Trans Rights at the Green Party Conference

The Green Party of England and Wales conference, ended today, has supported trans rights. They passed this, which will now be part of their policy document:

RR531 The Green Party believes that trans, non-binary, genderqueer, third gender and intersex people should have their gender legally recognised and be empowered to update their birth certificate and any other official documents, without medical or state encumbrance. We support the right for individuals to update their legally recognised gender by self-determination, the only requirement being a statutory declaration, to how they would describe their gender, including having the option to change their name on all documents.

A similar paragraph came up at the Autumn 2020 conference. “Self-declaration” has been replaced by “self-determination”, because declaration might imply choice, and we are who we are. But “without requiring approval from a doctor or a judge” has been replaced by “the only requirement being a statutory declaration”. A statutory declaration has a penalty of perjury for falsehood. The new version adds the bit about changing the name on documents. In 2002, my university agreed to give me a degree certificate in my new name.

When Theresa May announced her proposal in 2017, that was what I hoped the law would be. We are not ill. ICD11, which comes into force next year, acknowledges we are not ill. To require us to produce a letter from a specialist psychiatrist stating that we are not ill in a particular way is ridiculous. Unfortunately, the Tories have moved even to the right of Theresa May, and believe culture war is a good way for them to retain power.

The Green Party also passed a motion to recognise trans parents on their children’s birth certificates as father or mother appropriate for their gender.

However, they have a large number of anti-trans obsessives, as if their main aim was ending trans rights rather than stopping the climate disaster. They had motions

  • To prevent medical treatment for trans children, disingenuously titled “To prevent irreversible damage to children with gender dysphoria”. They also had an emergency motion to prohibit GenderGP from operating in the UK, when the High Court has stopped the NHS from providing treatment.
  • To “ensure gender and sex are not conflated” by mandating misgendering of trans women in all government data, forcing the disclosure of birth sex of trans people.
  • To kick trans women out of women’s sports, claiming that women have “physically diminutive stature and strength”.

There was also an amendment proposed to RR531 which would have turned its meaning around. With this level of obsession, anyone would think the climate was absolutely fine.

Siân Berry, the co-leader and London mayoral candidate, was delighted. So was Caroline Russell, member of the London Assembly.

Unfortunately, a large minority voted against trans rights at the conference: about 230 of just over 500 voting. Shahrar Ali, their home affairs speaker, tweeted darkly about “things that move us away from recognising truth and reality”. It is as if he cannot see the truth before his eyes, that trans people exist, that we always have done, and that trans recognition increases freedom by subverting gender stereotypes. He moved the motion against GenderGP. Ali says this is about child safeguarding.

I am a trans woman. I would have hoped that the Green Party would support trans rights because trans people are a harmless minority. Unfortunately, some people are riled up to prevent trans rights, and become obsessive as if this was the most important issue in politics. I am glad the Green Party voted the right way, and appalled that so many Greens wanted to waste time persecuting trans people.

Facebook and transphobia

Can Facebook’s community standards be used to drive transphobic content away? The rules are promising. Anything transphobic may fit under prohibited hate speech, defined as “a direct attack against people on the basis of what we [and British law] call protected characteristics” including gender identity. “We define attacks as violent or dehumanising speech, harmful stereotypes, statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, disgust or dismissal, cursing and calls for exclusion or segregation.”

The heart of the anti-trans campaign is calls for exclusion of trans women from women’s spaces.

There are long lists of what is dehumanising, including generalisations or comparisons to insects, animals, filth, sexual predators, subhumans or criminals.

“Statements denying existence” are forbidden, which arguably includes suggestions that people transition on a whim, such as, “he wakes up one morning and declares he’s a woman”. Referring to trans or nonbinary people as “it” is specifically forbidden.

Calling us mentally ill is forbidden. Alleging “Moral deficiency” is forbidden, including calling us perverts, so mentioning “autogynephilia” should be forbidden. Statements of our inferiority, such as calling us freaks, abnormal, or worthless. Expressions of contempt, or admission of intolerance, is forbidden. Denying that the protected characteristic should exist. Expressions of contempt, hatred or disgust. Cursing and profane terms are forbidden.

Demands that we be segregated or excluded are forbidden. Facebook does not specify that excluding trans women from women’s spaces counts, but arguably it should. Advocating political, economic or social exclusion is forbidden, including “denying access to spaces (physical and online) and social services”. Slurs, “defined as words that are inherently offensive and used as insulting labels for the above-listed characteristics”, are forbidden.

