being valued

What could be better than a Margaret Atwood when you’re feeling low? The characters are guaranteed to be having a worse time than you. I am loving The Testaments. The tale of Aunt Lydia’s breaking is terrifying and if I don’t want to believe it’s plausible I can believe it would work.

And it’s full of wonderful writing. A substitute culprit will not do in this case. A what? I get what she means immediately. Someone must be seen to be punished, and normally it’s OK if it’s not the responsible party. That someone would name the concept, use the term so casually- there’s so much darkness in two words.

I received a compliment, in writing, on Wednesday. It was from a Quaker, so it must be true, and it was a reference to my “very real gifts”. Unfortunately there was quite a lot of bad stuff around it.

So I asked Facebook for more. “Is there anything that you value in me?” It sounds disbelieving, and I soon changed it to “what do you value about me?”

-Insight. I find your thoughts enrich my understanding.
-warmth, wisdom, intelligence.
-You’re mysterious and unpredictable. You’ve always got something worth listening to, to say, that comes at things from a different angle.
-your friendship, writing, insight and creativity.
-100% honesty and a different point of view to mine which can only be balancing/enriching.
-your wisdom
-your friendship!
-twinkle in your eye.
-your integrity and concern for others.
– your calmness and spiritual nature.
-your sharp mind, vulnerability and kindness. And you’re fun. And you have beautiful eyes.
-You are a great listener, soft voice, warm eyes. You post a lot that I agree with.
-honesty
-integrity
-tenderness tenacity boldness
-openness, honesty and willingness to keep plugging away at loving relationship with others when it is bloody difficult. Also Quakers who it’s ok to be sweary with are a valuable resource.
-so interesting to talk to. Witty, shrewd, good listener. Great writer, determined. Etc!!!
-Openness and courage.

I note these things here to treasure them, because I need to hear them.

It has me reeling that people collected “observations” on how I irritated others. In five pages that phrase “very real gifts” was the only positive. I am suspected of being potentially physically violent, and accused of being manipulative, deceitful and completely lacking in empathy. I had to right royally irk several people to provoke that reaction. I did it, in part, by this. We realise these comments will be difficult to hear but we need to see signs that she acknowledges these concerns and commits to making appropriate changes to her conduct. Um. I am rueful. I am not sure I am confident enough to commit to changing conduct. I was angered before, might I be so again? It is humility rather than arrogance making me hesitate.

She who cannot control herself cannot control the path to duty. Do not fight the waves of anger, use the anger as your fuel. Inhale. Exhale. Sidestep. Circumvent. Deflect.

I wish they had asked, what do you think of Abigail? Then there might be a few positives.

Oh God! Perhaps they did!

Highlight of Facebook today was a post on a trans support group. Above a picture of an attractive woman it said, Am I the only romantic lesbian/transgender admirer left on this planet. If it’s love affection and 100% commitmen you’re looking for then I could be just that woman.

I took this too seriously. As some people seemed to be taking the bait (I was tempted) I wrote I am sorry to say I am suspicious. I had a look at your profile, and find your oldest cover photo and profile picture are from 29 October, which I think means that is when you started using the account, yet you have over a thousand fbfnds. There are some vulnerable people here. Are any of your fbfnds trans? Perhaps someone here has fbfnds in common with you.

Someone replied to me, “Stop moaning and send her your bank details”.

The Testaments ends with the words Love is as strong as death.

in the silence

I don’t believe in one “inner light”. Rather, the light one accesses is what one has suppressed, so that it can only be heard with concentrated attention. This will be different for each individual. So it is like the Shadow, unconscious, feared parts of the human being, until it is brought to consciousness, healed, matured and integrated. Then one acts as one whole human being, in the light which is from the whole human being, and there is no more shadow.

In worship I do not find one Inner Light. I find something which I do not trust. I have only been clear about a concern in retrospect: when it is complete I recognise I passionately wanted to do it, did it, and it was Good.

Humans understand in words by creating stories, and we understand immediately without words, and I found that direct perception painful, untrustworthy and difficult. I was badly damaged as a child, cut off from my feelings and desires so I did not know what I felt or wanted. In my early thirties I found my feelings were anger, resentment, frustration and fear. I wrote in my diary that it is time to rebel against my parents. Since then, I have been doing teenage. Then I found Quakers.

Still for me my feelings were that shadowy inner light, things that seemed wrong or threatening or not properly deferring gratification so not adult. In this culture we refer to an “inner child”, denigrating it: my inner child is as old as I am. Or praising it: we become like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Usually I simply suppressed my feelings. Then in 1999 I found a suppressed vulnerable part within me which I could suppress no longer. As it surfaced the conscious part of me identified it as the Real Me. I saw it as feminine, and have expressed it in part through my transsexual transition.

