Advice for Julie Bindel

I doubt she will hear it, but I will try.

Julie Bindel is a gender-critical feminist often accused of being transphobic, including by me. There has been some concern about British gender critical feminists working with the hard Right in America against trans rights. Venice Allan went to America to make contact with hard-Right groups, and also apparently “laughed at a racist posh girl calling a feminist activist a Nazi”.

My advice is, don’t do this in public on Twitter. Phone her up, or just ignore it.

You agree about a lot. I don’t agree with this, but you both believe that trans rights conflict with women’s rights, and you both campaign for women’s rights against the encroachment of trans rights. You don’t campaign about all the same things, but most things one campaigns on, the other will be broadly sympathetic.

There are two views which a gender critical feminist might have. One is that the hard-Right is anti-woman, seeking to enforce regressive gender stereotypes, against birth control, and against bodily autonomy when there might be an embryo, and you would have nothing to do with them. The other is, while the hard-Right is wrong about almost everything, they are right that trans women are a threat in women’s spaces, and might provide useful support for feminists on the Left wanting to make that argument.

My personal view is that no feminist should have anything to do with The Heritage Foundation, but I can see why Posie Parker does.

I admire Julie Bindel’s integrity even as I disagree with her. I admire the directness of her campaigning. She uses words brilliantly, her polemic skewers her enemies, yet she should be able to make the leap of empathy with Posie Parker to understand why she has done what she has done, and (if she criticises at all) only criticise in private. You agree about almost everything. Do not let the one thing you disagree about come between you.

I agree with Julie Bindel when she said, in three tweets on 1 February,

Before anyone suggests that what I am about to say is in order to get myself a reprieve from the 15 years of hell being targeted by the trans lobby, I am aware that even if I set fire to myself in the street by way of ‘apologising’ I would simply be accused of causing the death of trans people who were in the vicinity and died of smoke inhalation – so not only do I feel I have nothing to apologise for, it would be a massive waste of time. But I want to say how I despise the latest tactics of Posie Parker and disciples, and want no part in it. As far as I am concerned, they are motivated by narcissism, bigotry, and ego. They are causing harm. THE END.

But I do not think she should have said it in public. It gives delight to her and Posie’s common enemies. Where do you think I found that screenshot above? On a trans campaign group. Everyone there is delighted at their- oh, I’ll be honest, our- opponents falling out.

In a similar way, the Heritage Foundation want to set gender critical feminists and trans people against each other. They are on the Right, and they recognise that gender critical feminists and trans people are on the anti-authoritarian Left, however much we might accuse each other of being right-wing. The Heritage Foundation is delighted that their enemies are fighting amongst themselves, for thereby we give ammunition to Right-wing causes and reduce the effectiveness of the Left.

The Left is fractious. To the Left of the Labour Party, recently, there have been the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party, the Communist Party of Britain, and the Socialist Labour Party, with clear differences between them a bit like the differences between the Free Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland. For me, Jeremy Corbyn and I don’t know, Chukka Umunna would be better PMs than Theresa May and I would leaflet and door-knock for either of them within the Labour Party. Twitter especially, and the internet more generally, makes the fractiousness worse. We have to find ways of working together.

The edge of transphobia II

My friend wrote, I think there is a real discussion to be had about what constitutes a woman (I’m open to discussion but I currently think being a woman is an embodied state, so ones body is relevant to it) and calling people transphobic who think that differences between cis gender women and trans women are up for discussion transphobic or TERFs does not help reflective engagement in an open discussion about gender.

How can we show respect for women’s bodies? A woman spoke impassionedly to me about her body, about suckling with her breasts, about carrying a baby, about giving birth. These things clearly matter. We have no experience of them. There are many reasons why there should be women’s spaces, and the vulnerability of bodies which might give birth is surely a strong reason. I felt the emotional swings that progesterone could bring, and when I found them unbearable could simply stop taking the tablets. I remember the miserable pleading of a child, “Please, Miss, can I go to the toilet?” repeatedly during lessons, from nearly forty years ago, and realise I have no idea of the shame and pain of her experience.

Many on the other side see menstruation and penises as trump cards. That’s it, there is no further need for discussion. Trans women are men, and should be kept out of women’s spaces. Some tolerate post-operative transsexuals, some not even that.