Heading 16, “Cruel and insensitive”, may also be relevant. It forbids mocking “victims of serious physical and emotional harm”, which could include transphobia, internalised or external.

Facebook refers us on to this essay on hate speech by Richard Allan. It is a balance. They want to encourage self-expression, but have rules against bullying. Attacks on social groups, including trans people, are hate speech. Context matters.

Facebook profits from “language designed to provoke strong feelings, making the discussion more heated” because it drives engagement. They believe in “harmless use cases”. In the context of immigration, Allan writes “we don’t want to stifle important policy conversations”, and that could be a defence for transphobes, arguing that trans woman access to woman’s space is a policy debate. So the hatred has to be something more than that.

Trans people can quote hate speech in order to argue against it, and reclaim slurs: I can call myself a tranny but no-one else can. There is a thin line between expressive opinion and unacceptable hate speech, and AI can’t define it, so users should report it to moderators.

Facebook is an American company with American cultural values, including commitment to free speech: “The goal of our Community Standards has always been to create a place for expression and give people a voice.” However on the same page they say they want content to be “authentic”- “we don’t want people using Facebook to misrepresent who they are or what they’re doing”. So, anti-trans campaigners often pretend to be women’s rights campaigners, or lesbian rights campaigners, when what they seek is trans exclusion. This is not authentic. Hate speech fits under their principle of Dignity: “We expect that people will respect the dignity of others and not harass or degrade others.”

So what happens when the anti-trans campaigners breach the community standards? Trans people and allies have to complain. And while groups and pages breach the community standards, complaints are restricted to particular content on groups. You can, however, report a page.

I want to see how this works. I see a hateful picture: it has the words “human beings cannot change sex and the law should not pretend that they can”. I click the three dots, then “find support or report photo”. I click “Hate speech”, then “Sex or gender identity”, then “Next”.

It asks, “Does the post go against our Community Standards on hate speech?” I click Yes, then Next. Unfortunately, it does not allow me to explain how it does that.

On the page itself, I click the three dots, then, again, “Hate speech”, “Next”, “Report page”, “Done”. Again, I cannot give reasons. It suggests I can block the page, so stop seeing it, but I don’t want to: instead, I want to prevent other people from seeing it: trans people, who might be hurt by it, and potential haters, who might be radicalised by it, or confirmed haters, who might share its rubbish.

Facebook claimed to have “taken action” on 22.1m pieces of hate speech content in three months, which means removing it, covering it with a warning, disabling accounts, or reporting it to agencies. They say that out of every 10,000 content views, 10-11 included hate speech.

After an hour, I got a message to say that the page did not go against any specific community standard, so would not be removed, but suggesting I block it. So far, so useless, and no opportunity to put the case that it is transphobic hate. Possibly the most extreme hate might occasionally be deleted, but not this, which campaigns to take away trans rights and pretends trans people do not exist.

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Unfortunately, the implementation does not live up to this promise. I reported an image, and have not heard back. Then I reported a comment- transphobia whited out on my site, not all text-readers will- “‘Trans women’ can be males with gender dysphoria but a huge majority are males with autogynephilia, which is a male sexual fetish based on being validated as their idea of woman.” This is a lie, and also a “derogatory term related to sexual activity”, so banned. But the response is,

we reviewed the comment that you reported and found that it doesn’t go against any of our Community Standards… we understand that you don’t like it. We recommend that you hide the comment or unfollow, unfriend or block the person who posted it.

This is completely useless. Hate and lies about trans people spread across facebook uncontrolled.

“Fair Play for Women” and transphobia

Fair Play for Women presents itself as a website campaigning for women’s rights: on 1 January 2021 its main page called it “A resource for policy-makers, journalists and the general public: We provide expert legal and scientific input to help make good policy which maintains fairness and safety for women and girls.” Its speakers have been interviewed on the BBC. Should it be trusted?

It raises large sums for court actions: it sought £70,000 to sue the Office for National Statistics to change the guidance on sex, (captured 20 February 2021) after raising action against the Ministry of Justice to exclude trans women from women’s prisons.

It uses emotive language to drum up support. To men, it says “Fair play for women is there to speak up for you, your mum and your daughters.” This makes men feel they are acting protectively when harassing trans women. Protecting from what? “If you are told your mother is in a female-only hospital ward you need to be sure she won’t find someone born male in the bed next to her.” Well, hospitals have individual rooms in wards, to protect privacy.

