Should trans women ask permission to enter women’s space?

We never asked permission to go into women’s spaces. The only permission I had was from men, and that was after I had started. A trans ally said, women don’t object because women are conditioned to expect, and ask for, so little. I see positives in the feminist campaign against trans inclusion- women are encouraged to speak up, speak out, say “No, I do not consent”.

There are not that many of us. In 2000, it was estimated 2000-5000 had transitioned, in 2011 it was estimated 7,500, now I estimate about 50,000. One in a thousand people, and there was one ahead of me in the queue when I picked up my prescription. I am as likely to see a trans woman as anyone else is. If someone sees one of us, whether they object or not may depend on social pressure. Is it part of their self-image as a good, progressive person that they accept trans women? Have they been taught that trans women in women’s spaces is a symbol of women’s oppression? We don’t affect most people at all, most of the time, and even though our numbers are rising quickly it is from a very low base. Trans inclusion is not a real issue in most people’s lives, but it is being made a potent symbol.

Whose permission would we ask? I don’t want a referendum on trans inclusion, leave alone for any woman to have the right of veto. 57% of women agreed trans people should be able to self-identify our gender. Only 21% were against. That may be because women are conditioned into niceness.

Well, some women aren’t. Many women like caring roles. You can’t find whether this is nature or nurture, just as you can’t unbake a cake. With my nature going so much against childhood conditioning into maleness, I feel it is not just nurture, and I feel for women whose nature also does not fit. My sympathy with the trans excluders is fellow-feeling. I just wish they would not pick on trans as their feminist issue. There are more important feminist issues.

Might a cis woman resent a trans woman being there as of right? They never consented, we went in, first stealthily, now more openly. Is that the poison at the root of trans rights, an insult to women? No. The Labour party enacted the Equality Act, consolidating our rights, but from 1998 there were specific anti-discrimination regulations protecting trans people. I would say that cis women should not, because of the legitimacy of human rights treaties and tribunals. It is international law that trans women are entitled to be treated as women.

Because of the value of law in general and human rights law in particular, trans women should get a pass for being in women’s spaces. Any trans woman should be ejected if she does something objectionable such that any person would be ejected. Human rights law has to protect the weakest and most despised.

And, as Bayard Rustin wrote,

the racial problem, like most other problems which we face in our time, springs from an emotional rather than a basically intellectual source. When one is dealing with human attitudes, longsuffering, perseverance, and consideration for those who disagree with you is a very necessary step. Our aim must be to place ourselves in the position of others and to see that if we had had their experiences we would be very much as they are. Once we have faced this fact we can then struggle against injustice with that spirit which in the long run takes away the occasion for injustice.

Awaiting Liz Truss’s promised proposals on trans rights, three years after Theresa May promised them, I am moved to share paintings of St Lucy or Lucia, a martyr. There was popular devotion to her as protector of sight, as her name means “light”. Sometimes she is portrayed with a pair of eyes on a plate. I saw one picture of her with an eye removed. The palm branch is a symbol of martyrdom and victory over evil.

Christine Goodwin

Christine Goodwin won many of the rights trans people now have, in the European Court of Human Rights in 2002. We already had passports and driving licences in our true gender, but she established the right to marry someone of the opposite gender, when gay marriage and even civil partnerships were not in law, the right to change the birth certificate, and the right to pensions for trans women under women’s rules, when those were different.

My passport, driving licence and bank cards show that I am female, and entitled to be in single sex spaces with other women. Under the Equality Act as a trans woman I may be excluded from women’s space if it is proportionate and legitimate, but that will be extremely rare.

The case refers to her as a “post-operative transsexual”. This is now language which is old-fashioned and offensive. Just as women replace “Mrs” and “Miss” with Ms or Mx, because the title should not disclose something which the woman may not want to disclose, we replace “post-, pre- or non-operative transsexual” with trans woman and trans man. Sometimes it refers to “transsexuals”, which arguably means that all trans people should be entitled, and operation status should not matter. If you argue that operation status matters, you increase the social pressure to surgery, which is clearly against the trans person’s human rights.