I may have driven a woman into the arms of the anti-trans campaigners by my attitude to menstruation. I hated the thought that it was a trump card. Germaine Greer said, Being a woman is a bit tricky. If you didn’t find your pants full of blood when you were 13 there’s something important about being a woman you don’t know. It’s not all cake and jam. Well, no. Yet, if that means there should be female spaces where not even post-operative trans can go, it changes my life completely. I am afraid. I see myself as a harmless anomaly, one in a thousand, not really a threat, and wish feminists would devote their campaigning attention to the gender pay gap or sexual harassment, and not to me.

There was a loose group of bloggers, commenting on each others’ posts- queers, straight Lefties, and religious sceptics- and Roughseas’ first comment on my blog admired the portraits I had had taken expressing female when I was nerving myself to transition. She commented here from 2012-2016. Then I wrote on menstruation as a trump card, and she challenged me. And, as you’ve said you’ve lived as a woman for 13 years, I can take it you have no experiential knowledge of horrible bloody soggy knickers in your teens, leaking sanitary towels, leaking tampons and people making snide digs when you were ‘on’. Her last comments here were challenging my feminine presentation: Whatever you think and buy, you are supporting patriarchal imagery. It may be what you want. It still supports the idea that the rest of us should do the same. She started following and supporting anti-trans blogs. I don’t think I converted her to anti-trans campaigning, but what I said could have pushed her in that direction.

My friend wrote, I disagreed with a statement you made early in the gathering to the effect that objections to people with penis’s in women’s spaces is transphobia. I thought it was unhelpful and should have been publicly challenged at the time as I think that sort of statement serves to shut down debate.

There is a moment where slight discomfort with trans people, moderated with sympathy for our struggles, can become anger at “trans rights activists” and campaigning against trans inclusion. Looking into each others’ eyes, making an effort to understand the other, and being very careful with our speech we might still see each others’ humanity and accept the other; yet that is so difficult.

How can I accept your slight discomfort when I am sensitised by open hate? I see the disgust and contempt on twitter, and claim that all this talk of penises is transphobic. Well-

Having a penis is also a source of shame and pain. I was always sitting to wee long before I stopped presenting male. Like others, I was bathing with bubble bath to avoid seeing the thing. When presenting male is unbearable, and expressing female is terrifying-

I now fear my initial reply is not enough. I wrote,

I said it was transphobic to object to penises in women’s spaces because most of us have penises. To give myself as an example: I associated with transsexuals, and knew I wanted to transition, but took some time seeing if I could manage it before seeing my doctor. That meant dressing female and going in women’s spaces, first around Canal St., the gay area of Manchester, then the Bridgewater Hall, then supermarkets and other such places. Later, I had a diagnosis from a psychiatrist and had thrown out all my male clothes, but had not yet had my operation. Some people wait more than ten years for the operation. So although most of us want it, many of us have not had it.

There is a constant harping on about penises in the campaign against us, in stickers saying “Women do not have penises”. I find it dehumanising. I am so much more than a penis.

These things could have been brought out if we had a longer dialogue. But I take the point about dislike of the word “transphobia”.

I now fear that was not enough. A minor point was, what women’s spaces? Loos but not changing rooms, and only loos when I really needed them. Not changing rooms: I did not swim for three years. Though I think we should be in changing rooms, we do not want to show off our genitals more than any normal person.

But more, it does not address the discomfort. I am claiming a trump card of my own- because transition is more important to me than anything else in the world, I should be accepted. On the anti-trans side, there is the idea of “Peak trans”- you are a liberal feminist, or even a radical feminist, believing that trans people have a lot to cope with and should be accepted, and then you meet a few, or read what trans women write, and find that natural slight discomfort becomes campaigning energy against us. If that is true, then trans women have no hope.

There is so much fear and shame here. Trans women should never forget the depth of oppression of cis women by patriarchy. My own burden of fear and shame is so great! I hate the thought that I pushed someone to be against us; but if we cannot hear each other, and see each others’ humanity, across the divide between trans women and cis women, then trans women will not survive.

Yet- I am here! I cry, despairingly. I am human too!

“Transgender ideology” and consequences

It would be so much easier to know ourselves without the Therefores.

I don’t know why I do anything, beyond that I want to. So I transitioned, and have no idea why. There is a ready-made system of ideas explaining it. I have a medical condition. I am really a woman. These ideas give people courage to transition, and courage to assert their rights, and may make cis people more likely to accept us. It feels threatening when people challenge those ideas: the threat is that we will be excluded.

