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Parent

I want to feel safe in single sex areas.

I don’t want my daughters to feel like they can’t do something because they are the ‘wrong’ sex. Also I want to feel safe in single sex areas.

Suzy

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Healthcare

It’s a small life, I can’t trust all that easily and the wounds I carry bleed from time to time, but it’s a life and I owe that to the women that looked after me as soon as I left the airport.

I care about this issue because at the age of 14 I was raped to try and correct my homosexuality. I came to the UK as soon as I could at the age of 18 to seek asylum due to the harassment I received in my home country following the very public trial.

The people that raped me knew what a woman was, if I’d have been a gay man they would have hit and physically assaulted me and not raped me. It is important that we acknowledge and deal with the issues at the heart of violence against women in the UK as well as internationally.

If women coming to this country to seek asylum for MVAW (male violence against women) cannot tell their stories and get meaningful help because their language is now hate speech or exclusionary then how much of a safe refuge is this country?

I was broken when I came here in 2001, I’d experienced an unwanted pregnancy due to the rape and tried to abort at home due to abortion being illegal in my home country. It didn’t work and I was forced to carry my trauma with me for 9 months only to give birth to a child that only survived for 76hrs due to damage caused to his brain by my attempts to terminate. I have to live with this. A lot of women have to live with these kinds of wounds.

We need a place and a language to talk about our issues and to heal. To find support that demands nothing from us, not validation, not that we change our language, nothing.

I managed to get the help I needed and have managed to carve out a life here. It’s a small life, I can’t trust all that easily and the wounds I carry bleed from time to time, but it’s a life and I owe that to the women that looked after me as soon as I left the airport. The female doctors and nurses I was able to ask for, the female therapist who was with me for 15 years and delayed her retirement to help me stand on my own. The lecturers at my university who guided me and helped me gain a degree and become financially independent of the state. The lesbian community that helped me accept myself. They became my tribe, I am thankful.

I have written to my MP, I have been to his surgery to speak to him. He seems sympathetic, he’s from a Religious minority group himself and seems sympathetic but I’m not sure he has really done much about this as his party is firmly pro trans.

I have joined online forums and signed petitions and donated where I could. All the people I speak to seem to be very sympathetic and understand the insanity of where women find ourselves but many fear speaking publicly as do I.

I’ve lost friends. I work in an NHS mental heath setting and most of the people I work with understand the insanity of the current trans movement but this is whispered in dark corners and can never be said openly.

Everyone is scared, I had a colleague say to me a while back that we, as mental heath services, are going to pay dearly for this in a few years time but we daren’t go against the Stonewall lobby that is everywhere in our Trust.

As a mother, grandmother, feminist, educationalist, woman, this matters to me for a number of reasons. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I know how vital to me were women only spaces. I would not have been able to get the support I needed if I had not been confident that specific spaces were open only to women. The fear of such spaces being available to male-bodied people, however they identify, is very real and, I believe, would prevent women from accessing safety, support and much needed resources.

Sex is real. Women are women. Women’s oppression is based on sex. Women’s hard-won rights are in real danger of being eroded. Trans people have rights and, obviously, shoukd do. These are safeguarded in law. As are sex-based rights. The two are separate. One set of rights should not, and need not, trump another. Women are women, transwomen are transwomen and both should be safeguarded.

I am deeply concerned at what is being promulgated in schools and what children and young people are being told online. Feminism has fought for years to break down gender stereotypes. Our nonconforming children should be allowed/encouraged to be just that. Dress wearing boys and tomboy girls should not be told they are in the wrong body.

It’s clear that many young people, disproportionately girls, disproportionately those with conditions like autism, are being put on a path to medicalised transition too early, too quickly and often inappropriately. There is insufficient research into the impact of puberty blockers and what evidence there is suggests not the ‘pause’ as is often cited but the first step in an increasingly inevitable pathway.

Women are being silenced. We are afraid to speak for fear of casually being labelled and abused as transphobic. We are not. Generally, we are progressive women with histories of fighting for human rights and many causes. We haven’t suddenly become bigots. We are not transphobic. We ARE supporters of women’s rights.

I’ve made social media posts, attended consultation at House of Lords and submitted evidence to the Gender Recognition Act consultation.

P, Women matter

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Healthcare Others

Sex based stereotypes have massively increased with social media where the most lauded women look like Kardashians.

I have never understood why just because I have a female body I should have lesser opportunities than my brother, why I should be listened to less than my male bodied colleagues. After a lifetime of this I understand that women are oppressed on account of their biology.

