More in Common

“We have more in common than that which divides us,” said Jo Cox MP, and on the sixth anniversary of her murder More in Common, the foundation set up in her name, published their report on trans rights to argue just that. After interviewing 10,300 people, they produced seven “segments” of British society based on their core beliefs on social issues, their values, identity and worldview. They then classified people by these segments to organise further focus groups and surveys on issues including trans rights.

The report explains the segments. Membership does not depend on voting patterns. They are:

Progressive Activists. They are politically engaged, and seek to correct historic marginalisation of groups. They have the lowest authoritarian tendencies of any group, but a significant minority believe the real injustice is the erosion of “sex-based rights”. Only Progressive Activists are embroiled in the social media wars on trans.

Civic Pragmatists’ starting point is kindness and compassion. They are open to compromise and socially liberal. They are turned off by the divisiveness of the elite media debate on trans.

Disengaged Battlers who feel the system is broken and they are barely surviving. They see no point in engaging with the democratic system, but are tolerant and socially liberal.

Established Liberals. Prosperous, cosmopolitan, pro-market and status quo.

Loyal Nationals. Belonging to a group, and being British, is important to them. They care about fairness. They feel under threat from outsiders.

Disengaged traditionalists. They are self-reliant, patriotic, tough-minded. They emphasise personal responsibility and explain success in life by individual qualities rather than the System. They take social rules seriously and are judgmental about others’ behaviour. They pay little attention to current debates.

Backbone Conservatives. They are optimistic about Brexit, proud of being British, and engaged with politics. They want clear rules and strong leaders. They are the most likely to think transition is unnatural.

More in Common did a survey and then focus groups. 74% of people said they knew someone who is LGB, and 24% knew someone who is trans. Thinking of social groups where I would say I know people, all of them include another trans person. In the past, in work, I met other trans people. Perhaps I have a lower threshold of what it means to “know” someone. 31% of Millennials (born 1981-96) and 48% of Gen Z (born 1997-2012) know a trans person.

2% of people included “the debate about transgender people” in the top three of sixteen issues facing the country. 64% named Cost of living, 32% the NHS, and 29% the war in Ukraine.

More in Common is keen to point out what people have in common. “There is a strong sense of acceptance and compassion,” they say. Live and let live.

More people agree than disagree that a trans man is a man, and a trans woman is a woman. Only “Disengaged Traditionalists” felt otherwise. So the Times and the Tories have not yet managed to create some great divide over the issue. By contrast, there were sharp divisions between the segments on whether BLM is a good thing. The problem is they think a “trans woman” is someone who has lived in their true gender for a significant period or had genital surgery. But, the Equality Act protects us from the moment we decide to transition, and that is when we most need protecting: we are more nervous, and pass less well.

The report says people don’t want to be condemned for an innocent mistake over pronouns, and some sound wounded. My impression from trans people is that in person we are keener to gently educate than to rebuke. We only object if it is intentional. But twitter is different.

It says people think unisex toilets are a good solution for trans women. That is silly. People are used to single sex toilets, buildings have them, law requires employers to provide them. Most women will rarely or never know that there is a trans woman in the room with them. Why have men in women’s loos, because then the rule would be that trans women could use the same loos as everyone else? It makes no sense. Far better to just let trans women use women’s loos. That’s the problem with asking people who have not really thought about the matter what should be done.

It says most people are not following the debate. They know JK Rowling said something, but are not sure what. But they are clear trans women in women’s sports is unfair, especially elite sport. They say a male puberty gives lifelong advantages. That anti-trans argument has cut through.

It suggests that people are aware of the issues around gender identity, but they do not think of it as a political dispute. Instead, they consider how it affects their day to day lives and think about progress in practical not symbolic ways. They want common-sense, compassionate and fair solutions. They wanted to find some other way a trans athlete could compete.

There are four ways to approach culture war, MIC says:

1. Deciding to make things worse, for political gain.
2. Ignoring and avoiding the issue, leaving it to the polarisers.
3. Making passionate arguments which appeal to activists but turn off the general public.
4. Seeking to engage with the majority of Britons

They say most people want to be compassionate, and seek practical solutions. So, MIC recommends building upon areas of consensus, emphasise the shared starting points, and acknowledge the progress that has been made. They want spaces to have the discussion and provide answers to ordinary people.