There was a breach of Articles 8 and 12 of the convention.

8.1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

12. Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

In three previous cases, the court had decided there was no loss of the right to marry, because the trans woman could marry a woman. Ms Goodwin had been married to a woman, but was now living with a man. The ECHR right refers to “men and women”, but the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU does not: it says “The right to marry and the right to found a family shall be guaranteed in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of these rights.” The court decided that as she lived as a woman, in relationship with a man, and could not marry him, that infringed her article 12 right.

What made her a woman? (Article 12 referred to men and women). Paragraph 100 names three factors:

The Court has found above, under Article 8 of the Convention, that a test of congruent biological factors can no longer be decisive in denying legal recognition to the change of gender of a post-operative transsexual. There are other important factors – the acceptance of the condition of gender identity disorder by the medical professions and health authorities within Contracting States, the provision of treatment including surgery to assimilate the individual as closely as possible to the gender in which they perceive that they properly belong and the assumption by the transsexual of the social role of the assigned gender.

Medical acceptance, treatment including surgery, and “the assumption of the social role”. The court also noted the EU had dropped the reference to “men and women”, moving towards acceptance of gay marriage.

I decided to look at Goodwin, because trans excluders I know claim that it turns on Ms Goodwin being “post-operative”. That was only one factor, and “the assumption of the social role” has much greater day-to-day significance for single trans people. All reasonable people recognise trans people have existed for thousands of years. Recognition by the medical professions is like recognising that kidneys exist.

I dislike the court’s references to surgery. However, consider para 81:

Nor, given the numerous and painful interventions involved in such surgery and the level of commitment and conviction required to achieve a change in social gender role, can it be suggested that there is anything arbitrary or capricious in the decision taken by a person to undergo gender re-assignment.

It took me 18 months to prepare to go to work as Clare. That shows commitment and conviction, whatever my surgical status is. The Equality Act recognises that with protection from the moment we decide to transition. The decision itself requires commitment and conviction. The court says scientific questions of the precise cause of transgender is “of diminished relevance”.

Ms Goodwin claimed her right to privacy had been breached, because she had no proper protection against discrimination at work, rules on national insurance contributions and pension were unjustified, and she had to declare her birth sex when applying for loans or insurance.

The court said the State has a positive obligation to ensure respect for our private life. This means balancing the interest of the community against that of the individual. Previously the court had decided the UK had no obligation to issue altered birth certificates, but that allowing driving licences and passports were sufficient to ensure privacy.

Note that these documents and my bank card say that I am female. They mean that I can go into women’s spaces as a female. Now, the law officially confirms that: a single sex space which has established that men should be excluded needs a separate legitimate, proportionate reason to exclude me.

The court said human rights evolve. The purpose is to improve.

74. In the present context the Court has, on several occasions since 1986, signalled its consciousness of the serious problems facing transsexuals and stressed the importance of keeping the need for appropriate legal measures in this area under review.

The court relied on emerging international consensus, with “a continuing international trend towards legal recognition”. In 1986 the court had refused Mark Rees’ application in part because the trend was not advanced, but by 2002 there was (para 85) “clear and uncontested evidence of a continuing international trend in favour not only of increased social acceptance of transsexuals but of legal recognition of the new sexual identity of post-operative transsexuals.” This causes problems, perhaps, when Hungary now decrees everyone must use their birth name and gender change is illegal- but Hungary is clearly breaching human rights, and a trend towards withdrawal of rights should not be recognised.

The law affected Ms Goodwin where distinctions are made between men and women, such as, then rules on retirement age.

77. The stress and alienation arising from a discordance between the position in society assumed by a post-operative transsexual and the status imposed by law which refuses to recognise the change of gender cannot, in the Court’s view, be regarded as a minor inconvenience arising from a formality. A conflict between social reality and law arises which places the transsexual in an anomalous position, in which he or she may experience feelings of vulnerability, humiliation and anxiety.

We are anxious, humiliated and vulnerable when our social reality, living as women, is in an anomalous position. 78: “it appears illogical to refuse to recognise the legal implications of the result to which the treatment leads.”

