QAnon

QAnon is an attractive theory. It gives a chance for thinking, caring people to explain the world, to channel our anger and feel a sense of solidarity, seeking the common good together. It promotes President Trump as the saviour of America. That solidarity is expressed by its slogan “Where we go one we go all”, WWG1WGA, a commonplace statement expressed with sufficient idiosyncrasy- that “1”- to be recognisable as Q. “At last we’ve been befriended by someone who has our best interests at heart,” an ally against deceit and lies. Censorship by social media and ridicule from the MSM only reassures them of their rightness.

All your suffering, your debt, the poverty, division, and crime, is caused by the Globalists, but they can be defeated. They have been US President, and in the highest reaches of the EU and the banking system. They control agriculture and pharmaceuticals. The criminal rich need to prevent the revolt of the poor, so used their control of the media to set us against each other, deliberately weakening us. They meet in the Bilderberg Group.

Good presidents include John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, but after Reagan every president was a Deep State criminal, so that the world collapsed into darkness. The Internet put the criminals on a grid that meant the right people could expose their crimes.

The NSA, archiving every phone call, email and text, are good guys. The Deep State buys heroin from the Taliban and rigs voting machines, but Trump overcame the voter fraud and won. He was a patriot, loved by the people. The cabal turned on him, and sought impeachment. “The world is currently experiencing a dramatic covert war… between good and evil.” The cabal had complete control of North Korea and ISIS, but Trump brought Kim to peace and defeated ISIS. Senator No Name, John McCain, plotted to take Trump down. His illness was a fake.

The NSA began the Q intelligence dissemination program to start an online grassroots movement, The Great Awakening, at first on underground channels [8Chan] then the mainstream. The criminals will be punished. The dollar will return to the gold standard and the US will have no debt. The CIA is on the side of the Globalists.

If you do your research, you will see that Q is right so often that he (or she, or they) must be real, and very close to President Trump. Other anonymous supporters arrange Q’s posts in memes.

On 5 October 2017 Trump said this is the calm before the storm. On 2 November 2017 Q echoed that phrase. 1 November was the first reference to Q, which is a high level security clearance designation, above “Top Secret”. Some thought Trump himself was Q. Patriots are now in control. Others say Q+ is Trump. When Trump went to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a piece of paper marked “I hear you”, that was a message to Q supporters. Sometimes Trump’s tweets echo Q drops. For example both Q posted and Trump tweeted “Happy Father’s Day” on 17 June 2018.

How much proof do we need? How many coincidences before mathematically impossible?

Q post 521 on 13 January 2018 was “Do you TRUST the chain of command?” Two days later the US Department of Defense tweeted a post about a NatGeog documentary, using the hashtag #chainofcommand. In the programme, a coffee mug with a big letter Q was clearly visible!

This is post 1254 from 24 April 2018:

Iran is next
[MARKER]
Re_read.
POTUS today.
“Mark it down.”
“Bigger problems than ever before.”
Sig to Iran?
Q

On 8 May 2018 in President Trump’s speech on Iran he said, “It will have bigger problems than it has ever had before”. Q had predicted this!

Follow the white rabbit. It is more than just a phrase from Alice in Wonderland or The Matrix.

Q followers learn weeks before world events. On 14 November 2017, Q posted the Lord’s Prayer, and on 8 December Pope Francis proposed a slight change to the words of that prayer. The Pope is part of the Globalist criminal conspiracy, the deep state cabal (along with the Rothschilds- there are antisemitic tropes in Q) and all the bishops in Chile resigned after sex abuse allegations against priests there. The Pope had covered up those allegations. This was after Q>>884748, [Pope} will be having a terrible May.
Those who backed him will be pushed into the LIGHT>
Dark to LIGHT.
TRUTH.
Q

Ah, enough of this rubbish. I go to “Do my research” as Q adherents enjoin. In January 2018 Pope Francis had defended Bishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up a priest’s child abuse in the 1980s, saying the allegations were “slander”, but in June 34 Chilean bishops offered their resignations, and the Pope accepted three including that of Barros. And I still don’t know if “Q” posted that. Child abuse was rife in the Catholic church, but that does not mean Hillary Clinton is a child abuser.

I got the Q stuff from Kindle samples of a couple of books on Amazon. One is not available, being under investigation, but you can still “Look Inside”. People like this. It is a hugely detailed conspiracy theory, weaving in some truth, some rubbish, bonding people to Trump’s lies. I would be unsurprised if Trump campaigners were behind the Q posts. I see the attraction of an overarching explanation of all one’s woes, solidarity with the like-minded, and something one can do- support Trump, and meanwhile keep reading Q related gibberish.