They recommend, emphasise the shared starting points people have, and build on areas of consensus. Have a case by case approach, so exclusion in sport is OK, but emphasise the experience of people who have found solutions and acknowledge the progress that has been made. Create spaces for discussion, while stopping bad-faith actors setting the terms of discussion. But, “Listen to those worried about the pace of change”.

Finally, “remember this is about people”. I agree that having my life “being treated as ideological footballs is cruel and unnecessary”. There is a better way, but will The Times and the Tories follow More in Common’s lead?

Parliament debates trans conversion

“Your lives matter, and you should be protected from abuse, coercion and control just as much as the next person.” People comment how tense I am all the time. Reading that, from the Conservative MP Peter Gibson, I felt my tension lift a little. It should not need to be said, but I am glad it is. One trans constituent asked, “surely I deserve to feel safe, have some dignity and live my life in peace without being demonised?” Continue reading

Trans people in hospital wards

As a Tory cabinet minister said, the NHS under the Tories is “wanting and inadequate”. But its rules on admitting trans women to women’s wards is good. Its guidance adopted in 2019 (pdf) says trans people should be accommodated according to how we present. We do not need a GRC or legal name change. If our breasts or genitals appear of the opposite gender, we should be given sufficient privacy with curtains or a single side room.

A trans person who has not had a genital operation should not share open shower facilities. Where the treatment is sex-specific, such as a trans man having a hysterectomy, staff should discuss options with the patient. If a patient is unconscious, staff should draw inferences from mode of dress and only consider genitals if this is specifically necessary for treatment (I am sad that needs to be said). A trans woman without her wig should have extra care to ensure her privacy and dignity. Nonbinary patients should be asked discreetly about their preferences.

A child’s preference should prevail even if the parents disagree and the child is not Gillick competent.

Unfortunately, anti-trans hate campaigner Emma Nicholson has become aware of this guidance, and wasted House of Lords time at 1am on 17 March to amend the Health and Care Bill to exclude all trans women from women’s wards. The usual hate campaigners- Claire Fox, David “Blencathra” Maclean- came out to bore everyone with their usual disinformation. The government whip, JoJo Penn, thanked Emma for “all her work advocating for women’s rights”, and I hope that is just the usual oily courtesy shown by “noble Lords” to each other. She said the NHS is currently reviewing its guidance and seeks “privacy, safety and dignity” for all its patients. Guidance should be based on “evidence, compassion, empathy and respect”, but she could not give a date for the review being published beyond some time this year.

Fox put her extreme case emotively. She spoke of vulnerable cis women patients losing their right to single-sex wards. She said women (anti-trans campaigners) were effectively being told “Don’t you worry your pretty little heads”. The hate campaigners in the House of Lords have been whinging about this extensively, and the Evening Standard reported their words uncritically. Then Fox refers to the newspapers. It is all circular. However she gave the good news that Dr Michael Brady, NHS LGBT adviser, is involved in the review, has consulted Stonewall and Mermaids, and stated there are “no plans to reduce the existing rights of transgender people”.

Nicholson told the story of a trans woman constituent when she was an MP. The woman was a police officer, who after transition was given a lower rank. Nicholson claimed that she helped “persuade the police that [transition] was a fully acceptable thing to have done”. Then she claimed a trans woman on a women’s ward raped another patient a year ago. That is explosive.

Ralph “Baron Lucas” Palmer (Con) claimed “trans women are men” under the Equality Act. Michael Farmer, former treasurer of the Tory Party, recited some legal interpretation from anti-trans campaigners, claiming that excluding trans women from women’s wards would be a “legitimate aim”. Timothy Clement-Jones, LibDem, spoke for the amendment despite his party’s definition of transphobia. As nonbinary people are not explicitly protected under the Act, he wanted them assessed for objective sex.

Terence Etherton, former Master of the Rolls (President of the civil Court of Appeal) explained that putting trans women on men’s wards would be unlawful harassment under the Equality Act, as it would violate our dignity. He said changing your name is changing an “attribute of sex” sufficient to clearly fit the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. “It is not a legitimate aim that some people feel uncomfortable sharing accommodation and facilities with trans people of the opposite birth sex. That would make a nonsense of having the statutory protected characteristic in the first place.”

