Omicron

Should I refuse my booster vaccination, as a protest against the failure to vaccinate most of the world?

Covid news moved quickly last week. There was a variant which might be of concern, which South Africa reported to WHO on Wednesday 24th, as B.1.1.529. Then there were news media referring to it as Mu or Nu. Then on Friday WHO classified it as Omicron. They said the earliest known case in South Africa was sequenced from a sample collected on 9 November. So flights from South Africa were suddenly banned, but too late. With minimal prescience I thought, it’s here already. On Saturday afternoon, the first British cases were reported.

Dr Ayoade Alakija expressed coruscating anger, eloquently expressing what I feel. Omicron, reportedly with reinfection rate 2, has many mutations affecting its spike protein. The spike is the basis of many vaccines. So Omicron is more likely to defeat the vaccines than Delta. Rich countries could have reduced the risk of variants reaching us by vaccinating poor countries. But we didn’t.

The UK has delivered only 11% of the vaccines it promised to the global vaccine distribution agency.

A certain level of covid appears to be found acceptable. In Britain testing has found around 30,000 cases a day since July. Not all positive tests may be reported. There have been over a hundred deaths a day since August, but the figures seem fairly stable. The UK total deaths is now over 143,000. Since August, around 800 a day have been admitted to hospital– some to be put on oxygen, some to be put on ventilators.

The world cumulative death toll, with all the data-gathering problems that has, was given as 5.2m as I typed.

I am convinced that the vaccine substantially reduces my chances of infection, of serious illness, and of passing on Delta. I think it probable that a booster would also reduce the risks of these things with Omicron. I fear there will be sufficient data available soon to test that hypothesis. If not, there may be work on other vaccines. Whatever doubt there is that the booster would affect Omicron, there are currently high rates of Delta infection in Britain, and taking the booster is the action I can take to reduce risk to myself and others.

A hunger strike is only a risk to the individual concerned. Refusing vaccination causes risk to others. I have an obligation to those I might infect. A protest has limited effect. I would inform my MP, but it would not by itself make our Nationalist government take vaccination of other countries seriously.

Separate from what effect any action might have, I might try to consider whether it was right to refuse vaccination.

Saturday, I went to an organ recital by a friend. Some were masked in the church, some were not. In “For the fallen”, Elgar arr. Harrison Oxley, he took us on a profound emotional journey. In carol preludes by Noel Rawsthorne he filled me with joy. After, a group of us went for coffee. There was a small sign on the table about masking when away from tables, and noting our presence with our phones, but I did not have my phone and don’t know if anyone did. As I type, there were further restrictions predicted, but I have no idea what “Let the corpses pile high” Johnson might countenance to reduce spread.

I would want to distinguish any depressive lack of motivation to arrange the booster, now I have had my invitation letter, from a principled desire to protest.

Then on the news on Saturday evening I heard that Omicron symptoms might be less severe than Delta. However, even if Omicron is not a serious threat, Delta is, and the same arguments about not getting a booster apply.

I don’t know. What do you think?

Justin Webb

If the BBC were defunded, as the Conservative government seeks to do, broadcasting and newsgathering in Britain would be irreparably damaged. But it is institutionally transphobic, and makes complaints against them phenomenally difficult. Complain enough, and they suggest you write to the Executive Complaints Unit.

Here is my complaint against Justin Webb, explained for the Executive Complaints Unit in full. Continue reading

Communicating liberation

In November 2021, I stepped into my grace. Is it possible to state this in a way people will understand? Mine is a project of self-liberation: can I express my insights in order to liberate others? Or, I cannot liberate anyone, but I might help them to see some truth, so that they liberate themselves?

It’s a poetic metaphor- “I stepped into my grace”. I have begun to write about this. I have spoken about it, and on Wednesday night someone rhapsodised her gratitude to me, quoting that phrase. She had heard me at a moment when it really spoke to her. I felt slight embarrassment, but also great joy which continues today.

Poetry works. It spoke to her. It might only speak to a few people in the same way. I expanded the image-

God=Power
Goddess=Grace

Reading the Tao Te Ching over the last twenty years, it has seemed that I understood the poetry when I had already learned the spiritual lesson. Now, from experience I have an idea of what “flow like water” might mean, which expands as I grow into it. So rereading different English versions I might see more in them, and come closer to living like that.

Rumi (translated by Michael Burch)- “Your task is not to build love, but to bring down all the barriers you built against it”- speaks to me. I am taking down the barriers.

