Academics and researchers Healthcare

Denying the reality of sex will make fighting against exploitation and discrimination impossible

I care about the rights of women, down to the fundamental right of self-determination. I care because I know women are still exploited and discriminated against on the basis of sex, and denying the reality of sex will make fighting against exploitation and discrimination impossible. I care about our right to knowledge and intellectual freedom and I see it being curtailed. I care about children being medicated and operated on. I care about the right of lesbian to their own sexual orientation.

I have been vocal on social media. Written to charities and organisations to remind them of their duties under the EA. Submitted many FoI requests and complained to the Charity Commission about Stonewall. Written an academic article. Written articles for Uncommon Ground. Written to newspapers. Spoken to friends.

I have been suspended from Twitter (overturned by Better Business Bureau).

I have received threats of death and rape on social media.

I have been blocked by academic colleagues, and by my own alma mater, the University of Glasgow on Twitter.

Mermaids contacted my university in Germany to have me fired.

The School of Law in Glasgow rescinded my associate position (though I cannot prove this is the reason).

I have been told by the HR department in my university that they are often contacted by academics and members of the public either by email or through Twitter, to complain about my ideas.

Alessandra Asteriti, Junior Professor of International Economics, Germany

Academics and researchers Healthcare

I am a human being who can’t bear to see women and children lied to and harmed

I care because I am a human being who can’t bear to see women and children lied to and harmed mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. I care because I believe language is important and I am concerned that it is being twisted. I care because I try to notice sexual inequality and sexual stereotypes and I dislike them and I dislike homophobia.

I had discussions with individuals  at work until the climate at work made it unsafe to do so. I have contacted women’s rights groups and attended meetings. I have talked to close friends and my partner and my children.

I have left the Labour Party. I am less active in my union role and have resigned a union post. I have been made to feel uncomfortable at work and if I spoke my beliefs I would lose my job. I have been shouted at by a male colleague for objecting to the term Cis.

Me, Frightened

Academics and researchers Healthcare

I want to use language I chose not what is chosen for me

I care because I want children, girls especially, to be safe. Because of destransitioners, because of those making £ shouldn’t get away with it. Because schools should educate and not indoctrinate children. Because ‘woman’ is not a feeling or a costume or a fetish.

And because I want someone to vote for. I want to use language I chose not what is chosen for me. It could take a while to get to the very bitter end but I will never give up.

I have spoken about this a lot in real life, from my hairdresser to my libfem friends. I support and volunteer with organisations that are doing great things. I complain and write letters to the BBC, to my MP…

and I participate in online groups which aim to hear both sides. It’s usually a waste of time but I try to engage and find common ground. It’s exhausting.

I have been accused of bigotry and transphobia, I have been told to “be careful” at work. I have argued with my partner and lost a friend of 20+ years. I have been scared of attending events but so far have not had any physical attacks, only verbal.

Lexi , It’s not radical to centre women in feminism , Left Twitter after I got blocked and  before I got banned

Academics and researchers Healthcare

I have watched the equalities structures within my organisation become distorted to the point of total ineffectiveness

I work with students, and see them deeply affected and often damaged by their experience of gender dogma, with no neutral sources of help and advice to turn to. I work with colleagues who have been bullied, disparaged and left without support because they have raised safeguarding concerns.

I have watched the equalities structures within my organisation become distorted to the point of total ineffectiveness because of the inability of key officers to handle language, concepts, and legal duties with any clarity.

I have watched my workplace union disintegrate and lose any ability to hold on to the concept of solidarity as it rushed to scapegoat women who questioned its transactivist positioning.

I have children who I wish to protect, and weep for those, not mine, who have not been protected.

I have helped to organise events at my workplace and seconded and spoken to motions in my union. I have tried to bring problems and misconceptions in workplace policy documentation to the attention of the Equalities officer, with no positive result. I have attempted to build alliances with colleagues in order to strengthen our hand. I have spoken to friends, but only when I felt there was room to do so.

I have lost friends, and been warned off the subject by others; I have been forced into painfully uncomfortable workplace dynamics; I have lost work opportunities and chances for advancement because I was unable to comply with the gender ideology of others.   

Katie, Academic in Scotland

Academics and researchers

I’ve submitted evidence to official inquiries, lobbied politicians, talked to journalists

I care about this because the policies being pushed will have a damaging effect on the dignity, privacy and safety of my daughter, my elderly mother, me and all other women, including our ability to refuse without penalty to be seen undressed or intimately touched by a male, and will displace women from activities (eg sport, shortlists) designed specifically to overcome disadvantages based on sex, and also involve the forced denial of reality and the forced expression of  beliefs I don’t hold.

I’ve submitted evidence to official inquiries, lobbied politicians,  talked to journalists, written and appeared in the media, met officials, written academic articles.  Mostly national level inervention – some cautious local representation to school and guides.

I (as part of a group of writers or speakers related to particular events or publications, not as an individual) have been written about in extremely derogatory ways as hateful/unsafe/anti-trans, on university-hosted websites, blogs and social media, and in communications to the Scottish parliament, and subject to appalling treatment by one organisation I won’t describe here because we are still thinking how best to make it better known.