Gender criticism and gender variance

I understand primarily through language, and wrestle with problems through words. The power to name concepts is the power to mould people’s understanding of reality. The power to change names is freedom to become who we truly are.

“Gender critical feminists” are oppressed by gender. Feminine gender stereotypes do not fit them. They would say those stereotypes are patriarchal, and fit no woman, but some people seem to live with the stereotypes more easily than others, and to me it seems the gender critical feminists are oppressed more than most women.

I don’t know how to convince them that some women are happy with the stereotypes. I could refer to the women’s anti-suffrage movement, or women’s campaigns against abortion or contraception.

I cannot work for the interests of gender non-conforming people, trans, non-binary and gender variant folk, without including the gender critical feminists. That means finding common interest, common goals, common things we can work for.

Patriarchal power structures tell us that the problem is each other, that “transgender ideology” prevents women from organising politically as a “sex class”, or that trans excluders stop trans people from living our lives in peace, but really the problem is the gender stereotypes which fit some people very badly, which trans men, AFAB nonbinary people, and “trans-excluding” feminists all deal with in different ways, however similar they might appear to outsiders. The oppression is the same, and we should be allies, not enemies, not demanding that others follow our ways, but accepting all the ways people cope.

My femininity is not the same as the gender critical feminist’s femaleness. Seeing ourselves as opposing sides prevents us addressing the real oppression and directs our energies against each other. This only pleases the oppressors, which is why Charles Koch and the Heritage Foundation fund gender-critical feminists.

Both sides spend more time obsessing than oppressing- messing about on social media and talking amongst ourselves, rather than taking action to exclude trans women, or frightening the people who see us in lavatories.

How does language divide us, and how might language be used to bring us together? I can think of two ways it divides us: the trans allies’ habit of declaring their pronouns, and inclusive language for trans men’s reproductive issues. This does not include the language around whether we are women, or whether we should be in women’s spaces. That is a more intractable problem. I want to achieve language that includes gender critical feminists among the gender variant, to emphasise what we have in common.

When I argue for the inclusion of trans women as women, my argument is that we are not some redefinition of what womanhood is, we are an anomaly, a few harmless people, asylum seekers not colonists, who can be included without so much fuss.

When I argue for inclusive language for trans men- pregnant people, people with cervixes, etc- I argue for their importance. Even though there are about 0.1% trans men and maybe the same number of AFAB nonbinary people, one in a thousand people with wombs, we should change the language to refer to people who menstruate.

I will not, in an attempt to reach out to gender critical feminists, leave behind trans men. And, better inclusive language may be possible. The American Cancer Society said “individuals with a cervix” but the NHS says “women and people with a cervix”. Possibly there is an advantage for all feminists in seeing “women’s problems” as “people problems”, things all people should be concerned about. Period poverty is a problem for society, not just women. Seeing women and men as people with people-gifts rather than masculine or feminine gifts helps all our gifts to be valued and used.

I do not like the term “gender critical” because it feels to me that all the criticism is of transgender- the idea that ones gender can differ from ones sex, or that gender matters, or that we have gender identities. “I don’t have a gender identity” say gender critical feminists. Well, I do. And I feel there could be a term that includes that position and also includes me. “Victim” and “survivor” have been suggested in other situations, and critiqued; possibly “gender oppressed” acknowledges the oppression. We cannot be free of that oppression, entirely. Others have expectations of us and responses to us based on our perceived sex or gender expression, even once we succeed in purging all the internalised self-suppression.

I feel some word- “gender rejecting”, perhaps- could unite trans and gender variant people with gender critical feminists, including all of us, and that would be a benefit. I am happy to call myself “gender critical”- I critique gender stereotypes, finding them oppressive too.

When cis people declare their pronouns in their email signature, their zoom name, or on badges they wear, they are declaring they are allies of trans people, and I would like this allyship to include the gender concerns of gender critical feminists. Robin Dembroff suggests that is achieved by adopting the pronoun “they” for everyone. It rejects gender stereotypes. So people could give their pronouns as “they/their/them”, “she/they” or “he/they”.

You might also put in your email signature “I oppose stereotyping”. Stereotypes are the basis of all of Kyriarchy, not just sexism. If we proclaimed that, we would have to live it too.

So much language divides us. The phrase “sex-based rights” excludes trans women, and even denies that there could be a possibility that excluding us could be remotely objectionable. The phrase “Trans women are women” works the opposite way. Each side can communicate only with its allies, honing its language to express its rectitude. If we are to converse we need a common language and to value each others’ experiences.

