Will Labour politicians admit trans women are women, and just say so clearly?
Dodds said there are different definitions, the legal definition and the biological definition. To me, the biological definition includes trans women: I am not a ghost or a computer simulation, I am as biological as anyone. Dodds said it depends on context, which is pretty much what the Court of Session said. Then Dodds said that those who have to transition, live as women and want to be defined as women. That’s what the GRA is for.
Dodds may be misunderstanding. That’s what the Equality Act is for: we are treated as women, and truthfully called women.
Then anti-trans campaigners The Times questioned Yvette Cooper on 9 March. She just refused to answer. She refused to go down the “rabbit hole”- she was there to talk about International Women’s Day, so did not want to talk of the definition of woman. Given that The Times is so hostile to trans women, this is understandable, but disappointing. The Times called it “Labour’s rabbit hole,” but the rabbit hole is entirely of the anti-trans campaigners’ making.
Finally the Times tackled Keir Starmer on 12 March. He said female adults are women, “and in addition to that trans women are women”. Finally. “Trans women are women,” says Keir Starmer. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? He said that’s the law under the GRA and the Equality Act.
What would I say? This is my definition. I would start by simply saying “trans women are women”. If pressed, there are various further things you can say:
Women are so varied. Some women are Scots, and some are English. Some are young, some are old. Most are not trans women, but some are.
Some women have differences of sexual development and are still women. So I would not insist that a “woman” had a female reproductive system because that would exclude many women. Why should women be excluded?
The Court of Session said a trans woman saying “I am a woman” was telling the truth, and it’s sad that we should need the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, to say so. The Equality Act says trans women should be treated as women.
Most women are not trans. And some women are trans women. Language and categories have to fit reality. If trans women don’t fit your categories, you should change your categories, not erase a whole class of women.
I would hope not to need this one, but- most mammals give birth to live young, and some mammals lay eggs. Are platypuses not mammals?
Added: when anti-trans campaigners use the phrase “biological men” they do not define the term. Including people with Klinefelter’s syndrome but not androgen insensitivity is difficult, and involves a lot of clarifications. Basically, they are Tweedledum: they mean “people I think are men”.