I hoped I might write a book one day, a spiritual autobiography saying how I had won my freedom, if I ever was successful in life, in the hope that it might speak to people and help them win freedom too. I would describe my journey to find God in me, and what God was.

My own journey does not fit everyone. Human spiritual maturity requires us to bring what is unconscious to consciousness. Different people are conscious of different things, and have different blind spots. I feel my trauma and continuing recovery is relevant to people as my trauma is not unique, but not everyone is traumatised in the same way. There is that of God in everyone, but it may be very different in each.

I can get something from Isaiah’s servant songs. For example, Isaiah 52:13-53:12. My God within seemed acquainted with infirmity and held of no account. It was an “offering for sin” in that my wild free femininity appalled and frightened my mother, because her spirit had been crushed out of shape too by her society. The sin is the failure to accept human diversity. The offering is that diverse people are crushed. And now my God within begins to see light and find satisfaction.

I don’t know if the Songs’ authors had a similar experience to me. I take the words to bolster my understanding that I am on the right path. I look back at that path, and see echoes of Isaiah. What is on the path ahead I cannot know.

But there are lots of ways to seek wisdom. I recommend sitting in silence, in meditation, Buddhist worship or online Quaker worship. Many people value A Course in Miracles. I dabbled with it. I keep thinking I might return to it and never quite do.

Noticing what moves me to tears may help me see unconscious needs. In this radio programme, one sentence at 12.15-25 had me sobbing. “Tammy, meanwhile, feeling alienated from her televangelist peers, found herself identifying less with them than with the objects of their scorn.” For me it encapsulates why people loathe Christianity, yet I love it. Jesus identifies with the oppressed, and the gospels are full of calls for us to do the same. So far as I liberate God within me, I see its oppression, and identify with it.

My judging it stops me seeing God in me. God speaks, and I say, that cannot be God. It is too weak and silly. Yet I am sure that it was. Gosh, that was 2015. This is going so much slower than I would have wished. I continue to be liberated, and pray that we all may be.

Lesbian and Gay News

If you are lesbian or gay, is “Lesbian and Gay News” for you? Well, what news does it cover? I looked at its 24 November front page- archive link.

On the original site, the header image scrolls between articles. The first article is on the chief executive of Stonewall, Nancy Kelley’s interview on Woman’s Hour, and Stonewall’s support of trans rights. You might think that lesbian and gay people at the BBC would be concerned that their employer was leaving Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme, and their union, BECTU, confirms they are. But “Lesbian and Gay News” is exultant. For the writer, Stonewall supports trans, so the BBC was right to leave Diversity Champions.

Conversion therapy is in the news, and any lesbian and gay publication would take notice. LGN does. Under the header, twelve articles are featured, and the first two are on conversion therapy. Both argue that gender transition is “conversion” of cis lesbian and gay people.

“The mother of a lesbian teenager” claims her “daughter” is being converted by his school. As they give a false, female name, I will give a male one: Luke came out to his parents as lesbian aged 12, and they were supportive, but when he came out as a trans boy shortly afterwards, his mother became vehemently opposed.

Such articles often give good news. The MP has not supported the mother, and nor has the local authority or the school. I dare to hope this is a case I heard about in 2017, and if so the boy shows phenomenal courage standing up against the onslaught of his mother’s campaigning. The GP’s comments are skewed as supportive of the mother, but the GP made the appropriate referral.

There is nothing about religious groups preaching that gay sex is wrong, only about trans. A 12 minute read and a 9 minute read- I read this rubbish so you won’t have to- are only about trans recognition. Gary Powell writes that Luke, by having his gender identity accepted, has suffered “homophobic conversion therapy”. He argues that because no-one is “the soul of one sex in the body of another”, trans people cannot suffer conversion therapy. I beg to differ.

Kat Howard writes about being assaulted by a trans woman from her university LGBT society when a student, saying the trans woman walked her home, pushed her into sex, and messaged continually for three weeks. When Howard blocked her, she told the LGBT society that Howard was a transphobe and a terf. Howard claims she raped two other lesbians.

Howard is a teacher. Arguably she should not be, as she is an anti-trans campaigner. She seeks to undermine the school’s relationships and sex education (RSE).

An allegation of three rapes is serious. It is no less credible than other #metoo allegations. However trans women generally, just like any other social group, are not defined by the actions of our worst. So the allegation is problematic if it is used to slur trans women in general.