The Story of America: Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic Convention

“I love this country with all my heart.”

Michelle Obama’s speech communicates the urgency of this moment, and the depth of the crisis facing America. I want to analyse how beautifully constructed her speech is, the soaring rhetoric which carries us along, reminding us of all that is good in America and in its people. Continue reading

Donald Trump stories

Trump and Michael Cohen are in the Oval office, when Omarosa Marigault Newman walks in. The moment he sees her Trump stuffs the piece of paper he was reading into his mouth and starts eating it. “Since Trump was ever the germaphobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive,” she said. I don’t know why he might not think of shouting “Get Out!” at her, or even looking her in the eye and saying “get out,” in a friendly, conversational tone, but who knows. It is a big office, approximately 34 feet on the minor axis and 27 on the major, even though it’s the Oval Office, not the Ellipse Edifice. It’s built where the laundry drying yard used to be.

Brash Omarosa, a woman with no policy expertise, political acumen, or knowledge of the workings of government, who happened to be Black in a very White House, was fired by Trump’s fourth chief of staff, John Kelly. She could work on the Trump Campaign 2020, which was set up the day after the inauguration for tax purposes, if she didn’t make a fuss.

Cliff Sims, former editor in chief of Yellowhammer News- no, I hadn’t heard of it either, but wondered if it were connected to the Yellowhammer explaining that Britain would suffer food shortages if there was a no-deal Brexit- anyway, Sims was one of Trump’s shifting crew of Communications Supremoes, who wrote with some relish, “The inner circle of Trumpworld was not always a pretty picture. Too often, it was a portrait of venality, stubbornness, and selfishness. We leaked. We schemed. We backstabbed, for ourselves. We brought our personal agendas and vendettas. And some of us, I assume, were good people.”

“Only some?” is not the question you are asking. You got the allusion immediately.

Paul Ryan, right, Paul Ryan’s in the Oval Office briefing Trump on his big, beautiful plan to make health care great again. After fifteen minutes Trump starts staring out of the window, then gets up, walks into his adjacent two-scoops dining room, sits down and turns on the TV. HR McMaster, Mad Dog or something, when briefing the President of the United States, would set out the pros and cons, risks and advantages, of each option before making a recommendation.

It drove Donald Trump nuts.

That’s what you want to hear, isn’t it? He’s not a happy man, that Trump, with his gossamer thin skin and his utter narcissism and the way his Scotch mother was ill and could not meet his needs and his father was a shark and wouldn’t when he was small, World King Trump- not happy. There’s some justice in the world.

At Mary Lay-go, Trump’s earnest staffer puts a four inch thick binder by Trump’s seat. It was detailed research on every topic that might come up, lines to take, background, historical context, facts and figures. Weeks of work. Christ Chrissie, a very intelligent man who knew Trump so well he was prescient like that tells the staffer Trump will use it as a coaster. And, whaddyaknow, Christie was Right! Everyone else in Trump’s White House, said Chrissie, no, actually, Christie was involved with the transition to start with but didn’t actually get to be Secretary of State, that should be everyone in Trump’s Whitehouse, was “amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons”.

Gary Cohn tells “friends” he got the Tax and Job Cuts Act passed by giving Trump four key bullet points summarising the legislation, and ensuring Trump was in Asia when Congress was passing it.

Trump “insists” on having the Churchill Bust on the Redolent Desk, where sometimes he thoughtfully strokes the cigar in Winnie’s mouth, and the portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Ellipsoid Artifice, Old Hickory who in 1828 was described as bullish, defensive, quick-tempered, thin skinned, a populist, unfit to govern, who felt the ruling élites looked down on him and warned against alien enemies. Alien, here, means from foreign countries rather than from Space. Jackson killed someone in a duel and Trump has not yet shot anyone on Wall St, though who knows what’s happened to the 100,000 missing persons every year in the US. When Trump was supposed to be golfing, did DHS agents take him to the desert near the Mexican border to “help” them deal with Mexicans? Did they? Did they? What would Trump’s Base think of that?

Stories taken from Clown Car Disaster by John Sopel, BBC Washington co-respondent, pretty much. “Enjoyed the sample? Buy now in the Kindle Store!” I did, actually, enjoy it, not buy it, much as the alcoholic might imagine he could stop after two pints. I have the same rubbernecking delight in everything to do with Trump that most people do. I hope he’s re-elected, he’ll be even more entertaining next time. Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, take account of these things.

Rosie Duffield

Is it transphobic to tweet “Only women have a cervix”? Yes. Rosie Duffield MP said “I’m a ‘transphobe’ for knowing that only women have a cervix….?!”

