The biggest issue for me is telling the truth. We all know that sex is binary, and has real world consequences; but in increasingly widespread contexts, it is becoming unacceptable to say that. Forcing people to lie is a particularly objectionable form of bullying.
Privacy, consent and safety come next. An important part of the background to this is how viciously standards of modestly are policed against women and girls, and how much victim-blamimg goes on. Women are trained from infancy to be afraid of men, and to act as if any man may be a sexual predator; and to feel at fault if their efforts to keep themselves safe fail. And then – on the whim of an obvious male wearing feminine clothing – sometimes exaggeratedly so, sometimes positively pornified – we are expected to abandon in an instant those instincts that have been so brutally trained into us or else be labelled bigots.
The ‘only affirm’ approach to gender dysphoria, especially in young people, is also profoundly worrying. We do not affirm anorexics in their belief that their bodies are wrong; we treat the mental distress. Medical or surgical transition should be a last resort treatment for dysphoria; but that view is labelled – in a dishonest parallel with homosexuality – as ‘conversion therapy.’ We can tell that the analogy with homosexuality is false because homosexuality requires no treatment, medical or psychiatric.
I have done all the things listed in the survey.
I haven’t had any negative consequences.
Naomi Cunningham, Employment and discrimination barrister