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.

4 thoughts on “Paula Bolton

  1. Reading between the lines I infer that you would have considered her a friend of yours until the anti-trans talks/acts arose. If so, I’m sorry that you are becoming isolated from someone who could’ve been an ally.

    Has she responded at all to the high level of violence against trans women — especially trans women of colour? Such violence is clearly gender-based violence and would be one of the arguments for including trans women as women in a variety of situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like her and find her admirable. I like her humour and creativity. I did not know her before she was into trans exclusion. She wants me as an ally alongside various trans women who hate trans women.

      It is a cultural thing. Gender variant people suffer varying degrees of acceptance. She is gender variant herself. I would like her to see that gender variant people should support all ways of being gender variant.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think part of the problem is considering the problem “men” as opposed to “humans who are abusive and sexist.” I’m trans male and lived as a woman in female spaces for the first twenty years of my life. I encountered no shortage of women who were homophobic bullies who did real psychological damage to me. I had a cousin who was bullied to the point of attempting suicide by other women. I had another who was twice raped by a (cisgender) woman. Women’s spaces are not in any way guaranteed safe, whether or not trans women are excluded.

    Rather, it is the logic of the patriarchy that teaches that men are inherently violent and dangerous, and therefore women need to be separated from men for their own protection. It is possible to FEEL safer in female only spaces, but how much of that is simply due to swallowing the oppressive lies of patriarchy? The long-held line that women are in need of protection because they are “softer” and “more morally pure” and therefore must be shielded from the real world.

    This furthermore gives abusive men an out. Studies have shown, over and over again, that rapes and violent crime are not committed by the majority of men. Rather, a small minority of men commit these crimes as repeat offenders, and the patriarchy normalizes their behavior so that powerful men are spared the consequences. Acknowledging that nine out of ten men will never rape, harass or beat their wives is not some MRA line; it exposes the Harvey Weinsteins and Donald Trumps as the monsters they are, and forces society to hold them accountable. As long as the problem is “men vs women,” the patriarchy has an edge, because it can continue spreading the lie that there is an essential difference in our human nature.

    ….Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now.

    Liked by 2 people

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