Dislike of trans women; discomfort around trans women, believed to be a problem with the trans woman rather than something the misogynist should just deal with. On a facebook Quaker group, someone posted how shocking it was that a Quaker meeting house hosted a talk by “A Woman’s Place”, which campaigns against gender recognition. Other people said the opinions of AWP were perfectly reasonable.

Someone objects to me in the women’s loos, not because of anything objectionable I have done, just because of what I am. Why is that my problem? It is far worse when they object to the mere idea of me. They have never actually seen a trans woman in a woman’s loo, but fear they might, or even it’s that if one is there it’s horrible. If a trans woman uses a loo in an otherwise empty building, are all trans-excluders still outraged?

Most of what she shares is private, but I could not see any evidence that one was a Quaker. She complained that “refusing to accept questionable definitions” does not mean she harbours fear or hate. She knows what the truth is, I am a man, and claims I am forcing everyone to agree with my falsehood, that I am a woman. I don’t care what she thinks about my womanhood. Life is too short. I care if she is rude to me, or attempts to get me excluded from where I want to go. It is as if she thinks there has to be a nationally agreed understanding of what a trans woman is, even though the whole nation agrees on nothing else. Some may think I am a man, some may think I should not be there, and that is fine.

That is why we should not debate with trans-misogynists. We are doing what they most fear and abominate, telling them that their beliefs are wrong. If a trans woman, trying to pluck up courage to transition, needs to believe she is really a woman, I want her to be able to hold to that belief so that she can.

Another woman, who does appear to be Quaker, expressed disquiet about how women might need to get away from men, at times, even certain “men who identify as female”. What can we say? If a loo in a theatre has a queue of, say, thirty women, it is unlikely any of them is trans. I don’t know how many of them will be out with a group of women and able to tolerate the proximity of men in the other seats, but not in the loos; or just have been sexually assaulted, and in need of escape. I hope the trans woman and the man-fearing woman will not come into contact. I don’t know how likely it is.

There they are on social media, expressing their disquiet. The issue of trans comes up, and like a Pavlovian response the disquiet comes out, expressed as concern for Truth or for the Vulnerable. How should we react to this?

3 thoughts on “Trans-misogyny

  1. Once, while planning a retreat for Quaker women, one of my co leaders asked what we should do if a trans woman wanted to book a place. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. A woman is a woman in my eyes and we are each as valid as one another.
    In the end the course didn’t run – for unrelated reasons – but 15 years on my horror grows rather than diminishing every time I remember that conversation. I’d like to think that time has altered perceptions but to my shame it seems there is an awfully long way to go. Sisters should be standing together.


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