In Bellinger v Bellinger, a trans woman sued to have her marriage to a man declared valid. The Court of Appeal said it had no power to, but Parliament should. In a dissenting judgment, Thorpe LJ said he would consider psychological factors more important than chromosomal, and assess gender at the time of marriage not at birth.

The ECHR agrees with Thorpe (para 82). Some people have chromosomal abnormalities. Chromosomes should not be decisive.

90. Nonetheless, the very essence of the Convention is respect for human dignity and human freedom. Under Article 8 of the Convention in particular, where the notion of personal autonomy is an important principle underlying the interpretation of its guarantees, protection is given to the personal sphere of each individual, including the right to establish details of their identity as individual human beings … In the twenty first century the right of transsexuals to personal development and to physical and moral security in the full sense enjoyed by others in society cannot be regarded as a matter of controversy requiring the lapse of time to cast clearer light on the issues involved. In short, the unsatisfactory situation in which post-operative transsexuals live in an intermediate zone as not quite one gender or the other is no longer sustainable. Domestic recognition of this evaluation may be found in the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group and the Court of Appeal’s judgment of Bellinger v. Bellinger.

Dignity. Freedom. Personal autonomy. The right to establish details of our identity. Physical and moral security. All establish our right to recognition in our true gender. In para 91, the court proposed full legal gender recognition.

No concrete or substantial hardship or detriment to the public interest has indeed been demonstrated as likely to flow from any change to the status of transsexuals and, as regards other possible consequences, the Court considers that society may reasonably be expected to tolerate a certain inconvenience to enable individuals to live in dignity and worth in accordance with the sexual identity chosen by them at great personal cost.

That “certain inconvenience” might include the objections of trans excluders to seeing trans women in women’s spaces. If we do something objectionable, such that any woman would be excluded for it, we should be excluded. But the distaste which they build in themselves as they radicalise each other should have no weight at all.

In 1999, regulations formalised the Sex Discrimination Act applicability to trans people discriminated against in employment. The law was, slowly, tending towards our recognition. Christine Goodwin’s case was the decisive factor winning us gender recognition.

Morgane Oger

Morgane Oger, a trans woman, was attacked and vilified by the Christian transphobe Bill Whatcott when she stood for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. He called her deceitful simply because she is trans, and distributed flyers saying that anyone who supported her would go to Hell, “The lake that burns with fire and sulfur”. So she sued him in the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, supported by the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).

LEAF supported her as a woman, drawing the tribunal’s attention to the experience of politically active women across the world, which can include being targeted for gender‐based harassment, as well as threats and acts of violence. The aim of such attacks is to “discourage women from being politically active and exercising their human rights and to influence, restrict or prevent the political participation of individual women and women as a group”. Their support warms me. Whatcott would not have attacked Ms Oger simply as a woman, but women come out in solidarity with her.

The judge writing the decision, Devyn Cousineau, quoted Whatcott in a particular way:  “I definitely didn’t want [her] to get elected and I do want to see [her] disinvested of all political power and would rather [she] do something else with [her] time.” That is, she took Whatcott’s voice from him, by silencing his malice. Why should Whatcott’s use of male pronouns be used in a public legal judgment? Whatcott was unmanned. In summing up, he argued that his right to “Life, liberty and security of the person” under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was violated. It was too late to introduce such arguments, the judges ruled, but anyway the argument had no merit. They did not accept there was a “serious state-imposed psychological stress”.

Also showing the obsession of the transphobes was Kari Simpson, previously Whatcott’s assistant representative. She was sacked, but went to the public gallery, and asked to intervene in the case on the last day of the hearing, to attack Ms Oger’s “tactics to silence voices” and give evidence. The role of intervenors is to assist with legal issues, and she too was silenced. She shows the transphobes’ self-righteousness and arrogance, and their desperation when their hate is named and resisted.

Whatcott’s argument was remarkable in that he did not mention the Supreme Court case where he lost a similar argument about gay people. The tribunal’s time was wasted by his repeating arguments that had lost before in that case, and also by repeating claims on which the tribunal had adjudicated, such as what evidence was admissible.