And I feared my feelings. I would feel anger or fear, and fear that the feeling would overwhelm me. You will have had the experience of fighting back tears- it’s like that. It was paralysis.

Or a feeling was impossible for me. I could not be confused, I was highly intelligent and should see what is going on. Recently I saw I was acting as if anxious and confused, and thought, perhaps I am anxious and confused. Confusion is easier for me to see in myself, now.

So much was unconscious. I was blind to it, and excavating it has been difficult, painful, rewarding work. I realised I saw myself as absolutely worthless, and seeing that, then observing myself, I have been able to discern good qualities in myself.

I had the idea one should sit still in worship. Some Friends shifted in their seat occasionally, some sat in the same posture throughout, feet flat on the floor, hands folded in lap. Wherever I am I want to fit in, not make a fuss, follow the rules, so I wanted to sit still. I was concerned to find myself adopting closed body language, arms crossed, legs crossed, and perturbed that I was shifting in my seat. I resisted it.

What you resist persists. I thought about it more. Living with it during worship, I gradually permitted the moving. I began to see it as self-protection. Open body language signified openness. I would be open to the space and the people. Then I would curl up, and close off, when I needed to retreat. Recovered, I would open again. If I ministered, it was from the open position.

Over a period of years, I moved from resisting closing off, through accepting it, then valuing it, seeing what it achieved for me, then needing to do it less. Around Autumn 2016 I had mostly stopped.

In 2017 I was seeking to be aware of the flow of my feelings in worship. I resisted this, too, at first. I have an inner light, I thought, my link to God, pure good and truthful, and this is nothing like that. It is mercurial, painful, incomprehensible, often ridiculous. I am quite clear now that seeking to know my feelings was my way to find that inner light, but at the time it felt selfish, a misuse of Meeting.

One thing stopping me hearing the inner light, or the integrated human, is my conception of what it is and what it would say, my inability to conceive it saying that. So I ignore it until it convinces me it is in fact saying that. Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Also a Friend was quite sure of the complete separation of spirituality from “mere” emotional states, from her own experience and her wide reading. That might be true, for a person fully in touch with her emotions.

I became more aware of feelings. I would find myself thinking during worship of something that had made me angry years before, and chide myself- surely that is not still bothering me? Then it seemed that the feeling was real, and the thought of the past event was a way to bring a current feeling into consciousness.

This was a painful process. I resisted and feared my feelings. I would rock, cry, occasionally gasp, twist tense and contort my body, and be in discomfort. And it was a blessing. I was finding myself and growing to value myself- two entwined processes.

In October 2018 I received a blessing. I meditate by myself at home, irregularly. I had been avoiding meditating because I feared I would be conscious of all my pain, and it would crush me; all my trauma would retraumatise me, and I would be only the pain. Then after weeks I suddenly and spontaneously knelt to meditate. I felt all my pain, and felt no fear or resistance to it. I was with my pain, and I could bear it.

People seeing me worship since will see me rocking or contorting less. I might even sit still for a whole meeting!

I am profoundly grateful for the time in worship doing this. Often, at the start of worship, I would look round the people there and think of what I knew of them that was honourable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy, and now I might spend a meeting dwelling on Love; but this was a healing process for me, bringing me closer to Light, and I am grateful for it.

I knew it might bother other worshippers but had no idea how much. One described me as a ticking time bomb preventing her from centring down, such that she ceased attending. I am desolate that that happened, and not solely responsible. I want you to see the benefit of that stage in my worship for me. It was what I needed to do, and in times of confusion or growth in the future I may be back there again: I think the process is mostly complete, not totally. Had I known I might have done something different; or possibly explained, so that I was not so distracting. We should speak our tensions before they explode.

I was blaming myself, though. Then a Friend wrote, the woman who left should own  her actions. So I feel a bit better.

I am more integrated than I was. I am more able to discern my inner light. Worship has profited me. I would work hard to help it profit others, whenever I see the opportunity.

Paula Bolton

An author of the “Labour Women’s Declaration”, which I consider transphobic, asked me to support it, because we get on so well. I like her. Even, I admire her. She wrote this about her work for women’s rights. Read and weep, for there is so much to admire:

In the early 80s with thousands of other Women in the Peace movement we went to Greenham common and protested about Nuclear Weapons and were treated appallingly as Women…

I was asked to speak at the May Day Rally in 1986 – with 20 minutes notice! My comrades had suddenly realised that they didn’t have one woman on the platform. I was tempted to refuse and show up the sexist attitude which was normal at the time. But in the end I spoke – I had my 2 yr old nephew with me in a pushchair. As I entered the Labour Club (which my Dad founded in 1963) the doorman pointed to Daniel and said “You can’t bring that in here”. I said” That happens to be the grandson of the founder of this club – and I happen to be one of the speakers so I suggest you hold the door open for me!” I barged my way in and gave a very fiery speech – without them even finding me a space to sit alongside them on the podium BTW…

(I advised a woman who wanted to claim discrimination against her working men’s club.)

