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, but she really isn’t. 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. She expands on that interviewed by Labour List.

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. For example, now women’s services can exclude trans women in some circumstances, and the report recommended that right be withdrawn.

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.

5 January 2020: people are pushing her to clarify her position. Consider this twitter thread: there are trans people and allies asking if they should worry about Jess becoming leader, and terfs calling her a “traitor to her sex” for supporting trans people. It is horrible. There are a huge number of people getting angry and self-righteous, and in the middle Ms Phillips tweets, “Have tried to include as many as poss, sorry I get millions of messages every day hard to see even a fraction. I was one of the MPs who wrote the report on improving trans rights.”

I will not demand a politician utter the words “trans women are women”, particularly not in this febrile atmosphere. Here she said we need to be confident to speak for what we believe in, never being neutral on the hardest questions. Trans rights should not be an exception, but what really matters is getting a Labour government. People are frightened of the Tories, talking of emigrating, and I will stand with them.

So this is what I ask of Jess Phillips. Say that men will not pretend to be trans in order to attack women: it’s too easy for them without dressing up. And trans women are not dangerous as a class: excluding trans women as a whole will do cis women no good. Refute the fearmongering claims. This is what politicians should say about trans.

20 January 2020: I am rather sad Jess Phillips has left the leadership contest, having been unable to gain sufficient Union support. I liked what she said on this Mumsnet thread. “I do believe transwomen are women.” She says the anger of the argument is bad for progressives, and safety for women’s spaces can be discussed. The trans women in her women’s shelter did not pose a risk. No trans woman wants women to shut up about reproductive health. They should not be turned away.

3 August 2020: Jess Phillips is wrong about Rosie Duffield, but it is of a piece with her desire to promote dialogue.

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 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”.

Later the event was put off until January, possibly because of incompetence by the organisers, possibly to eke out its notoriety a little longer. (February 2020- I find no reference to it on their website, so perhaps it did not go ahead.)

May 2021: Jenny Marra MSP failed to stand in the following Scottish Parliament election. 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 prominent transphobes are 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.

On radio 4, Laura Pidcock, shadow Employment Secretary, said, She said: “We have said that single-sex spaces exemptions within the Equality Act are enforced… I think, there has to be the enforcement of single space exemptions for women to heal and recover.

“It is absolutely crucial, however, that there are spaces, that there is provision, for trans people to also get help and support on any issue.”

Oh brilliant. Separate but equal.

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!!

Prominent and damaging Labour transphobes include Jo Stevens, Shadow secretary for digital, culture, media and sport, and Rosie Duffield MP.

13 February 2020: Sign the statement and pledge for the Labour Campaign for trans rights.

20 February: It’s hard to know what Tony Blair meant when he said, You’ve got to distinguish between the advocacy of certain things that are right, whether it’s about gay rights, transgender rights, whatever it is… and launching yourself politically into a kind of culture war with the right. If you go, ‘Transgender rights is our big thing’, and the right goes, ‘Immigration control is our big thing’, you’re going to lose that war. Should we not mention trans rights? Journalists ask us about it and write about it because controversy means clicks, just as they asked Tim Farron endlessly about his Evangelical faith and gay people, whatever else he wanted to talk about. I don’t want trans rights to be our “big thing” either, but I want us to speak up for them.

Here is the relevant part of the Rule Book 2019: Chapter 2, Clause I, para 8: No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party. The NEC and NCC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment or identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation as conduct prejudicial to the Party: these shall include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as determined by the NEC, wherever it occurs, as conduct prejudicial to the Party.The disclosure of confidential information relating to the Party or to any other member, unless the disclosure is duly authorised or made pursuant to a legal obligation, shall also be considered conduct prejudicial to the Party.

The words I have put in bold show the “Labour Women’s Declaration” is “conduct prejudicial to the party”. The members who signed it should be suspended under the Chapter 6 disciplinary rules.

