Voluntary sector

I was born with a condition which meant my reproductive organs were not formed properly

This matters to me for two reasons; One, it’s a fundamental threat to women’s rights. and more personally, I was born with a condition which meant my reproductive organs were not formed properly. This was and has been given many names over the years but it remains and issue which is dealt with in the shadows of healthcare and support. Most people just don’t know anything about it. And that’s the way most of us have lived our lives.

It’s newest name is Intersex, which is an umbrella term and doesn’t really accurately reflect any womans experiece and has also had the misfortune of sounding like we are some hybrid between two sexes. Needless to say this misnomer has been a gift to the ‘gender’ movement.

Now I have to read about how our complex health and in some cases mental health issues somehow ‘prove’ that biological sex doesn’t exist. And if I speak up I’m a ”TERF’

I work for a charity and whilst it hasn’t really been a major focus. We have had one diversity training session which spent a lot of time on trans issues but at that time I wasn’t really focused on it. Now I dread a Stonewall type session- I really don’t think I could stomach it without possibly getting in trouble.

The only saving grace of this pandemic is that the focus will be on financial survival and other health strategies for my employer for the near future.

I’m a coward and don’t speak up. That said I used to be able to talk online in a private forum about my condition, but there’s nowhere safe to do that now.

Rena, in the shadows

Voluntary sector

As an ex prisoner I was horrified at the policies allowing men into women’s prisons

I came to the transgender debate via 3 main channels. Firstly as an ex prisoner I was horrified at the policies allowing men into women’s prisons and could not imagine the thought of women I’d known and cared about having to share cell and living space with men, particularly knowing how traumatised by men many of those women had been. That was my introduction.

Secondly as a lesbian I was alarmed to see the increasing numbers of young lesbians being referred to gender clinics, and realising that their self hatred and discomfort was being used to legitimise what I came to see as a men’s sexual rights movement.

Thirdly, I have a daughter, and while I’ve always called myself a feminist, the call to activism came as a measure to try and make the world better for her and my friend’s daughters. Silence was not an option.

I have over the past 6 years become increasingly vocal against the trans lobby. I have joined many feminist groups, helped develop and execute campaigns with ReSisters, Fair Play for Women and many others. I’ve organised and taken part in many protests, including marching at the front of Manchester Pride with Get The L Out.

I attracted nationwide controversy when I was barred from my local pub for wearing a feminist T shirt. This attracted a lot of press coverage and radio interviews in which I tried to take the opportunity to bring the issues to an audience outside feminism.

More recently I’ve been concentrating on the issues facing detransitioned women and the unique challenges they face. I will continue to work to elevate their voices and I will never stop asking hard questions about trans ideology.

The first thing to happen was that I lost 70% of my friends locally and was threatened with violence from people in my town whom I have never met nor would even recognise on the street, which was a little disconcerting.

I run charity projects providing aid to refugee women and my main donation base is women, specifically mothers, who may pull funding if they know I’m a vocal activist, so keeping these projects separate is always a tightrope act.

The main harrassment I receive is online, which is easily brushed off, but being painted as a bigot in my home town has been difficult. Especially when it’s coming from people who’ve known me for years and know that I’m the opposite. I think possibly the most negative consequence has been really, properly seeing the misogyny that pervades every aspect of life and once you see it there’s really no going back. On the bright side though, the women I’ve met through feminism have been the best friends I’ve ever had and I have no doubt that together we can pull the plug on all this madness.

Rebekah W, Gobby lesbian single mum with pockets full of terrifying feminist propaganda

Voluntary sector

As women we have the right to set our boundaries

This matters to me as I believe that as women we have the right to set our boundaries, we need to have language that allows us to speak about our experiences, we are oppressed because of our female sex and gender identity politics are regressive and reinforce male power structures.

I have been part of a group that organised a WPUK event. I have raised at Labour Party meetings, attended other events and spoken about them and the issues online and in person.

I have been attacked on social media. My former employer was contacted on a number of occasions. I’ve been bullied out of local Labour Party meetings.