I started the Women’s Centre with my sister in 1986 appalled at the amount of Domestic Abuse taken for granted all around me. I listened to, and gave emotional support to thousands of Women over 20 years. Survivors of Rape, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancy, failed contraception – Lesbian mothers losing custody to violent fathers, stories of unfair working practices like having to wear a red badge at Perfil perfume factory if you were on your period, tales of women being paid a fraction of their male colleagues – a door man earning 4 times as much as the female manager because – to quote the boss “he is a young man and will have higher expenditure” …what than a single mum on the bread line???…

This Woman of Steel is not going to sit back and let the hard won rights that we have fought for alongside thousands of other women – be taken away.

Reading this, I only admire her more, and feel anger for what she has had to endure. But why is she now working to exclude trans women? After working for women’s rights for decades, she now goes on the (trans excluding) lesbian march in Leeds, writes this, and joins the “LGB” group whose only concern is to exclude trans women.

She emailed me, I have never once suggested that you are a threat or dangerous in any way. The issue is abusive men. How to safeguard women and girls from them. I don’t know whether she believes that. I emailed back asking I too am against abusive men. The question is, do you think anyone who would call themself a trans woman is an “abusive man”, and if so on what criteria?

Well? Tara Wolf committed assault, and Karen White committed rape, but we have reason to suppose they are genuine trans women. The prison authorities believe prisoners have shown themselves to be untrustworthy, so seek evidence that someone is genuinely trans. The anti-trans campaigners should say why they think the proper way to deal with these women’s crimes is to exclude all trans women, rather than to punish the perpetrators.

Or, does she seriously believe a man would pretend to be a trans woman in order to assault women? It is, tragically, too easy to assault women without going to such efforts.

After decades of worthwhile campaigning against injustice, Paula Bolton is now punching down at weaker targets, and a companion of the hard right and its billionaire backers. It is tragic.

Supporting those billionaires there is now a “Feminists women and girls declaration” from some Green Party members. It had six hundred signatures. It’s the usual bilge, sex-based rights and the rest of it, as if the only threat to women’s rights were trans women. You’d think Paula’s experiences would have convinced her otherwise, but she does not act as if they have.

Listening and speaking

Lunch out with a woman I like and admire a lot, and a man who talked all the time. I asked her what she did at uni and she answered with an apologetic air, as if it was clichéd for someone like her, rather than his boundless self-confidence. She talked of living abroad, at one time she could get a word in edgeways, and I hardly remember a thing he said.

Similar unjustified self-confidence can be seen in this Tory leaflet:

There’s Spaffer Johnson, his tie neatly knotted, and Mr Corbyn in- a t-shirt! Shock, horror! They accuse Labour of “wrecking the economy” though under Labour, the debt generally goes down and economic growth is higher than under the Tories. The Tories claim they will “deliver Brexit”, though through incompetence, infighting and an inability to get a good withdrawal agreement they have delayed it eight months already. It’s lies and bluster. I take some hope from their negative, fear-mongering leaflet: it shows they do not believe they have anything positive to offer. They fearmonger against Mr Corbyn because they are running scared.

Here, by contrast, is Labour.

It begins, I believe that we can make real changes when people come together. So do I. This is the message of hope, the promise of working together for the common good, that makes politics worthwhile.

I went leafleting on Friday for 2 1/2 hours, and on Sunday morning I was still stiff. I went leafleting again, and now my ankle feels weak. I will have to wear a support. I had hoped to leaflet on Saturday morning but the depression stopped me. I don’t know it will until it does. I imagine I will be able to get up and do what I (think I) want to do, and then I don’t.

When my ankle went weak, though, I asked for a lift home. I did not push myself beyond what I could manage.

Caroline asked me what instruments I played, and then if I wanted to join a band. I felt anxiety. I am glad of being aware of it. No, I do not want to join a band. I have a synth and an amp, and have no wish to play with others. Possibly if I built some self-confidence. But I would not have known.

So, I improve at listening to myself, noticing and valuing myself.

The Tories are happy to waste public money, if they can increase hate and misery. 89% of people informing on ESA and PIP claimants to the Department for Withdrawing Payment are making baseless allegations. Yet the Tories spend, and the DWP investigates all allegations.

I love this paragraph of the Labour manifesto:

We will improve the safety of the
family court system for domestic
violence victims and prohibit their
cross-examination by their abuser.
We will introduce protections for victims of so-called revenge porn. Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure. We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

But nutcase Christians have gone apeshit. The Labour Party have pledged to introduce abortion, on-demand, for any reason, up to birth, lies one site. Abortion should be no concern of the criminal law. It shoulfl be between a woman and her medical advisers. No doctor will do an unnecessary abortion. Any abortion after 24 weeks will be traumatic for the woman. No one does these lightly. Doctors’ organisations will enforce ethical rules.

