Labour manifesto and trans

The Labour manifesto is launched. Labour government is the best hope of enhancing trans rights.

Labour has a proud history of standing shoulder to shoulder with LGBT+ people. We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and only with Labour votes could equal marriage become law. Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people, but we are not complacent about the culture shift required to make LGBT+ inclusivity a reality. The Conservatives have been slow to understand the scale of abuse and discrimination LGBT+ people continue to face in our society.

Self-declaration is different from the TERF term “self-ID”, used to foment fear. We declare who we really are, rather than “identify” in a way they dispute and claim men would use to harm women.

Section 28, the appalling provision outlawing “promotion of homosexuality” in schools, normalised hatred of gay people just as the hard right seeks to normalise hatred of trans people now.

I take this as a pledge to shift the culture. It is brave and bold.

We will ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate.

I love this. Discrimination law must be enforced by victims of discrimination, often without legal help. I represented a pregnant woman who experienced health problems during her claim, and could not continue. She was scathing about the brilliant reference she settled her claim for, like the excellent appraisal she had just before her pregnancy, so unlike the dreadful appraisal she had when she announced her pregnancy.

Discrimination law must be enforced by the State, or victims will go unheard and uncompensated. I hope pregnancy is just the start.

Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.

I am not sure about that one. The single sex exemptions allow trans women to be excluded if it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. As that’s a defence which has to be proved by the excluder, TERFs allege that services do not exclude as they are frightened of court action.

I don’t know what it means. TERFs could take comfort from it.

Excluding trans women is not a proportionate step to make women safer. This is:

Ensure women’s refuges receive the long-term sustainable funding they need. Misogyny and violence against women and girls will become hate crimes.

After the Windrush scandal and the Tory islamophobia scandals, this is essential:

Achieving racial equality is a bedrock Labour value. It has never been more important than in the current climate. We are proud of the way our country has been shaped by the contributions, cultures and values of people from around the world.

All minorities should support this. Right wing hate seeks to oppress us all. All of us should stand together.

Vote Labour for Trans Rights

The Labour party support trans rights. Here’s Dawn Butler, the shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, visiting Equity Partnership in Bradford. They were a community support organisation but have had to protect people from the media and organised hate groups, because the hate has become so intense. The Labour council has supported them with funding.

Dawn asks is GRA reform just pigeonholing people? I would like discrimination on the ground of gender expression made unlawful. That would protect everyone, and make gender expression more free and lively, increasing freedom for all.

The haters are not in control yet.

I want this video in the main Labour you tube channel. I hope they know opposing prejudice is important for everyone, and needs proudly emphasised.

Meanwhile the Green Party want to reform the GRA and end the spousal veto. They want to increase funding for gender clinics and stop bigoted parents withdrawing their children from LGBT+ education. We need a proportional voting system.

Tories? 44% think Islam is a threat to the British way of life. That’s all you need to know. They rejoice in their hate.

The Labour manifesto launches tomorrow.

seeing and being seen

If you saw someone you could not fail to love them. You would see aspects and feel something like pity but more like fellow-feeling and other aspects and feel awe and recognise them in yourself.

I want to be seen. I am a human being. Human beings are beautiful.

If you do not want to love anyone you can restrict what you see. No, not looking at that bit. So we agree to look at a tiny bit of the other and talk of nothing at all.

-How’s the campaigning going?

Or it’s not even a part of me, it’s like what I thought was a shiny badge but it’s not even a sharp piece of gravel from a road builder’s yard, not even as beautiful as that, as it’s not real.

-Well enough. It’s great when a Tory says they don’t trust the Tories any more.

I can’t do that for long. I recall: I used to read the Telegraph, and then one day there was an article by AN Wilson

(Noted aesthete, fogey, and biographer of CS Lewis)

and I thought he’s having a laugh. It was so right wing I did not think anyone could believe it. The following week, it was the Sunday Telegraph, there were several letters saying “how wonderful to read The Truth from AN Wilson!” “Wilson tells it as it is!” And I didn’t want to read the Telegraph any more.

That was a small part of me.

-Shall we arrange another of these meetings?

I don’t say anything. I wait to hear what anyone has to say. So someone says they have run their course and there is no need. I feel cut off, and afterwards text someone who says if I had requested the meetings continue that would have happened, and if I request it now he will pass that on.