You are a man
Therefore you should not be in women’s space.

You have autogynephilia
Therefore you are a danger in women’s space.

There is so much threat about that we need to worry less about the ideas. Someone says, but you’re a man. So what? You will never persuade them otherwise. It only matters if they want to take action to exclude you. You hear them say you are a man, and fear exclusion, but it might never happen.

We suffer from imagined wrongs, imagined problems, foreseen pain that may not come to pass but is still painful in the imagining.

The result is to constrain us. Needing others and ourselves to believe the story, we suffer pressure to conform to it. But it is not that simple. Some say I should not say I am a man, because it gives ammunition to the phobes, but it helps me understand who I am, what I want, how I respond. Transition should be about liberation. No, of course I do not have “male privilege”, but some aspects of it fit. That’s one of the arguments the phobes use for exclusion. If only it was not used for point scoring, if only we could just live our lives, we could think on these things and see how we are, in our communities. Then we would be less self-conscious, more relaxed, and people around would pick up on that.

The thing is, we can. Don’t go where the phobes go. A few people, on a few threads on Mumsnet, the odd Reddit forum, some closed facebook groups, are full of hate for us, and their commenters strive to excel each other in their fearmongering and proposed restrictions. Some are off now getting money from far-Right US groups, which want an authoritarian view of gender that will hurt them worse than us. And you need not come across these people. It gives a heady mix of excitement and fear to read about them, even lurk on their forums, but you can just stop. And while there are weirdoes who will scream at you in the street, most people are minding their own business.

We can’t persuade the whole world. We can find a place we can live our lives. So I am glad to see trans women, again on line, with male voices, male pattern baldness, male faces under bouffang wigs. We are not so desperate to pass. We can be ourselves even when we do not.

Non-binary is not a discrete phenomenon from trans. We are people. The questions are, who are you? What do you want to do?

What I want VII

I want to go out into the world again, from my current state of withdrawal. This terrifies me. I want to be useful.

Then stating what I want gets more difficult. I want not to be noticed. I want to hide. And that has involved suppressing who I am, trying to find and follow rules. It’s difficult because I fear a reaction of incomprehension and disdain for what I say. My working theory is that my personality has been suppressed, and now I want to let it out.

I want to do teenage. Don’t worry too much. You may not even notice. But if you do notice, if it becomes incredibly obvious, I want you to value that. I want to be valued, and really it is for me to value myself; but I find that difficult, and would like help.

These desires are incompatible: I want to Be Myself. Then something happens, and in terror I want to hide.

Write what you want, she said. God this is difficult. A job interviewer gave me feedback that on the standard question of how do you work in a team I only talked of what I could give to it, not what others could do for me.

I want to be valued. I would like help with that. I judge myself harshly, and live in a state of fear, which I cannot bear any more.

I want connection. And, I want- not to be any trouble! Please don’t send me away!

What I want for myself is to find myself in an office environment doing something which might be valued. I can type and file. I can keep confidentiality.

I want to do something which is sufficiently valuable to retain a volunteer, while learning how to be myself in society, rather than trying to suppress or deny myself. I so lack trust in myself that I fear these desires are incompatible. Asked to write what I want, I mull over missing out the bit about self-expression, as if it is enough to make anyone refuse to go near me.

Yet what I want is, self-expression, more than anything else. I never managed to hide myself, not really, when out in the world. I acted according to my character and personality. I just managed to deny it to myself. And I don’t manage to make myself different now, just to suppress my reactions.

“Are you prejudiced against trans people?”

2% of British people said yes, they were very prejudiced. 13% said they were a little prejudiced. How weird. These 2% are not the ultra-woke, who analyse themselves, recognise their inner prejudice, and resolve to contradict it. Nor are they the gender critical feminists, who would not admit any of their attitudes were prejudiced.

Honestly. I would hope the question “Would you describe yourself as prejudiced against trans people?” in the British Social Attitudes survey would get a 100% no. This means that people do not view this prejudice as wrong. You see a trans woman and make assumptions about her. 6% said such prejudice was rarely or never wrong. Only 52% said it was always wrong. So often, people imagine bad things about a trans woman, and believe these imaginings are correct.