Trans men have cervixes, and need screening. Nonbinary people are entitled to object to being called women. There is a feminist argument here. Cervical cancer, period poverty, rising child mortality linked to Tory austerity policies, are not “women’s issues”, of interest to women, they are people’s issues and all people should be concerned about them. Rosie Duffield was born in 1971, and inclusive language for women, eg “police officer” rather than “policeman”, had been mostly won when she was in high school, though Dover District Council has a “chairman”.

Trans rights has been a huge issue in the Labour Party at least since the Labour Women’s Declaration, a transphobic document, was launched in time to disrupt the Labour election campaign. Duffield knows the issues. She is deflecting to call this a “communist pile-on”- I voted for Keir Starmer in the leadership election.

The trail goes back to the American Cancer Society, which on 31 July published a paper updating screening guidance: “Cervical cancer screening for individuals at average risk”. The abstract begins, “The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that individuals with a cervix initiate cervical cancer screening at age 25 years”. CNN reported this: “American Cancer Society now recommends screening start at 25, not 21” is the headline, and the report starts “Individuals with a cervix”. Immunisation against HPV has reduced the risk in younger women.

My use of “women” there is not a mistake: the research is on women, without sufficient data to show that the risk is also reduced in trans men and nonbinary people.

CNN tweeted the first paragraph of that report, and a link. So the tweet started “Individuals with a cervix”. Piers Morgan retweeted with the comment “Do you mean women?” Rosie Duffield saw the tweet, and clicked the heart symbol. Then she started arguing when people objected.

I googled NHS cervical smear testing, and saw this: “Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina. It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer. All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter.” “People with a cervix” includes trans men and nonbinary people. I prefer “people” to “individuals” here: “Individuals” sounds more formal, but scientific papers should not be formal for the sake of it, just when necessary for clarity. “Legal persons” such as companies do not own cervixes.

Someone has had the bizarre misconstruction, possibly intentional, that “a test for cancer” means a test that causes cancer, and the NHS feels the need to explain that is wrong- they would be better to omit “It’s not a test for cancer”, because it clearly is a test for cancer or precancerous changes, and just put “It’s a test to help prevent cancer”.

Rosie Duffield’s tweets are now protected. Only approved followers can see them. However, she commented “I’m a transphobe for knowing only women have a cervix?” Labour List then quoted Jess Phillips saying Duffield was not a transphobe. They quote Duffield:

the post by CNN “isn’t a post about transphobia, it’s a post about female body parts… Hugely insulting to all women, trans or cis, in my opinion”.

Many of her followers and Labour activists reacted angrily to her comments, calling for her resignation. The Labour MP called the reaction a “tedious communist pile-on”, and said that it was “hardly a suitable discussion for Twitter”.

“Insulting to trans women,” says Duffield. Most of the “Debate” is an attack on trans women, an attempt to incite fear of us, an attempt to restrict our rights and normalise prejudice against us, but here the issue is trans men. Duffield is not stupid and should know that.

Labour party rules are convoluted, but clause 6.I.1.B says that in any alleged breach of clause 2.I.8, “any incident which might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on… gender reassignment or identity…” the NEC “may” suspend any individual, then the General Secretary or other national officer shall investigate, then the NEC “may” discipline under clause 1.VIII.3.A.iii, whose sanctions include expulsion from the party. “May” indicates discretion, “shall” indicates none. The Disputes Team will investigate and pass the complaints to the Disputes Panel of the NEC.

Clause 2.I.8 says no member shall engage in conduct which is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party. The NEC “shall” regard hostility or prejudice based on gender reassignment or identity as conduct prejudicial.

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You can complain here. This is my complaint. Duffield is MP for Canterbury, so from the South East. She is 49.

Rosie Duffield said, “I’m a ‘transphobe’ for knowing that only women have a cervix….?!” Trans men and nonbinary people may also have cervixes. The statement erases trans men and nonbinary people. Duffield disregards the feelings of those trans men and nonbinary people, who may object to being called “women”. Therefore she indicates prejudice against them contrary to the Rule Book Chapter 2 clause I.8.

“Individuals with a cervix” is inclusive language, which includes cis women as well as nonbinary people and trans men. “Women” excludes trans men and nonbinary people. It is thus just the same as using the phrase “police officer” rather than “policeman”. Duffield would understand that transphobia is an issue in the Labour Party. It has been an issue at least since the transphobic “Labour Women’s Declaration” was issued in November 2019, just in time to disrupt the Party’s election campaign.