What else? An article about turning liberal people into anti-trans campaigners, by using the lie of autogynephilia and the lie of rapid onset gender dysphoria.

Then there’s a review of a historical novel in which a woman passes as a man, for freedom, but is called lesbian. The review has a pretty large spoiler. There’s a video of a speech by anti-trans campaigner Allison Bailey, saying anti-trans campaigners should be able to attend the global conference on LGBT rights. There’s a claim that newspapers call anti-trans campaigning racist- well, the Guardian doesn’t, leave alone the Times. There’s an interview with the straight anti-trans campaigner Graham Linehan, and an article by a poor deluded trans woman exhorting “post-operative transsexuals” like herself to use men’s toilets, claiming otherwise male abusers will pretend to be trans.

Apart from the book review, might any of this site be interesting to a lesbian who was not passionately opposed to trans rights? Well, on 28 September there was an article about the lesbian relationship in the TV drama Vigil. It repeats a number of common opinions about lesbian drama- I too am ambivalent about TV and film representations- but then gets to the nonbinary character in Sex Education season 3, which it finds boring. Pink News does entertainment reviews so much better.

On 23 August, the site promoted a demonstration against Stonewall Diversity Champions. They do not want Stonewall to advise employers about discrimination against lesbian and gay people, because Stonewall also supports trans people. But this directly harms lesbian and gay people, as BECTU confirmed.

If you are lesbian and gay, would you be interested in Lesbian and Gay News? Yes, if you want attacks on Stonewall, the premier lesbian and gay charity in the UK, hatred condemnation mockery and denial of trans people’s existence, or adulation of straight anti-trans campaigners. Otherwise, probably not.

22 March: it has shut down. It could not get the readers or advertisers. Thank goodness that there is Pink News and Diva magazine.

Trans women and sex offending

Are trans women more likely to be sex offenders than cis women?

The first item on the menu of anti-trans campaigning site “fair play for women” is Prisons, and it starts by saying male prisoners can ask to transfer to a woman’s prison. “All they need to do is self-identify as a woman”- without a gender recognition certificate or a psychiatric diagnosis. This is true. They can ask. But their request will not usually be granted. There are rules. The anti-trans site says, breathlessly, many are housed in sex offender institutions. “These are the prisoners who could become eligible for transfer to women’s prisons under a regime of sex self-ID.”

“Fair play for women” seeks to conflate self-ID, which is allowed under British law already, with the human right of prisoners to be housed according to our gender identity, which is constrained. They try to create a myth that self-ID is a new proposal, and a threat. This is untrue.

Trans woman prisoners may be housed in women’s prisons if they produce evidence of transition before charge. In March 2019, there were 163 transgender prisoners. 81 had been convicted of one or more sexual offences. There were no details of whether those prisoners were currently serving sentences for sexual offences. 129 were in men’s prisons, of whom 74 had been convicted of a sexual offence. There were just 34 trans women in women’s prisons.

So it is clear that though they are perfectly entitled to ask to be housed in women’s prisons, offenders will usually be refused.

Anti-trans campaigning site Women are Human produced “research” comparing the number of trans sex offenders in prison with the number of female sex offenders. 81 trans offenders, 126 female offenders, though there are far more cis women than trans people. They then argued that this showed a greater propensity to offend by trans women than cis women, so trans women are dangerous and should not be in women’s prisons.

Very few sexual offences are prosecuted. Most victims do not report crimes. In 2017 there were around a million sexual offences in England and Wales, but only 6960 offenders were found guilty of sexual offences.

Trans women may be more likely to be prosecuted for a sexual offence. A 17 year old trans woman fellates a 15 year old boy. His mates tell him she’s trans, and suddenly he’s angry. His parents go to the police. A cis woman in the same circumstances would be most unlikely to be prosecuted.

The site says trans women are 35-90 times more likely to commit sexual offences than cis women, based on the proportion of the population in prison convicted of sexual offences. However, this does not mention that most of these sex offenders are in men’s prisons.

In freedom, sexual predators do not pretend to be trans to access women’s spaces. That is a myth. They just push the door open. However in prison prisoners may have motivation to claim to be trans, and particularly sex offenders, already the lowest of the low in the prisoner hierarchy. They get to wear their own clothes. They might even make the claim to cause disruption.

So the site’s conclusion does not follow. They argue that trans women are more likely to be sexual offenders, therefore trans women should not be housed in women’s prisons. But they ignore the fact that most of these sex offenders may not be trans women at all.