Do you think trans people have transitioned because of a “very superficial or temporary need”? Transition was defined as “all of part of a process to change the sex” which “might include by changing their name, wearing different clothes, taking hormones or having gender reassignment surgery”. 15% agreed that transition could be from a very superficial or temporary need. 22% did not know, 61% disagreed. So most people recognise that we take transition very seriously, and only do it because we really mean it- usually for life- but some people minimise our need and our decision. That makes it easier to dismiss us.

Women were more likely than men to disagree that transitioning was superficial and temporary. Younger people were more likely to disagree than older people. People with a degree were twice as likely to disagree than people with no qualification. So, if you have a degree and you manage to get a job which fits your educational level, you will face less prejudice, but woe betide you in an unskilled job.

However when people with degrees, professional or managerial jobs, or the highest incomes were most likely to say prejudice was wrong, that is in part because they know what to say. In the 1970s, race discrimination claims were about appalling treatment, completely clear prejudice, comparing black people to apes and monkeys. By 2010 the abuse was far more subtle.

While the research brief has just been published, the data was collected in Summer and Autumn 2017, so before the current hard-Right funded campaign of hatred against trans people.

Other prejudices seem to be diminishing. 75% said premarital sexual relationships were not wrong, and 68% said same sex relations were “not wrong at all”. In 1987 74% said same-sex relations were “always” or “mostly” wrong, and now just 17% say that. It’s an improvement, and the ones saying it is wrong are disproportionately old and ill-educated.

33% of people said a woman with a child below school age should stay at home, and 8% agreed that “a man’s job is to earn the money; a woman’s job is to take care of the home and family”. There are still weird people about, with horrible opinions. But you knew that. The research brief can be found here.

The Real Self and the Critical Voices II

Cycling would be lovely if it weren’t for the cars. I have been writing verse in my head, coming over. It needs work, particularly changing the first few lines from only being sexual insults, but it has promise:

You’re a s–t
You’re a death-wish driver
You’re a t-t
You’re a one-hand swiver
I would be quite chilled
if your death you willed, not mine
But you place a stranger in mortal danger
you filthy swine

Overtak
-ing should not cause danger
why not brake?
Can I make it plainer…

Last couplet needs done too. I have the rhyme, there is some wit…

There’s anger there. I go into my rational mode. At the CAB we had a trickle of people who came in the day before they were due to be evicted by bailiffs, their furniture placed on the pavement, the locks changed. It wasn’t my problem and I never did get to the bottom of anything they could do in theory, but I remember the volunteers’ distress and wish to rescue them. I am almost certainly going to hit a wall. I don’t see how I can avert that wall. There are rational things I should be doing according to my culture- there are jobs for the taking, if only I will apply, if not pleasant ones. It is up to me.

I find myself deflecting my train of thought. I am thinking of taking notes on my phone and surreptitiously starting the voice recorder, though I have been told the service does not allow it.

My plan, such as it is, is to give my real self a voice. Life does not seem worth living if I cannot consciously be in this part of me which I have called vulnerable bit, real self, inner light, crushed God-

I am taking notes as I go, and I wonder what part of me does the writing.

The critical voices tell me I will make a fool of myself. And- it is me, and I want just to do. Paying attention to what I feel with my fingertips helps get me into the state of Presence which I desire.

I want to push boundaries as far as I can.

I am utterly frightened. I do not know this part I call my Real Self. I cannot predict it- in my imagination, it is merely foolish and ridiculous. It seems OK moment to moment. That teddy bear seems more for looking at than cuddling, so I ask if I can borrow Sally’s scarf. This is pushing a boundary, and she agrees. I want to enjoy its colour and its softness. It has many colours, many tones. It is viscose, so it could be softer, but feels alright.

She passes me her scarf, and I feel anguish. The critical voices are at me again: I am putting it on. I am play acting. Don’t be silly. As I realised before, the internal conflict is far more debilitating than the feeling itself: I could feel the anguish, and it would pass through me, but if I try to suppress it my resistance strengthens it.

I need to be in touch with my own feelings, or I am unable to perceive my world.

Boundaries. I want to push them, but crossing them would be against my own interest. I think of violence.

-Can I rummage through your handbag?
-I think I’d have to refuse that.
-You heard the air quotes even though I did not do the gesture.

Where does the anguish come from? To ask for something, and be given it? From past refusals?

I fear the Real Self because it is weak, overemotional and irrational. I fear my feelings because I fear the consequences of showing them or acting on them. I would act irrationally and so be under threat.

