This feels like such an important issue for me for several reasons.
I have personally experienced the ways in which trans identifying males entering female only spaces completely changes the dynamic, effectively silencing female voices, even when the purpose of the space has been designed precisely to elevate women’s voices.
I see the violence and hostility directed at women for wanting to talk about our sex based rights as yet another iteration of male aggression, entitlement and dominance. Furthermore, I can foresee the long-term consequences of allowing gender ideology to supplant biological sex as effectively undoing all of the work of the women’s movement of the last century. If we cannot name our oppression, we cannot fight it.
Initially, I started posting articles and my own opinions on this issue on social media. I have also attended several events and protests that have sought to highlight or discuss this issue. I have also attended meetings for women only with a similar purpose. I have had private discussions offline with friends and family. And finally, I chaired a meeting on the sex based rights of women and girls.
Personally, I have lost several friends over this issue, or experienced others distancing themselves from me over it. I have also had disagreements with family members.
It has been scary, as a survivor of male violence including family violence, and having ptsd symptoms associated with it, to be confronted with shouting and aggressive posturing from masked individuals at the protests and meetings I have attended.
It has made me feel incredibly ‘unsafe’. It has also been unpleasant to be accused of bigotry, transphobia or branded a terf in online spaces. Lastly, my teenage niece is talking about her desire to transition, and this has adversely affected my relationship with her, and caused deep grief and stress to herself and other members of my family at a very uncertain time.
Jo , Concerned auntie, educator and advocate for women and girls