WelshRadFem, speaking up for women’s rights

Voluntary sector

I want people to live their true lives and be happy but not at the expense of women and girls

This matters to me because we can’t deny science and change fundamental realities about men and women to suit a tiny but vocal minority. I want people to live their true lives and be happy but not at the expense of women and girls.

I also really loathe the idea that repeating a mantra TWAW means it’s true. It’s just rubbish. Also every female I know ( including my 12 year old daughter in school uniform) has been hassled and received unwanted attention from men. It’s just madness and gaslighting to think that some men won’t try to take advantage of self id to access women’s spaces for abusive purposes. Why can’t men make space? I’m sick of the unfairness of it.

I responded to the GRA consultation. I’ve signed petitions and made some donations to e.g. Vancouver women’s shelter. I’ve discussed vigorously with friends and family. I also removed some signs saying gender neutral toilet that someone stuck over the women’s sign at my work. At a Secret Cinema event when the usher was asking pregnant people to come this way, I shouted “You mean women” loudly enough to attract attention. But fundamentally I feel I’m cowardly. My views  would go down very badly at my work and I do need the job. I do really admire those brave enough to speak out and I’m sorry I’m not more openly supportive.

A lot of people I know share my views and I’m not massively open about them to people I don’t know. Unfortunately my daughter’s think I’m a terf but I’m working on them…

Mamie, Sunlight not gaslight

Healthcare Voluntary sector

I have been in hospital where I have felt very vulnerable

I work in children’s services in a disability organisation. I am extremely concerned with the disregard and flouting of basic safeguarding principles in gender ideology. I also have a disability & a health condition and I have been in hospital where I have felt very vulnerable. I do not wish to be on a mixed sex ward or to have intimate tests/procedures carried out male who identifies as a female.

I have answered consultations, signed petitions and contributed to fundraisers for legal cases. I have spoken to family and friends about it. Most agree with me. Some do not.

I have been told I am being unkind by some friends for speaking up and had my social media account reported and suspended for talking about biological reality.

Rosalyn , Woman of the world, @RosalynRoses

Voluntary sector

I should be able to go swimming by myself safely and with dignity

I care about this issue because I am a woman. I am 5’2″, and don’t have local friends. I do a lot of stuff by myself as my close friends are out of county. I don’t want to be excluded from public spaces on the basis that I’d be uncomfortable sharing intimate spaces with biologically intact males. I should be able to go swimming by myself safely and with dignity.

I have used gender neutral spaces in the past, but when I was ready to leave, I found myself anxious about my safety because I could hear a group of male voices that I knew I’d have to walk through. As a short woman, I am aware of my vulnerability. I have only been subjected to minor abuses by males in my life, and I can’t imagine how much more afraid I would be if I was a survivor of rape or physical violence.

I have posted my thoughts on my Twitter page. I also try to support people who are able to make more of a stand by contributing to Crowdfunding projects.

I have lost followers, some were online friends I’d known for nearly 10 years. Some I found bitching about how my opinion represented a character flaw or represented bigotry. While a minor problem, it was hurtful.

I only feel comfortable expressing my opinion on Twitter, which doesn’t have identifiable details on it, and in order to do this I deleted my LinkedIn account so that people couldn’t picture search for me. I need a DBS to work and am anxious to avoid vexatious complaints. It’s worth pointing out that I am generally supportive of trans people and wish them to have good legal protections against harassment and discrimination. I just want to maintain single sex spaces as well.

L, Charity worker

Healthcare Voluntary sector

It offends me as a rational human being who knows humans cannot change sex

As a socialist and feminist it outrages me that women’s oppression is being redefined and repackaged as a privileged gender identity to which men belong. Our material existence as a sex class is being totally erased with real life consequences. We cannot argue for our share of resources when we’re not recognised. We cannot have women only spaces, activities and services.

We are being told that to have boundaries is exclusionary and women now have penises. It offends me as a rational human being who knows humans cannot change sex. The ideology at the root of it is dangerous and seeks to undermine our very humanity, to commoditise women and children in a neoliberal market.