Sal Brinton, LibDem, said Nicholson’s amendment “seeks to create a false understanding” of the Equality Act.

Michael Cashman talked of evidence: freedom of information requests around the country have shown there is no need to change Annexe B, the part of the policy specifically about trans people. He pointed out how Maclean, as a Home Office minister, had blocked an equal age of consent for gay sex with straight sex. That had to wait for a Labour government, despite a win in the European Court. He drew parallels between the hate against trans women now, and against gay men in the 1990s, and “against minorities across the centuries”. Ruth Hunt said “many lesbians” support trans inclusion. To detoxify the debate, she said, we should stick to the facts. Elizabeth Barker, LibDem, said the amendment was not about single-sex wards at all, but Nicholson’s continuing campaign against trans women, and “we should simply not pay attention”. She says trans women “are women with a different experience”.

Trans women are probably safe from this review. We will continue being treated on the appropriate wards, and given dignity and privacy. And the hate campaign will continue.

A new, cuddlier LGB Alliance?

If you looked at the LGB All Liars website on 1 June, you would see a weirdly unattractive home page. It had links inviting readers to give money or help campaigning. Across the top scrolled this message, capitals and all: “GAY TEENS AREN’T SICK. Being lesbian or gay is not an illness to be treated. Click to READ MORE”. Clicking would lead to this page, scaremongering about puberty blockers, which they claim is homophobic conversion therapy. But now that page cannot be found.

Instead, now, the front page has some jolly pictures of people chatting and smiling at a conference. Then there’s a claim that they do good things- they are against sexual orientation discrimination and work to help LGB folk thrive. They are still the same old transphobes- there’s a picture of a van with an advert on it saying “Gay teens aren’t sick” and the headline “Fighting the medicalisation of children”, but if you click that you reach their Donations page. It mentions their work: campaigning against the Scottish Gender Recognition reform and Hate Crime Bill.

Before, if your cursor went on the Campaign icon, the site asked “What policies are there at work? Do your equal opportunities forms ask for sex or for gender?” Their campaigns were against GRA reform, and for Allison Bailey’s attempt to defund Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme. One was on “sex in the census”, though the census happened last year. One was the Liars working with a site called Merched Cymru (Welsh Women) against the Welsh government’s LGBTQ+ action plan, because it called trans women “women”. Merched Cymru, asking people to hashtag dimdiolch (nothankyou) did not have a Welsh language page.

The Liars’ End Conversion Therapy page claimed treating trans children is homophobic conversion. So all the campaigns shown were against trans rights.

Now, clicking Campaigns at the top of the new front page shows just one new campaign- to ask the British Newspaper Archive to digitise 11 years of Gay News magazine. Apart from that, the campaigns are the same, including the outdated census campaign, and all against trans rights.

The new About page is divided into three. Their purpose, they claim, is to oppose sexual orientation discrimination. They have several points here which are against trans, but without mentioning transgender or trans people. Their Value of “Reality of Biology”- “sex is binary”- is included twice. They claim they will not accept funding from an organisation which undermines women’s reproductive rights- so they are aware the Heritage Foundation funds anti-trans campaign groups.

The new page headed “Myths” says there are “daft” “wild rumours” about them. The page contains the claim that they “fully support trans people” and trans rights. Apart from that it does not mention trans. The old Myths page had the alleged “myths” they contradicted, including that they are a hate group, that they seek to erase trans people (See “Language”, below).

There’s a new page headed “Resources”. The resources are currently rather weak: under “LGB movies” they name none, but tell you to look on Twitter. The heading Uganda, where gay people are criminalised, also refers to twitter. Under “Language” they have a few definitions: they consider gender identity “a sexist concept based on traditional sex-based stereotypes”. Well, if that were true there would not be trans people at all times and in all cultures, despite widely differing gender stereotypes. They define trans people as “people who consider themselves to be trans”. That is, they deny any and all basis for trans people’s existence. We’re just a “sexist concept”.

