This is a presentation I gave in Parliament on 31 October 2017 to which MPs were invited by the host, David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouthshire, alongside Judith Green, Stephanie Davies-Arai and James Caspian. Their respective presentations are hyperlinked. The objective of these presentations were to demonstrate the weaknesses inherent in the proposals to ‘update’ the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, in particular through the introduction of ‘self-identification’ of gender and the effect of replacing ‘gender reassignment’ with ‘gender identity’ and how these clash with the rights of women, homosexuals and children and that the whole medicalisation of transgender identity is the imperfect medicalisation of an undiagnosable self-diagnosed condition.
Mr Davies is an unlikely ally to the cause I am promoting. It is my view that The 2015 Transgender Equality Report is an unbalanced, one-sided, socially regressive and profoundly anti-woman document; the inquiry that produced this simply did not get to grips with the subject matter they are reporting on and the document is more a work of propaganda than a reasoned investigation. It is a work of activists and activism.
There is some irony that, aside from Caroline Flint MP in the now defunct bill’s first reading, the only MP to have demonstrated any understanding of the issues involved and how these impact on women is a white, middle-class Tory MP with a voting record that is anathema to classic liberals such as myself. Yet, kudos to Mr Davies, he gets it, and in asides during the meeting he demonstrated understanding of how this also adversely affects LGB rights. It’s like entering ‘The Twilight Zone’ when a Conservative MP is doing the work of the left because the left is toothless, impotent, powerless.
This tells me how completely fucked the political left is, but then we all know this because we, on the left, cannot have a sensible conversation about the fact that ‘transgender equality’ means women, who have lived a full life of what it means to be a woman in a world dominated by men, are expected to accept and celebrate as one of their own, without question, any man who as part of his midlife crisis decides to invest in a ‘stripper wig’, age-inappropriate clothing and anachronistic ladyname, or be branded a ‘TERF’ and condemned, as a witch, to be burned at the smouldering stake of social justice: transgender equality is a zero-sum game, and is fundamentally inequitable.
The first question answered was twenty minutes in, as an MP had to leave for ‘Questions’. He asked whether the U.K. was seen as being progressive in these matters. Stephanie Davies-Arai answered, explaining that Iran has a policy of transing its homosexuals making it the ‘sex change capital of the world’, it is that intolerant of homosexuality. She intimated I answer too, and I explained that the countries which are regarded as being most progressive on trans issues, for example Argentina, Ireland and Malta, still don’t allow women free access to birth control and abortion. On another question, I added that in women’s sports, transgender equality comes at the expense of equity; sometimes the most unfair thing we can do is treat everyone equally.
Of course, it’s no surprise transgender ideology is such a comfortable bedfellow with regressive political attitudes. It is itself a regressive ideology, ‘gender identity’ is essentialist to the core and, as I had the pleasure of raising a few laughs to later on, what we now call ‘gender identity’ is exactly what we, in the more politically aware 1980s, called ‘sexism’.
In the aftermath of these presentations and without any apparent irony, a number of transgender activists complained they either were not invited and that the panel was ‘biased’ and unrepresentative. This, of course, completely misses the point of the discussion, this was to give a voice to the silent majority: the women, children and transsexuals affected by these proposals and to address the one-sided media coverage of the one-sided ‘Transgender Equality Report’. Our LGBT organisations are now unquestioningly focussing their political activism around the sexual rights of heterosexual males rather than supporting the human rights of human beings to same-sex relationships, and it is monumentally tragic that under Ruth Hunt, Stonewall UK mandates a grotesque manifesto that threatens women, homosexuals and gender non-conforming children.
Anyway, on with the show…
I am transsexual: a natal male who has undertaken hormone treatment and surgery and attempts to live ‘as a woman’. I would like to thank David Davies MP for being today’s host, and everyone here for the progressive, trans-inclusive approach to this meeting. The issues we are talking about are more complex than they first appear and myself and the other speakers are grateful for this opportunity to help.
The complexity of ‘the transgender debate’ is not helped by use of obscure language. I will lay down some definitions then show you what it means to fall under the ‘transgender umbrella’.