But FPFW figures are incorrect. It asserts, “only 2.8% of the transgender community is undergoing any gender-affirming treatment with the vast majority 97.2% simply self-identity with no modifications to their sexed body whatsoever.” It trivialises transition, claiming we do not seek treatment, while the waiting lists grow past two years. That is based on this study. However, the study says,

the current communication should not be viewed as an attempt to obtain an average measure of transgender prevalence. Rather our analyses aimed to explore patterns of the reported estimates, and to perform an assessment of the extent and sources of agreement and disagreement across studies.

It is not able to provide a comparison between figures. It had 95% confidence that between five and fourteen people in 100,000 sought surgery or hormones because they were transgender, a huge variation. The larger figure identifying as trans was too high: as the meta-analysis says, “there is a good reason to suspect that reliance on a single survey item (‘I wish I was the opposite sex’) may have resulted in an inflated estimate.” It does not indicate what these alleged trans people do- perhaps few or none cross-dress in public, or would want a ward for the other sex in hospital. Yet FPFW concluded, “the overwhelming majority of male-born transgender people retain their penis and are fully male-bodied.”

This is propaganda. It should not be used to inform policy.

On the action against the Ministry of Justice, it says, “Of the 125 transgender prisoners in prison in 2017, 60 (48%) had convictions for sexual offences. Of those, 27 (45%) had been convicted of rape.”

27 is 22% of 125. Does that indicate how dangerous trans people sent to prison are? No, because most sentences of imprisonment are for less serious crimes. The number of rapists is high because rapists usually get long sentences, and FPFW do not state whether they are in men’s or women’s prisons- generally, they are in men’s. There were seven deaths of trans prisoners in men’s or women’s prisons between 2008 and December 2017.

Vikki Thompson was in prison for shoplifting when she died in a men’s prison.

The prison service does not take prisoners’ word that they are trans. Trans women need to show evidence that they live as women outside to get into women’s prison, and a gender recognition certificate may not be enough.

Fair Play for Women is not a resource for good policy, and provides neither legal or scientific expertise. It is a propaganda machine to justify excluding and even attacking trans people.

Will the SNP act against transphobia?

The SNP’s transphobia definition allows it to claim it opposes transphobia, but not to act against dangerous transphobia. Should the SNP discipline Joanna Cherry MP for transphobia? Yes. Does the SNP’s new definition of transphobia allow it to?

Cherry wrote a transphobic article for The National. I don’t know if the subs were deliberately satirising it with the headline “Joanna Cherry: How it’s possible to support rights of trans people AND women”. I don’t know if anyone is fooled by her claim to be a trans ally who has never said or done anything against equal rights for trans people, or thinks that such words allow her to be transphobic elsewhere.

Cherry is slippery. She is an advocate. She can be transphobic and leave herself a weasel denial. Cherry has received rape threats, and she implies though does not state straight out that these are from trans women. Her phrase is “young men who seek to deny biology”. She could, I suppose, claim that she is referring to cis men attempting to be trans allies, though I repudiate the allyship of any man who tweets a rape threat. But I infer she means trans women.

I have no problem condemning trans women who make rape threats, or any threats of violence. We are not a club, and I am not responsible for their wrongdoing- as the SNP definition states. “Accusing wider trans people [I think they mean the wider trans community, not fat trans] of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single trans person or group” is transphobia.

The definition gives eight examples of transphobia, though it says transphobia is not limited to these examples. Also it does not say what should be done about transphobia. For that, you need to consider the SNP conduct standards, which I found in this document. It’s not an official SNP site.

Anent discrimination, the standards say,

5. No member may make racist statements in any context.
6. Every member has a responsibility not to discriminate in his or her conduct on the ground of race, colour, gender, religious belief or non-belief or sexual orientation.

The disciplinary committee can admonish, suspend or expel a member found to have breached the rules. It is up to them to decide what penalty is appropriate. There are no sentencing guidelines, as these are political decisions.

So, racist statements are specifically barred, which appears to indicate that sexist or homophobic statements are absolutely fine. Discrimination is barred, though is not defined. The Equality Act 2010 takes hundreds of sections and 28 schedules to define unlawful discrimination, and provide excuse for acts which would otherwise be discrimination, such as excluding a trans woman from women’s space in particular circumstances.