Again, anything substantial is anti-trans. As well as twitter, they link to anti-trans blogs.

The new site attempts to hide the hate. The references to trans people on the old site are often expunged now. But they still only campaign to restrict trans rights, and rant repetitively in their News section. There are now fifteen news items since 12 Oct 2021. One is merely a link to the Guardian report of Jake Daniels coming out. It’s better looking than the old News page– rather than a headline and some text, there is a headline and a picture for each blog post. But apart from a hurried link to a Guardian article, it’s still the same old obsessive anti-trans hate.

Here is the truth about LGB All Liars. The petition to reverse their false charitable status will be heard in September. Go there, and pledge some money. They may be trying to conceal their hate, a little- but they are still not doing anything for gay people beyond asking someone else to digitise Gay News.

What I desire

It is lovely to be told “You are such a treasure and your beauty is endless”, and admitting to myself it was merely manipulative is a pain.

When I was younger, I read that “men only want one thing.” “Of course I’ll still love you in the morning” was a cliché lie. More recently in drama, notably The Bridge, there are women who only want a fuckbuddy, and are disturbed when the man develops feelings for her. For me, desire is for relationship, not mere coitus, and there is a term for this: “demisexual romantic”, as if it were remarkable. Perhaps it depends, perhaps anyone can be like that sometimes, and I want a word for the opposite: “physicosexual”, perhaps, someone who only wants the genitals, not caring about the human. Freud wrote of the “physischsexualem Akt”, by which he meant copulation. “Heartbreaker” is also a possibility. (I asked, and someone said “aromantic”.)

“Your beauty is endless.” It had a huge effect on me. I thought she loved me for my mind, when she merely sought to mould me into sexual submission. But she complained that someone else was physicosexual, and breaking feminine hearts, when she did that herself. That was typical of her manipulation. Then she chucked me, and I felt worthless. –

The experience gave me huge joy, and pain at its ending. Remembering how much it delighted me, I wonder if there was any good in it. Was it just a warning not to do that again? Another cliché: “There’s no fool like an old fool”. Two months ago I was hurt, and still emotionally involved. I had opened up to a connection that was merely deceptive, and needed to close off from her. Now, I might learn what I desire.

I want to be taken. I want to be overwhelmed, but I don’t want D/s games for themselves. I would play them for someone if that was what she wanted, to please her. What I want most of all is relationship.

I know I want touch. Touch is a tool in her armoury, a way of exerting control. I said I want to hold you and caress your hair, and she said that would be like stroking a leopard. I saw it as service, she refused what would have been her impossible surrender. She let her slave rub her feet. She might touch the kneeling slave lightly on the back of the neck with her crop, hinting at fulfilment. Withholding touch gave her power.

I wonder if there is anyone complementary to me, who might want me as a soft, supporting partner, want me physically, want my touch and relationship with me. Possibly someone who might have been like that now has decided that relationships are too much hard work, and wants flings instead.

I want relationship, touch, respect, commitment, physical desire and compatibility. I want someone with empathy and emotional intelligence, knowing and being herself authentically.

For the long term, I need someone truthful who values me and wants continuing relationship with me. I have sexual desire and I want to orgasm with another, but (not just from drama such as Conversations with Friends) I know it will be unfulfilling without relationship.

I wish I had learned this in my twenties- perhaps it is all too much to learn in teenage- but my need to make a man of myself was so great it was impossible then.

I hope it is not too late, and If it is, I will have to live with that. I am glad I know what I want, at least. As for my latest teacher, I can let go of her now almost as easily as she dropped me. I delight in the best of the experience without dwelling on the worst.

I learn from this NYT article and Conversations with Friends that marriage is difficult, yet possibly worth it.

Abolishing sex

What would happen if the law no longer certified whether a person was male or female? Now, birth certificates and GRCs say what our sex is, and everyone has one or the other, even nonbinary people, or people with variations of sex characteristics. There are rules on changing classification. What if that was ended? Would it help create a world where children were not socialised into gender, and people could live without gender-based expectations or constraints? The Future of Legal Gender project has published its final report, together with several articles, to answer these questions.

