I care deeply about this for a number of reasons. Firstly, as a survivor of early sexual abuse and extreme male violence I have lived my whole life in the shadow of experiences I have has because of my biological sex. These experiences have shaped me and in many ways they have limited me.
I will never know the woman I might have been in the absence of that pain and trauma. It offends me, even violates me to be asked to believe that ‘gender’ trumps ‘sex’.
Secondly, more than twenty years ago now, I had the experience of finding myself married to a severely AGP (autogynaephilia) man who had deceived me about his behaviour for many years of our ‘relationship’. Those years of duplicity were in no way happy ones. I experienced the full force of his gaslighting and narcissism. I just could not understand where it was coming from. I believed he was depressed and tried to support him but he deceived me on every level with web of glittering lies.
He was a man who lied for fun, a sexual predator, a sexual exhibitionist, a man who was having sex behind my back with multiple men and women across at least three counties. He had spent thousands of pounds on his obsession with ‘passing’ while telling me his businesses were failing and thus leaving me to pay the household bills. I would not wish those years of my life on my worst enemy.
Finally, as a former teacher, I care about the fact that children are being damaged not only physically but also emotionally and psychologically by this pernicious ideology. I am convinced, too, that there are aspects of this business that are directed at sexual ‘grooming’. How can I see that and not speak out?
I have spoke out as a member of the Labour Party in my CLP. I have argued face to face with male party members whom previously I had thought of as my comrades while they told me that ‘trans women are women’ and ‘if I didn’t like it’ I would have to fight for my rights all over again. I have signed various letters and petitions relating to the Labour Party handling of this issue.
Eventually, I felt I could do no more and resigned from the Party.
I have visited, with a small group of other women, my Conservative MP, Derek Thomas, and expressed my serious and urgent concerns face to face. I have emailed him as number of times on pertinent matters. I have spoken from the floor at a meeting in Truro and then as a member of the panel at a meeting in Plymouth.
I have been active on both Twitter and Facebook, both sharing my experiences as the wife of an AGP man and supporting others who were speaking out. I have donated to more crowd funders than I can remember – all the ‘biggies’ – and for more than eighteen months I have been paying £5 a month to help Nic Williams continue her excellent and invaluable work. I am a member of ReSisters United and had my own meme which went out on the final day of the consultation. I have been active in local ReSisters protests eg putting Adult Human Female tee-shirts on statues. I have published poems in several online journals.
I am working on a poetry pamphlet based on my experience as an AGP wife.
I have lost friends in the real world. I have been bullied and intimidated in my home town where for a period of time my husband and I were afraid to leave home because we were being very dramatically and ostentatiously snubbed in the street.
I have been the object of snide, derogatory and even abusive remarks at a spoken word event locally. (This has led to my withdrawal from such events which has obviously affected my work as a poet.) I have been accused online of being a liar, not only by strangers but people I know; for example, the very ‘woke’ wife of the TIM mentioned earlier.
I have been the target of cruel and very nasty comments in respect of some of the work I have had published and the editor of one journal in particular was besieged by emails demanding that my work was taken down and an apology printed. He stood his ground at the time but, interestingly, decided to ‘fold’ the journal a few weeks later. He said he could do without the hassle. I have also been attacked in a poetry workshopping group for comments – always polite – suggesting my GC views. I am writing my pamphlet because it is something I need to do for myself but I am afraid that it will never see the light of day because, apparently, some ‘lived experiences’ are ‘more equal’ than others. The impact of all these on my mental and emotional state is difficult to express. Over the past eighteen months I have become more and more introverted. The fact that ‘lockdown’ feels like a blessing to me probably says it all.
Abigail, woman, survivor, former teacher, mother, poet and bad ass crone, AbigailLaLoca