At about age 6 I told my mum I was a boy and she should refer to me by a boys name and she should also inform my teacher. I remember the fury I felt when the teacher referred to me by my female name! I don’t really remember why I wanted to be seen as a boy. I think I had told someone i wanted to be a pilot and their response was girls can’t be pilots ( this was 1970s). I fear that if that happened now I would be on a trans pathway whereas in reality at that age I had absolutely no conception of gender but was learning about sexism.

I  fight on behalf of my 6 yr old self and all other “gender non-conforming” children. 

In my opinion sex based stereotypes have massively increased with social media where the most lauded women look like Kardashians.

I have spoken to friends,  colleagues (although warily), have pointed out the mistake  in an online training package where gender was listed as a protected characteristic but not sex. I’ve posted on social media about this.

I’ve been put on terf blocker or block terfs or whatever list. I left the Scottish Green Party. I’ve become politically homeless.

M

Categories
Healthcare

The risks to our lives and wellbeing cannot be fully understood when those with male bodies and socialisation are counted as female.

I care because female bodies are hugely under-researched and misunderstood across all aspects of public and private life. The risks to our lives and wellbeing cannot be fully understood when those with male bodies and socialisation are counted as female.

I’ve donated to crowdfunds and talked to peers in real life.

As the main earner in my household, I cannot risk saying anything publicly that could jeopardize my job in the NHS.

The negative consequences come from being too scared to speak up. I have emotionally-abusive, gaslighting parents who I no longer see.

Discourse around this issue, where the truth is plain but verboten, triggers exactly the same responses in me as my parents’ abuse did. It makes me feel like a powerless child.

Female body inhabitant, One of the 51%

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Healthcare

I am a social worker and I know that people have lost their registration from saying what I think

Any issue where debate is stifled is frightening. This one in particular feels so cultural and of its time and yet it has real long term consequences for the lives of women and men. I’m also deeply uncomfortable with the medicalisation and (invasive) treatment of something that feels like it is more about social factors -trauma, inequality, mental distress.

Such a lot of campaigning effort and big money is being put into protecting the gender identities of a sub group of vulnerable people – but I suspect that the reason many of these people adopt these identities is because they suffer wider deprivations/exclusions.

When my trans friends ask me to call them by their preferred pronouns I do it to protect them from a reality which is hurting them, not because I believe that this is their actual gender.

It feels like a society-wide avoidant strategy which obscures the real issues of poverty, inequality, social disconnection and mental distress by landing on one coping strategy of many and fetishising it. Which hides the pain, and devalues the suffering of countless others.

I am a social worker and I know that people have lost their registration from saying what I think. Fortunately for me, when I worked in children’s social care I did not have any cases where there was a safeguarding concern related to gender identity, otherwise I would have been forced to be more vocal, but at that point I would have sought professional support before doing so.

M, Social worker

Categories
Academics and researchers

I know what awkward teenage years are like

I care because, having been 6 feet tall since I was 12, I know what awkward teenage years are like. In my late teens my parents came under pressure from medical professionals, which they were ultimately able to resist, to allow my younger and taller sister to be prescribed carcinogenic drugs to stunt her growth and keep her within socially acceptable height limits for females. It was the participation of tall women in Olympic sports that changed that perception.

I care because from childhood onwards I was subjected to criticism and sanction for attempting to participate in society on equal terms with boys and men:

  • At the  university I attended female students (only admitted 3 years previously) were massively outnumbered, routinely harassed and the subject of derision about their intellectual abilities in the absence of any female faculty.
  • At Westminster, where I spent the next 20 years as a researcher.

I care because my daughter fitted the model of awkward, bullied, girl with ASD, unsure about her sexuality and  susceptible to the argument that she was “born in the wrong body”. Referrals to groups where she never met another girl with her diagnosis until she was 13 did not help her feel more comfortable, however well-meaning they were. Lesbian role models in her family and social network did. Representation matters.

I have contributed to discussions on social media, attended meetings and events and discussed these issues with friends.

I have lost some friends, although not close ones.

Miriam, Legal & criminal justice policy researcher, administrator, migrant

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Others

As a rape victim, I don’t want people with penises in my changing rooms, in my toilets, in women’s prisons.

This matters to me as a rape victim, I don’t want people with penises in my changing rooms, in my toilets, in women’s prisons. And as for biological men (who identify as women) competing in women’s sports that makes my blood boil, I know as a female I can’t throw as far, run as fast, lift as heavy as a biological male and it makes me so mad that women, no matter how hard they try will never be able to compete.