They refer to reform as decertification. It is a proposal made to see what it might mean, rather than to solve a specific problem. They interviewed experts, campaigners and ordinary people. Possible benefits include subverting the basis of discrimination, supporting self-expression, and removing the legal burden of gender change. They asked about possible problems, and clearly anti-trans campaigners have been at them, saying sex-specific services, data gathering, and positive action against discrimination could all have difficulties.

Possibly, law could decertify sex as part of a neoliberal project to stop law and government tackling social inequality. The project wants decertification to be part of a social justice movement to support diverse ways of flourishing. It would need to involve greater public provision, not continuing austerity.

Law could still prevent sex discrimination as it does race discrimination. Most people would object to having a race legally assigned to them. Many service providers recognise nonbinary people, and law is increasingly gender neutral.

People consulted spoke of the need to dismantle male domination, violence, and gender based roles and stereotypes. Trans people could back these goals and still advance their aim for recognition of diversity. The Project says gender is institutionalised, rather than being an identity. It is a set of institutional processes rather than personal qualities. It affects people’s values, patterns of wealth and power, and ways of interacting. They say understanding of sex is interpreted through a gendered environment. I say sex as in reproduction only matters if you want to reproduce, or have a physical health condition. Everything else is cultural. Most people agreed our lives should not be defined by the bodies we are born with.

A leisure centre manager said it was important not to assume someone’s gender. When asked where the changing rooms were, they would say the men’s is there, the women’s is there, and the accessible room is there, and leave it to the customer to make the choice. However, when at the cinema I asked where the loos were, I was sent to the men’s.

Sex inequality in the 19th century involved voting, property ownership, inheritance and employment. These legal inequalities have lessened. We need sociology to recognise and research inequality that remains, relating to poverty, work, violence, exclusion and social stereotyping.

Gender is a complex social phenomenon that produces the categories of women and men to shape people’s lives. Decertification might make that shaping less rigid. It would undermine the assumption that gender divisions in roles or behaviour are natural, lawful or desirable, and support diversity. It might counter early gender socialisation of children.

Would it prevent “single sex” spaces? Many women’s organisations rely on self-identification, not asking for legal documents or assuming that a person’s sex or gender could be known from their appearance. They use risk assessments to manage potential problems, rather than expecting biological status as female to safeguard users. Single sex spaces can imply that the risk to women is from strangers, but most violence has perpetrators the victim knows.

They suggest that sports could be classified as in the Paralympics, which assesses functional capacity. What of positive discrimination, such as all-women shortlists to select political candidates? Applicants could be asked to explain why they fit.

We need data to show the inequalities and needs of different groups of people. People’s experiences differ by social class, disability, beliefs and race as well as gender. Why is the data needed? More precise questions, such as “do you menstruate?” could produce more useful data. Any data collection is intrusive for people- the intrusion is justified if the data is used for their benefit.

Trans people can use a GRC to assert our gender, and that protection would be lost. However, I do not want to provide documentary evidence: I want my word to be accepted. I am a woman.

The project says legal reform can be part of a wider programme of change, one policy tool. It is a creative way of thinking big. The aims would be to end legally registered sex or gender, to help dismantle gender hierarchies, to support people whose gender leads us to be excluded or disadvantages, and to undo broader social injustice and inequality. For discrimination and the public sector equality duty there would be a new ground of gender. Employers and service providers could not impose gender stereotypes. Services could still exclude people based on sex or gender if this was done to address unfairness or safety.

The Telegraph report was merely mocking. “The census could ask ‘do you menstruate?’ instead of ‘are you female?’ to be inclusive of transgender people, a taxpayer funded study has suggested.” Including trans people is not the only reason for the project’s proposals, but they wanted to wind up anti-trans campaigners to hate the study as well as their usual anti-woke, anti-tax readers. A trans woman shared the Telegraph’s hate screed on facebook, so I learned about the report. I am so glad I did.

Reform is unlikely to happen soon, but I am glad people are thinking about the possibility.

Alison Eden

Alison Eden is the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Central Devon, a district councillor, and an obsessive hate campaigner. Other LibDem councillors have noticed.