6 April: I am delighted with our new leader Keir Starmer. In his letter to Labour MPs, recorded in this video, he said, “The truth is that antisemitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it’s brought to so many Jewish communities. That is why I used my first words as Leader to apologise to the Jewish community. It will take time to rebuild trust but with your support we can do it.” He should say the same about transphobia. He said “We need to update the Gender Recognition Act”.

29 June: Keir Starmer demanded Lloyd Russell Moyle apologise to JK Rowling, then said we should “have the conversation” about trans rights, listening to transphobes as well as trans people.

2021: Rosie Duffield MP and Tonia Antoniazzi MP are vicious transphobes, spreading hatred.

In praise of self-loathing

Put a tiger in your tank! You run really fast from a tiger.

First day canvassing for the election had good and bad moments. The best was persuading someone to think more about voting for us, possibly even to change her vote.

More disturbing was another woman’s shouting. She had an unbreakable syllogism:

We knew what we voted for
You have not given it
You are undemocratic.

Ian tried arguing. He too voted to Leave. The Tories were in government, and they messed up their own Brexit- they could have been out by March had they tried to exit in the National interest, rather than their own- but her talking point, or shouting point, was impregnable. All her anger in Life, it seemed, was channelled through this one issue against us.

In the cafe for lunch, we were just leaving when a man started shouting at us. “I fought for my country! How can you wear that thing” (a red rosette) “that anti-British traitor!” I looked at him. He looked late fifties, so he might have been in Northern Ireland, or possibly the Falklands. I tried saying my father also fought for this country, but he was not interested in listening.

There was I at my most beautiful- not cowed or triggered, but wanting to understand and engage, to find some common ground. When Beth came over, he just started shouting “Get out! Get out!” She told him, reasonably, she was leaving and he could not tell her not to use a cafe.

I came to this position, by the next morning. If you disagree with a more articulate debater, it is a reasonable tactic to keep repeating your point until they shut up, which is more self respecting than putting your hands over your ears and shouting NONONONO until they go away. We don’t have the right to change another’s mind.

And that evening, tired after canvassing, I sat up until midnight maundering in my chair, fiddling with my phone.

I took two hours with two separate Samaritan men working it out. They gave me the time but irritated me. What use is self-loathing, one asked, as if recognising it would be enough for me to slough it off. People saw it in me and pointed it out last century. One reason for it was my “disgusting” (a word I used) cross-dressing.

It is my main motivation, or at least was. It may motivate many perfectionists, and if you can be close to perfect being perfectionist is painful but effective. Gosh you get things done. It was wound up too tight in me, I think, or worked with other characteristics to hurt me too much so I broke, but until I broke it got me working.

The other reason I don’t give up until I am dangling on the end of a rope is that I am not consciously aware of my discomfort. Now all my feelings came to the surface- confusion, hurt, the desperate need to kick out a climate-denying MP and a nationalist government, one of whose aims is to whip up hatred, including of trans women. I am confused, and can’t bear confusion.

My previous way of responding, not knowing my feelings, was to shut down. I would lose all motivation and stop, “depressed”. No, really, Depressed. The self-deprecation, refusal to believe that any problem should give any difficulty to someone who is not worthless, weak, useless, or even that it is a real problem is strong in me. I suppose it is reassuring. If I am not really depressed, I can get up any moment and surmount all difficulties.

Excavating feelings however painful is my way to health and freedom.

So I slept badly, and wondered about not canvassing on Monday. I was in chaos, perceiving different feelings, trying to put together a rational understanding and not grasping it, frightened.

Highly intelligent, I am dependant on my rational understanding. It keeps me safe, and without it I am terrified, which is a problem when the world cannot be understood.

And I talked it through. I have a tiger in my tank. I went canvassing, which in a more Labour area was more encouraging.

Tucking for comfort and a feminine silhouette

Should trans women tuck?