Our biological sex is material, based upon our reproductive role. As with other mammals, females produce large gametes, conceive and nurture children. Males produce small gametes, their role is solely to impregnate the female.
Based on sex difference, protections exist for females which afford girls and women privacy, guarding them from sexual and physical violence, allowing them to participate in public life.
Gender has several definitions. Often used synonymously with sex, this should be avoided as ‘gender’ references cultural customs or stereotypes. If we were to say toys were gendered, our custom would be that cars, dinosaurs and construction sets are for boys, and that dolls, tea sets and princess outfits are for girls.
Nothing would suggest girls dislike dinosaurs or boys dislike tea sets. Stereotypes limit us.
Yet these extend to clothing, cosmetics and careers: high-powered financially rewarding occupations are dominated by males, the caring professions by females.
Stereotypes, or traits, combine to become gender roles: feminine traits are associated with females, and masculine traits males. Within cultures these vary over time; the dichotomy of pink for girls and blue for boys switched less than half a century ago. Gender stereotypes vary across cultures.
Although biological sex does not determine personality, the cultural stereotypes of gender presupposes it does, and unfairly dictates what we can and cannot do.
Transgender people use the word ‘gender’ differently. American transgender activist Julia Serano defines gender as a collection of “identities or social classes” based upon sex, or the gender or sex people identify with. This is known as ‘gender identity’.
This ‘identity’ may or may not be congruent with natal sex. Whilst ‘gender identity’ lacks material basis outside the mind, when expressed it follows stereotypes.
● For males who identify as women, feminine clothing, hairstyles and cosmetics, the adoption of a feminine persona; and
● For females who identify as men, masculine clothing, hairstyles like ‘buzzcuts’, tattoos, and a masculine persona.
Of course, there is no reason women cannot have buzzcuts or be strong and assertive with their own career, like Pink or Bridget Nielsen. There is no reason men cannot wear dresses and makeup yet remain men, for example Boy George and RuPaul.
Thus ‘gender identity’ is how one’s personality relates to sex-based stereotypes. The proposed change to the law to make this a protected characteristic reinforces cultural stereotypes and protects nothing more than thoughts and feelings. This doesn’t protect transsexuals such as myself.
Drafting law to protect gender stereotypes is counterproductive: why create extra law when we could celebrate individuality, reinforce existing law and allow people to be themselves?
Gender identity is almost unsupported in science, it is faith; we already have a protected characteristic for faith: religion.
The term ‘transgender’ has replaced what used to be known as transvestites and cross-dressers, it is an umbrella term. Many transsexuals resist inclusion as the needs of many ‘transgender’ identities conflict with our own. The existence of the transgender umbrella is political and about power. It is taking over organisations set up to help lesbians and gay men, for example GLAAD in the USA and Stonewall in the UK.
The mandate of both has changed from defending same-sex relationships to personal identity. This presents a conflict of rights and interest: within the current cultural climate, rhetoric like ‘trans women are women’ cannot be challenged, and lesbians who refuse to date ‘trans women’ are branded ‘transphobic’.
This is well documented within transgender culture and known as ‘the cotton ceiling’. It is a consequence of the significantly large proportion of ‘trans women’ who are sexually oriented towards women.
A lesbian is a same-sex attracted woman, she is not sexually attracted to penis. Being ‘a woman’ by virtue of gender identity enables males with penises to identify themselves as ‘lesbian’. This changes the definition of ‘homosexuality’.
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is a medicalised process. It is effected by change to the birth certificate and protection from discrimination for ‘gender reassignment’ under the Equalities Act follow. Males are given rights as females, extending to social security benefits and marriage.
Between 2004 and 2014, until equal marriage, the only way two people of the same sex could marry was by one changing their legal sex under the GRA. Surely if there is a problem with inequity in law, that should be addressed, rather than creating unfair distortions.
The endowment of rights to males as females compromises the privacy of females. Self-identification is based only on the word of the petitioner, it has the potential to eliminate the privacy of all females and particularly affect those women who are economically disadvantaged or victims of male violence.