Corbyn in Corby

Beth Miller, I hope our next MP, introduced Jeremy Corbyn with her highlights from the manifesto: a green revolution. A living wage of ÂŁ10 an hour so working people would o longer rely on food banks. A thousand new Sure start centres, which were modelled on Pen Green in Corby. Counsellors in schools to address the growing mental health problems.

She said we need members involved, to stuff envelopes, deliver leaflets and knock on doors. There are pledge forms to promisw help. We don’t have Tory money, but we have Labour people.

Jeremy Corbyn said people from all over country came to Corby, but lost jobs in the continuing deindustrialisation. In the debate last night, we got a voice to say what we want to say.

This morning he was at a warehouse in Sheffield. There was a line of white vans and people queuing up for zero hours jobs like dock workers fifty years ago. Zero hours contracts give all the power to the employer. Workers on zero hours hope for a call or text from their employer offering a few hours.They don’t know if they can afford their rent or feed their family. Level of stress is wholly unnecessary and wrong. Bezos is multi-billionaire.

We will introduce corporation tax rules so that mumultinationals pay on what they do and earn in this country.  They are short changing our public services. Everyone should pay into thesystem to be part of society from which everyone benefits.

Labour will end zero hours contracts immediately. Workers will have full rights at work from day one. There will be a Dept of Employment rights to enforce rights, giving Employment law real force.

Yesterday the media was full of our manifesto. Will we crash the economy? Corporation tax and highest rate Income tax will go up, to level of public expenditures of middle European economies.

We should be proud of the manifesto. It is shocking that in the world’s fifth richest country, the UN rapporteur on poverty concluded that the social contract of 1940s was replaced by cold and uncaring ethos where some people lose out totally.

To homeless, children and old people we are determined to give security so children can develop. This manifesto has many things in it.

The poor are paying the price of austerity.The Tory budget cut expenditure and benefits, and froze public sector wages. With council grant cuts, working class communities have 25% less spending power. Parents must get into debt to support kids through uni.

Social care was not unaffordable ten years ago. We will take the debt burden off the next generation and the sick. There will be social care for people who need it.

The Tories want this to be a Brexit election People voted leave for anger or hope. Other people up against it in housing and other ways. Under a Tory no deal, there would be tariffs on all goods. The Trump trade deal is now being negotiated: we have documents through FoI. They don’t tell us any of discussions, which are all redacted. US published their aims, that the deal must include access to public services including our health care “market”. US companies would run our NHS and make money.

Under Labour, within three months we would negotiate a trade arrangement with the EU to protect jobs and the Good Friday agreement. We would be honest brokers in a further referendum, in which Mr Corbyn would not take a side. That would be end of matter. Then we would transform the country for the majority of the people. We would bring people together. Appeal to leave and remain.

Our campaign all over country. Huge spike in registration to vote, above 2017. Three million new voters.

We have to persuade voters on the doorstep. We will invest for the future, in Cradle to grave education, a National investment bank, Broadband free for the whole country. When this was announced, within ten minutes the Media called this communism. Then they found it was popular. Most people pay about ÂŁ30 a month for web access. It is essential to all business, so businesses don’t go where broadband is poor. The investment will be over ten years.

On the climate crisis, Labour’s Motion in parliament declared an emergency. Tories abstained. The Paris accord of 2015 is not enough. We need to achieve net zero well before 2050 by investment, in Home insulation, and 300 000 jobs in green energy sector. He is inspired by climate protesters.

It’s no good if we export pollution to others by Importing goods which pollute elsewhere. That merely moves the problem.

He would be so proud to host the Climate conference here next year. It is a Class issue: the poorest around world breathe the worst air. Floods in Yorkshire show we are suffering unusual weather events. Labour will Invest in river management. The Market will not, so water companies must be brought into public ownership to stop their asset stripping.

The campaign is exciting. We knock on doors. Imagine Tories in government on Dec13?  Who would be cheering? The billionaires. There would be no end to the Misery and suicide on UC. Head teachers would still have to scrimp. When Labour wins nurses students and workers win. Our Manifesto was written by people all over country.

We must put in an unbelievable effort. There is far more interest than the media thought. This is an election about our future. We can make a Country proud of environment, spreading our peace values round world, defeating poverty. When we win everybody wins. Let’s work flat out.

My thumbs are not fast enough to transcribe, but that’s the gist.

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?

If someone transitions because of their own or someone else’s homophobia, that would mean that they thought same sex attraction was disgusting and wrong but transgender transition was absolutely fine. That seems unlikely. Does anyone show such a view?

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.