, who is now 22, as they suck on the helium.

“I am a child!” replies Alex, who is still in middle school, came out as transgender when she was twelve, and has ‘a lot of internet friends who are trans‘.

“I think we did it! We just solved coming out in middle school – you should have no problems now.” concludes Miles at the end of the video. The video has 38,000 ‘likes’.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 21.43.58.pngIn another video entitled ‘Watch This if You’ve questioned Your Gender’ (32,000 ‘likes’) uploaded recently, but shot last year, Miles is filmed inside a pen of adorable puppies, talking with Aydin Olson-Kennedy, a gender therapist and “transgender queer man” who came out as a lesbian at 15, trans at 30, and refers to having had “ten years of testosterone goodness”.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 21.53.12.pngAs the two frolic with puppies, AOK, who counsels children as young as thirteen, jokes with Miles that she is “…a newbie; we call you a baby.” 

Discussing hormones and surgery, AOK says , “Think Mr Potato Head, I would like a little of that, but I don’t want that.”

 

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“I thought I’d take testosterone and then I’d be happy,” says Miles to Olson-Kennedy, “and I am, like literally every day I’m happier than the day I was before- because I feel like I’m getting closer to who I am- but I’m not where I wanna be yet…  I can’t watch my old videos, any old pictures of me, it’s, like, freaking me out. I don’t feel fully good, but I will in the future, so that’s fine.”

 

 

Olfsen-Kennedy’s last piece of advice to gender-questioning kids?

“Find an adult (to talk to), a safe person, it doesn’t have to be your parents.”

 

But hey, parents, there’s nothing to worry about. Don’t be so square.

Nobody is encouraging kids to be trans.

Puppies, anyone?

mermans

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Transwomen are Men

Lily Maynard

The media circus is full of high-profile men claiming to be women. Most of them didn’t ‘transition’ until mid-adulthood and there’s a very good reason for this. Parents twenty years ago realised that childhood, the teenage years – and even the early twenties – are times of tumultuous change for growing humans.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 17.45.20.pngPuberty was unpleasant for most of us; hellish for some of us, but often these men have an idealised fantasy version of the elusive girlhood they feel they were denied: a Victorious style time of pillow fights, bubblegum and girlish confidences.

‘The Gender Speaker’ a late-transitioning man who works in Transgender Awareness Training, has this to say:

  “I had missed out on the teenage years, getting all dressed up for a night out, wearing strappy tops and mini skirts.” He seems to imagine that being a teenage girl is just one long femininity-performing trip to the disco. The reality? A friend of middle-child told me three days ago that she’d started wearing a big fluffy fleece jacket belonging to her father because, “I’m sick of men staring at my tits”.  She is twelve years old.

In addition to convincing themselves that all the problems they’ve faced in life could have been avoided if only they had been born female, these men also like to consider themselves experts on both ‘sides of the fence’, hence Arundel’s blogpostHow Women can be More Successful in a Male World’;  Munroe Bergdorf’s:  “Women are getting feminism wrong”  and Juno Dawson’s tagline for his 2017 bookThe Gender Games’ – The problem with men and women… from someone who has been both.”

Think about it carefully for a moment. Is it really likely that there is no history of child transition- back in the ancient literary archives of the last century and beyond- because young people ‘didn’t have the words’? Were men all inarticulate idiots back in the days of Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Whitman and Tolkein? Were Sappho, Benn, Shelley, Brontë, Dickinson and Woolf unable to ‘find the words’ they needed to articulate their experiences? There is a rich and profound history of writing by same-sex attracted people throughout history, but the culture of transgenderism is new and is perpetuated almost entirely by men.