If I beg, they may in their mercy cast me a scrap.

Are Quakers transphobic? Not in a way they would realise it, but their aversion is worse for being unconscious. The irritation is greater, the fellow-feeling less.

If you want to hate me, or make others hate me, describe me. Turn me into a construct of words. Make me an abstraction, either as an individual or as part of my group. Of course not all trans women are criminals but enough of them are that it is reasonable for women to be frightened of them. Women should not be frightened so trans women should be excluded. See? It’s simple, it’s rational, it’s loving.

One of the purposes of natural justice is to humanise the accused. Audi alteram partem, hear both sides, is commanded because if youdon’t your sympathies naturally attach to the person you see. The person you don’t see is not a full person.

Hear both sides before making a decision. Otherwise your decision is prejudiced. Hearing after making a decision, you are biased against changing your mind. So you should put off making your mind up and always be open to changing it.

I thought of going there. I would hold them in love. They are loveable (see above) and my capacity for fellow-feeling and compassion is huge. However, when I find myself unable to communicate I regress to the distress of a pre-toddling baby. I could find myself in such a state.

I may, still. I wish to humanise myself in their eyes. However, if they are too far gone, they will not see me. They will see a problem not a person, even if I am there.

H told me when she was a child her nose was considered ugly, and she was mocked for it. I had never thought of it. She explained why. That is thought ugly? Since then I have noticed noses. Before, I considered eyes, mainly. Certain faces I thought beautiful or full of character I see through other eyes. That nose would be called ugly, so the face is, so the person is. It is a loss. My friend is not ugly.

Misogynist transition

Do teenage girls identify as trans because of misogyny? Does prevalent discrimination against women, sexual violence coercion and assault, make them fear womanhood enough to declare themselves boys?

In a society not prejudiced against gender noncomformity, I don’t believe I would have transitioned. I have made no secret of this. A lot of people, AMAB and AFAB, may decide to transition because their gender nonconformity is not tolerated, and any body dysphoria would arise later because of their understanding of what transition means. But that is not transitioning because of misogyny, because it is discomfort with gender norms enforced on boys and girls alike. Instead, it is prejudice against gender non conformity, commonly known as transphobia.

Do gender stereotypes fit anyone? Not me, or lots of other people with a Y chromosome. I fit feminine better. I did not want anyone to know, and tried to make a man of myself. Many men may appear masculine- I did- and secretly fear their true selves being seen. Do the stereotypes fit anyone? If apparently fitting is no guide, perhaps not. Angry feminists, raised to keep quiet and not cause trouble, think that no woman fits the feminine stereotype. Who benefits? It’s patriarchy, they say. It fits and benefits men.

Not me, I say- or gay men, or darker skinned men. Not working class men. Men may benefit in some ways but not “showing weakness” is a burden. One of the ways the norms are enforced is by language- it is hard to express “abnormal” positively. Naming oppression is a major feminist project. I don’t know positive words for male femininity. It’s hard enough to find words that acknowledge our existence.

Does any woman actually fit femininity? Many seem to. Many say they do. It could be false consciousness but feminism is outspoken, with many platforms. Surely The Guardian would have got through to its feminine readers by now?

So, I consider the people asserting that misogyny makes girls want to transition to male, and hear their revulsion, not only against chest masculinisation but against the very concepts of trans boy, trans man, or non-binary. They hate being told what pronouns they can use. This anger and disgust, the refusal to entertain the idea that trans men may know who they are or what they want (though it is clear misogyny to decide you know better than others what is good for them) is, again, transphobia.

Faced by this pincer movement of transphobia, from feminists as well as social conservatives, we prove ourselves to be Real Trans in the only way we know, by seeking hormones and surgery. The way to freedom is to validate each person’s choices, to allow us to choose our gender presentation and to end discrimination, not to prevent any way of being gender non conforming. If misogyny makes girls transition, trans exclusion makes that worse not better.

Homophobic transition

Does anyone transition male to female because of homophobia? Yes. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini made a fatwa that transition was ok and God accepted trans women, but in his understanding of Shi’ism gay men were executed. So some there have vaginoplasties so they will not be murdered by the State. Does it happen anywhere else? Do lesbians transition from lesbophobia?

