We Need to Recentre Trans Debate

I’m incredibly frustrated at the current state of debate in the trans community and I believe it would be a good idea to recentre trans debate along the lines of the New Narratives meeting earlier this year (www.NewNarratives2014.wordpress.com/).

The ground rules set out for the New Narratives conversation are hardly universally accepted by the online trans community. Anyone (particularly women and transwomen) who openly express agreement with the statements that form the basis of these rules is labelled transphobic and/or bigoted (a ‘TERF’), and if themselves trans, full of self-hatred, a ‘Quisling’.

I suggest these rules should be axioms, that they should be accepted as self-evidently true (in the case of the first four, the fifth should be accepted as common decency):

  1. human beings are sexually dimorphic mammals;

  2. transwomen are biologically male (if we aren’t, then what do we transition from/to?);

  3. human beings are subjected to sex-based socialisation which begins at birth (what does this say about transwomen who cannot accept this?);

  4. the lives of transwomen are different to the lives of women (by this I mean women born women, again what does this say about transwomen who cannot accept this?).

  5. rape and death threats directed at lesbians and other feminists are wholly unacceptable.

(This list is in its original form here).

The first four axioms appear to strike at the heart of the belief system held so dearly by online transactivists (sadly the fifth rule is broken with alarming regularity).

If we can accept these statements as being true, we need to ask ourselves why they are seen by others as being so threatening.


I have collated and published the rebuttal to this piece by the Twitter user auntysarah.

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