And, I am not a sex offender. If I were imprisoned for environmental campaigning (so far I have barely risked arrest) I should be imprisoned as a woman, because that is what I am. And the law agrees.

Because sex offenders might lie that they are trans women, trans women in prison might not be believed. Trans women die in men’s prison.

Talking to the vax-hesitant

I know people willing to listen to anti-vaxxers. I support vaccination. How should I argue? Well, whom do you trust?

I trust us spiritual types, people who are on a spiritual journey, or who take our personal growth seriously, to understand what it means to be human. We’re in touch with the Ineffable. We’re the guys! But, generally I trust people to mean well. We’re all doing our best under difficult circumstances, which can mean doing some pretty shoddy things if we don’t know better or are in trouble, but generally we do our best. So I trust people unless shown I should not.

I trust the scientific method. People imagine what might be going on, then test their hypotheses. With new information they understand better. Sometimes they get things badly wrong, but generally knowledge improves. Generally, I trust scientists attached to universities to seek the truth because they are competitive, and it is a huge risk for someone to say something provably wrong.

These researchers are human. They proclaim their successes as loudly as they can and minimise their mistakes. But there are others around who will point it out when they are too full of themselves.

There is misinformation about. On climate change, all the misinformation is by “climate sceptics”. There is no-one spreading myths that climate change is worse than it actually is. On 29 June, Lytton in British Columbia, a village of 250 people, reached 49.6 °C. On 30 June most of it was destroyed by wildfire. Now, British Columbia is suffering catastrophic floods. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy, just people know they can make money by casting doubt on global warming, or by minimising it, or saying it is too costly to do anything about it. So they lie and twist.

There is misinformation about vaccines generally. There is the claim that vaccines cause autism. Autism is a gift. I have autistic friends. Any disability they suffer is because of society not meeting their needs properly. Like most people, if their needs are met they will flourish and contribute to society.

There is misinformation about covid. The idea that 5G phone masts cause covid, for example, leading people to attack masts. Well, viruses and bacteria cause illnesses. I knew that in primary school. It comes back to trust. Generally I trust primary school teachers to mean well. It’s a job you go into to improve children’s lives. Now it’s personal for me, as my father was a primary schoolteacher.

Some of the false information about covid is unintentional. People who mean well get things wrong. Part of the problem is politicians and journalists wanting immediate answers because this disease is serious. It killed a thousand people a day in England in January. But often there are no answers, because it is a new disease. So scientists give their best guesses.

Vaccines are not a perfect solution. They might only have a 60% efficacy against symptomatic infection. Variants come along, and the vaccine becomes less effective. But I understand how they are supposed to work- by injecting bits of the virus, which cannot infect you, but which the immune system will recognise. I am glad of my TB jab because my grandfather died of TB, and I have spent time with a TB sufferer. I understand vaccines make infecting others, or needing hospital treatment, less likely, and I trust the sources that tell me that.

There is wrongdoing around vaccines. The CIA used a vaccine campaign in Pakistan to try and find Osama bin Laden, setting back the fight against polio. But I know that Bill Gates is not injecting trackers into people, because a tracker would have to be much larger.

I don’t trust Big Pharma to act in the interests of all of humanity. It may charge too much when it has a monopoly on a drug. It ignores medical problems where it can’t make a profit. But I do trust it to try to reduce suffering and prolong life, because that is where it makes its money. It is not wholly trustworthy. Vioxx was introduced in 1999 as a painkiller for arthritis, but increased the risk of heart disease. Eventually the risks were found, the drug was withdrawn, thanks to researchers independent of the drug companies. Victims are suing.

But that doesn’t mean that I take on trust the word of every independent researcher who proclaims covid a hoax. In my view the preponderance of the evidence I can assess is in favour of vaccination generally, including against covid. I don’t trust social media because I know it amplifies climate sceptics, Donald Trump’s big election lie, anti-trans campaigners, and all sorts of falsehood. I know the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times get things wrong. Whenever you know about a subject and a journalist introduces it you hear all they get wrong. But I trust them generally to mean well.

The question is the balance of trust, when people can make mistakes (including us, oh wise ones. You’ve made mistakes, haven’t you?) On balance, I trust universities and their researchers.  I do reiki, I trust my immune system, and I trust the vaccine improves my chances against covid.