Lucy Hunter Blackburn, Researcher and policy analyst

Academics and researchers

I am a woman and I owe it to my daughter to keep the sex-based protections and rights which I inherited safe for her

This matters to me because if we become disengaged from the fundamental, structural reality of biological sex difference I believe we are in terrible danger of losing all grasp on the real world and the scientific method.

It also matters because I am a woman and I owe it to my daughter to keep the sex-based protections and rights which I inherited safe for her.

I have spoken at public events, organised behind the scenes, attended conferences, formed local groups, handed out leaflets, spoken to friends and been vocal on social media. I have lost friends, some of whom I have known for decades. Some of them have been viciously insulting about my supposed bigotry. I have been shouted and sworn at in public.

Fox, Mother and writer

Academics and researchers

I know in confidence a lot of my colleagues are critical of what is happening

Because as a feminist I care about women’s safety, political representation, voice…

As a scientist I care about truth being grounded in material reality & empirical observations.

As a socialist I believe class analysis is the most powerful tool to reveal the power dynamics at play in the world and I understand that denying that women are a class prevents the analysis of our millennia long subordination and our liberation.

I have spoken up for free speech and debate about gender and sex in my union (UCU). I have written letters, articles (including scientific article), threads on Twitter in order to raise awareness and offer a feminist perspective on the issue. I have signed letters in newspaper. I have campaigned with women’s groups, I have distributed flyers, I have emailed my MPs.

I have been defamed by my union, humiliated during general meetings, called a bigot, laughed at… I can not speak freely at work even though I know in confidence a lot of my colleagues are critical of what is happening. Management is refusing to listen and treats me as an inconvenient voice that needs to be silenced.

L Harris, Scientist and feminist

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

Academics and researchers Healthcare

Feelings and opinions’ have trumped everything else

I care about the security and sex based rights of women and children and feel that they are being eroded, particularly in work (I work at a University). When our women’s network tried to publish a new menopause policy it was insisted that it contained a paragraph that stated that trans men/women non binary people also suffered with the effects of the menopause. Trans women apparently suffered with ‘psuedo’ symptoms (and this must be recognised within the policy) even when they were born male (and it stated that as fact). I didn’t agree with that. When I complained (during the drafting process) that I did not want to be called ‘cis’ (a female member of staff kept addressing me as that) I was listened to but frowned upon. I definately feel like I am the one that is looked at as ‘the bigot’ in the room when I challenge the way trans women are being slowly entered into policies and other rules that are meant to protect women.

The University /student union introduced a  non mandatory trans awareness training course but when I took a closer look at the details,  the trainer had blocked me on social media (maybe through a blocking app – many people use these now)  so I had no way of knowing any more about the company or the person who was delivering the training. Needless to say I did not attend. I didn’t feel that I could approach the Organisational Development team with my concerns.

I am the women’s officer on our Unison committee. I have tried to raise the issue of gender neutral toilets and how these facilities can be bad for women, nothing is said directly, but again I feel like I am considered ‘the bigot’ in the room for daring to address this. I am usually snapped at (usually by the women on the committee) when I dare to bring it up.  I share some articles on twitter (or more often ‘like’ things) but I know there is no way that I could portray my real feelings on any social media post.

I know I  would be reprimanded I work if I did this too often. 

My University uses Twitter a lot for communication and it would only be a matter of time before someone reported me for any tweets that were considered unsavoury or of having the ‘wrong’ opinion (this is the environment that has been created within the University by trans students).

I am thinking about setting up  an anonymous account so that I can be more open about my views.

I have spoken to one female senior member of staff in work about how I feel, she agrees with my view (that there are only 2 sexes)  but has also told me that she has to be very careful in her position as she would be reprimanded for not being ‘inclusive’.  

I have female friends who are still members of the Labour party and they have a real battle on their hands within the local branches. I left the party this year after my female MP signed the trans rights pledge denouncing A Woman’s Place and LGB Alliance (both of which I support). If you try to address these opinions with her she says trans rights are non negotiable and the conversation is shut down. This is a women with two teenage daughters.  I am in my  late 40’s and have voted Labour all my life – that will change going forward unless they drastically change their opinion on women’s rights. Being looked upon as a bigot or someone who is not progressive is very, very hurtful. I have stood by gay people all my life and was brought up to treat everyone with respect.

I believe there are women at work who do not approve of my opinions, they don’t say so publicly but my voice has been shut down in certain situations (Unison Committee meetings). It’s nothing in particular or you can put your finger on but I know by the way people react to me (mainly women)  I am considered ‘the bigot’.  I haven’t pushed issues any further other than Twitter and the Unison Committee but I know that I would be ostrocised at work if I pushed the subject further.Trans students have pushed for a trans policy over the past two years and it has just been introduced on campuses. In my opinion their ‘feelings and opinions’ have trumped everything else and arguing against it will automatically be closed down.

Nia, Wales