After puberty, males enjoy a size, strength and speed advantage over women, and is most apparent in sports. Recent cases show transgender males dominating female sports. In the USA, Rachel McKinnon came first place in a women’s cycling event, and was runner up in a unisex event. In New Zealand, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard holds national women’s records. Fell-runner Lauren Jeska dominated women’s fell-running.
The right to women-only spaces exists historically because without these, women were excluded from areas of public life. It’s not a leap to suggest this may happen again. How is this progressive?
Although transgender issues regularly make the news, there is little analysis of what it means to be transgender. Yet the etiology of cross-gender behaviour in males has been the subject of scientific study for over a century. This again is something the cultural environment makes difficult to discuss.
It is known that males who demonstrate cross-gender behaviour can be separated into two groups which are fundamentally different. The typology is based upon sexual orientation defined with respect to natal sex; homosexual (males sexually oriented to other males) and non-homosexual, predominantly heterosexual.
The homosexual is feminine and corresponds to what used to be the popular image of the transsexual. The non-homosexual is often unremarkably masculine and is now the common image of what it means to be transgender.
Most ‘trans women’ are predominantly heterosexual; males sexually oriented towards females. Many do not undergo surgery and so remain physiologically male. These heterosexuals significantly outnumber homosexuals and often ‘identify’ as ‘lesbian’.
The etiology of the non-homosexual transgender male is complex. It may be compared to a long-term romantic relationship between an individual and their idea of themselves ‘as a woman’, they ‘become what they love’. Known as ‘autogynephilia’, it is a heterosexual sexual orientation directed towards the self ‘as a woman’.
This erotic component of heterosexual transgender males has been recognised for over a century. The typical pattern follows oa history of cross-dressing, marriage, fathering children and often a ‘macho’ Male-dominated career, for example Caitlyn Jenner. It is this group who dominate the campaign for treatment of young children even though effeminate boys and masculine girls are more likely to grow up to be homosexual.
If you encounter transgender women online, you will discover their image is often sexualised. Many are into anime or pornography, some are involved in ‘sex work’ and transgender culture is pro-prostitution.
There is not a single scientific study that undermines the typology of transgender males, yet none of the transgender support groups or the Portman and Tavistock Clinic, trusted with the care of transgender youth, publicly refer to this typology.
In 2003, the book ‘The Man Who Would Be Queen’ placed this typology of transgender males into popular science. The author J Michael Bailey was bullied, threatened and his family and children subjected to abuse. Activism has since been typified by bullying, abuse and no-platforming to silence debate.
The corollary of this bullying and abuse is the recent incident at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner. A sixty year-old woman was assaulted by three men. This violent incident was a result of the systematic dehumanisation of women through designating those who do not believe ‘trans women are women’ as ‘TERF’ – ‘trans exclusionary radical feminists’.
Many left-wing and liberal women have been labelled ‘TERF’ as they reject an ideology based on fantasy. ‘TERF’ is used to condemn, bully and coerce women into denying their own lived experience. It dehumanises women, legitimising them as targets of verbal and physical abuse.
Gender transition is not one-way, there have always been those who revert to assigned gender, this is ‘detransition’. As more people transition, so more people will detransition. How can we make it so simple to change gender when so many people change their minds?
I am not anti-transgender, I am transsexual: but I acknowledge the need to recognise the material reality of biological sex. Self-declaration negatively impacts upon the freedom, safety and protection of girls and women. As a transsexual, self-identification removes my own protection of ‘gender reassignment’.
The public, including politicians, seem unaware of the complexities and nuances, understanding is simplistic to the point of being inaccurate. There is a cultural environment which makes debate extremely difficult because of no-platforming, threats to careers and even physical violence.
This is the antithesis what is means to live in a free, democratic society. The proposed changes to the 2004 GRA are being sold as progressive, however this is bad law which protects thoughts and feelings. It has the potential to undermine women’s sports, privacy and cultural and economic initiatives to level the playing field for women. I urge you to vote against this change to legislation.