At the tribunal, he wore a t-shirt with a pre-transition photo of Ms Oger on it. The tribunal told him this was improper, because the tribunal should be a safe space to air issues of discrimination, and he replied, “I see this Tribunal as an affront to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and is a completely inappropriate process”.

The purpose of the law is to “create a climate of understanding and mutual respect”. The tribunal repeatedly required Whatcott to use Ms Oger’s name and pronouns, and he refused. He would not even call her “The Complainant”. The tribunal found this deliberately disrespectful. He complained about the judges’ use of female pronouns, claiming it showed bias against him, and that it was as ridiculous as if they had ordered him to call Ms Oger “a tomato, a dog, or a cat”. The tribunal said,

For trans and gender non‐conforming people, being properly ‘gendered’ by the service providers they are required to interact with is a critical part of their ability to participate with dignity in the economic, social, political and cultural life of the province. The tribunal process should honour the dignity of the people who come before it.

How did Whatcott feel when Ms Oger called him a “Christian Jihadist”? For the purposes of the Tribunal, I was devastated and crying. For the purposes of me, I found it to be entertaining. So he showed his contempt. Possibly he does not believe the feelings of those he attacks are hurt- he cannot empathise, though his actions show the distress of the privileged when they are called out.

The tribunal recognised the claimant’s bravery: Most people would not have been able to withstand the level of discrimination that Ms. Oger faced during the Tribunal’s hearing. They should not have to. To her immense credit, Ms. Oger comported herself with grace and dignity in the face of the persistent efforts to insult, undermine, and humiliate her.

Whatcott compared her to a trans woman who was a sex offender. The judge found that associating her with serious criminality in this way is hate speech.

In his blog and social media, Whatcott attacked the judge, the tribunal, Ms Oger’s counsel as a “lesbian lawyer” which he believes to be derogatory, and Ms Oger. That might deter less resilient claimants than Ms Oger from pursuing her claim. The tribunal ruled that they should tolerate “public, forceful, and uncomfortable criticism” and that attacks on the tribunal and judges did not affect the integrity of the process, but the attacks on Ms Oger and her counsel prejudiced their participation in the complaint, and therefore awarded costs against him of $20,000, in addition to the damages of $35,000. Costs in these cases are a punishment for bad conduct.

The Canadian Association for Free Expression intervention was “unhelpful” said the judge- “inflammatory, derogatory, disrespectful and inappropriate”. It argued Ms Oger was a man, and called her a transvestite. Its written submission, submitted late, was “65 pages of dense, disorganized and barely intelligible text”.

The judge discusses how free speech should be restricted by rules on hate speech and discrimination, and I will return to this. The decision in full is here.

My country and its values

Was Great Britain ever my country? Like Nigel Farage, I was born in Britain to British parents, and educated here. I see he did not go to university. He says “I want my country back”, and now follows in the footsteps of bankrupt fascist Nicholas Griffin, former leader of the British National Party, by attempting to foment race hatred in Oldham. Griffin failed to get even one local councillor elected there.

In a speech in Pennsylvania, he said, Let me take you to a town called Oldham in the North of England where literally on one side of the street everybody is white and on the other side of the street everybody is black. The twain never actually meet, there is no assimilation. These, folks, are divided societies in which resentments build and grow.

He does not actually mean “black”, but “Asian”. The town has an Afro-Caribbean community, which is integrated as far as Griffin, Farage and their ilk allow. I met with them at my church. It has an Asian community, mostly in particular areas rather than one side of a street. I met with Asian-heritage people at work. I went to the homes of Black Asian people. I counted them as my friends. Farage is wrong. We met, ate together, played together.

Farage writes of the values that underpin British civil society, but gives little hint of what they are. A National identity based on our Judeo-Christian heritage. But some of my best friends are atheist. This seems to exclude: what about our Islamic, Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu heritage? And, historically, Christians have been homophobic: what does he think of that?

Theresa May named British values when she was Home Secretary: regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities…

Everybody living in this country is equal and everybody is free to lead their lives as they see fit. We are free to practise any faith, follow any religious denomination, or ignore religion altogether.