Despite decades of male privilege these men suddenly demand to be addressed as and viewed as women, while in the next breath claiming, ‘I’m still the same person inside’ or ‘I was always a woman”.  However they protest to the contrary, it seems that their view of womanhood is a vague, elusive feeling that manifests itself through red lipstick, gently waved hair and tits.  This is such bullshit that it is hardly a surprise that many women are offended by the claim. Woman is not a costume, it is a biological fact and to say so is not ‘defining women by their vaginas’. Woman is not something you can ‘identify’ in and out of, it is a physical state of being.

When did it become an act of hatred to state the obvious?

Let’s be really clear here, I don’t care what these men choose to wear, how they style their hair and who they do or don’t fuck. They should be safe in public spaces; they should have the same rights to housing, jobs and earned respect as anyone else. They should feel safe. Nobody deserves to be threatened, hit, or assaulted for the clothing they wear or their sexual preferences. I’m all for diversity and breaking the bonds of social convention. Men can wear make up, of course they can! Bloody good for them! It just doesn’t make them women. This current trend isn’t about ‘gender bending’, and it certainly isn’t about challenging the boundaries of gender or breaking down stereotypes.

I’ll say it again and again and again; for no matter how often I say it I’m accused of speaking with hatred – I do not hate men for thinking they can become women. I am angered by their audacity and yes, part of me pities their confusion but this is not about hating men, it is about hating a harmful ideology.  I hate the idea that women are expected to accept that ‘woman’ is some sort of inner girly feeling that can be appropriated by a man who believes that growing his hair, wearing a blouse, taking hormones and- sometimes- undergoing surgery, means that he somehow understands a collective experience of womanhood and has the right to speak on behalf of women.  It does not. No man has that right and no man who cares about women would try to claim that right.

It’s intensely conservative and individualistic. Woman as a concept rather than the messy reality of life. Self transformation rather than tackling narrow confines of sexist stereotyping of both sexes’.    

                                                                                     Dr Mary Chadwick

So now we’re going to look at a few high-profile men who claim to be women. I’m not going to say anything ‘hateful’ about them, because- let me say it one more time- I don’t actually hate them or wish them harm. I’m just going to state a few facts.  I’m taking a deep breath here and reminding you that the Junos and Indias and Shons of this world are not women. They are men. They were raised as men and they grew up as (gay) men. All three of them worked in media before transition and are no strangers to male privilege.

DAWSON

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 10.56.58In 2013 James Dawson published ‘Being a Boy‘.  The Amazon blurb claims: ‘former PSHCE teacher James Dawson expertly guides boys through puberty’.  In 2013, Dawson was a bit of a gay role model.  Of his novel ‘Cruel Summer’ he saidWhy wouldn’t straight people want to read about a devious, sexy young chap?” In 2014 he published ‘This Book is Gay‘ and became a School Role Model for the charity Stonewall. In 2015 he announced he was going to transition, telling the Independent ‘I just want to be one of the girls’. By 2017 he had reinvented himself as Juno and was claiming”A lot of gay men are gay men as a consolation prize, because they couldn’t be women.’

Dawson’s ability for doublethink is apparent in that he can see no irony in saying of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “I can’t imagine that she’s dying to hear my views on growing up as a black person because it’s something I have no experience of.”

WILLOUGBY

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 10.58.25Jonathan Willoughby was in his mid-40s- divorced and the father of a teenage boy- when he disappeared from the world of broadcasting and returned several years later as India.

Infamously, he tried to force a kiss on singer/songwriter Ginuwine in a 2018 episode of Celebrity Big Brother and accused Ginuwine of transphobia when he wouldn’t kiss him back. When women in the ‘Big Brother’ house angered him, he declared loudly- in an unfortunate choice of words-  “I am a woman! Let that penetrate!” His goalpost for womanhood seems to be undergoing surgery, telling Pink News in 2017,  “Unless you are transitioning, stay out of the ladies. Pulling on a frock as and when the mood takes doesn’t cut it. You don’t have a God-given right to go into female-only spaces.” The irony of this seems to be lost on Willoughby, who appears to make the rules up as he goes along, while being photographed in the Ladies’ toilets.

