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.
13 Replies to “How Transgender Became ‘The New Black’: Presentation in Parliament on 31 October 2017”
Hi Miranda, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you strong people who are trying to highlight the ‘problems’ associated with transgender ideology. I have been trying to challenge this for many years as a part time youth and community worker who specialises in SRE and PHSE . I have often felt alone on this matter and even considered the fact that I must be bigoted because I believe biology matters and that being male or female is not about what you like or what you play with. I work with young people and have found it increasingly difficult if not impossible to have a critical conversation about this subject with the young people I work with. I have been told that I cannot teach this subject using feminist theory and critical analysis anymore, I cannot encourage young people to think for themselves and make their own judgements. I believe everyone has a right to safety and human rights and equality but not when that equality comes at the price of someone else’s. As a result I feel like I have been black listed and rarely get asked to do workshop, training or teaching anymore. I approached my tutor about doing a Phd examining the impact of this new gender recognition act and its impact on women and children. I was surprised to realised that she did not have a clue about the very real problems surrounding this ideology. The tutors she put me in touch with to speak about my idea told me that they couldn’t consider supporting and funding a Phd into this area of research although they agreed that it needed studying, but they were frightened of the fall out and told me to find another subject matter. Anyway I just wanted to say thank you to all those who are trying to highlight the problems. I will continue to try to get funding so I can study this and I will also continue try to highlight the potential problems of the GRA.
I’ve spent the past few hours reading your blog and I have to tell you you’re wonderful, brilliant, and amazing. I’ve been really struggling to square current transgender ideology with feminism, but whenever I’ve tried to talk about it I’ve been accused of being a TERF. Reading your work, I’m feeling so much relief that I’m not actually crazy or evil. You’ve explained so clearly what I’ve been thinking but haven’t been able to communicate. I’m going to share your work with friends, and I just wanted to say thank you.
Hi, I have been reading some of the items you have made public, and was wondering if I could email you on some issues and provide advice, which I intend to challenge the Scottish Government on.
Sure please do me a comment with your email address, I’ll reply by email and make sure the comment is never seen by anyone.
Miranda, I just want to say thank you for everything that you do. My life became extremely weird just over 4 years ago when my husband, who had been a closet cross-dresser on and off during some 30 years of marriage, announced, first to me and then the world, that he was a woman. No ifs or buts, he had been living a lie. Henceforth, he would wear a wig, take hormones, exfoliate and scrub until his skin shone and show off that wardrobe that he had been accumulating. I feel like I have studied for a Phd in transgender studies over the last 4 years. I’ve read Blanchard, Lawrence, Bailey et al. It’s heavy stuff. It takes a long time to get your head around. What I didn’t expect, as I dealt with the emotional aftermath of a marriage that had never been, was for trans-activism to come along with a magic wand and clean it all up for me and for everyone….. “No no it’s nothing to do with autogynephilia; it’s gender identity and being trapped in the wrong body. What enlightened times we live in. Just look how many children need to be referred to the “Tavi”. We’re just making it so much easier and better for everyone.”
Please keep on doing what you’re doing. I can only hope that together you and Stephanie and James Caspian and Judith Green have made an impact.
I hope Sarah Ditum writes it all up, she’s a fantastic writer. One day I will join you, but right now my divorce lumbers on. There are children taking all the trans mantras to heart. They deserve so much better than what our government is offering them.
Thank you. I’m a biological and gendered woman, 46 with 3 very well balanced kids. They are concerned that they should now be questioning their genders! (It’s funny, but a couple of years ago they also wondered whether they should be self harming). Tomorrow I have a meeting with a 19 year old ftm chap who claims the right to being called a man while using his uterus to breed, or showing boob pics on facebook if it’s that kind of day. My partner claims to be trans non-binary, but he lacked love as a child and needs therapy. Meanwhile he dresses whenever he gets stressed.
I think the really important questions about society and the essential changes we need to make are being lost in this debate and that is alarming.
Women have only had the vote for 100 years. Feminism has left women like me feeling as though our life’s work has no value because it didn’t come with a business suit and a six figure salary.
Some people are really born in the wrong body, have surgery to correct this, feel better. They should be protected and supported.
Some people are born with serious illnesses. They should be protected and supported.
But, just as I don’t expect my child to live in an oxygen bubble because the child up the road needs to due to an infirm immune system, for example, I don’t think it’s right to make everyone change their reality to suit the needs of the few. Apparently, the latest is gender neutral parenting and schooling. I’ve been horribly slated for speaking out against this, but removing any choice does not promote the right choice. I just wanted to say I love how courageous you are, your writing style is excellent, and I will be following your work from now on. Issa xxx
Great work Miranda! It’s been a pleasure watching you on YouTube, though I confess to selfishly wishing you’d post your thoughts via video on your channel more, say once a week? ? Even if just to read your article to us.
I’m astounded the viciousness with which some transwomen, and some radfems, are going at this though I have seen Atty least one corrollary on YouTube: the more anti-feminist a transwoman YouTube is, the more likely she will be networked with MRAs. And they’re not just about hate to women, but racist as well morw often than not. Anyway, enjoyed the article, cheers.
Just a short note to show appreciation of your intelligent, well balanced and compassionate views, far too often these are not getting heard as the media chooses to highlight hysteria, bigotry and plain old nonsense to sensationalize the issue.
Miranda, I am so grateful for your commitment to speaking truth to what seems to be almost a cult-like movement that demonizes women in order to legitimize itself.
I have no issues with how people identify, but the trans activists who have decided women need to take a back seat to them in order for trans people to feel validated is so frustrating and terrifying. Women have enough on their plate, we don’t need that from the queer community as well.
I know you put up with a lot of backlash for speaking up, and I appreciate it. Thank you so much for being an ally to us. Hopefully one day we will move beyond this and everyone can learn to listen to and respect each other and not feel one person’s rights depend on stepping on the others.
Great post. Ive been reading your blog and am fascinated by this feminist position you have as a transexual. I am confused about your own transexualism though. I apologize if i’ve missed this, you may have explained this somewhere else but I can’t find it yet. If you don’t mind me asking can you tell me how you describe your sexuality: Do you describe yourself as homosexual? As gay or lesbian? Or straight?
I have been following you for a few years now. You and radical feminists. Thank you. Now there are some socialist feminists getting organised and speaking out finally. But for a while I relied on you to speak sanity. Your latest article about abolishing the GRA is so right. To tell you the truth before the talk of changing it , I didn’t know that it existed.
I am 63, 2nd wave feminist consciousness raised in Brighton and have felt uncomfortable with transgenderism for years – since at a UNISON AGM where there was a vote to put a T in LGB.
Anyway just joining in with the positive comments to counter some of the hostility you must encounter.
You are very very smart. Thank you and your giant brain/comprehension. Much love from a (not radical) feminist in Canada
Apologies I am very late to the “game” and have recently “researched” my way to your website.
Thank you for your outstanding support. You have articulated the concerns that women (straight, lesbian and transexual women) are no longer allowed to express. That we and the language that defines us , our places and parity are being erased.
Why have you not been named woman of the year!?
I have tried to find put what has happened to the GRA – was it kicked into the long grass?
Have you researched and written about autism and the link with transgender or transexual? I am highly concerned for young people being medicalised when they may be either gay or autistic. From my own experience as a non-conforming child (who wanted to cut off her breasts and never have children) to being diagnosed autistic and the specialist therapy which has helped me come to terms with my autism and non conforming female self. I must say that reading gender critical discussion also helped.
Best wishes x