“The whole country supports trans rights,” said the headline in the Sunday Times. That is true, but the article indicates a new attack on trans rights.
When I was volunteering, a colleague wanted to know whether I had had the operation or not. We were sitting at the desk, ready to answer the phone or speak to anyone who came in, and she started talking about her breast reduction operation. Then she went on to vaginal steaming and vaginal cleansing treatments. I knew what she was after, so I told her. “That’s ridiculous,” I said. “Vaginas are self-cleansing. Mine isn’t, but yours is.”
Was she really a person who had no objection to real transsexuals, just those men pretending to be women? [Irony ALERT]. No. We found she was prejudiced against the real transsexual too, though she probably thought she just disliked me because of who I was, nothing to do with being trans.
The problem with the Sunday Times 3 April article was the definition of trans rights, which is pretty restrictive. Children should be protected from “irreversible medical interventions”. That they are already does not matter. Very few children referred to GIDS get puberty blockers, leave alone cross sex hormones, and none get surgery under 18.
But the idea that “trans women are women” is the position of “activists and campaigners”. According to the article, voters think that doctors should approve any transition, trans women should not be in women’s sporting events, and even after getting a GRC trans women should be excluded from some women-only spaces.
In other words, the “trans rights” the Times supports are conflicted. Young trans people are not allowed surgery, but trans surgery is everyone’s business and adults without surgery are suspect. Trans women are entitled to be in women’s sporting events, at all levels, unless there are clear objections for fairness or safety. Often there aren’t. There are cis women rugby players bigger than the maximums for trans women. But all that is gone: the Trans Rights the Sunday Times supports have an absolute ban. I could not join a park run as a woman.
This denies trans rights as they exist in the Equality Act. From the moment one decides to transition one is protected. The Times reports that about 85% of people would support a family member who came out as trans. The great roll-back of trans rights the article proposes is called “sympathy, understanding and tolerance”.
Commenters on the article judiciously debated which additional rights they would also withdraw, while also stating how tolerant and sympathetic they are. One said that if you had a genital operation you were a “guest member” of the chosen sex. One replying said they could not be guest members, they were still the original sex. One said they should not access a “sexually secure area”.
So we can wear what we like, and be tolerated as weirdos, but trans women are not women and should never be treated as such or called such. Then they say how reasonable and tolerant they are.
Of course the hostility will continue, but the Times has the answer. It is as reasonable and tolerant as anyone could be expected to be, and only activists and extremists would disagree.