Education Men Parent

I was a good ally

I first became engaged with trans issues when I had to teach a unit on queer theory to my A Level class. Having very little knowledge of my own,  I followed some trans accounts on twitter and read some web resources to develop an understanding. It seemed to me that trans people were an oppressed minority who needed help in overcoming societal prejudice in the same way feminist groups, the civil rights and gay rights movements had done before. I read what I could and spoke up for trans students at college when other members of staff misgendered them in front of me. I was a good ally.

I don’t remember the exact moment I realised that something was wrong. In the early days I got drawn into an argument on twitter about whether men could have periods. It seemed self evident to me that they couldn’t but apparently they could and i was hateful for suggesting otherwise. I assumed at first this was just a lone crank, how wrong I was. The penny dropped for me when I listened to Rebecca Reilly Cooper’s remarkable talk “Examining the doctrine of gender identity” on Youtube. This video had a profound impact on me, I still listen to it a couple of times a year.

I am now hugely invested in this issue and my eyes are open to the harm “the doctrine of gender identity” does to women and girls. I am appalled at the misogyny suffered by women online.

I despair of the pressure young lesbians are put under to accept trans women with penises as sexual partners.

I am terrified at the thought that my beautiful gender non-conforming daughter will be sucked in by the cult. But I am heartened at the number of women (and some men too) that are refusing to go along with the lunacy.

I like plenty of tweets and reply to quite a few, often debating with trans rights activists at length but, ultimately to no real purpose. Occasionally I summon up the courage to send an original tweet myself but not often. I comment on Facebook threads now and then.

I am too nervous to go full TERF on Facebook in front of all the people I know in real life. My partner hates me speaking out publicly even though she agrees with me. She’s worried I might get sacked and she’s right to be concerned about that.

It worries me too, although not enough to make me completely silent.

I teach at a college where traces of the transcult are creeping in. Displays in the library, genderbread people on display in classrooms. I’ve only been there a few months so I feel I need to get bedded in more before I speak out. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be asked to deliver a tutorial or take my class to a talk or get some CPD that will give me the excuse I need to speak up. I truly feel that I will have the courage when the time comes.

Have you had any consequences? So far, very little. Some ex students have told me on twitter how disappointed they are with me but I can easily take that. I’ve not lost any friends or been disciplined at work. My gender critical activities are too far under the radar at the moment. I can’t help but feel that because I’m a man I get off much lighter too.

R, Gender Critical Educator