Sex stereotypes are embedded once again and any girl not sufficiently passive, submissive or heterosexual to is now instructed that she is male and must take all medical and surgical options available through make her look more male like.

As a movement genderism aims to keep men in power while claiming their victim hood.

I have organised a public meeting with another woman, I have attended many meetings and joined a group. We responded to the initial GRA consultation and met senior civil servants to discuss. I have emailed my elected representatives and met them when it was on offer. I have spoken to friends and some colleagues about the issue. I have leafletted about GRA Reform. I tweet on the issue (too much!). Attended meetings at Scottish Parliament organised by Joan McAlpine MSP. Helped organise demo outside Scottish Parliament.

I’ve been lucky. I live a really quiet life, I’m not well known, I have a very common name so being “out” on Twitter is easy. I don’t have a large number of friends, the ones I have share my views. I keep political life separate from work.

Julie Smith, the struggle continues

Voluntary sector

I have raised it carefully and professionally in a range of work settings

I am very committed to eliminating discrimination against women, creating equality between women and men, dismantling the patriarchy. Forcing women to accept that trans women ARE women and thus should be in our personal spaces is the anathema of everything I believe in and fight for every day of my life

I have challenged people in real life and lost very close personal friends as a result. I have raised it carefully and professionally in a range of work settings (voluntary and paid). I have met with my MP to voice my concerns. I have an anonymous Twitter account and I post frequently on that. I have promoted posts from WPUK on FB.

I have lost two good friends – one of them was one of my best friends; I’ve bored people half to death as well.

R, Feminist campaigner

Voluntary sector

I’m dismayed that decent people who think they’re being liberal and welcoming are unaware of the cost to women.

This matters to me for many reasons. Because women are being erased and redefined, reduced to their bodily functions, recategorised as a sub section of their own classification, having their rights removed and their ability to stand up for and protect themselves reduced. Because I worry for especially young women who are learning who they are and taking drastic actions which they live to regret. Because I’m seeing an increase in homophobia. Because there are troubling safeguarding issues for my daughters.

Because the males who are impinging on women’s protected spaces are affecting vulnerable women and certain religions and because asking why there’s a male in your safe space isn’t protecting women it could get you arrested for a hate crime. Because I’m dismayed that decent people who think they’re being liberal and welcoming are unaware of the cost to women. Because I see so much aggression and vile comments aimed at level-headed women just trying to raise awareness of the issue.

I’ve not done much. Discussed it some with family. Chat in private groups of like-minded women. I was sharing stuff on Twitter but I’ve dialled back on that because I’m freelance and I’m working currently with a third sector organisation and they are notoriously ‘woke’.

A year ago I was right there on the Trans Women are Women side of the fence, but then I started to see how simply raising legitimate concerns and questions about how we could accommodate male bodied people into women’s and girls’ safe spaces got you instantly labelled as a TERF.

And I started to see male bodied people using their self ID to access and beat women out of female specific awards and sports and scholarships that were there to redress the male focused opportunity and privilege, and then I started to see rape crisis centres have their funding cut for trying to protect traumatised women from sharing a safe space with a male bodied (ergo more physically powerful) person, and Jessica Yaniv and male bodied people who self ID abusing vulnerable women in prison. (Obv, not all Trans people.) And again when women tried to raise legitimate concerns about these things – whilst still trying to find a way to support trans people and help them to find a way to live their lives as they want to, safely and free from abuse and incorporated and welcomed – still being shouted at and labelled transphobic. And then I saw lesbians being called bigots for being same sex attracted. And then I saw people trying to pretend that actual biology ergo science was not a tested, provable thing which is a very dangerous route to take. Then I’m afraid my position shifted somewhat.

I started out just asking simple questions about safeguarding and was called transphobic and a TERF very quickly. I saw the same pattern repeated again and again with pleasant, caring women who showed concern for trans women and wanted them to live safe happy lives but not at the expense of women feeling safe and secure because of opportunistic men taking advantage of self ID, being threatened and called bigots and then I realised there was something very wrong with the TRA movement.

Shiv, Woman, mother, freelancer, feminist