For example her retweet of Sharron Davies’ tweet against trans in sports. Or this retweet, with the ridiculous claim that “women are being phased out”. Or this retweet of Susanne Moore, attacking Owen Jones for standing up for trans people. Or this retweet of JK Rowling boasting that someone called her transphobic. Or this retweet of someone claiming trans men can’t get endometriosis- or are women really. That’s five out of her last twenty tweets, a transphobia score of 25%. It’s almost as if she has the twitter of an anti-trans campaigner rather than a councillor.

She is an extreme transphobe. This article starts with an attack on inclusive language for trans men, and morphs into a rant against trans women- who, she alleges, pose “rape threats”. Then she fearmongers about someone self-declaring and having “instant and unquestioning access to sex-specific places” as if that had not been happening for years. What’s terrifying about her article is its complete ignorance. She does not bother to find the facts before crying out in rage and hate. She just gets triggered, and tries to trigger others.

She claims the challenge is “certainly not the people who seek veracity in their lives through transitioning”. Oh, she’s not against real trans people, just the nonexistent fakes. The trouble is that no-one can tell the difference, seeing me walk down the street. Could I be one of the dangerous fake ones? Can the cis people take the risk?

Her alleged article in the Mid Devon Advertiser is now only available in Nigel Scott’s blog. He is a transphobe, and for years has only blogged transphobic drivel. He claims, without an archive link or other evidence, that she claimed the rights of transitioners “trump” those of vulnerable women. That’s one step further. Sometimes she claims not to be against the real transsexuals, but this article clearly is. She ended by claiming to want “safe places” for the trans women, but “caring compromises”- not among the cis women.

Scott claims Eden was excluded from an online event for members, for proposing to ask Ed Davey about excluding trans women from women’s spaces, as the Equality Act currently permits in restricted circumstances.

If the LibDems are silencing Eden in a party event, why is she still a candidate? Because the Tory MP had an absolute majority, do they hope he will win again?

According to Scott, Eden is clearly within the LibDem definition of transphobia. She advocated for trans people to use “segregated facilities”. The definition was adopted in 2020. So, why has she not been expelled from the party?

Here is the LibDem complaint procedure. It does not ask if behaviour is wrong, but whether there is “risk to the party’s reputation”. Currently, the media would blast the party for disciplining the most extreme anti-trans campaigner. It is not clear that nonmembers can complain, and the page assumes complainants will be members. So, has the party’s definition of transphobia any value at all?

Murray Blackburn Mackenzie

Murray Blackburn Mackenzie claim to be policy analysts. Their twitter and website have a reassuring air: a picture of the Forth Rail Bridge in sunshine, a logo of three grey wavy lines to look serious. They could be a long-established firm of Edinburgh solicitors, though few solicitors would have a request for donations on their front page, or endorsements from four notorious anti-trans campaigning politicians.

They are generally referred to as policy analysts, for example by The Guardian. Note the headline: “Scotland’s gender recognition reform is a ‘recipe for bad law’, say campaigners”, though the article itself says Rape Crisis Scotland and Amnesty, and every party but the Conservatives, support the proposals. Who is against? One of these “policy analysts”, tiny hate group Four women Scotland, and LGB All Liars.

So, why bother reporting what they say? Is a tiny hate group’s opposition to gender recognition reform overwhelmingly supported by Scottish civil society actually newsworthy? The Herald is a model of reporting, quoting at length supporters of the law as befits their importance, but still quoted MBM, calling them “a policy think tank”. The Scotsman calls them a “policy group”, and had a silly piece quoting one of them at length after she resigned from the Royal College of Nursing. The RCN had investigated her for a potential breach of contract. Reporting on the gender recognition consultation, The Times quoted the Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, and “the policy analyst” MBM.

What do they tweet about? Their pinned tweet is about gender recognition reform. All their 54 tweets in May are too. One of them is Kath Murray, a criminologist. Her pinned tweet is about “recording sex accurately” (No Transwomen!) and again her tweets are overwhelmingly attacking trans rights.

Do they blog about anything other than trans? In 2021 they did an article about whether the Green Party, now it is in coalition with the SNP, would retain opposition party privileges. So I did a quick google. It doesn’t. In 2020, they did a three page submission on the Lobbying Act. And, that’s it. By contrast, they have eighteen posts this year so far on gender recognition, scaremongering and making unsubstantiated allegations of harm.

