Natalie Bird perfectly illustrates how transphobes may drown in their own hatred, and become divorced from reality. She joined the Lib Dems in 2015, and stood for the local council. In November 2019 Bird was barred from holding or standing for election to any party office for ten years, because of her transphobia, or for arguing against party policy. She denies being transphobic, claiming she simply supports women’s rights.
Now, her discipline by the LibDems consumes her. She must have had some reason to join- its environmental policies, perhaps, its record in local government, or its longstanding commitment to women’s rights. She wanted to work for it. Now she wants to attack it, only because she disagrees with the party on the issue of trans rights.
She is trying to raise £55,000 to sue the party. When I looked, she had raised £6,715. She is an ordinary woman, of no particular interest, yet her transphobe campaign was reported in The Times. What has she to say about it?
She claims it is a matter of protecting women’s rights, but the LibDems strongly support women’s rights. They seek equal representation by women in their “Campaign for Gender Balance”. They take women’s rights seriously. They emphasise their policies on violence against women and girls, the gender price gap, and period poverty. Once, perhaps, Bird supported them on these things. Now, she claims the party is not supporting women’s rights. The issue of trans inclusion, for her, trumps all the work they do for women’s representation and women’s needs.
She claims that once trans women are included, women won’t be able to fight for any women’s rights issue. I presume she thinks all the gains will be taken by trans women. Possibly there might be a trans woman on a Scottish public board, but violence against women will hardly become invisible just because violence against trans women is included.
She claims excluding trans women from shop changing rooms is a child safeguarding issue. Of all the ways a child abuser might approach children, dressing as a woman and going into shop changing rooms is perhaps the least likely. Most child abuse is by family, and family friends. Picking on a safeguarding issue stops her thinking. She simply gets angry: What about the Children? Her arguments make no sense at all, but she has gone beyond that: they are satisfying to her emotionally, and part of her “sense of self”.
She brought up the scary issue of penises- “male equipment”. Someone asked her, “When did you last see anyone’s genitals in a shop changing room or public toilet?” She could not answer. But this will not stop her scaremongering about trans women’s penises in the future.
The LibDems have eleven MPs, and seven of them are women. All of them support trans rights. Bird alleges they are all too scared to challenge policy on trans rights, and claims misogyny. Actually, the misogyny here is claiming that women MPs do not have the self-confidence to say what they mean and what they believe. Women can be scared to speak up. Hannah Bardell, now an MP, did not come out as lesbian until 2012, when she was 36. But now she is an MP she is no longer scared, and she stands up for trans rights.
Bird might have been a useful campaigner for the LibDems, putting out leaflets, canvassing, perhaps even standing for the council in a winnable seat. Instead she obsessively attacks the party. Rupert Murdoch is laughing at women like her, his dupes. She does not risk prison like Rob Hoogland, but otherwise her life and her community work are turned upside down, by her obsessive transphobia.