The first six examples are acts against an individual rather than acts against trans people as a group. They include assault, discrimination, bullying, outing, misgendering and deadnaming. I hear this is a step forward: trans people in the party report that the party did not challenge members who were publicly degrading, harassing and misgendering trans members. Probably, under the rule on gender discrimination, the Party could have acted against bullying of a trans individual in these ways. Everyone knows these things are transphobic, even if they deny it.

The seventh is transphobia against the community:

“Using dehumanising language about trans people or expecting trans people to participate in “debates” about their right to exist.”

There are two parts to this: first, dehumanising language about trans people. It should cover Cherry’s use of the term “male-bodied individuals” because of the purpose of that phrase, to instil fear of trans women and opposition to trans women in women’s spaces.

The second part concerns “debates about [our] right to exist”. It does not cover assertions about “sex-based rights”, or argument that trans women should all be excluded from women’s spaces. Such argument is clearly transphobic, because it intends to foment fear of and anger against trans people, as well as lesbophobic because it encourages misgendering of lesbians, hostility to them in women’s loos, and policing their feminine expression. It is not included in the definition. And if Cherry does not invite trans people to respond to her debating points, then her wild assertions are not included because of that.

What about falsehoods about erasing women’s experience? In the National article, Cherry wrote, “Recently advice was issued to midwives in Brighton that they must refer to “chestfeeding” rather than “breastfeeding”.

That is misleading. Brighton has “gender inclusion midwives” trained to support trans men and nonbinary people, but also gives information on breastfeeding. Chestfeeding only refers to trans men and nonbinary people.

Taking Cherry’s article at face value, you would think cis nursing mothers would be told about chestfeeding. That was never going to happen. She misleads in order to create the false impression that women are under threat, and that the reader is directly affected.

Cherry’s article is objectionable throughout. Trans people and our allies object to transphobia and for Cherry this is an “out of control” “backlash” against “scientific reality”. Cherry angrily rants against people opposing transphobia or seeking reasonable treatment for trans people.

I hope trans people and allies are combing Cherry’s tweets and articles to build a case that she is transphobic, and should be disciplined under SNP rules. But the rules themselves, and this new definition, do not make that easy. Perhaps that is the point of it. Sara Ahmed points out many diversity policies are written to claim the organisation is doing something, rather than to achieve change.

Why should the SNP discipline one of its MPs? Because she is a raging transphobe, spreading hate. But, she’s an MP, and disciplining her would make them look bad. These decisions are political, not moral.

 

Trans widows

Often trans people marry in their assigned gender, and transition later. Women married to trans women often stay married, as a loving couple, or they may split in a reasonable, amicable manner, remaining friends, caring for children together, making sure the split is as fair as possible. Unfortunately, some women refuse to move on from the relationship, though it has ceased. They believe they have been wronged, and find online communities which affirm that. They can become the most obsessive anti-trans campaigners.

“Trans Widows Voices” is a particularly poisonous site. It encourages women to stew in their hatred, and foments the myth of autogynephilia. The self-righteous victimhood damages the relationship with the former partner, and harms both the divorcing wife and the trans woman.

“Women report feeling like their male partner has died.” In the loss of her relationship, the woman will go through a process of mourning. She has suffered a trauma. However if there is any blame, it is on the wider society, which so stigmatises trans people that we are in denial, and terrified to admit our true selves. It is not on the trans woman who has found the courage to express herself at last.

“This site uses correct sex pronouns.” That is, it denies the trans woman’s experience and the reality that trans people exist, and transition in the most awful circumstances. “We also support women having the language to accurately describe their own experiences and to represent their reality.”

“Shalyn’s story” is pitiable. They may have married too young: she graduated from university after marriage. The couple should never have married, and the wife appears to have been in denial throughout. “I thought we had a great relationship,” she writes, after writing of things she found a turnoff: the trans woman’s shaving her legs and acting submissive in the bedroom. Some men are submissive. Some women are assertive.

The trans woman did not handle it well. When her wife repeatedly confronted her, each time she would promise not to cross-dress again. The wife says the woman insisted they start a family, and eventually have three children, though she complains of the lack of sex in their marriage.

Mary Joan says it was a lie when her trans woman husband said “My wife always knew I was transgender”. She knew the woman liked to wear women’s clothes during sex. She calls this “autogynephilia”, spreading misunderstanding. “Even now, I still grieve for my lost husband and I think I shall always do so.” Oh, the poor woman! You have to be able to move on. Ending a marriage is always traumatic. Wallowing like this, “many years later”, is deeply unhealthy for you and your children.

