I’m reposting this from The Telegraph because it’s too important to be hidden behind a paywall. I hope they’ll let me away with it just this once. Here’s where you can subscribe and pay them back for publishing this long, cool drink of water on a hot day that’s lasted for years.
If my fellow lefties feel any vestigial affection for the Guardian, remember that this is the paper that tried to ‘Alex Jones’ the Wi Spa incident not once, not twice, but three times, the third arriving AFTER they themselves had reported that the story was true. That Kath Viner keeps her job after this cocktail of incompetence and dishonesty shows the real power of the trans juggernaut. She knows exactly to whom she needs to pay fealty.
Anyway, thanks to The Telegraph for telling the truth. This is an excellent piece that I am sure will peak thousands.
Please share this far and wide. Bravo, Bravo, Miriam Cates!
The clash between trans activists and gender critical feminists has been the subject of many column inches over recent weeks. We’ve seen toxic divisions at the Labour Party conference, the Kiera Bell case in the Court of Appeal and most recently a vicious attempt to oust Kathleen Stock from her position at Sussex University over her views on the importance of biological sex.
For many in the media, and for many politicians, this clash seems to have been filed on the shelf marked ‘culture war’, the implication being that the issue should be placed in the same category as arguments over which statues should be toppled, or whether Government ministers ought to have a portrait of the Queen in their offices.
But this demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the seriousness of the issues at play here. The central dispute in the ‘trans debate’ - whether or not trans women should be considered in law and by society to be the same as women who were born female - is not a minor controversy that politicians and governments would be wise to avoid. Rather it is an issue of enormous significance to the rights and safety of women.
Women’s rights have been won on the basis that there is such a thing as a woman, that females are different to males, not just in terms of our biology, but in the challenges we face, our psychology, our role as mothers, and the life experiences we have.
If we erode the very concept of women - for example by saying that trans women are women, or by denying the importance of biological sex - we erase the rights of women. I for one can’t stand by and let that happen.
I admit when I first became aware of this dispute, I was slightly baffled.
As a former biology teacher I struggle to see how statements such as ‘only women have a cervix’ and ‘only women can give birth’ are anything other than scientific fact.
As a genetics graduate I can’t see why it’s controversial to say that sex is determined at conception - by which lucky sperm meets the egg - and that every single cell of your body contains those sex chromosomes for ever.
That is not controversial, and I therefore assumed that this was a debate that would fizzle out.
But it hasn’t gone away, and when we have senior elected politicians making statements saying that those who deny males access to women’s spaces are "dinosaurs who want to hoard rights" (David Lammy MP), or that there shouldn’t be sex segregated facilities for women in schools and hospitals (Alex Sobel MP), I think we have to recognise that women are in danger. Again.
Because the fact is that, far from being hoarders of rights, women - and many men - have had to fight very hard for us to have any rights at all. And whilst we may be equal with men now by law - and that should be celebrated - there is still one area where we are very much unequal and probably always will be: the area of physical and sexual power.
For all sorts of biological reasons, men can choose to exert sexual power over women with abhorrent results. Every woman knows what the threat of that feels like, and many, sadly, have experienced much worse than just threat.
It is this inequality that demands that women be protected when we are most vulnerable - in the privacy of changing facilities, in the indignity of a hospital ward, in the vulnerability of a prison estate, or when fleeing domestic abuse.
To suggest that women who want to be protected in these most vulnerable of areas are somehow bigots or transphobes is to completely deny the truth of the situation. Women’s sex-based rights are protected by law, and that includes the right to single-sex spaces where these are necessary to preserve our safety and dignity.
In a tolerant and liberal society, adults should be able to live how they choose within the law, free from discrimination and abuse. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t believe that trans people - just like everyone else - should be treated with respect, compassion and dignity.
But this is not the limit of what is being demanded by campaigners, who are pressing for trans people to be treated in every respect as if they were the opposite sex, even if they have yet to go through any form of hormonal or surgical gender reassignment.
We need to recognise that as human beings we do not get to choose every aspect of our identity - whether that’s our sex, our nationality, our place of birth, or our family history. Identity is complex, but it is undeniably based on external and inherent factors as much as our own choices and preferences. It is not scientifically possible to change the sex we are assigned at conception.
Yet trans activists have succeeded in campaigning for biological males who identify as female to be allowed into women’s sports, women’s hospital wards and women’s prisons, even when these trans women still have intact male genitalia. This is not acceptable, and presents a serious threat to women’s safety, as well as our sex-based rights.
In addition, many activists want to silence those who question this ideology, and we have seen this month concerted efforts to force Sussex University to sack Kathleen Stock for expressing gender critical views. In a tolerant democracy, no one has the right to force anyone else to agree with their beliefs, whether that be religion, creed or gender ideology. There is nothing tolerant or democratic about activism that results in a respected academic requiring bodyguards to go to work.
As the beginning of her excellent book on this subject entitled ‘Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality’, Helen Joyce uses a quote from Audre Lorde:
‘When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether or not I am afraid.’
For many people in the public eye - be that politicians, journalists or business leaders - speaking out against such an intolerant agenda is frightening. But we owe it to women everywhere to put our fears aside and dare to use our voice.
As a woman, a mother of a daughter and a Member of Parliament my vision is clear: I want women and girls to flourish in this country, by protecting and building on our hard-won rights.