Objecting to inclusive language for trans people is prejudicial, just as objecting to inclusive language for women, insisting on “Chairman” rather than “Chair” or “Chairperson”, would be sexist.

I object to Ms Duffield calling this a “Communist pile-on”. I have been a party member since 2017, and have canvassed and campaigned for the Party. I want the Party to win. I am a trans woman and an ordinary member of the Party. I voted for Mr Starmer as leader. I find Ms Duffield’s statements personally offensive.

The Labour Party says what will happen next.

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What about Jess Phillips? Labour List quotes her saying she does not think that Rosie Duffield is a transphobe, and that Twitter is not the place for reasonable policy debate about sometimes difficult and complex issues such as the trans issue, which “more than anything else, deserves proper detailed debate and attention by policy makers who almost certainly should be changing the Gender Recognition Act – it is now outdated.”

I am grateful to Jess Phillips for being part of the Women and Equalities Committee which recommended a great increase in trans rights. She is right that twitter is not the place for policy debate, but that’s a criticism of Duffield: when people pointed out she had liked Morgan’s tweet she should have stopped tweeting. She should have known about inclusive language, and not liked Morgan’s tweet which mocks it.

The “vitriolic war” here is Morgan’s mocking response to trans-inclusive language, and Duffield’s support for it. I have emailed Jess Phillips asking her to ask Rosie Duffield to apologise.

Social Media Activism

Almost all activism is done in real life.

Social media can organise. On social media, a group recruited trans people to record a video to campaign for trans rights. When that video gets shown to cis people it may achieve some good.

Social media can persuade: my JK Rowling post got over a thousand views on its first day, and most of them were cis people, who were listening, pro-trans rights, and wanting to learn more. Some cis people shared it, extending its audience. WordPress gave me a platform, and facebook gave me an audience.

Social media can encourage. We get together in closed groups, all on the same side though with slightly different perspectives, and we argue, and hone our views. There are support groups for people transitioning, and activist groups for people who in many cases have been transitioned longer. We hang out.

The dopamine hit you get when your posts are liked and commented on is a problem. It gets people spending too much time on social media.

Some people post negative stuff, about transphobes doing their thing. This is not activism. If reading transphobic rubbish makes you depressed, that does nobody any good. It can be worthwhile reading transphobic rubbish to refute it- there were lots of answers to JK Rowling, or Maya Forstater– but generally, only the highest profile transphobia needs directly refuted. It is better to tell the truth about trans, without bothering to give attention to transphobes. It is only worth reading the falsehoods if you are going to do something about them that will do some good: persuading others not to read them, getting the truth out, showing how the falsehoods work. The Spectator and The Times produce so much transphobe drivel that much of it is repetitive and worth no attention whatever.

Abuse on Twitter is counterproductive. Telling Margaret Atwood she is a “gender traitor”, a term from “The Handmaid’s Tale”, for tweeting something mildly pro-trans, is not going to persuade her. Phobes needle trans women on twitter trying to get us to say “Fuck off”, then screenshot it and hawk it round, saying “Look! This is what trans activists are like!”

Clicktivism works sometimes. Petitions on the UK parliament site can get a response from the government, and sometimes a debate in Westminster Hall. As they get shared over social media, the short statement why the petition should be granted gets read. People signing it make a commitment to it, and that might psychologically make them more committed to its cause. One petition got 4,150,262 signatures, and for a time watching its numbers increase by hundreds every minute was hypnotic. I sat and watched it, feeling amazement and rueful pleasure, knowing it was not enough. I don’t sign or share change.org petitions, though. The people targetted could just ignore them. They provide data on the people signing them. I don’t do, or share, internet personality quizzes either.

Writing to your MP is more useful than social media sharing.

I am better to read books than news sites. From the UK, one account of the Trump response to Portland demonstrations is enough. The NYT and the Atlantic might produce articles on them daily. Even on issues that affect me directly, one article is enough. Possibly Mr Trump will win in November. Possibly Mr Biden will. I can’t influence the result. Reading about the relevant law, or the judges, or the voter suppression efforts, intrigues me with lots of tiny details without making me more informed on the only important question, who will win. I get the illusion of being informed and engaged without making the situation better. All it does is direct my strong emotions at something far away about which I can do nothing, disengaging me from my actual life. Learning about incipient autocracy in Poland and the threat of it in the US and UK has more value.

I enjoy protest marches, the sense of solidarity, the noise, the placards, and Extinction Rebellion, disrupting traffic round Trafalgar Square and Whitehall may have done good. But bad things are happening in the world, and paying them all my attention is unpleasant without doing any good.