I am conscious of my surroundings. Repeatedly there is a bleep two devices make when connected, followed by the disconnect bleep. It is so expressive: the first ready and hopeful, the second an ending. I am so sensitive to this stuff. There was that DLA client whose brothers had to look after him because he was this sensitive walking down the street, and could not go out alone; but there was something attractive about him, and he had an attractive girlfriend despite his disability. I saw him two or three years later and he looked worn, on some horrible suppressant drug. For me at the time, the sensation of Presence was so rare as to seem a Transfiguration moment, and for him it was sickness. And now I want it.

I want that full sensitivity.

Cycling home in the sunshine, just above freezing, I find my final couplet:

That’s a speeding ton of metal that can kill
Maybe someday you’re this dangerous, it will.

One truth, or many?

The reason we have had enough of experts is that they tell truths we don’t care about. That you can’t articulate a truth does not mean it is unimportant. That everyone else thinks you should have a particular priority does not mean you do.

I know the truth of Brexit. Governments working together can provide a social safety net, decent health care for all, education, legal aid where someone needs to navigate the courts, a legal framework of human rights and regulation to hold polluters and exploiters in check, and the rule of law to enable entrepreneurial activity: to enable people to work together by enforceable contracts. At the moment we do not have in Britain government organising the utilities of water, gas, electricity, public transport and internet, but that can work well too. We need a fair living wage enforceable by law, not the meagre minimum wage the Tories fail to enforce. Governments working internationally can combat climate change and other pollution, limiting the wealth of the exploiters. So the exploiters object, though unchecked they would eat the planet.

The aim of the exploiters, of the Tory Brexiters, was to weaken the power of democratic government to prevent their depredations. Many Tories voted for that. How did they get Labour voters to vote for it? By lies, about what the EU does, and about what it costs; and by hate, stoking hatred and fear of immigrants. That lie about 70m Turks coming here, when there is less prospect of Turkey joining than there was twenty years ago. The Tories had the plan for an unskilled one-year visa for people from anywhere in the world, without any rights, so the immigrants taking the worst jobs will continue.

Now there is the rise of the far Right, some nebulous myth of Britishness involving the Second World War and facing down the Germans. There is Lexit, but while the EU may be coloured by neoliberalism any Tory Brexit will make things much worse, inside the EU and out.

Remain is hope in what we have built together. Leave is hope in what we might achieve some other way. I don’t just have to give hope to the hopeless, but to restore hope in something where it has been lost, and people have found illusory hope elsewhere.

Possibly if I could put the Leave arguments without mocking and undermining them, I would understand them and then could work against them. If I were open to being persuaded, then I could engage. I know the Tory government has two priorities: to preserve Tory rule, and to destroy all we have created together, privatising the NHS and education, destroying the safety net.

It is not truth against lies, but one truth among many, what is and how we understand it, what is likely and what is possible, with exaggeration, illusion and denial but also clear seeing, and not all the clear seeing is on my side. The complexity is too much to grasp so what I can grasp seems contradictory, and trying to communicate it muddies it further like a photocopy of a photocopy exaggerates the distortions. There are reasons why someone might be wrong in particular ways, and people might be wrong in an interesting way, on a path to new understanding. And then there are competing interests. I sympathise with anyone who sees a part of the whole, and clings to it as the only part that matters. We are divided into bubbles when we need to come together.

Very occasionally, there might be some good I can do, but much of the roiling national argument is like the monkey mind, going over the same things repetitively without change or growth or openness. I have no control over this. All I can do is leaflet if there is another vote. All things are transitory: my ceasing to worry over Brexit is part of the endless task of letting go. Isaac Pennington: Give over thine own willing, give over thy own running, give over thine own desiring to know or be anything and sink down to the seed which God sows in the heart, and let that grow in thee and be in thee and breathe in thee and act in thee; and thou shalt find by sweet experience that the Lord knows that and loves and owns that, and will lead it to the inheritance of Life, which is its portion. “Seed”, or Real Self.

Journeying towards God

God appeared to be a monster, and I fled. I found Christianity as a framework, an understanding of good behaviour which would train or mould me into a good person. Underneath the training, held down by powerful guards but never silenced, was something I could not name, which acted through me or influenced me in ways I did not know.