She admits her ex-spouse pays maintenance for the children, so her account of the trans woman’s chaotic lifestyle may be exaggerated. I would not trust her to give a clear understanding of transition, because she projects all the blame on her former partner.

The FAQs encourage a complete inability to deal with the situation in a healthy way. They say a woman whose husband cross dresses is a trans widow. It’s as if cross dressing is such a betrayal that the husband disappears.

“Isn’t the term offensive? Many actual widows understand that the analogy is appropriate.” “What about the women who are happy with their trans woman husbands? We are here if and when their situation changes.” They are modelling a complete denial of the trans experience. Nothing can be admitted which might show that the cis woman was at all at fault- except, perhaps, for initially going along with the trans woman’s transition. The trans woman is called a man, a pervert, a betrayer.

Who runs the site? TinselAngel, a trans widow, who supports trans widows on Mumsnet, Twitter, and other channels. That is, an obsessive, who seeks validation of her obsession by drawing others in.

“Why didn’t you leave sooner? We understand how difficult it can be for a woman to leave a marriage.” So do I.

“Are you transphobic? No. We believe that our reality is as valid as that of our ex-husbands.” Er, um. In each of these stories, a blameless woman has been fooled into marriage and deceived throughout. When marriages end, the story is always more complex. Even when one person is wholly a victim, unable to do any better, the other is rarely entirely a wrongdoer. They can’t see this as transphobia, because they think they are entirely good, and transphobia sounds like a bad thing.

Challenged that “Autogynephilia doesn’t exist” she merely states “We don’t believe that we are propagating a myth.” If she cited various articles, as she could, claiming it exists, I would have more respect for her. “We are merely reporting our own experiences,” she says, as if only her perspective matters. That is the way to stew in grievance forever, and actively to prevent moving on.

“We will provide an evidence base,” she says. She only provides evidence of her own failure to move on, or to understand from another’s point of view.

It seems this TinselAngel is the main campaigner demanding that women stew in victimhood and rage rather than seek a healthy relationship with their ex-spouse or a way to move on. She tweets as Trans Widows’ voices, and writes articles for other groups. There is not enough demand, even on Ovarit, to have other specialist “trans widow” groups.

Uncommon Ground’s mission statement denies it simply attacks the Left, and says “The solutions for the world’s problems are to be found in compassion tempered by reason,” but Tinsel Angel’s article is in starkly Us and Them terms: she complains of feminist groups accepting trans women, and says she needs help. “Who is more important to the Womens’ Liberation movement: me or my ex-husband?” Ideally, both. However, she goes on to criticise WPUK for not being transphobic enough.

The trans widows site has twelve personal stories, of women raging against their trans ex-husbands. Any woman who can’t bear her husband’s cross dressing, or wish to transition, should avoid it like the plague.

To the wives of trans women, who want to leave them: you should not be pressured into supporting your husband if you don’t want to. Sex is usually an integral part of marriage, and you don’t have to stay if it changes. In Britain, your husband’s cross dressing or wish to transition would count as “unreasonable behaviour”, entitling you to a divorce. But try to maintain an amicable relationship, for the sake of any children and for your own sake. You are entitled to define your boundaries, but please do not get trapped in this profitless hatred.

Harriet Harman

Is Harriet Harman now an anti-trans campaigner? Saying male predators pretend to be trans is a big deal.

This is the quote from the interview:

I ask her to respond to Jenny [sic] Murray’s recent comments regarding transgender women, and she states: “I think that people who are transgender face a very high level of difficulty and discrimination and that should never be underestimated.”

However, she adds: “I also think we have to recognise that there are some men who would want to falsely claim to be transgender to infiltrate women only spaces.”

I have used my gender recognition certificate to get a birth certificate in my name. I don’t carry either certificate around to show when I enter public loos. Self-declaration came in with the Equality Act, and you would think Harman would know that. On her website, we read a document from 2010:

Trans

The Equality Bill will change the definition of ‘gender reassignment’ to make it clear that a person does not have to be under medical supervision to be protected from discrimination.

“Make it clear”- that was the intention from the beginning. We are trans women from the moment we decide to transition. It’s all about self-declaration.

Possibly in prisons a trouble-making male prisoner might claim to be a woman to cause trouble, or even to alleviate the boredom. This is because in prison men are comparatively powerless. A violent man can just kick the door down, he does not need a gender recognition certificate.

