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

Public Sector

I felt as a former psychiatrist and seasoned politician I should stand up and be counted

I first became aware of how large an issue this had become about three years ago on Twitter. As a man, it wasn’t something I had seen much of before then. As someone who has always supported women’s rights I think I just assumed that this was no longer a campaigning issue but a matter of driving home the message at work and in politics.

Then I encountered the loathsome Dr Adrian Harrop bullying a woman who had had the temerity to stand up for her rights.

This introduced me to the delusional world of the trans activists, who I discovered were infiltrating every aspect of women’s lives.

I felt as a former psychiatrist and seasoned politician I should stand up and be counted.

I have argued with TRAs on Twitter and Facebook, organised a meeting in the House of Lords, joined groups of like minded people, contributed money to groups and encouraged others.

I left the Labour Party I had served for forty years. I’m not sure if that’s really a negative.

Lewis Moonie, Member House of Lords, former MP and government minister

Public Sector

As a result of the Victoria Derbyshire show, I was overwhelmed by support and kindness from women I had not met

I care because I have rejected gender stereotypes since my teenage years in the 1970s.  I strongly disagree with having to tolerate men in women’s spaces.  I am particularly angered (on behalf of my daughter) by the takeover of University Feminist Societies by men.

As a Non-Legal Member of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales) I was astonished that transgender discrimination was featured at the 2019 Regional Training Day.  In 24 years as a member I have never come across such a case.  Nor had any of my colleagues.

I was annoyed at myself for destroying the slides used in the presentation, but on reflection they are normally sent out in advance.  I have searched in vain for any trace of them on the Judicial Internet or my email account.

Many colleagues were, like me, horrified at the notion it was fine to call a person “Queer” if that’s what they chose.  We were informed that sex was “assigned at birth”.  At that point I thought “I have to say something here”.

I raised my hand and said “Sex is not assigned at birth. Like many women, I have given birth.  Sex is a clinical observation. It is important for the treatment of many medical conditions.  Often it is known long before birth, at the 20 week scan.  I’ll just leave that there”.  I didn’t expect a response and didn’t get one.  But many of my colleagues indicated subtly that they supported my view.

On another occasion I was identified on Twitter by a BBC production assistant as someone who had rejoined the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn announced he would step down as Leader. 

I was invited on the Victoria Derbyshire show to ask a question regarding my Labour Party membership.  During a telephone conversation prior to the show I had a list of questions prepared that I would like to ask.  One of them was “Are transwomen women?”

It was confirmed that that is the question I would ask. I had decided to frame my question around the specific issues of Labour All Women Shortlists and CLP Women’s Officer roles.

I was as nervous as hell but thankfully I am semi-retired. I did wonder if I might put my Judicial Appointment at risk.  I thought of Maya Forstater, whose Crowdfund I had supported.  I felt it would be dishonourable not to take this opportunity.

In the studio, they took away my bag because they didn’t want “the set to look like an airport lounge”.  I wish I had remembered my bottle of water inside, because when I stood up to speak my mouth was so dry I could barely speak.  I got my point across though.  It was received in complete silence.  Keir Starmer said “We should all dial down the rhetoric” (?).  Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long Bailey informed me that “Trans women are women”.   

Thankfully, for me, there have been no negative consequences.  I sat on a case in early March with the Employment Judge who took the training session.  He remembered me from that, but was professional and friendly.  I felt like perhaps I had struck a chord. 

As a result of the Victoria Derbyshire show, I was overwhelmed by support and kindness from women I had not met on Twitter before, and invited to join the Facebook group.  I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I’d passed up that opportunity.  I think I have been blocked by most transgender purists.

Fiona Robertson, Semi-retired former TU Officer, Employment Tribunal Member


I feel that the rights of women and girls are being compromised

This is an important issue to me because I feel that the rights of women and girls are being compromised, eg no-platforming of academics, girls being told they have to accept male bodied trans girls into their spaces

I have completed various online petitions/actions, eg GRA, I have emailed my MP to voice my concerns over changes to language, I have joined several like minded groups on social media for support, and shared lots of information, to raise awareness to friends, eg pictures of males competing unfairly with female athletes

I have been ‘ganged up’ on and shouted down when I have tried to defend or make a point in groups on Facebook, eg The Labour Party Forum. I have been called a bigot and TERF purely for not agreeing that trans women are women,

ElleWoman:adult human female

Private sector

My response is: I won’t do any of that

This matters to me personally. I was raised by a conservative, religious father and a loving, submissive and leftist mum; and was educated (2-17 years old) at only-girls Catholic schools in Spain. My childhood and adolescence were filled with a cognitive dissonance: women are submissive, virginal (resulting in nuns, or a wives and mothers) whilst educated, intelligent and capable (effort, study, discipline).