We are human beings. We see in a riddle, dimly: sole judge of truth in endless error hurled. We aren’t capable of full knowledge. But we are social animals who generally mean well, because that is the way to get on in societies that prosper. I trust my primary schoolteachers who told me viruses cause disease. I trust those clever [people] at Oxford. I trust vaccines to give me and my society some protection from covid.

Trauma and rock bottom

Trauma and rock bottom both involve immediate fear of death.

The alcoholic goes on drinking, and pretending about it to themselves, being enabled by relatives or colleagues, until some immediate threat emerges which they can only escape by not drinking. Perhaps their enabler gives up, or something else changes in their world. Then their illusions are stripped away, they begin supporting themselves rather than relying on others, and they experience it as freedom. They do what they need to do. Not drinking is hard, but drinking is impossible.

I heard about this phenomenon and wondered if it would ever happen to me. How bad did it have to get, before I started doing what I ought to do? I rely on others, and want that to continue. As I wrestled with emotion, fear, suppression and internal conflict, I had this ideal of the whole human, stripped of illusion, acting rationally for its highest good. I wondered if anything would make me like that.

What gets in the way is trauma, also an immediate fear of death. There are different traumas, but the small child needs unconditional love, which upholds a precarious sense of safety. Whatever happens I will be fed and kept warm so I can survive. Then the child loses that sense and is terrified. Perhaps a parent dies, or they are separated. In my case my mother could not accept me as I am, and needed me to be otherwise.

I am back considering this. I know I was traumatised. I realised that it did not matter whether I suffered pressure no human being could possibly withstand, or was too-

Oh, this is hard to write, even now I know it. Was too fragile, was useless to begin with, stubbed my toe once and that broke me. I suffered pressure strong enough to break me. In my forties I said, “The monster will get me”- a small child expression of a nameless fear of death which still controlled me. I was bringing it into consciousness for the first time. I was aware there was a fear which affected me, was beginning to be aware of how it affected me, rather than merely being unconsciously affected by it.

A fear of death which I was not conscious of, would have thought was ridiculous and impossible, made me cling to particular illusions and ways of being. However bad my life got, the bracing shock of rock bottom, which would get me firing on all cylinders, all parts of me pulling together, never happened because the fear of death had already forced me onto a different path.

I am not a child any more, I said. I am not dependent on my parents. If The Monster devouring me is my mother withdrawing love, it should not affect me now. It is ridiculous. I could not accept that it ruled my life.

I know myself better, now. I have an understanding of my strengths from observing my responses, and, well, some self-respect, actually. It took more to break me than stubbing my toe. And the break was so fundamental that it still affects me.

On top of God within, the trauma grafted on a set of particular responses to the world which were, to my conscious self, the only possible ones. I was strongly motivated to respond as programmed, in order to survive. Then I lost motivation. Those responses are not the way to survive. Or, I can survive without them, though at a level that being created by trauma, the tamed self, found unpleasant. My inner conflicts reached a static equilibrium. I stopped.

And there have always been things I loved, found worthwhile, pursued. I am busily constructing from them a self-concept, an understanding of who I am, which the tamed self attacks, trying to ridicule and undermine it. Self-acceptance grows, and the ridicule ceases to work. From past experience it seems that there will be things I love and pursue, and even possible that from them I will construct a life worth living. Or, that my recovery is the point.

I will my own good. That has led me into trauma responses, to survive, and now leads me into self-respect for the untamed self beneath, which said No. It says what it can. My conscious self is listening, though the traumatised, tamed self is noisy.

There are adult traumas- the soldier seeing his fellows die under enemy fire which he cannot see how he can avoid is traumatised, and some might protect the word from me. These soldiers are traumatised, I should not diminish their experience by pretending to it. That is echoed by the tamed self which says, of course I am not traumatised, how could I be. It clings to its illusions. Refuting the illusions takes patient work, and constant repetition.

Olympic committee supports trans women in sport

The Olympic committee has made clear rules favouring trans women’s participation in women’s sport.

The 2015 Olympic rules required a reduction in T levels for a year before competition. This proved that someone was genuinely trans. I don’t believe a male athlete would pretend to be a trans woman in order to beat women rather than come middle of the pack racing men, but he certainly would not take T suppressants in order to do so. Then, trans women could compete with other women.

Now, the IOC says each sport’s governing bodies must make its own rules. It has ten principles, to be read as a whole, including fairness and human rights.