And the myth is dangerous. It creates suspicion. Is that person a trans woman, or a violent male pretending to be a trans woman? It foments violence against us.

Is it just that she disnae ken? There’s little excuse for that three years after the hate campaign really started to hot up.

The Guardian found that Harman supported self-declaration of trans women on women-only shortlists.

When acting leader of Labour, she wrote for Pink News about IDAHoBiT. She refers to “homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying” but says nothing specific about trans people.

Janice Turner in The Times wrote, “Harriet Harman too supports self-ID but also wants stop men exploiting their access to women’s spaces. But how, Harriet?” Yeah. An accusation of hypocrisy from a phobe, in February 2018, is not conclusive either way.

Paris Lees’ agent claims that Harman praised Lees’ appearance on Question Time.

Transphobe clique WPUK pointed me to this Guardian article. Harman, as chair of the joint parliamentary committee on human rights, issued a report that free speech on university campuses was inhibited by safe space and no-platform policies, in 2018. That would include policies to protect trans people.

Harriet Harman, while part of a Labour cabinet or shadow cabinet, has achieved good things for trans people, including the Equality Act. Now, she has helped spread a myth which is easily disproved, which she should know to be false, and which foments violence against us. This matters.

No doubt an army of bots and trolls will change their usual misogynist abuse of Harman to include abusing her as a transphobe. Whether this is intended to increase transphobia, or merely to increase mayhem, that’s not in our interests.

People who can should call her out as a spreader of transphobic myths, but probably not on social media: in Labour circles, and in articles, would be better.

I will complain to the Labour Party.

Johann Lamont and Forensic Medical Services

Is there any place where a cis woman should be able to insist there is no trans woman, or is that transphobic? What about a medical examination of a victim of sexual assault or rape?

The medical examiner might have to take a semen sample from inside a woman’s vagina, or examine her internally for injury. The woman has been violated, and so is in a vulnerable state, possibly disconnected from her body, or flinching from touch. Should she be able to insist that the examiner is a cis woman?

In Scots law generally there is no distinction made between gender and sex. Both the Equality Act and the Gender Recognition Act use the words interchangeably, and after my GRC the GRA confirms that both my gender and my sex are female. The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 allowed a woman to choose that the forensic medical examiner should be a woman, by saying the victim could choose the “gender” of the examiner.

Transphobes campaigning against trans rights have sought to create a distinction, saying that transgender people change our gender, that is, our presentation and our conformity to stereotypes, but not our sex, which is based on genes, gonads and genitals. I still have a Y chromosome, so they say my sex is male. Then they say I should be expelled from women’s spaces. This would change my life. I have been in women’s spaces for decades.

The purpose of the Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Act 2021, which came into force on 20 January, is to allow victims to seek a forensic medical examination from the NHS without needing to report the crime to the police. I would have hoped such a change could be made administratively, by changes to police, NHS and court procedures, but it was a Bill, taking months to get through Parliament.

Johann Lamont MSP introduced an amendment into the draft Bill, to change the word “gender” in the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 to “sex”. She imagines that now, victims can specify that they want a cis woman, not just a woman.

I am not sure what practical effect that has. I want a woman to be able to get an examination where she is, in Ullapool or Lerwick as well as Edinburgh, ideally without an examiner being flown out from the city. But then, the examiner has to be able to stand as an expert witness in the High Court of Justiciary. I have no idea how many people are qualified to perform such an examination, and whether any of them are trans women.

Johann Lamont, that is, used a Bill designed to benefit victims of sexual abuse to enshrine discrimination against trans women in Scots law, and form a basis for an argument that there is a legal distinction between “gender” and “sex”, so that there could be further discrimination in future.

She does it from a clearly transphobic position. She signed the Labour Transphobes’ Declaration and said at the time

I have fought all my life along with my sisters in the Labour and trade union movement to ensure that women’s voices are heard, that our needs and rights are addressed, to end the inequality women face and to change women’s lives. The progress made by women has come from women organising together and refusing to be silenced. That is as necessary now as it ever was.

To characterise demands to exclude trans women as “addressing women’s needs” is deeply transphobic.