I attempt to use words, and even the word “I” breaks down here: “I” in that paragraph is the “I” “I” imagine, which the part of me which is conscious conceives to be how “I” am, how it imagines my personality and character to be. Underneath there is an unconscious I, the thing I could not name.

The journey towards God is bringing what is unconscious into consciousness, so that the conscious conception of the nature of the person as a human being comprises the totality, the whole nature of that human being. For each person it is different. My understanding of it includes some theology, some psychology, but mainly is my dogged attempt to find that unknown being, to see what I could not see, to dissolve the pretences and blind spots preventing me from seeing; and my experience is of it-I, breaking through from below.

It feels like a river- however firmly the river has been dammed, eventually the stream breaks through and the natural flow asserts itself.

I am made in the image of G-d, so I may be like Christ. In Him the divine and human nature are united without separation, without mixture, without confusion and without alteration. This is Miaphysitism, the belief of the Oriental Orthodox (Churches including the Coptic, Syriac and Ethiopian), a word I have just learned. I am not, yet, so united, but believe this non-dual state is possible for all people.

I want to be understood, heard, believed, accepted. That “I” is the unconscious “I”, where all my power, desire, love and creativity reside. First, in an act of self-surrender, by the conscious I. This may be aided by others, seeing and valuing the unconscious I, accepting in the moments when it bursts forth: in the counsellor’s “unconditional positive regard”, perhaps. For I, united I-I, know it.

The journey involves shedding my introjects, all the judgments of others I have taken into my conscious understanding of who I am of what is important and therefore what I should consider important and therefore what I value, which is not what

I

being the unconscious I

truly value. For the Buddha, who had fabulous wealth, and had been taught to value that wealth, it involved leaving that wealth behind, but that does not mean that anyone can learn from him that they should “give all they have to the poor”, or that ceasing to value wealth and instead valuing what elementary Buddhist textbooks teach will be liberating. The liberation, the non-duality, is in shedding whatever one is forced to value which one would not have valued without that external force.

I

state that rather it means setting aside all you imagine you think is important, and delving to what is truly important to you.

Ah. That unconscious I is speaking, more and more, which puts the conscious I in fear, excitement and delight. Sometimes- more and more- I and I unite and I am one.

Mystic language appeals to me, yet materialist language may be available. This is a healing process, a maturing process- the river will not be dammed in the end. Religion may aid devotees towards it, if it does not create more introjects to ensnare those devotees. Humans will our freedom.

Parts of the Human, which have not been loved and accepted, lie in strong chains. Vigilant guards are ready to push back when the prisoner shows signs of acting, crying “Wrong! Stupid! Meaningless! Wicked!” So my Shadow terrifies me (conscious-I). The guards are part of me too, which I created as a way of survival. I find the unconscious I, see the error of the guards, and quiet them, in contemplation and meditation.

Where is the Life? Where is the Drive? The unconscious i hurts so much, so my way to God is through all its pain. I believe the Quaker term “Inner Light” refers to this unconscious I.

I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame
The Righteous One shall make many righteous.

If any of these words speak to you, I pray they may bring you to full humanity, which may be Divinity. And let us share our words if we want to understand as well as to Be.

The good trans woman

Why do trans women hate each other?

There am I on facebook, where you must be exceptionally careful to have a pleasant experience. Someone on a trans “support” group asks if anyone has any experience with progesterone. Does it improve breast growth? I say that it gave me too great highs and downers to be manageable. Some self-appointed expert said you should only use natural progesterone, not synthetic. I asked her if she could cite journals as authority, and she said I should do the googling, it was not for her to do my research. Someone else said that we both seemed touchy- are we on progesterone? The silly facebook spat ended with her blocking me, and me announcing my delight in that because I would not need to see her comments any more.

So there.

Arguably what she said crossed a line into medical advice. Why do doctors continue to prescribe synthetic progesterone? Why should I believe her? How could I know what is best for me? And, arguably, she was trying to be helpful, though I feel she was mostly concerned to be seen as the expert, the trans who’s been round the block.

Yes, I really dislike her, after a brief interaction on facebook. I know I am being ridiculous.

In the BBC drama “Mrs Wilson”, after the hugely charismatic author Alexander Wilson dies in 1963, his widow discovers he is still married to his former wife, and then that he had a long-term girlfriend who was hanging around the back of his funeral. All three women have children. They find and confront each other. Wife 2 even forges a decree absolute, though as it is not on the register it is easily refutable. She is horrified to see a typewriter in Wife 1’s front room: Wilson spent time with her.

