After I did the Freedom Programme I noticed that I had a sort of bodily trauma response if I couldn’t control my boundaries around unfamiliar men. Even at the door of my own house.
Actually that experience had always been there, but I hadn’t recognised it before. I have trans people in my life and I read them as trans people – there’s a mix of male and female characteristics there – so I get that response less but it’s still there.
When I started to understand what Stonewall are doing I was horrified. Firstly, there absolutely must still be single sex services for domestic abuse victims. I honestly start to cry when I realise that Stonewall are callous enough to want to take that away. That is nothing to how I felt when I read the Stronger Together guidance endorsed by Scottish Women’s Aid that advises actively gaslighting women who are victims of domestic abuse.
I needed a safe space full of women to discuss and process what happened to me, and I’m so grateful to my local Women’s Aid for doing that.
My mother in particular kept pressuring me to center the needs of my abusive husband, and it was really hard to hold my own reality. I clung to anyone who would let me have my own reality. Here are Scottish Women’s Aid, signing up to taking women’s reality away. They could have said, no we won’t use our position of power to deny women’s reality or diminish the importance of their feelings about that.
Secondly, I saw that Stonewall want to remove any safeguards from obtaining a GRC, and that this would mean male presenting male people in women’s spaces. I can probably work with male people who have actually transitioned in public toilets. I can possibly work with male people who have actually transitioned and are very very careful in public changing rooms. I am willing to do that for people diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Self ID proposes that any male presenting as male can use any women’s space without being careful, and I can’t work with that.
I have completed consultations in long rambling ways, trying to put in as much as possible. I have spoken to people who I believe to be open to different points of view. I have a Conservative MP, and there is the one advantage to having a Conservative MP that she actually might be receptive to this. I am afraid I am a bit late to the party, as it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really been aware of this stuff and capable of actually doing anything, because I was very overwhelmed by the domestic abuse.
I’ve experienced the general of being called a TERF. The term TERF means “woman against whom it is acceptable to perpetrate misogynistic abuse and violence”. It’s distressing for any woman to be called that. It does trigger something particular for me. Especially when women use it and give validity to the idea that it can be legitimate to perpetrate misogynistic abuse. Especially when women argue that we must accept or ignore the misogynistic abuse because of the terrible suffering of trans people.
My mother said to me, “you might have to put up with a bit of abuse”. That is essentially what liberal feminists are saying when they use the term TERF. It just makes me feel trapped again with no refuge.
As an only parent, I don’t get to participate in public life very much. I can only really go places where my son can come as well. The only other place I could speak up is work, and I work for a local branch of a national charity that is fairly woke. In any event the issue doesn’t really come up very often in the rural part of the country where I live.