How is the debate on Trans issues in the UK, and does it matter at all?
There are a variety of views amongst those left wing feminists who would ban all trans women from women’s spaces. Some are disgusted with us, and want to spread that disgust to others. Some want us excluded, and to stop calling ourselves “women”, but would otherwise be our allies, supporting us in getting separate services. Some want to divide us up- there are “genuine” trans women, who might be treated as women, but a lot of men. Which are men is unclear. Some seem to think men would pretend to be trans women in order to enter women’s spaces. Some seem to think some trans people are genuine trans women, some not- alleged autogynephiliacs, perhaps, though I have seen “homosexual transsexuals” grouped there, who the woman claimed transitioned in order to seduce straight men.
To me, genuine trans women are those of us who transition or who intend to transition, which means adopting women’s presentation in clothes and hair. It is problematic, though- need they seek hormones or surgery? Keeping a beard excludes you from this definition, I think, but what I think does not really matter. What matters is the everyday encounters a person has. And the motive for transitioning is often used as a scare factor- shock horror, someone is deluded, transitioning is obviously wrong- but people still transition comfortably.
There are also the hard-right, who want to demonise us because they like to create out-groups. That is the motivation of The Spectator. Meanwhile, it is reported that employers would be less likely to recruit a trans person. There is a low level of prejudice against us, which the Right would inflame if it can.
We have faithful allies. Most of the Labour Party say “Trans women are women”, though there is the tiny minority which think we are a more important issue than any other, and would leave the party because of it.
There are some very nasty people frothing about and some odd alliances. A man, apparently a former Nazi, has feminists praising him loudly. There has been a public bomb threat from an idiot troll. There might be some interesting ideas brewing, so many people are thinking about this, but it might be better to see what has become a trend in a year’s time rather than to try to sift them out from the cacophony now.
And really, none of it matters. Can I enjoy time with friends, am I in danger walking down the street, can I do something I find worthwhile, all these things matter. One of the most exercised transphobes is not likely to recognise a trans woman in a loo, and I am unlikely to have anyone cause a scene when I use one. There is an ugly, feverish argument on social media with a tiny number of people spending a lot of time on it, and probably very little will come of it. I would be better to find something beautiful to contemplate. Here’s a Kandinsky.