Twenty-five years ago I sat at the hospital bedside of a good friend and held her hand as she recovered from her sex reassignment surgery.
Trying to keep her positive as she struggled with the pain, I made a bad joke about phantom willy syndrome. It did make her laugh but we got told off by the ward sister; “Careful! Stitches!” We sat together, giggling like naughty school kids, and she suddenly kissed my hand. “Thank you for doing this. No one else would.”
A couple of decades later and I’m called a bigot, a TERF and a transphobe, I get abuse and threats of violence, I lose friends and I even risk my livelihood because I refuse to believe in a baseless, anti-science ideology. One that poses the biggest and most insidious threat to women’s rights that I have ever known.
Gender identity ideology dictates that feelings (wholly subjective and unquantifiable feelings) somehow supersede biological sex. Or that biological sex doesn’t exist at all. Our physical bodies are deemed irrelevant and what really matters is some of sort intangible internal essence.
We’re expected to believe that there are right and wrong ways to be a man or a woman, even right and wrong ways to feel being a man or a woman. That if we don’t adhere to narrow and constricting rules of masculinity or femininity we can’t be male or female and need new words with which to describe ourselves. This is not progress.
I was at university in the 1980s. I spent my nights dancing in clubs with men who wore more make-up and jewellery than I did. I hung out with gay and lesbian friends in bars and on demos. I’ve loved and supported LGBT and gender non-conforming people throughout my life. I believe whole-heartedly that trans people deserve to live with respect and dignity, free of discrimination and violence, and of course they should have the same legal protections as everyone else. (Which they do.)
But I will not remain silent while the sex class “Female” is bulldozed out of existence. Current gender idolatry deems that any man can be a woman by simply identifying (you have to say the magic word!) as one. Women are being erased, assimilated, swallowed up whole by a well-financed and very powerful trans lobby. We are being strong-armed into giving up the rights, spaces and protections we fought so very hard for. And if we protest, we are terrified into silence with screams of “TERF!” and “Bigot!”.
This is a 21st-century witch hunt. A woman has opinions you don’t like? There is now a powerful and effective way to silence her, to intimidate her into submission. It makes McCarthy look like an amateur. These new trans activists are a snarling, menacing, all-powerful tour de force and women must either subjugate themselves completely (as many clearly do) or face a severe punishment for non-compliance.
Look around - it’s everywhere. Women are doxed, intimidated, no-platformed and their jobs and families are threatened. A feminist meeting was disrupted by a jeering mob, another terrorized with a bomb threat, a female academic required a bodyguard on campus, a trades union member was attacked on her own picket line and a 60-year-old women was punched in the face by a trans activist at Speaker’s Corner... and this is all deemed acceptable under the new regime.
The rules are clear; any reference to female biology as being inherent to womanhood is transphobic, any questioning of the mantra that “Transwomen are women” makes one a fascist, any refusal to believe that penises can be female and you will surely face the consequences. ‘TERFs’ are the new witches. That one word renders all the violence, intimidation and aggression heaped upon women perfectly acceptable. Women are literally terrified of speaking out to protect their hard-won rights and safety. And if this sounds like an Orwellian dystopia to you, that’s because it is.
What an utterly tragic situation. Just a few decades ago, women and transwomen were often friends and allies. There was mutual respect and empathy. Transwomen never (or at least rarely) made any claims on womanhood. Both sides knew that our biology, and therefore our lives, challenges and experiences, were different. But we all rubbed along together in relative harmony.
That, however, was back when we knew what “Trans” actually meant. A transsexual was someone with a formal medical diagnosis who had undergone significant surgery and physical alteration in order to live socially as the opposite sex. But identity politics woo has allowed the trans community to be infiltrated to the point of saturation by crossdressers, transvestites, fetishists, autogynephiles, conmen, porn-addled incels, and any attention-seeking bloke who dons a bit of glitter and calls himself non-binary... They're all covered by the 'trans umbrella'.
Now trans means everything. And it means nothing.
Most so-called “transwomen” never intend to have any medical treatment or physical alteration. They are men with fully functioning male genitalia and reproductive systems. The only thing that supposedly makes them women, apart from a change of clothes and a bit of lippy, is simply saying that they are. Even the ones with beards like Alex Drummond.