I always did. I experimented, and found tummy-control panties which would reliably hold me in yet were comfortable, so I could do it all day every day. Ease the testicles up into the inguinal canal that they descended from, fold the penis back between the legs, hold in place with panties. Simple. I read “sometimes I chafe so much that I bleed” and thought, she’s doing it wrong.

I never used tape. I did not tuck under a bikini, but in tight jeans or skirt there is no need for a visible bulge. And a bikini should be wearable with sticky tape cleverly applied.

Before going full time at work I wore hip pads, and they were stiff enough that the bulge would not have been identifiable; and I still tucked inside them. I never experienced any discomfort.

Tucking made me more confident. I was less likely to get spotted. It just seemed right. The testicles would usually pop down when I took my pants off but if they didn’t immediately that was OK.

And yet no trans woman should have to tuck if she does not want to. Insisting that she does is transphobic.

It’s transphobic in non-trans people, who have no right to police us or tell us the right way to be trans, and it’s transphobic in trans people. Each trans woman’s way of being trans is her business and no one else’s. The discomfort I feel when someone is not tucked, or has a beard, is internalized transphobia and I should not project it onto others.

Policing people’s presentation is a form of oppression which makes the lives of gender-variant people more difficult.

And yet I do feel that discomfort. When I did not conform to other’s ideas of how I should present they made their contempt obvious, and it hurt me. To avoid that contempt I internalized it: I feel it myself, so restrict myself to avoid it. Though the contemptuous person is miles away or dead, their contempt still works in me. Freeing myself of it is an effort, especially as what is just not done is often unconscious in me, restricting me beneath my awareness.

Don’t judge. But she’s not trying, she does not care, she can’t be a Real Transsexual! Surely she would want to look as cis as possible?

It’s transphobia, internalised, projected, oppressive. And some people are non-binary.

We hurt, and we want to score points off each other. The oneupmanship is obvious, even when we are most saccharine.

-I never won’t tuck… I am at a point in my transition where I don’t really get clocked, one simpers, showing off.
-It’s been so long that I hardly even remember what it was like tucking, replies the other, the gracious postop sharing her wisdom.

I’m doing that a bit myself, I suppose. Sharing my wisdom to be admired and evoke gratitude; but also to help.

Find how you can do it painlessly. It is worth the effort.

-Tucking can cause health problems.
Not if you’re doing it right.

And that may be me showing off, being the More Skilled Trans woman, it’s a hard habit to break.

Someone made the point that if you don’t tuck your bulge is at eye-level of small children, and they will notice. The transphobes may notice too, and use it as something to mock or belittle you, but if you tuck they will mock you for something else.

The “feminist” transphobes will use a bulge to allege you are a sexual threat. See above.

Should non-op trans women tuck life long? They should do as they please.

We should support each other not tear each other down. We should be willing to help if asked.

SNP Transphobia

One SNP women’s officer got in the Herald for disgusting transphobic abuse, and a few are now signing her transphobe “Women’s Pledge”. You can report it to Avaaz as hate speech, as I did. Question is, do people realise it is transphobic?

Men and women rushed to sign the Women’s Pledge.

Um. A few thousand, from a Scottish population of five million.

… The pledge affirms women’s single sex protections in the Equality Act 2019 which we believe must be upheld.

There is no Equality Act 2019. I am happy with the Equality Act 2010, the Act which includes me. And- trans women are women!  I have no problem with single sex women’s services which include me.

Women have the right to discuss policies which affect them, such as the proposed self identification of sex, without being abused or silenced.

A facile lie. Gender recognition reform only affects trans people. No one will declare themselves the opposite sex without transitioning, even if the law permitted it, which is unlikely.

And the press and internet are full of transphobic hatred. Some women discuss nothing else. But when they say we are dangerous, we object.

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.

We know what she means, of course. No Trans Women!!  But the Equality Act includes trans women in these spaces. She cannot have it both ways- you can’t exclude all trans women, and support the Equality Act.

Women have the right to refuse consent to males in single sex spaces or males delivering intimate services to females such as washing, dressing or counselling.