Possibly in some isolated cases. The child J may have been transitioned by their mother. But a judge passed them to their father, and they appeared happy presenting male. The mother failed. Did she do it because he seemed gay to her? Who could say. You may know your orientation long before puberty.

But Christians would not prefer transition to same sex attraction. The pope, apparently cautiously liberalising to gay men in some limited circumstances is utterly opposed to transition, which he calls as bad as mass murder: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

I searched for “Christian view transgender” and the first result was the Christian Institute, whose critique of “transgender ideology” was creepily close to terf screeds. There is the same feigned concern for us: instead of providing transgender people with the support they need to help them embrace the bodies they were born with, society is compounding their confusion, with damaging consequences.

The Evangelical Alliance is less overtly nasty than they were in 2000 when I was transitioning. Their introduction talks of “nuance” and how all people “need to be loved”. But the hate does not take long to appear. Gender reassignment is self harm, contrasted with “finding your identity in Christ”, illustrated by the story of Tim, the son of a trans woman. Tim discovered that his Mum had known for 34 years that his Dad had been cross-dressing. They had been supported
by social and medical services for 19 years for mental health issues and trying, in their words, to find a cure. As Tim processed everything he felt angry – that the family had
been let down, not only by their Dad, but also by the support services who had never engaged with those who would be massively impacted by the decision.

Third in that search was “Focus on the Family”.

There are accepting individual congregations, but there is hostility throughout the church. No Christian accepts trans without also accepting gay.

What about secular views, or modern political liberalism? The allegation would have to be that people are more homophobic than transphobic. Homophobia is rife. So parents or teachers see a boy who does not fit cliche masculinity, and are so repulsed by the idea that he could grow up to be gay that they transition him instead.

Does that seem likely? No one would admit to it. So anyone supporting transition could be called homophobic, if the mere fact of supporting transition is enough to prove that to you.

Or look at the testimony of reverters. Sam Kane, when they first reverted, made a complaint against their psychiatrist. They were not transsexual they said. It had been a nervous breakdown. People revert for social pressure. Charles had lost male privilege, and found that unbearable. They are currently presenting male, having gone M-F-M-F-M.

Julia Grant, subject of a BBC documentary in the 1970s, told an MCC pastor “I’m a gay man trapped in a woman’s body”. She regretted surgery and hormones.

Transition is difficult. We still have dysphoria from the bare toleration and sometimes open hostility of others. After reverting, people can be angry.

Allegations about detransition are one of the principle weapons of those seeking to delegitimise trans people. There is a great deal of hostility. Stonewall, the campaigning gay rights organisation, is a trans ally. All figures will be disputed, but they cite research showing less than 1% of patients who accessed NHS support went on to detransition. Patients who never transitioned but just questioned their gender identity don’t “detransition”. Some people for whom transition would be wrong consider it.

When I transitioned I knew there was a possibility I would revert later, but knew the only way I could find that was to transition now. I desired it so intensely that if I didn’t I would be stuck. The hostility of society held me back longer than was good for me.

Other sites say some people detransition therefore trans is wrong. All sites are biased, pushing one view or another. Some people may transition then find it is not right for them, but that does not mean it is wrong for everyone.

We don’t know. All that is certain is that the argument that people transition for homophobia is transphobic as it seeks to delegitimise AFAB transitioners attracted to women, and AMAB transitioners attracted to men. Just possibly some may, but it means arguing that homophobia is generally stronger and more widespread than transphobia, which is simply not true.

Misogynist transition, the allegation that teenage “girls” transition because of harmful gender stereotypes, is an entirely different argument.

I read of a Tory threat to rename the Government Equalities Office the Ministry for Freedom. The only freedom it would defend would be the freedom to hate.

A declaration for all women

This is not the time to start campaigning against trans rights in the Labour Party, as some members unfortunately are doing. This election may unseat a Tory government which has created chaos, division and hatred, damaged the economy, set British people against each other and ruined our social safety net. Trans women are in all parties, and trans women like me are canvassing, leafleting and working for a Labour government. However a group seeking to roll back the rights of trans women and denying that trans women are women have started a campaign within the Labour Party, SNP and other parties to exclude trans women from women’s spaces.