Awaiting the new trans law

On 23 July 2017, Justine Greening promised a consultation on making gender recognition easier for trans people. I had understood the government response was due by Wednesday 22 July 2020, three years later. But on 20 July Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the worst prime minister since Anthony Eden if not since Lord North, said, “On the general issue of our response to the Gender Recognition Act, we’ve said that we’ll be responding over the Summer and that’s what we’re gonna do”. To include the ers, ums and repetitions were to double the length of the quote, and Mr Johnson appears unaware of the distinction between the Act, from 2004, and the consultation, from 2018.

It had been like awaiting a sentencing hearing, for a crime I did not commit. The postponement does not feel like a reprieve. Meanwhile JK Rowling, the most prominent anti-trans campaigner, continues to tweet– here a quote about detransitioners, from the Sunday Times- “I fear that the detransitioned women I interviewed are canaries in the coalmine. Not only for detransitioners, but for womanhood. They all, in some combination, found being a woman too difficult, too dangerous or too disgusting.”

In September 2017, there was an attempt to hold an anti-trans campaign meeting, where soi-disant feminists wished to foment fear and anger against trans women. Trans people and allies persuaded the venue to cancel the meeting, and the aggrieved haters proceeded to Speaker’s Corner, where they shouted for a bit. Trans people went to make a counter demonstration, and Tara Wolf assaulted Maria McLaughlin. Tara was fined, and produced a self-justifying rant on social media.

On 19 July 2020, Kellie-Jane Keen-Minshull, another anti-trans rabble-rouser, went to Speakers’ Corner and shouted for half an hour. Her placards fell to bits, and an entirely disinterested critic said, “She’s no public speaker, that’s for sure. What a drone.” She may have pledged to go back once a month. I saw one or two keen folk urging a counter demonstration, but this appears not to have materialised.

That’s a good thing. Trans people need to win friends, including among the anti-trans campaigners. Idiots like Tara Wolf did more harm than good. And yet I am sad about it. Three years ago there were hotheaded trans women with the confidence to go out and shout down the haters, and now we are cowed by the hatred. We win friends by persuasion, that a few thousand trans women can be accommodated, and only the patriarchy wins if we are excluded. Why else does Charles Koch fund anti-trans campaigns?

Now I feel a bit like I did when representing at tribunal. There were times when I expected a quick decision, a loss, and when it took longer I began to feel hopeful. Against all chances might we have convinced them? There is no chance we have convinced Johnson, a buffoon, or Liz Truss, his Minister “for” (sic) Women and Equalities. They want a great culture war to distract from the 60,000 covid deaths they have caused by their incompetence, and their complete lack of care to provide good government. However they may not be getting one. Mr Starmer appears quietly supportive while trying to take all the heat out of the situation. I love the #whyimatransally tag. One example: “the answer to this question honestly ought to be ‘because I am a human being and trans people are human beings and it is the bare minimum of basic humanity to believe we all deserve equal access to resources, safety, and respect’.” Respect? Right now I would not mind a slight reduction in the obsessive hatred.

I confess I have read much of a Sunday Times article on “knowledge resistance” by the “ideological left”. It is entertaining. It contains no nuance, and no resistance- it slips down easily like the best propaganda. It includes the line “If the ellipse identifies as a circle, why hurt its feelings?”

Also today I have heard a harrowing article on the abortion debate, on Audm. It puts what the writer calls the two best arguments, for and against. Also on Audm is Jonathan Haidt arguing that grandstanding on social media makes public debate impossibly toxic. And I read I am a threat, over and over again, but strikingly here: “America is doomed, Europe is doomed, Western civilization is doomed- and immigration, political correctness, transgenderism, the culture, the establishment, the left, and the “Dems” are responsible.” If only we were so powerful!

22 July: in Parliament today Nadia Whittome MP gave a proper classification of Liz Truss’s machinations: “Leaked reports of a potential roll-back on trans rights have understandably caused alarm. With hate crimes against trans people up nearly 40% on last year, does the Secretary of State agree that her quibbling on this issue is fanning the flames of populist hate towards an already marginalised group?” Truss was forced to climb down. “Let me be absolutely clear: we will not be rolling back the rights of transgender people. It is important that transgender people are able to live their lives as they wish, without fear, and we will make sure that that is the case.” When? “Over the Summer”.

The point is that now, gender recognition can rely on diagnosis by a specialist psychiatrist, because the International Classification of Diseases calls “Gender dysphoria” a mental illness. However after 2022 that will no longer be the case, and medical treatment will be inappropriate unless we want hormones or surgery. It would be as ridiculous to require a trans person to get a diagnosis from a psychiatrist before getting gender recognition, as it would be to require someone to get a medical certificate of homosexuality before allowing them to marry someone of the same sex. Because our human rights require our gender to be recognised, without the need for surgical alteration, we cannot be required to produce a diagnosis.