Everything else is an attack on trans rights. Under “education”, there are three articles, all about trans rights. One makes the shocking allegation that “no university in Scotland has any form of organised representation or networking for female staff”, but read closely, it reveals that it means all the women’s groups may include trans women. It then goes on about anti-trans campaigners as if they were victims.

There is a great deal on their site about data collection. All of it is advocating trans exclusion. For example, they are desperate that trans women should be told to tell the census that we are men, even though the Court of Session disagrees. They make a number of unsubstantiated claims that trans women being allowed to say we are women is “harmful” to accurate statistics, though the proportion of the population who is trans is under 1%, and trans men and trans women will cancel each other out.

All of their work on criminal justice and policing is about trans: for example, they do not want hate crime law around misogyny, but around the characteristic of sex, which they define to exclude trans women from the category “women”.

Who are they, anyway? Two former civil servants and a research fellow. Just as anyone can set up a wordpress blog, it seems anyone can call themselves “policy analysts” or consultants, get to make scaremongering, unsubstantiated claims to parliamentary committees, and have their words reported unquestioningly by the press, as if what they said matters. It only matters because the press decides it does. So MBM’s message of hate and exclusion spreads.

Ricky Gervais

What did Gervais say on Netflix? Content: transphobia.

“I love the new women. They’re great, aren’t they?” He then goes on sarcastically to imagine correcting an anti-trans campaigner. “What if he rapes me?” “What if she rapes you, you fucking terf?”

Why is this offensive? Because it portrays people who say trans women are women as condoning rape, and fears of a trans woman raping a cis woman as reasonable. It incites fear against trans women. It ridicules anyone who wants to treat trans women with respect or decency.

In The Times, some bore who has written a book called “How Woke Won: The Elitist Movement That Threatens Democracy, Tolerance and Reason” praised Gervais extravagantly. She claims declaring our pronouns and believing in gender fluidity is “trans ideology”, which she claims is powerful. He’s not attacking trans people, she says, but trans ideology.

She says a rape victim might have to describe her attacker as a woman in court. This is untrue. She claims ten years ago there would have been nothing funny in saying only a man has a penis, because it is biological fact. Gervais “punctures pomposity” by poking fun at the prohibition on saying it.

However, it is not true to say only women menstruate. Trans men exist. The word “woman” cannot properly relate to reality or human society if it means “adult biological female”. And dictionaries are not prescriptive: because lots of people include trans women when using the word “woman”, trans women are women.

For Gervais, if a woman fears rape, some people are so stuffed full of “woke nonsense” that their reaction is not sympathy but to insist she calls the person she fears “she”. That’s the joke. I plead guilty. Yes, I want people to refer to trans women with female pronouns. The Times writer finds that pompous and ridiculous, and Gervais skewering it funny. She hooted loudly and punched the air.

That’s what Gervais means when he started by saying “I say something I don’t really mean, for comic effect”. Only the character says outrageous things- in this case, “You fucking terf”. (Terf is not a word I use.)

But here, there are two characters. There’s the ridiculous woke fool, impersonated by Gervais for his audience to hoot at, and there’s the straight character, the poor reasonable woman who fears rape when she sees a trans woman. She is not held up for ridicule, but for sympathy.

Gervais imagines someone fearing rape when she sees a trans woman, and therefore wanting all trans women expelled from women’s loos, and portrays her as sympathetic. Her opponents are pompous, ridiculous elitists threatening reason. This encourages those who want trans women out of women’s spaces. Therefore it is offensive.

The Times writer says Gervais is punching up, at that Elite, on behalf of the masses who want trans exclusion. I say he is punching down, encouraging trans exclusion. I win Oppression Olympics here: a writer in The Times, elite in privilege if not in ability, and a wealthy comedian, want me excluded.

Many people might echo Nick Fletcher MP wanting consistency and predictability in the world, so that the word “woman” can only mean what they want it to mean. They are from all walks of life, and many may be less privileged than I am. But, do you want them to be able to drive me out? Do you want them squabbling with me, rather than unionising and voting Labour? Which elite is a threat to them really?