This is my draft of an answering declaration, in solidarity with trans women, for when any woman suffers discrimination we all suffer.

1. Women and girls are subject to many forms of oppression. We are all subject to sexism. Some of us are subject to oppression because we are trans women, some because of our skin colour or national origin, some because we have disabilities, some because we are lesbian, some because we are pregnant, some for other reasons or several reasons. None of this oppression is acceptable.

2. Women are strongest when we are in solidarity, and others hear our voices and support our aims. We recognise that if discrimination against any group of women is normalised we all lose. We oppose discrimination against trans women.

3. We are concerned at the several campaigns to exclude trans women from women’s spaces. We recognise that no trans woman is a threat to any other woman simply because she is a trans woman. We do not judge any group by the actions of one or more of its members, and we reject attempts to foment prejudice against trans women because of the actions of any individual trans woman.

4. We recognise that transphobia and transmisogyny exist. Where any woman objects to the presence of trans women we will hear her, and seek to grow sisterly solidarity.

5. We recognise the campaign of vilification and hatred against trans women. We oppose all speech designed to foment anger or fear against trans women. We recognise it is hate speech.

6. We do not want trans women excluded from sports. We accept that the IOC rules requiring sustained reduction of testosterone levels are reasonable, and that trans women complying with sporting bodies’ rules should be allowed to participate.

7. We support women’s human rights. We recognise the widespread discrimination and problems of women including period poverty, unequal pay, unequal expectations in caring roles or house work, domestic violence… We oppose the diversion of women’s campaigning energy into a divisive campaign to exclude trans women.

(Note this in particular needs careful drafting. There are many threats to women’s rights and freedoms. Concentrating on trans exclusion helps no woman.)

8. Trans women are women.

Here is the petition drafted by some trans excluders, with my notes.

1. Women and girls are subject to discrimination and oppression on the basis of their sex.

This excludes trans women, because there is an implicit assertion that trans women are female by gender not by sex. We suffer sexism because we are women, and transphobia because we are trans women.

2. Women have the right to freedom of belief, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly (Articles 18, 19 and 20 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights).

3. Women have the right to discuss policies which affect them, without being abused, harassed or intimidated.

Yes; but trans allies are entitled to object to meetings whose purpose is to foment anger and fear against trans people. Some organisations take discrimination and inclusion seriously, and so refuse to let rooms for attempts to foment trans exclusion.

4. Women have the right to maintain their sex-based protections, as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female-only spaces such as changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons.

There is an argument that trans women are female by gender but not by sex. Some people assert you cannot change sex. While these are often semantic issues, semantics or beliefs about sex and gender should not be used to exclude trans women from women’s space. Trans women are women.

5. Women have the right to participate in single-sex sports, to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.

Trans women should not be excluded from sport where we are demonstrably trans women, by reduction of testosterone levels. In amateur sports such as fun runs trans women should be accepted as women if they say they are.

6. Women have the right to organise themselves, as a sex, across a range of cultural, leisure, educational and political activities.

Yes, insofar as permitted by the Equality Act.

7. We condemn all attempts to undermine or limit the rights of women to self-organise and call on the Labour Party and the trades union movement to actively support these essential freedoms.

Condemnation of hate speech, disagreement, and refusal to provide platforms for those spreading fear or anger against trans women should be the position of the Labour Party. The Labour Party has women’s rights in its rule book, in women’s forums, officers, additional delegates and women only short lists.

Utterly distressed by reading that discriminatory declaration, I went out campaigning. It’s wonderful to speak to a former Tory worried about the direction their party is taking, who will now vote Labour.

Richard Rohr

Catholic priest tolerates gay men, and even trans people shock!

Rohr’s daily meditations reach millions, and recently he tackled LGBT folk, or SOGI, Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity issues. He started by assuming his audience was hostile.

With all the changing ways of understanding gender and sexuality, most of us truly need contemplative eyes and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to “rupture simplistic binaries” and be compassionate and respectful of difference and diversity. It clearly seems that God is quite comfortable with immense diversity.  We have a much harder time with it, preferring uniformity and conformity instead.

I found it almost impossible to read. He is challenging his queerphobic Christian followers, saying that while he has to make a continual effort to be “non-dual”, his instinct and theirs is to judge gay as unacceptable. Jesus, he says, ruptures and transgresses simplistic binaries between self and other, but most people dismiss and judge every thing that does not fit neatly in their simplistic categories.