Each of them has an insight no-one else can have into the feelings of the others. I saw their hate, and willed them to weep on each others’ shoulders. Yet each is also the evidence of their husband’s crime, and of their victimhood and disgrace, and they hate each other, and threaten each other, and make demands trying to retain some shred of respectability at the expense of the others.

So with trans women, perhaps especially those of us long-transitioned. We know what each has been through, we can sympathise more fully with each other than any cis person can. Yet when I see her, I see myself; my failure to pass, my hurt, my vulnerability. All that I cannot accept in myself I hate in her.

I am unsurprised, though more hurt, by one’s insistence that she will defend trans rights when appropriate, and not mine.

I am unsurprised by certain trans women’s alliance with the terfs. We are men, says one. We have autogynephilia, say others. They want validation from the cis, at any price. They try to achieve a fragile respectability at the cost of the rest of us. “No, I’m not like them, the bad trans,” they insist. It does not work, but they are so desperate.

We trans women can see each other, more clearly than anyone else can. We should sympathise with each other. But that requires being truthful with ourselves.

I want you to feel what I feel

I want you to feel what I feel
I want you to see the world as I see the world
This makes me vulnerable

-How are you?
-In Heaven and Hell, I said.
-Yes, it’s like that when you feel so deeply, he said.

Though I have not yet learned to play it
I am an exceptionally sensitive instrument
which will produce beautiful music
when I learn to play it well

I rambled a paragraph, clutching at wisdom, and my friend put it beautifully:
You need to be at one with yourself
before you can be at one with anyone else.

Indeed. I need to check in with my emotional being, my real self, and know where they are before the inner monologue can have great value. That monologue has some value, it is showing me some of what I feel, achieving a small amount towards expressing what I want to express, but a lot of it is repetitive. If I am with myself, the inner monologue is less intrusive and I can see what is around me.

We are made in the image of God
so we are Loving, Creative, Powerful, Beautiful.
I have said this before

Even if they are sources of hurt, they are still gifts

“Plain speech” is speaking without ego.
-I don’t know if that’s possible, he said.
No, and if you thought you were doing it all the time you wouldn’t be;
yet it might be a worthwhile goal, you might sometimes approach it

I need you to value, even authenticate, or justify, my feelings if I cannot accept them myself.
This makes me vulnerable.
I get better at accepting them.
I turned my face from my own pain, and now it is almost too much for me to face

I am still protecting you, though you no longer need my protection.
You twisted me so I could do nothing else- as you had been twisted.
Your fears live in me.

At least, it is easier if we all feel the same.
How pleasant it is to dwell together in unity!
But then, whose feelings would we be feeling?

With Brexit, the fundamental question is whether Governments can make things better or not. Do we need general laws about contracts being fulfilled, batches sold matching samples checked, or specific laws about “abnormally curved” bananas? Can governments work together to prevent climate change and protect human rights? Or does law and government action just get in the way? The Left, arguing that Government can improve things, needs people to hope, and that hope is vulnerable. Yet governmental action is the only hope for human rights or climate change mitigation.

The great lie is the slogan “self-ID”, and the idea that the Government proposes to introduce self-ID, which will mean a flood of men in women’s spaces. Transsexual diagnosis is based on self-ID, the conviction that I am a woman or the long-standing desire I have to be a woman. The Equality Act is based on self-ID, and the trans women are in women’s spaces already. The anti-trans campaigners need to pretend that there is some new threat, or they would be forced to explain why the sky has not already fallen.

There you go. The Truth!

Maybe I should go off line. Some of those places where the people who hate me get together and reassure each other that they’re right can be really horrible when I blunder in. I know it’s not personal, and possibly someone who says awful things there would chat pleasantly enough at the bus stop; I even know my own zingers might offend their targets, who may (apart from one particular completely wrong opinion) be decent enough. The anger on line is bleeding into real life, and I don’t know what to do about it.

And someone replied, It’s often the case that those who constantly seek attention are agents of their own misfortune. How is that relevant?

“Do you love her?” she asked. Not really, not any more, not since last Summer really… Only I can validate myself. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I get past the critical voices.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us
The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God
and where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves
and where we had thought to travel outward
we shall come to the centre of our own existence
and where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world
. -Joseph Campbell.