Gender Recognition and the Rights of Transgender People

MPs and others knowing little about trans people, but wanting an in depth briefing, might turn to the House of Commons Briefing paper. It gives undue weight to transphobic falsehoods. It follows a previous paper on gender recognition.

It quotes “Fair Play for Women”, a transphobic, trans-excluding and anti-trans campaigning organisation, as saying “ordinary, everyday women. Any woman.” can be attacked as transphobic for “asking questions or voicing concerns”. This is a direct echo of Enoch Powell‘s “decent, ordinary working man”. It then quotes the Westminster Hall debate. At the end, it quotes the Minister:

Domestic abuse services, including refuges, have robust risk assessment procedures and may exclude anyone who might threaten a safe environment for victims and their children, as well as signposting sources of support for those people whose needs they might not be able to meet.

This is clear and obvious. Even if there were no specific rule for excluding trans women, they could exclude anyone dangerous. So why quote David Davies’ fearmongering?

It gives links to articles about the issues. Some attempt to appear balanced, some are for trans rights, but some are ridiculously phobic. After Rachel Bowyer refutes Rosa Freedman, why link to Freedman’s discredited blog post?

Many readers may not get beyond the summary, which says,

Those against self-identification are concerned, for example, about creating a system which might be abused, and about the potentially negative impact for safe single-sex spaces.

That is refuted in the paper itself, but the summary leaves it there.

I don’t have the law memorised, and could not fault the account of it, but was surprised to see a reference to “Genuine occupational requirements” in Equality law. That’s outdated by more than ten years. The word “genuine” is superfluous, and no longer used.

The summary defines gender dysphoria as “a sense of unease”. That minimises our distress, and the relief transition brings.

The results of the Scottish consultation have been published, but they have not even been summarised in the paper. They would show that people who took the time to respond were strongly pro-trans, despite the desperate campaigning of transphobes to get people to answer. Many of the responders were in England.

The summary says trans people object to the requirement for a diagnosis, as being trans is not an illness. However “the removal of the requirement for a medical diagnosis was one option on which views were sought,” rather than a recommendation. The section on the Equality Act clarifies that there is no need for us to undergo a medical process to be protected: that should have been made clear in the summary. We have our rights, and gender recognition will not affect them: it is only a symbolic legal acknowledgment of our value- or something to campaign against or withhold, to show we are despised.

The account of the background starts with useful quotes. “Being trans is not a mental illness. Despite this, and despite the progress that we have made in recent years, trans people continue to face significant barriers to full participation in society,” said the 2018 consultation paper. Exactly.

I learned useful things about hate crime, which is

Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s … transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.

This means a stronger punishment. However hate crime based on race or religion is an aggravated offence: that is the offence, not just the penalty, is greater. And stirring up hatred based on race, religion or sexual orientation is a crime, but not hatred based on gender identity, or some of those “everyday women” might be liable to prosecution.

The paper then covers the background, including Christine Goodwin’s case, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights considering the Gender Recognition Bill in 2003: “They advance the aims of certainty and help to ensure that the Government’s flexible approach to the stage at which an acquired gender should be recognized will not degenerate into giving legal recognition to lifestyle changes.” We know that a change of name and gender expression is a huge change, whether or not you have diagnosis or medical treatment, and deserves gender recognition. The committee was concerned about effects on other people. Our rights come last.

The section headed “Gender Dysphoria” goes into detail on NHS treatment of children and adults, but not diagnostic criteria, which reveal we have self-declaration already.

The section on the Equality Act quotes a legal textbook, saying the guidance on the Act makes it appear too easy to exclude trans women from women’s spaces:

It would be inadequate for a provider of services to assume female victims of sexual assault would necessarily object to a trans-woman attending group counselling sessions. A degree of canvassing of opinion would surely be required… There are very real concerns that such guidance is too categorical and fails to emphasize the lengths an employer … would need to go to in order to demonstrate proportionality as an adequate defence to discrimination.

The chapter on young people says the government did not plan to reduce the age below 18, though as the minister said,

Social transition, such as changing the name you are known by, and the pronouns you use, can be done by anyone at any age, and is often subject to a discussion between a child and their parents if it happens before age 18.

Legal gender recognition is the icing on the cake, with only symbolic significance. My bank card establishes I am female, and I have only shown my GRC to friends. I am glad I have it, but I don’t use it.