He wants to teach the Mind of Christ by getting readers to think about SOGI, which he has no doubt they will instinctively reject. This week is a good test case for one’s ability to think in a nondual way.

So he decides to preach that the church should include and accept LGBT people not in hopes that they can force us into a normal, celibate, straight-acting box but accept us as part of God’s beautiful diverse creation, and he starts by othering all his LGBT readers.

He says some good stuff. God’s will is that people and things become their true selves, and then live in “supportive coexistence”. Conservative Christians, however, want to control God’s good creation which they fear, seeing it as chaos.

Institutional religion tends to think of people as very simple, and therefore the law must be very complex to protect them in every situation. Jesus does the opposite: He treats people as very complex—different in religion, lifestyle, virtue, temperament, and success—and keeps the law very simple in order to bring them to God… Love God, and your neighbour.

Jesus, and Rohr, allow people to be ourselves. Do not let the labels trip you up—woman, man, transgender, cisgender, straight, bisexual, gay, queer. I note he does not mention lesbian. There is a reason we bring L to the front. Formerly people wrote GLBT.

He goes on to use queer folks to teach about the Bible. Yes, Leviticus commands stoning gay men to death, but the Bible records a developing understanding of God from Abraham’s attempted human sacrifice to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus’ harsh words are reserved entirely for those whose certainty about their religious rectitude causes them to condemn others. Jesus is all about inclusion, forgiveness, and empowerment. In the light of his compassionate presence, people are set free to live their lives in strength and hope, regardless of whether they be considered outcasts by those in the “religious know.” Rather than complex rules teaching us what is OK so we feel safe with no need to think, or even to see clearly, the only law is Love.

Just as the Bible supports slavery and we don’t, so also we find deeper themes in the Bible support LGBT acceptance, and even oppose Patriarchy. Rohr writes, God sides with the powerless. God liberates the oppressed. God suffers with the suffering. I resent that. Many LGBT people flourish despite oppression. We are not his exemplar group of powerless and suffering people, and his attitude encourages others to look down on us and pity us- perhaps he does himself. We do not need his support, but justice.

He claims the secular culture “celebrates” us. Perhaps he has not read The Times’ articles on trans people. It is almost as if he shares the homophobic Christian’s shock when we are shown in a good light.

God, he says, creates each of us unique, with different gifts and challenges, and desires us to live into the fullness of our humanity and our identity.

Rohr’s example is Episcopal priest and lesbian Liz Edman, who aged five wanted boy’s shoes and was supprted by her mother. Everyone wants things forbidden by the complex rules humans create. From object of pity, we change in an instant to patterns and examples for others, who should all Know who you are. Be who you are. Be the person God created you to be. It is deeply uncomfortable for me. I am as enchained by convention as anyone. I have no wish to be forced to teach others any more than be pitied by them.

At the end, he quotes Liz Edman on Jesus turning water into wine. The water was used for ritual washing, the wine intoxicates and liberates us from rules. This is a queer interpretation, which might get her fired. To liberal straight Christians, she says, Let us be ourselves, and assure us that you will have our backs when our proclamation unsettles and afflicts those who are comfortable in a dualistic worldview.

Yes, Queers can be free as Christ intended, and our freedom help liberate others. But our experience belongs to no-one straight. We are not your teaching tool. And the idea of sheep and goats, the binary division between in group and out group, is everywhere reinforced in the church. For example:

Later, Rohr quotes an Asian man:

Now that new voices are being enunciated about him by those . . . outside the traditional framework of Christianity, Jesus must be experiencing an emancipation from the confinement of orthodoxy that has immobilized him. . .

Jess Phillips

Is Jess Phillips a transphobe? If you think “With us or against us” there is some evidence that she is. First, this tweet about the WPUK demands: I find these demands completely reasonable. I know that we can have a solution & reasonable adjustment and a rhetoric that gives progress to trans people & protects women only spaces.