You don’t only get the freedom to live how you choose to live. You have to respect other people’s rights to do so too. And you have to respect not just this fundamental principle but the institutions and laws that make it possible. Democracy. Equality. Freedom of speech. The rule of law. And respect for minorities.

We must always take care to distinguish between Islam – a major world religion followed peacefully by the overwhelming majority of one billion Muslims worldwide – and Islamist extremism. Islam is entirely compatible with British values and our national way of life, while Islamist extremism is not – and we must be uncompromising in our response to it.

Freedom and co-existence, and uncompromising opposition to the Enemy Within. At the same time, her Home Office was implementing its “Hostile Environment”- the actual words they used- to expel British citizens and people with a right to be here, because they had not retained particular paperwork. Records of National Insurance payments were not counted.

Not every country is democratic, and not every country allows people to “lead their lives as they see fit”. Mrs May is an ally to Saudi Arabia, promoting the arms sales which enable the Saudis to bomb Yemen into famine. So her British Values are for British People, not for foreigners, just as the British Empire was a tool of oppression and wealth extraction under a veneer of brotherhood in a “Commonwealth of Nations”. Hypocrisy has always been a British value; and while dangerous humour and satire is, thumbing our noses at those in power, that is international.

In contrast, here are Will Hutton’s Labour values: the recognition and celebration of international interdependence in the pursuit of justice, solidarity and fighting climate change; tolerance of the other and joy in diversity; commitment to equality and enfranchising workers.

I believe in human rights. The Conservatives want to restrict human rights law, by fixing it in 1948 rather than allowing it to be living and developing. They name certain rights granted which they oppose, such as the right of prisoners to vote, or to have some hope of release at some time in the future. They want the European Court of Human Rights no longer to bind UK law. They state in their policy pdf that they want more power to deport people.

When Mr Farage got his country back, after the Referendum, I felt I had lost mine. Now I feel it belongs to neither of us in that way: we cannot demand that it be inclusive, or hostile to Muslims and immigration generally. There are all sorts of people here, each with a voice in stating what their values are.

A right to use a bathroom

“Women’s rights and trans rights should not be mutually exclusive. Yet they are, according to trans activists. Why is this?” Do our rights conflict, and if so is it anyone’s fault?

I would say they don’t. A few thousand trans women use women’s services and spaces, and while a few thousand women object strenuously and loudly, we can’t know what proportion of the female population don’t care, or have not thought about it. So I go to the loo or the changing room, just like anyone else. No-one’s rights are infringed.

If a woman was frightened or made uncomfortable because she saw a trans woman in a loo, I would regret that, but using that possible fear to forbid trans women to use women’s loos seems to be asserting some nebulous right to not be distressed when out in public, or not be distressed by trans women, or define who is entitled to use women’s services.

Who decides who is entitled? Society as a whole. It’s not just government: when North Carolina had its “bathroom bill”, businesses boycotted the State, and the Governor lost his re-election. Some people care a lot, and gain some influence. It’s not a matter of strict logic, making a definition of “woman” including women with a disorder of sexual development but not trans women entitled to separate spaces, but agreement. I tend to hope that many people’s view of themselves as liberal, tolerant, decent people is enhanced by their acceptance that trans women are women. We are mostly harmless, and if they get a warm glow of satisfaction that makes them feel benevolent towards us, Hooray.

No, seriously. Hooray. It’s a total pain that my right to exist depends on the good will of society, but that is the human condition. No-one can survive alone.

So, rights do not conflict. But even if they did, it would not be my fault. Since the 1960s, the British government has treated trans women as women. When I transitioned, there was a well-worn path for it. Clever lawyers had carved out rights against discrimination from the Sex Discrimination Act, and they were later entrenched in a statutory instrument specifically about trans people. I went to the GP, who referred me to a local psychiatrist, who sent me to a gender identity clinic. I arranged a date that I would transition at work, and then got my bank account, passport and driving licence in my female name. A few years later, after the Gender Recognition Act was passed, I got a gender recognition certificate.