There are rapists in women’s prisons, some of whom have assaulted female inmates. Male sexual predators and paedophiles are reported in the media as being female and their crimes are recorded as having been committed by women. Males even have access to the very refuges and rape crisis centres where women are trying to heal after the trauma of male violence. Can you imagine anything more cruel?
Males now have access to the education and career opportunities set up specifically for women and even to the very few spaces we had which could provide us with a safe haven from male eyes, male interest and, more importantly, male violence.
Males now compete in women’s sports, grabbing medals, records, scholarships, sponsors and accolades to which they have no right. Cyclist, Rachel McKinnon, wrestler Laurel Hubbard, sprinter, CeCe Telfer and AFL player, Hannah Mouncey, to name but a few, have robbed women of their rightful spoils. MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, went even further and ended a woman’s career with one skull-crushing punch.
The new ‘transwomen’ are no longer women’s allies in the fight against patriarchal dominance; THEY ARE THE VERY EMBODIMENT OF IT. They demand everything we have and will unleash hell if we do not surrender it.
They manipulate language to suit their agenda, dictating to women that we must not reference our biology as specifically female, telling us we must refer to ourselves as 'cervix havers' or ‘menstruators’ etc. That mothers are ‘birthing parents’ who ‘chestfeed’ their babies. We must pretend that menstruation, pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, menopause etc are not all uniquely female experiences.
You'll notice there is rarely any mention of (biologically female) transmen in this debate. There is never any demand made on men to accommodate them into manhood, to give up their spaces, roles, power and opportunities. Men are still men, not penis-havers or testes-owners. And men-only establishments remain exactly that; they’re open to nobody but biological males.
The Hampstead Ladies’ Pond is now open to anyone who ‘identifies’ as a woman. But when activist group, Man Friday, crashed the Hampstead men-only pond, the male bathers called the police! Because female people are still read and treated as female, whatever their ‘gender identity’ might be, whereas men now have a Get Out Of Jail Free card to use with impunity the moment they choose to ‘identify’ as a woman. This movement is pure misogyny, thinly concealed beneath a pastel-coloured flag.
A cunning silencing tactic used to derail debate is that those who challenge gender identity are somehow ‘obsessed with other people’s genitals’ or ‘reducing women to their biological function’. Lesbians are labelled ‘Vagina fetishes’ if they dare define their sexual boundaries. But the reality is that biological sex exists. And this matters.
For millennia the class of people with vulvas and uteri etc (let’s call them WOMEN) have been oppressed, discriminated against, subjugated, murdered, raped, abused, held back, held down and terrorized by the class of people with penises and testicles (let’s call them MEN). And why? Because of that very thing we must pretend doesn’t exist; our biological sex.
The vast majority of the world’s population base their choice of romantic and sexual partners on biological sex. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous. And deeply homophobic. For centuries gay men and lesbians were tortured and died pursuing their right to enjoy relationships with people of a specific biological sex; their own. There are still places in the world where gay men and lesbians are persecuted and put to death for having relationships with people of a specific biological sex; their own.
Lesbians are particularly vulnerable, and are vilified and abused for rejecting gender identity ideology. There are articles I’d have sworn were satire at one time which tell lesbians they must learn to love ‘girl dick’, schooling them in how to manually stimulate a penis and perform fellatio. If lesbians refuse to accept males into their dating pool, they’re denounced as bigots. Biological males coercing and blackmailing young women into having sex with them... In any other context, we’d call that grooming.
Believing that women, all women, must centre men in their sexuality is the absolute epitome of male entitlement. However, there is another and very obvious reason behind this endless, rabid insistence that lesbianism must include males; if lesbians are allowed to refuse penis, we must acknowledge that the penis is not female. And that is a heresy which cannot go unpunished.
The word “woman” is being rendered meaningless. If we are denied the very language we need to describe our biological sex, then we cannot challenge the inherent oppression and discrimination we face because of it. I’m starting to think that’s been the endgame all along.
So Oz, Owen, Jon, Colm and all the other men who defend this ideology with such fervour, safe in the knowledge it will not affect them, I see you. I see all the men diving on this opportunity to vent the misogyny they’ve hitherto had to stifle for years. I see all the men upholding the status quo of male dominion over women whilst patting themselves on the back for being oh-so progressive. I see you all right. And I know what you’re up to.
Don’t tell me to be kind. I am kind. But I’m not stupid.