When the amendment went before Parliament, there was a disgustingly transphobic article in The Scotsman. The delusional transphobe hack who wrote it claimed that “women are fighting for the very right to exist”. That’s paranoid. She wrote, “Women and girls the world over are mutilated and murdered because of their sex, not because of gender stereotypes such as lipstick and high-heels”. Trans women are assaulted and murdered because we are trans women. She diminishes our very nature to the fetishist whim of wearing high heels. She sets cis women against trans women. It is one of the most transphobic rants I have seen. She quotes Lamont saying,

Women should be able to choose the sex of the person who conducts the investigation. This is a key test for the Parliament, which is committed to rooting action in the understanding of experience. Women courageously and powerfully spoke up so that others might fare better than them. The amendment is tiny but would be a huge step in listening to survivors. The committee was convinced. The Parliament should be too.

“Listening to survivors” means excluding trans women. Speaking up courageously means demanding that trans women be excluded. It is a horrifying paean in praise of hate.

I am not sure whether a trans woman should heed the desire of such a victim to have a cis woman examiner. It may just be my internalised transphobia suggesting that could possibly be reasonable, that the trans woman should stand aside. But, unquestionably, the motive for the amendment is transphobic hate. Transphobic hate now has an entrée into Scots law.

TERFs off duty

Who are the anti-trans campaigners? What are they like, when not posting exclusion and dehumanisation? On facebook, I could just trade the usual lines with them, but instead I clicked on their profiles. I am not doxxing- kudos to anyone who finds the source of the pseudonyms I give them. The Green Party of England and Wales shared a simple meme, “Trans rights are human rights” on a trans flag background, and the hate commenced.

Abigail is an actor, who lives in Brisbane. She shares tourist photos of her in Europe. She obsessively shares articles attacking trans rights: her two latest public shares are an attack on Joe Biden’s allyship, and a claim that autistic trans people are not really trans, both in the Times. She claimed that that meme alone would stop her voting Green.

Catharina lives in Portland, Oregon, US. She coined the term “album-ination” to mean a record which was unfairly trashed. She refers to trans women as “men who wear women’s clothes”, but “respects that plants are living beings”. She accused the GPEW of trying to silence women, and warned it would make those women more keen to shout their transphobic hate, though that’s not how she put it. Brisbane? Portland? The GPEW? They clearly trawl facebook for anything supporting trans rights, so they can join a pile-on.

Annestine is 63. She went to Beverley Girls High School, and studied at the University of Sheffield. She created an image to “celebrate Pride” by imposing a rainbow on a picture of poppies. She donated to animal-free research, and an animal rescue centre. She fearmongers about “male bodied people in changing rooms”.

Someone commented on the length of the thread. “It’s driven by a business model that incites rancour”- well, yes, because that drives engagement. He got 41 replies, including Eleanor’s comment about the “cotton ceiling”. Eleanor’s other obsession is Remaining: her profile pic says she’s “Still European”. She shared a photo of graffiti, saying “I dream of you in COLORS that dont exist” and a vile transphobe “joke” tweet. She crocheted a gorgeous, complex blanket.

Olympe called the GPEW post “woke nonsense”, and said people are leaving the Party because of this. She is a freelance classical singer and singing teacher, a member of Jewish Voices for Labour and anti-Zionist. She also supports Extinction Rebellion.

Ann lives in Tewkesbury. She shared a cartoon showing Covid as a tidal wave about to engulf Westminster, but dwarfed by Brexit, which was in turn dwarfed by climate change. I agree. She has photos of countryside, and sheep. Her other visible posts are hateful, mocking transphobe images, including one of a trans woman’s penis.

Madeleine likes Jeremy Corbyn and does not like NHS privatisation. However everything else visible on her profile is transphobe. She obsessively repeats the mantra “adult human female” as if it meant that trans women do not exist.

Dorothea shared the quote “Let this radicalise you rather than lead you to despair”. I love that quote, though I would hope pushback about trans rights would make her see sense. She is a young woman who supports Labour. She self-justifies by claiming trans exclusion is “asserting boundaries”.

Jane is a lesbian from Buenos Aires. She shares cute puppy photos marked “buenas”. She also shared a tweet from “Assigned angry at birth” claiming “lesbian is female same sex attraction”, as if the most important thing for lesbians was ending trans rights.

Sarah claims trans people “hate women”. She is from Seattle. She is “Anti-Q, wanted for thought crimes”. Her profile picture is the photo of Bernie Sanders in mittens.