Brave women pioneered that pathway, asserting their right to be seen as women. Doctors, seeing what their patients wanted, gave it to them, so the women went to those doctors. Trans women use women’s loos, and have done since before I was born. I would not have transitioned if no-one had gone before. Finding people who had made a go of transition gave me the courage to attempt it.

Some trans-critical feminists don’t want intact penises in women’s loos, but could tolerate post-operative trans women. But that is not good enough- before I transitioned at work, I was going about socially expressing myself female, and using loos. I had to do that, because I could not have transitioned without some experience of what it was like. And I got a bank card in my female name six months before I transitioned.

I did not do it as of right. I felt the need, so I did it. No-one told me they objected. It is not a matter of rights, logic, or strict definitions, it is a matter of rubbing along together.

Transition is a path open to us. It’s been open for decades, with tolerance from government, and few people caring enough to object.  Those TERFs seeking to exclude us from women’s spaces are trying to close off that path. They are making the change.

Human rights for LGBT in the EU

The European Parliament received a report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU. It has beautifully sane objectives, though Brexit may prevent us from benefiting.

Schools should teach tolerance so children can identify discrimination (and, I hope, oppose it). The Commission should share Member States’ best practices for addressing gender stereotypes at school. That those stereotypes are oppressive, and to be opposed, is so obvious that the report does not consider it worth saying.

The Parliament “regrets” that LGBTI people suffer discrimination, harassment and bullying. It condemns all forms of discrimination (does that include harassment and bullying?) and encourages member states to adopt laws and policies against homophobia and transphobia, and to work with organisations working for our rights. I don’t know what more than “encouraging” the Parliament could do, or what such encouragement means in practice. It could just be a pious hope. I am glad such hopes are expressed. It sees no contradiction between opposing gender stereotypes and opposing transphobia: we can look after the people most affected, while working to reduce the effect on everyone.

The Parliament Deplores the fact that transgender people are still considered mentally ill in the majority of Member States and calls on those states to review their national mental health catalogues and to develop alternative stigma-free access models, ensuring that medically necessary treatment remains available for all transpeople; deplores the fact that several Member States today still impose requirements on transgender people such as medical intervention in order to have the changed gender recognised (including in passports and official identity documents) and forced sterilisation as a condition for gender reassignment; notes that such requirements are clearly human rights violations; calls on the Commission to provide guidance to Member States on the best models for legal gender recognition in Europe; calls on Member States to recognise change of gender and to provide access to quick, accessible and transparent legal gender recognition procedures without medical requirements such as surgery or sterilisation or psychiatric consent; Welcomes the initiative shown by the Commission in pushing for the depathologisation of transgender identities in the review of the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD); calls on the Commission to intensify efforts to prevent gender variance in childhood from becoming a new ICD diagnosis.

We are not mentally ill. We are trans, and transition is the appropriate course of action for anyone who chooses it freely, though for no-one else. Trans should not be a stigma. We should get surgery and hormones if we want them, but also gender recognition without them if we choose. It’s up to us. I am delighted. If we can choose freely, without social pressure, whether or not to have surgery or hormones we will choose what is best for us.

I am unsure what they mean about preventing gender variance in childhood from becoming a new diagnosis. The DSM model was to depathologise variation, but include diagnoses where variation causes distress to the person or harm to others. TERFs would argue transition causes harm, but I disagree. I see no problem in involving doctors with gender variation. It depends what they do. Making someone happy with their gender variation, along with opposing gender stereotypes, seems good to me.

So in the view of this report, it is up to us. Gender stereotypes should be opposed. If someone wants to transition, with or without medical treatment, the member states should facilitate it. They don’t say when children should receive physical treatment, but could be read as encouraging it as soon as parent, child and doctors want, even before age 16. But what if they change their minds?!!! The European Parliament trusts us to make our own decisions.

pdf of the report.

Human Rights for Trans people

Being a post-operative transsexual person, though not pre-op or non-op, is a “protected status” within the meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights, article 14. This is the result of Carpenter v Secretary of State for Justice, in which a post-operative trans woman challenged the requirement to inform the Gender Recognition Panel of the details of her surgery. I found the case on Halsbury’s Law Exchange. What does protected status mean?

