I care because I can understand and empathise with young girls who want an option out of misogyny. I was given the freedom by my parents to grow up relatively gender neutral – having short hair, playing football, wearing my brothers hand-me-downs. I was bullied then for looking like a boy – if then was now i would be scared this would have led to me questioning whether I was actually a boy.
As a woman I know what it feels like to be over-sexualised and objectified by men constantly. I know that there is no way of identifying out of this. I also know the physiological toll this has, in seeing myself through patriarchal eyes, victim blaming myself, and seeing my own body as too sexual. I care because as a life-long feminist, it enrages me and upsets me so deeply to see the feminist movement highjacked by men who are centring themselves in our movement in a way which inevitably breaks down sex class solidarity among women.
It angers me that men have the entitlement to define women and define themselves as women without any understanding of what it means to be a woman. I care so much about this because I recognise what generations of women have fought for before me, and I can see how these achievements are being retrenched every time men are allowed access into female spaces.
I think back to high school and the shame I felt surrounding my period, how even in the girls toilets I would try to open my pad so quietly so no one knew. Imagining what this would be like now, knowing that girls are increasingly forced to accept male bodies in these spaces, makes me beyond sad.
While millions of women and girls around the world experience brutal oppression directly linked to their sex and reproductive capacity, it astounds me how these experiences of male violence are being erased.
This matters to me because mainstream feminism in the UK has failed these women and is no longer serving the goal of female liberation.
I have actively campaigned alongside other women in Scotland to bin the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and raised my voice by filling in the consultation for the bill. I have attended For Women Scot meetings and the launch of LGB Alliance. I have defended my position, sought to explain it to anyone who will listen, and talked non-stop about this issue since I became aware of it. I have spoken out online but find real life discussions more productive. I am part of XX (Nicole Jones’ young feminist network) and am hoping this will create space for young radical feminist women to feel able to talk publicly about these issues.
Although the majority of my friends have been openminded and interested in this discussion (often themselves feeling like they have been unable to question the logic of transgenderism) and I have gained more friends than I have lost, I have still lost multiple friends and acquaintances. I have faced intolerance from my university in their inability to accommodate the position that a woman is an adult human female, not someone who identifies as one.
Being told by staff at my university (the University of Glasgow) that a gender critical view is transphobic and not to be tolerated, has left me feeling like the university has let women down and also let down the nature of university as a place for free speech and discussion. I am concerned that in the future I will be unable to openly hold these opinions in the workplace.