How could sport make one rule for fairness in elite sport and grassroots sport? If I, at 55, considered doing my first 5km park run, how is that like an exceptionally talented twelve-year-old sprinter, starting a male puberty, who knows she is a girl?

There are women who are taller, stronger, more muscular, with better aerobic fitness than I have, even at my age. If I could win that park run, or win an over-50s category, I might not want to, because I feared transphobic reactions. But running does not reduce the safety of other competitors. Contact sports might. If a trans woman bowled faster than a cis woman, might that endanger a cis woman at the wicket or home plate, enough to ban the trans bowler?

Anti-trans groups argue that a male puberty gives advantages even after testosterone is suppressed or removed, in height and strength. They say they want to see the best a female body can achieve. But all elite sports competitors have exceptional bodies, talent and aptitude as well as training. XY androgen insensitive competitors are over-represented in women’s sports.

The principles, which should be read together, are Inclusion, prevention of harm, non-discrimination, fairness, no presumption of advantage, evidence-based approach, primacy of health and bodily autonomy, stakeholder-centred approach, and the right to privacy. There should be periodic reviews.

Under fairness, criteria should “prevent athletes from claiming a gender identity different from the one consistently and persistently used”. I don’t think that should mean T suppression. Requiring medical treatment conflicts with my human rights. T suppression might make someone infertile, and that might be too high a price to pay to compete at elite level, and certainly at grassroots level. Change of name and title, styles of clothes and hair, should be sufficient. Nor should there be a year before someone can compete. Someone AMAB nonbinary might not enter women’s competition, but women’s competition is clearly binary.

This is an improvement. Trans women need not go a year without competing. We can preserve our fertility. The basic principle is that trans women are women, unless there is evidence we “consistently and persistently” present male, and so should be entitled to be in women’s sports unless this is unsafe for other competitors.

World Rugby says trans women cannot play women’s rugby. Rugby is a contact sport, where strength, speed and weight matter, but they might find their blanket ban falls foul of the IOC’s new code.

The rugby men’s B team will not all take women’s names so they can beat women. If someone changes her name and expression “consistently and persistently”, she is a trans woman. Fairness includes a risk to physical safety, but rugby women are big and strong.

There has to be an evidence-based approach, with no presumption of advantage for trans women. The evidence has to be about “consistent athletic engagement” with the sport to be regulated, and must demonstrate disproportionate advantage or unpreventable risk exists for the specific sport.

If someone is excluded she must be able to challenge the decision (Fairness; 6.2b).

There are powerful arguments in the rules for trans inclusion. The first principle is Inclusion. Sports should be welcoming to all gender identities. Sports bodies should prevent discrimination, harassment and abuse, taking into account the particular vulnerabilities and needs of trans people.

2: Prevention of Harm- this specifically includes the mental wellbeing, impliedly including mental wellbeing of trans people who need to be recognised in our true gender.

3: Non-discrimination. There should be no systematic exclusion of trans women. Disproportionate competitive advantage might exclude some individual trans women.

7. Primacy of health and bodily autonomy. There should be no pressure to medically unnecessary treatment. If a trans woman wants to preserve her fertility, she can.

Even 8, the Stakeholder-centred approach, which says athletes must be consulted about the rules and allowed to raise concerns, may be to the advantage of trans women. Some women athletes speak out loudly against trans inclusion, and are amplified by anti-trans publications and organisations. A consultation would reach past these, to some who might be trans-inclusive.

I can’t comment about how general sporting rules affect the right to privacy, principle 9, and trans or DSD status is often notorious, energetically circulated by phobes and rubberneckers, but I am glad privacy is one of the principles.

10. There should be periodic reviews reflecting ethical and scientific developments.

Transition is not a choice. Trans is part of who we are, just as being gay is part of a gay person. We should not be excluded, and sporting bodies should recognise that.

From the Guardian’s report I am pleased to see Joanna Harper, visiting fellow for trans athletic performance at Loughborough university, is trans. I am less pleased to see her saying there should be restrictions without clear evidence. She says trans women are on average taller, bigger and stronger. But elite athletes are on average taller, bigger and stronger and at the last Olympics there was just one trans woman in competition, out of 11,656 athletes. I wish they would not refer to “women’s campaign groups” when they clearly mean from context anti-trans campaign groups. If a group’s main activity is to campaign against trans rights, it is not a women’s or LGB group, it is an anti-trans group.

The IOC announced the guidelines, which you can download.