Article 14 provides, The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this European Convention on Human Rights shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

This means that the State must not discriminate against a person because s/he is post-op trans, in enforcing rights under the Convention. Cases cannot be pleaded against other parties. A case must be pleaded about another right; but even if that case is not established,  it opens the door to the trans person pleading discrimination.

I am unclear as to what that might mean. The Human Rights Act remains essential for British freedoms, even for “British values”; I feel I am more likely to need the protection of other articles than article 14 as a post-operative trans woman.

Though post-operative, I resent this shibboleth of The Operation as the sine qua non of any protection under any law. Post-operative trans folk are a tiny minority of trans folk. I am more likely to be treated badly because I am trans, rather than because I am specifically post-op. Though as it is difficult to discover a person’s operation status, or even their desire permanently to express themselves in their true sex, other trans people may be protected because would-be discriminators fear legal action.

I doubt the British state will treat a post-operative trans woman differently because she is post-op. If they did, they have a discretion to justify why different treatment because of my operation is appropriate.

Monet, Sur la plage à Trouville

Those Tory policies in full

Well, what can we expect from a Government with the ringing endorsement of 25% of the electorate?

Repeal of the Human Rights Act. “Human rights are not for prisoners, transsexuals and weirdos,” Theresa May, Home Secretary, told the Daily Mail. “Human rights are for the nice people, like Mail readers. And if ever you thought you needed a human rights lawyer, perhaps we would find you had never been one of the nice people in the first place.” The germ of this post was satire: but the genuine quotes are in italics, such as David Cameron’s gem Britain has been a passively tolerant country for too long. Oh God, here come the plans to criminalise or restrict ever more association and speech.

Return of hanging. The Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, has more ideas than removing local authority support for schools and turning them over to private companies. He wrote, Hanging may seem barbarous, but the greater barbarity lies in the slow abandonment of our common law traditions. Priti Patel, new junior minister at the DWP, also supports hanging: I do think that when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in the country and where we have seen murderers and rapists … reoffend and do those crimes again and again I think that’s appalling.

On that basis alone I would support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent. We hope she does not mean for benefit claimants.

Making work pay. Can’t live on a minimum wage zero hours contract? Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, has the answer. Within the first two years of the Conservative government, everyone on JSA for more than six months will receive a personally tailored sanction, removing their income. He described the 87,588 sanctions issued in July 2014 alone as “only the start”. You will find that your zero hours contract is “better than nothing”. He has not, yet, proposed hanging for jobseekers, but does treat them worse than prisoners on day-release.

Stopping progress to equality. Caroline Dinenage is now minister for Equalities at the Department for Education. She voted against equal marriage, but said “I support gay marriage now,” gritting her teeth. As well as wanting to cut the BBC, the new Culture Secretary also hates gays.

A sense of purpose for our children. Secretary of State Liz Truss says, I have seen too many chaotic settings in nurseries, where children are running around. There’s no sense of purpose.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary and former Hulture Secretary, wants a return of fox hunting. “Fox hunting is the perfect symbol of our new Compassionate Conservatism”, he said. In places that should be devoted to patients, where compassion should be uppermost, we find its very opposite: a coldness, resentment, indifference, even contempt. Such as the Health Department’s ministerial team.

Oliver Letwin, minister of State for the Cabinet Office, has already stated Conservative plans for health.

The end of Arts faculties in universities. Nicky Morgan, secretary of State for education, says, If you wanted to do something, or even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do, then the arts and humanities were what you chose because they were useful for all kinds of jobs. Of course, we know now that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Well, it’s a blog. Mostly cribbed from The Guardian. In his last term, Mr Cameron’s inspiration was Mrs Thatcher; but now, why not Arthur Wellesley? Here is what he wrote about Peterloo:

It is very clear to me that they won’t be quiet until a large number of them bite the dust, as the French say, till some of their leaders are hanged, which would be a most fortunate result.

Wax vanitas