So any woman could object to a trans woman. I would go to the loo, some transphobe would stop me, “refuse consent” and I would be excluded. Or in a work place one worker would “refuse consent” and there would thereafter be a sign on the door, No Trans Women. Rather than law accommodating a few mostly harmless eccentrics, the might of the law would police where I went to the toilet.

It would make transition impossible, and thereby make other gender nonconformity more difficult.

Women have the right to single sex sport to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.

And human rights law would need rewritten. Instead of recognising that some people transition, and that is harmless, it would exclude us.

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

Women could have women only clubs, even political parties. That would involve tearing up the Equality Act too: sex discrimination law works both ways.

Nicola Sturgeon said, “As an ardent, passionate feminist, and have been all of my life, I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism.” Though some MSPs disagree, the SNP “supports trans rights and women’s rights as part of our commitment to human rights and equality”.

But some people want to divide the SNP and turn it into an organisation to eradicate transsexual transition: because such people have no interest in any other political issue, but all is subordinated to excluding trans women.

The most significant transphobe to crawl out of the darkness where some hide their hate is the MSP Joan McAlpine, who has organised a hate-fest at the Scottish Parliament on TDoR. It was later rescheduled for January, possibly because the organisers are incompetent, possibly to eke out the notoriety.

There’s also Joanna Cherry MP, calling someone misogynist for holding up a B with the T sign. That article has an excellent explanation of what a “TERF” is. I have collected several examples of Cherry’s extreme transphobia here. She couldn’t be prosecuted, but has probably caused violence against trans people.

23 February 2021: The SNP’s new transphobia policy is better than nothing I suppose.

The Monster didn’t get me

but it was a close run thing. This is why people drink.

I still don’t know what I feel, sometimes. There is a feeling, behind a wall. I don’t consciously know it is there. So on Tuesday before I didn’t go into the office I didn’t know I wouldn’t and even after I didn’t I didn’t know why.

No motivation.
Depressed.
Didn’t feel like it.

This morning I got up earlier and then when I had to get ready and go I put down my phone with which I was distracting myself and felt

fear.

The Monster will get me.It became clear to me. I feel real fear. I do not fear anything in the world, in reality, outside my skin, but looking bad to- something, either my mother introjected or my own judgment of what she wanted, but the fear is real.

As I cycled in I kept reminding myself.

What I fear is not in the world.
What I fear is not going to happen.

What I feared was being inadequate so disappointing my mother so death. This is a small child’s reaction controlling a woman of fifty-three.

When I got in I told Caroline this, just managing not to cry, and she hugged me. Her son had seen a terrible accident the day before, when someone died.

People are concerned for me and glad I am here, not hating and despising me. People are humans not monsters. Yet the fear was real, enough to keep me away, enough to hide from my awareness, enough to keep me distracted by my phone rather than facing the world.

I was tired before I could go home, less than five hours later.

What have I achieved? I have faced an illusion which terrified me. I have seen the truth enough to doubt the illusion and keep going.

I have cycled to an office four miles away with good-enough people in it, and done a bit of typing and photocopying.

I am proud of myself and my inner critic says that’s nothing, anyone could do far more, you’re still useless, and projects the judgment onto anyone reading this. But not well enough to stop me publishing this post.

I would love to universalise this, to make my human journey worthwhile by using my writing skills to give valuable lessons to others. Without that it feels so much struggle for so little result. But it is my struggle, and my result.

In other news, the GP referred me to a clinic for an NHS wig, and they refused, saying they provided them to people with cancer or a diagnosis of alopecia from a consultant. They suggested I contact the gender identity clinic.

My GP wrote to the GIC, and had a wonderful letter back:

She attracted a straightforward diagnosis of transsechalism… and a further appointment would be a grotesque waste, rather the same as a patient having to be re-examined to confirm that their leg is still amputated. I imagine that this patient would be likely to benefit from a wig in exactly the manner that you outline.

I hope it is enough to get me a wig from the local trust.