Chapter 6 at last addresses gender recognition reform. The criticisms of the current regime are listed: it is medicalised, intrusive, burdensome and expensive. There is the spousal veto: there are things I had not considered, such as “Spousal consent may not be possible, for example if the spouse cannot be contacted or lacks mental capacity”.

In Scotland, a married person applies to the Sheriff Court for gender recognition, and gets a GRC, but the court informs the spouse, and “That gives the spouse the grounds, at any time in the future, to seek a divorce.” Though, no-fault divorce will start in England in Autumn 2021. In Scotland, parties have to be separated for two years before one can get a divorce without the other’s consent.

Most people who take an interest in gender recognition reform will pick up things they did not know from this briefing paper. It has a dry style, and attempts to appear dispassionate. However it gives far too much weight and prominence to the anti-trans campaigners, and is not appropriate to inform anyone who does not know about the issues.

Trans women, simply explained

Non-trans friends:

Predatory men pretending to be trans in order to attack women is a myth. It could happen now, if they really wanted, as the Equality Act 2010 in the UK allows those who appear to be trans women to enter women’s spaces, but it does not happen because there are so many easier ways of attacking women.

That myth is transphobic. It creates fear of trans women. Someone might think: “Is that a genuine trans woman? Or is it a predatory man?” They might even feel an enhanced sense of suspicion- “Will there be a predatory man in a dress there?” Yet people who spread the myth often imagine that they are not transphobic because they don’t think they are hostile to “genuine” trans women.

Please, if you see or hear this myth anywhere, challenge it. State the facts. Call it what it is- transphobia. Explain why. Transphobia is spread by people who imagine they are not transphobic at all.

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Any attempt to exclude trans women from toilets and changing rooms requires policing women’s femininity. Do you want any woman to reconsider her hair or her clothes to avoid misgendering? What about the tall woman, or the broad shouldered woman? What about the woman who has ceased her public feminine expression and always wears DMs and a crew cut, because she is traumatised by predatory men who won’t take no for an answer? Whatever anyone thinks of trans women in women’s refuges, prisons, hospital wards or sports, excluding trans women from loos and changing rooms would hurt all women, and subject them more to patriarchal control.

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So what about refuges, prisons, hospital wards and sports? Women’s Aid helps fugitives from violence, and includes trans women fugitives from violence. No prisoner should be subject to violence: let us work for the reduction of the prison population and the humane treatment of prisoners, not for housing trans women in vulnerable prisoner units with male paedophiles. In hospital all deserve dignity, even trans women. In sport, the IOC requires drastic reduction in the male testosterone level in all trans women competitors. No man would endure that. These women should be able to compete.

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I am terrified. After The Sunday Times reported a “government source” promised to “safeguard female-only spaces, including refuges and public lavatories, to stop them being used by those with male anatomy”, and overturn the consultation, where 70% of respondents were in favour of trans self-declaration, I fear legal restriction and public hostility inflamed by public discourse where trans women are conflated with predatory men. Trans women are not the main threat to other women.

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What do you say when a cis straight educated white man says “Why do we need labels”?

Because the first time people are labelled is always pejorative. It may be scientific, classifying, othering us. It may be legalistic, regulating our behaviour or expression. It may be abusive, short and cruel to shout in the street. Then choosing our own labels is an act of resistance.

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There is no such thing as “trans ideology”. I am a trans woman. I do not seek to define womanhood for any other woman, or deny that sex is real. I don’t define women’s sexuality, or how women should dress or behave. I want freedom for women to be who they are, because I need that freedom myself. When we say “my gender identity is female” or “I am a woman” we are psyching ourselves up to do what we do not understand but want more than anything else in the world- to express ourselves as women. When we want inclusive language for trans men and nonbinary folk it’s just like women wanting inclusive language- “chairman” becomes “chairperson”. When that seems ugly, we work together to improve it: “chairperson” becomes “chair”.

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Keep it simple. Conspiracy theories flourish when people are drawn in by all the information available. QAnon addicts relish Q-drops, telling New Information about how wonderful Q+ (Donald Trump) is, and how threatened he is by the Deep State, and “Do the Research” in between drops, analysing. Anti-vaxxers memorise lists of ingredients of vaccines, and their alleged harm. Flat-Earthers study the Bedford Levels experiments. Transphobes and anti-trans campaigners learn about the few trans people who can be made to look bad, and all sorts of detail about sports and shelters and prisons and hospitals and changing rooms, and share it on forums and twitter. Cut through their crap.

Trans women are women, socially, legally and morally. Trans rights are human rights.