When they’re not obsessively campaigning about trans, they “love to hear the little brook a’gurgling, and listen to the merry village chime”. I share fbfnds with some of the haters. If I could meet and talk to them, we would find things in common, maybe even like each other. They get into anti-trans campaigning from a desire to protect vulnerable groups, or to stand up for themselves, which I could admire if it were not perverted in this way. Coming from all over the world, they plot together to go on any public post saying positive things about trans rights, and flood it with hate.

Some pages are using that to get clicks. They post a simple pro-trans meme, the haters pour in, and their page gets more attention.

Joanna Cherry

Joanna Cherry is a transphobe, attempting to spread hate and fear against trans people, and particularly trans women.

She tweeted a photo of Pride-marchers, who have signs reading “Fuck TERFs” and “No more TERFs”, writing, “It makes me very sad. #Pride was never about #Hate. I marched on my first #Pride in London 30 years ago. It was diverse. Inclusive. This #misogyny is destroying our movement.” It was reported in indy100. Objecting to TERFs is not misogyny, because it is opposing harmful action: TERFs are identified by the harmful things they say and do. Continue reading

TERFs on display

When trans-excluders write for a general audience, what do they write? In their bubbles, there is no downside for being more and more extreme, but when they interact with people who do not share their peculiar obsession, they might put them off. Do they care?

Tracey, a transphobe, objected to the use of the word “cis” on a facebook group which still has trans members. Someone asked what the problem was, and someone else said “you must respect the right of others to use” the word. So far, so reasonable. Tracey wrote,

cis is a word that’s been foisted upon women to distinguish adult human females from transwomen. It has the impact and effect of making women a sub category of our own sex class. It is made-up nonsense that is supposed to mean people like me – women – have a ‘gender identity’ which matches the ‘gender’ we were ‘assigned at birth’. Well, like each and every one of us, my sex was observed and recorded at birth, not ‘assigned on a whim, and as I don’t have a gender identity I don’t see how I can be happy that something I don’t have matches something I wasn’t assigned in the first place. I’m a woman, not a subset of female. These words matter because they change perceptions of who we are.

That is, very quickly she went full extremist. Her gender was assigned at birth when she was given a pink Babygro and adults started talking to her differently. Hannah says “cis” is ordinary language, and got abused as “science denying Trump like folk”.

Alison says, “If I hear somebody talking about the different experiences of black women and white women, I don’t have a crisis because I’ve become a ‘subset’!” Unfortunately she is piled on, with many responses.

Cassie says, “I am an adult human female. And gender is not assigned at birth either.” Sigh. I would far rather be referred to as a “woman” than “adult human female”, but she gets 32 Likes. Indigo gets 42 Likes for saying “women’s fundamental rights are being undermined yet again”.

Rita, who is Bi, says “Why are so many straight CIS people so up themselves?” Kim, a phobe, scores a point by asking “You accept, therefore, that trans activists don’t have the right to tell other people to define themselves as “cis”?” That needs answered. Some people, formerly, objected to being called “straight”. They might prefer “normal”. It is the same way of marginalising trans as was used against gay people.

Geoff, in his late fifties, says “Just mentioning the word ‘gay’ was a nightmare when I was a kid”. He gets piled on- language is used against women, “trans is a belief, like religion, tagging themselves onto the end of LGB”. One tries to appear reasonable- “I have non binary and gender fluid friends”- not realising the echoes that raises.

For Kim, we are “heterosexual men claiming to be lesbians”. She refers to a trans rapist who was imprisoned for fifteen years. For Fiona, alleging that a trans woman is a woman is the same as asserting that the Earth is flat- objectively false. That was part of a pile-on: one sane comment, with five people making ten comments shouting it down. I observed that “science recognises the existence of trans women, in all cultures over millennia”, and had a smaller pile-on, with phobes liking each others’ comments.

The males who want to identify as women Are so domineering in their insistence..That all people have to agree with them..This behaviour is very Male -Testosterone driven…
This is why many women do not want them in women safe spaces..

There’s the hate. We don’t matter. “I wish Trans women all the best” does not make a difference. But, do people who don’t care particularly see the hate in that comment?

Saira said, “So-called ‘T*RFs’ don’t really help themselves by being as rigid as the more extreme end of Transactivist… we need to find a way to live with both options being valid”. She says TERF is a “slur”, she’s trying to find common ground, but that does not prevent a pile-on.

What do they write? They write the same tedious drivel, the same swivel-eyed obsessions, that they write when they are alone. I just wish there was more sign they put others off.