Ms Phillips was responding to the 2017 demands (see link) which were transphobic but not as bad as later ones. The worst is “the principle of women only spaces to be upheld and where necessary extended”. They mean women’s spaces excluding trans women, which is allowed by the Equality Act where proportionate and reasonable. Ms Phillips is clearly not supporting trans women’s position unequivocally; but the transphobes at the time were circumspect as the hate campaign was in an early stage.

Someone wanting to build bridges might tweet that. In turn, I want someone like Ms Phillips listening to women who might otherwise retreat to impregnable hate. Speakers at WPUK events are incorrigible. Some attendees are not. If they felt listened to, they might accept trans women.

Reading further shows where she is coming from, “trying to converse rather than having a spat”. It’s Mandela talking to de Klerk, I say- trans women are in the right- but I would still talk. On that thread she says she ran specialist women’s services including trans people.

Elsewhere she does not commit to a side, but says there needs to be discussion and that needs to be conducted in a way that is considered and civil. The public conversation has been the exact opposite.

If anyone is tempted to endorse WPUK, I want them to feel listened to. There is no risk to cis women from trans rights, but they need to feel listened to before they will be convinced. When so many are in the trenches I want someone seeking peace.

Ms Phillips tweeted, I literally sat for weeks on committee listening to trans people, with specialist trans advisors, I proposed the law change, sponsored the bills. I am trying to listen to all reasonable concerns, the lack of good faith in debate is damaging.

I look further. Jess Phillips was on the Women and Equalities Committee when it reported on trans rights, recommending far more far reaching reform than the government would consider.

Jess Phillips’ actions are on the side of trans women. Her words could be assessed, and found wanting: I think there is a reasonable way through this that protects the role of all-women shortlists and ensures trans women are included. It seems the debate around the issue has gone increasingly feral when actually there is reasonableness on all sides.

There is no “reasonableness” among people who want to exclude all trans women; but Ms Phillips wants to ensure trans women are included. That is enough for me. Look at her deeds, not just her words.

I could forgive her almost anything for this, which moved me to tears: Last week I met a man who had been convicted of a public order offence after he came to my office and tried to kick the door in while he shouted that I was a fascist… We sat down and talked together, we chatted about Brexit together, laughed together and reminisced about the streets we both grew up on. The politics of hope is harder to spread than the politics of hate.

Sometimes you know who someone is from a throwaway comment. Francesca O’Brien, shockingly still a Tory parliamentary candidate, said benefit claimants should be “put down”. I need know nothing more. Possibly Jess Phillips took dialogue too far when she proposed it with WPUK, but her instinct to hear all sides is right, usually.

Someone dislikes her for claiming she told Diane Abbot to “fxxk off”. That’s on Wikipedia. It was in the papers at the time. She apologised.

I will look at her behaviour in the round, not judge her on one thing she once said. Rows can be magnified by press attention. It’s just drama.

In praise of self-love

If self-loathing no longer works as motivation, self-love is all that is left.

I should have gone into the office, but did not as I had a request for 850 words which I particularly wanted to write. I polished it, and have sent it off a day later. I don’t know if they will like it. Possibly it is too dark, possibly it gives needed shade to other contributions.

It was complete motivation. I could do nothing else. It was me being me.

The day before I was out canvassing for Labour. How should I call how I was? Over-excited, like a child without proper emotional regulation? High? Possibly just excited. I enjoyed it. Several women wanted strong female MPs, a good sign when we have a female candidate. Again, this was what I most wanted to do.

In both cases, I am doing something I feel may have a result I want. I give it my energy. It gives me instant joy, though also involving work. My motivation is instant and strong, excluding other activity.

What of reading? Here I see two motivations, not easily teased apart. I read to learn, to sample others’ understanding, to see clearly; or I read a book which fits the person I was told I ought to be, for the illusory safety of being what I am not. The latter inspires me from self-loathing. The former may be difficult and challenging. When hurt I withdraw and may not want such challenge.

I spend a lot of time licking my wounds. I have a lot of wounds to heal. This too is self-love; but I may not see that, and try to whip myself into action.

Then, may I take action for my growth? Could I go to the office seeing it is the best way I have at the moment to develop in a way which might let me support myself. I might heat my house- I can cuddle a hot water bottle for warmth, and I want to breathe warm air!

That is self-love looking at a long term project, uncertain of success. Yet only self-love will get me to the office, and not self-loathing, because only self-love can trust myself enough to believe the project has a chance of working.