I have also been looking into autogynophilia and it scares me, I think a large number of these men have this. I honestly have no problems with people that have fully transitioned. And the vile abuse that people get on Twitter for saying all this is scary.

I’ve liked things on Twitter. I’m too scared to even retweet. I refuse to be called cis, I’m a woman.

I have been called a transphobe by my good friends. I change the subject now because it makes me uncomfortable.

Moonface , Not cis

Categories
Healthcare

Difference is what makes us human and should be celebrated

This is crucially important as the only thing that makes us male or female is our bodies and there is no such think as being born in the wrong body.  Difference is what makes us human and should be celebrated, not forced in to limiting social constructs that oppress us all and reinforce stereotypes. 

Bodies matter in other ways too and male bodies are much stronger, faster and more powerful so should not be allowed to enter women’s sports.  Only men rape, so they should not be allowed access to our sex-segregated spaces.  Safety, privacy and dignity are desperately important. 

I am also very concerned about the meaning of language and that words that are very specific can be changed as casually as the definition of the word Woman, now changed in law by the Scottish Government.

I have attended rallies (threatened by trans activists beforehand, who also told the organisers that we were intending to rush the stage and be violent – a complete fabrication).

I help to organise local meetings that are very peaceful but have been subjected to really vicious and threatening abuse by trans activists and even local politicians standing outside of the venues.

I work as hard as I can to raise awareness of the issues involved, handing out leaflets and standing up whenever I am able, to share details and correct misinformation.

I am in a number of groups that share links and other information, acting within a political party to support and protect women’s rights and fight against the erasure of the meaning of being a woman / female.

I have written to my MP and been ignored.

On a training course the transgender trainer was extremely unpleasant when I said that women and transwomen have different health care needs.  They made a complaint to my manager.

I was subjected to very intimidating abuse and threats at meeting venues, monitored by trans activists within my political party and my views closed down immediately when attempting to defend women’s rights.

On Twitter & Facebook I have been told to die in a fire and that I should be raped to death, subjected to outrageously offensive comments and aggression, and reporting these comments to the Twitter and Fb resulted in no action being taken by the perpetrators.

I have had my face filmed very closely by some abusive trans activists (some masked) who were attempting to intimidate me from attending a meeting.

J

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Healthcare Others

I was fortunate enough to attend the WPUK conference and was inspired by so many wonderful speakers and to be in a room with 1000 women who ‘get it’

I care because it’s the absolute injustice of it. It’s just not fair. If men and women were truly equal then swapping between wouldn’t be an issue, but we’re not and there are a few meagre provisions we’re allowed for our safety and progression and now we’re told we’re bigots if we won’t give them up to narcissistic men with a fetish. The gender stereotypes I fight against for myself and my daughters are now being pushed as intrinsic and deviation from these is seen as a reason for mutilation.

I have posted on Mumsnet, Twitter and my personal Facebook. I have had countless conversations with friends. I am also involved with Safe Schools Alliance.

In December I called a radio phone in and asked Jo Swinson what a woman is, she struggled with the answer and I was allowed to ask further follow up questions.

It was widely reported on (appeared in newspapers and on GMB) and seemed to show the crux of the argument – you can’t have women’s rights if you don’t know what a woman is. In February this year I was fortunate enough to attend the WPUK conference and was inspired by so many wonderful speakers and to be in a room with 1000 women who ‘get it’ and would actually like to get out of the ‘cul-de-sac of identity politics’ and back to the fight against everything else women are facing.

I have had some difficult conversations with friends who feel like I’m being unkind, gay friends especially. I’m at the age where about half my friends have children and that seems to be the dividing line. Pre-kids it’s easier to believe that equality of the sexes exists but once you go through pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, maternity leave, reduced employment opportunities, mental load – the full force of the patriarchy hits home, and men donning some lipstick and claiming womanhood feels incredibly offensive.

Anna, from Warwickshire

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Healthcare

As a nurse I dread the day I have to put patients of the opposite sex in a shared room because of the trans ideology.

I care about females safety and sex based protections. I will not allow them to disappear because I want a better future for my daughter. As a nurse I dread the day I have to put patients of the opposite sex in a shared room because of the trans ideology.

I posted frequently on twitter but left because I was worried about being reported to work. I’m currently writing a letter to my union about their policies.

I have been abused on Twitter.

E H, Reality believing nurse