FAYE

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 10.59.32In 2014, aged 26, Sean Faye was writing articles for the Guardian about being a man who wore make up.  In 2015 he claimed ‘I’m not a man, I never was’. A year later he wrote an article for the BBC on International Women’s Day in which he saw no irony in speaking of a world in where ‘femininity is still in flight from male definition, ridicule and violence’.

“Trans women live under the same system of patriarchy as other women,writes Shon in the Guardian: in an article where he demands access to women’s  refuges and domestic violence centres ‘because I now exist as a woman’. Faye seems to genuinely believe that woman is a costume. He once told a woman on Twitter, ‘I’m a woman because I say I am, you’ve lost… enjoy your erasure”.

You may have conveniently forgotten about your 27 years of male privilege, but Shon baby, it still shows.

This list could go on. And on, and on. Don’t get me started on Riley J ‘I could start a fire with all that straw,‘ Dennis and even Lily ‘TERF TERF TERF‘ Madigan. The fact that some of these men are too young and disturbed for me to feel comfortable writing about them in depth doesn’t lessen the harm they are doing to women with their entitled appropriation.

These men are representing women. The last decade has seen an explosion in men who claim to be women and the internet is bursting with men who believe that it is quite reasonable to demand that they are referred to as women and that women who disagree with them should STFU. This is not progressive; it is nothing new. This is what men have always done to women. Shut up, TERF.

So, if I might disagree with Bergadof for a moment when he claims that,“What makes a woman ‘a woman’ has no definitive answer, nor does it need one”, I think we really do need to ask a few questions.

So what IS a woman?  How do we define ‘woman’?

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.22.49.pngIs it that she grows young inside her (but some women never have kids!) and feeds them with her breasts (but some women can’t lactate!)?

Is it her womb (but some women have had a hysterectomy!) or her breasts (but some women have lost breasts to cancer!) or her chromosomes (but some women are intersex!) or her menses (but some women never menstruate!)?

Is it her penis? No. Stop right there. Let’s get this perfectly clear. Women do not have penises. None of them.  Ever. We have a word for people who were born with penises. That word is men.

But these days it’s really complicated to define ‘woman’.

But wait, no it isn’t actually. It isn’t at all. We all know what a woman is. A woman is an adult human female. We all came out of one. And no, that’s not to say that women who are sterile, or have had a mastectomy, or a hysterectomy are not women: of course it isn’t. NOBODY HAS EVER SAID THAT.

Pay attention class. Are you ready for a blackboard meme? Good. Magdalen Behrns introduced me to this wonderful, spectacularly succinct phrase. The fact that this phrase is fast becoming controversial sums up the absurdity of the current state of gender politics.

Lily Maynard

There is no such thing as a woman with a penis, whether she is a lesbian or not, (I discuss intersex in my articleWhat makes somebody ‘real’ trans part 2′, so I won’t digress here) but this argument is especially trying for lesbians because obviously, quote Jessie: “Euw… penises.”

So, why should we say men are women when they tell us they are?  Well, basically it seems to come down to being ‘nice’.   It’s kinder not to remind them that they aren’t really women. We know they’re confused, bless them, so most of us go along with it – because it’s ‘mean’ not to and we have been trained to put the needs of men and boys before our own since we were little girls.

And there’s one more thing we need to get clear. Right now. This is not harmless. This is not just ‘being nice’ to a few confused and vulnerable individuals, it’s far, far bigger than that. This is about your rights. And if you’re a bloke reading this, this is about your mother’s rights, your sisters’, your friends’, your daughters’… this is about Women’s Rights. Yes. THIS IS A WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUE! Why? Because this:

Lily Maynard

We women are trained from a very early age that it isn’t nice to be ‘mean’, but this feels like war. War on our spaces; war on our rights; war on our bodies. And if it’s war, so be it. I come from a long line of women who believe that women’s rights are worth fighting for. Bring it on.

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