I have whipped myself in fear for too long. Come on, you useless fuckwit! Do this, it is simple, even the most lazy useless worthless imbecile should have no difficulty! Then I don’t achieve perfection, and despair.

So I collapse in a heap and despise myself more. Yet, in these years withdrawn from the world I sometimes see good in myself, or wise others see it and communicate it to me.

Or I see myself and suddenly see it as good. I am soft. Self-loathing sees that as worthless, at best pitiable, self-love sees its beauty.

If I love myself I might see good qualities in myself, see myself as worthy of success and capable of achieving it. Like that writing. I have written something worthwhile.

In a spiritual exercise Richard Rohr writes, bring to mind a time when you were generous with someone, a time when you did something nice for someone else. When have I ever been generous, asks self-loathing. I spend myself, for my own self interest, seeking safety in the most stupid way.

In the CAB I wanted each person to feel better and be safer, with more money. Self-love sees my sympathy and my effort. It’s not absolutely pure altruism- I valued doing my job well, and getting them to trust me made them more willing to answer my questions, and I was paid for it, but rather than doing the minimum to get by I would seek to improve and do more.

The self-loathing and seeking illusory safety was part of that, and if I can see their value I might kiss them, see they have done their work, and let them go.

If I pause to consider, I have enough self-love and self-respect to take their place, and with practice may grow to trust.

Labour transphobia

Can trans women vote Labour?

Transphobia is rife in the Labour Party. On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we mourn our dead, a Labour MSP has invited a noted anti-trans campaigner to speak at the Scottish Parliament. Her topic is the weird assertion that the great threats to women’s rights are surrogate motherhood and trans rights: that trans inclusion is not accommodating a few mostly harmless eccentrics, about 0.1% of the population, but the redefinition of womanhood itself.

So trans women must all be excluded from women’s spaces forever. Yet the paranoid haters refuse to accept the term “trans-exclusionary”.

I don’t know if Jenny Marra MSP will face any sanction. The election is for Westminster not Holyrood. Feminist organisations including Scottish Women’s Aid, Engender, Zero Tolerance and the Young Women’s Movement, as well as the Scottish Green Party, have condemned the event.

Will the Labour Party? Trans rights are no threat to anyone. This event foments hatred and violence against us. It is the worst kind of prejudice. An analogy is a meeting advocating violence against Jews.

This analogy comes to mind as Jews picketed a meeting where Chris Williamson, former Labour MP, was to speak even though he was speaking on economics. Williamson’s offence was to say the party had been “too apologetic” about alleged antisemitism. He was suspended for those remarks.

Is that the answer? Unless Marra is suspended from Labour, the party is proven to be transmisogynist?

It is not just Marra. Lachlan Stuart in 2017 claimed trans women are not women and are not subject to the oppression of sexism. He remains a domestic policy adviser in Jeremy Corbyn’s office. He wants to redefine LGBT to LGB, excluding trans women.

There are allegations Jeremy Corbyn himself is antisemitic. I know a man in my constituency Labour party who shares antisemitic memes on Facebook. He performed at a Labour fundraiser. A woman obsessively shares TERF articles on the constituency women’s forum page.

There is a moral calculation to be made. We know how dreadful the Tories are: “Fuck business”, said their leader. They put ideology over economics and islamophobia is rife. They cut solar panel subsidies, and will barely start window dressing on the climate. My last MP is a liar, climate change denier and Leave campaigner. The question is, is a Labour Party infected with transmisogyny and antisemitism better? Or, am I tarred with antisemitism and transmisogyny campaigning for Labour?

Labour tries to be inclusive. I am glad Roger Graef, who supported parents campaigning against age-appropriate LGBT education in schools, was deselected. While some in Labour stand up against prejudice I will stand with them.

I loathe what the Tories have done to the country. Labour would be better. I will campaign for them. It is not that I am working for a party with transmisogynist or antisemitic policies, but for one including antisemites and transphobes. It still rankles.

There’s now a “Labour Women’s Declaration”. It’s the usual rubbish- “single sex, “female only”, plus the right to “freedom of belief and discussion”, so that they can hate us without criticism. Nothing else. They’re not campaigning on rape culture, period poverty, child care, just NO Trans Women!!