Although I was already challenging it at home, it wasn’t until university that the external pressure was over (end of school and divorced parents) but not the internal fight. It took years of reading books that I realised the damage that traditional gender stereotypes bring across society.

I have been discussing about gender equality, LGB, religion and politics at home, with friends and at work. I listen, ask for more information, look for alternatives, deep dive. I read and observe: fiction and non-fiction, movies and documentaries to understand the world that surrounds me. I am constantly amazed at how both our brains and our societies work: such imperfect systems capable of such good things.

And all of a sudden, in the name of inclusivity, I am now presented with three options: (1) I can be a ciswoman and perform a submissive, virginal, traditional role (in a very liberal set, where hard porn and sex work are free choices; and make up and high heels actually empower me); (2) I can change the way I dress and hair style and become non-binary (because I am financially independent, care about my career and I am assertive at work); or (3) I can have cosmetic surgery and become a different person altogether. My response is: I won’t do any of that.

I easily recognise any movement that prevents open discussion, denies material reality / science, or forces me to become something I don’t believe in: I have been there and don’t want it back, thank you very much.

In the big scheme of things, I have done very little to raise my voice. I am very vocal with my family, friends and with (a carefully chosen group of) colleagues though. I attend seminars, training and discussions around feminism, social welfare, humanism and similar. I used to take part in Diversity & Inclusion groups at work focused on gender and LGBT. Sometimes I attend political demonstrations but I am not affiliated to any party.

When I joined Twitter about a year ago, my head exploded. I used to be a follower rather than joining in the conversation; read the news (cry a bit), follow a few feminists (feel empowered) and comedians (have a laugh), and watch videos of puppies (aren’t they beautiful?). Then, I kept following a few more women, raised questions, praised interesting articles… and became angrier and angrier (I prefer respectful, no-violent anger than despair).

I (softly) raised a few questions with colleagues, was a bit annoyed at a biological man receiving a Female in Business award; tried to understand the British culture and trans activism (so closely linked to Western individualism and post-modernism); and kept repeating the same mantra: “we should all be free to express ourselves in whatever way we want; and I should treat people the way they want to be treated, not the way I want to be treated.”

When I started listening to the Labour candidates denying sex or giving preferential treatment to males, I was annoyed. But when I attended the solidarity rally for Women’s Place UK and LGB Alliance, I became astonished. I had been in a bubble so I decided to respond to the Scottish Government consultation on their gender recognition bill, and have become a bit more vocal on Twitter (which is not made for my long diatribes).

I am aware of the noise, the ignorance, the science-deniers, the misogynists; but also the kind, hopeful people who just want a better world for everyone.

I haven’t been openly critical about trans issues at work so the colleagues I have been able to talk to, agree with me (they have been even more critical than me who used to embrace inclusion without realising there are actual sex-deniers in this debate). But I know a little about low-key misogyny.

Four years into my previous company, I got the sponsorship of the female Director of the department to design, create and launch a training module for female middle-managers with high potential. Soon after it was launched, she left the company and was replaced by a male Director. On his first day, my (male) line manager and I sat at his office to meet each other, and I explained my part in the programme.

I am very expressive when I talk about something I love: my face turns red, I move my hands a lot… He wasn’t happy. He looked right at me and queried whether I would become “rebellious”. I swore internally whilst nervously laughing a little, looked at my manager and asked if I had ever been problematic to which he replied “no” (big smile too, uneasy and surprised in equal measure). I went home, swore in Spanish (best language for swearing, when you roll those “j” and “r”), spoke to my father (we disagree on plenty of things but he knows how to deal with difficult male senior managers in the workplace because he used to be one of them) and went back to work.

I spoke to my line manager who encouraged me to show my skills and good performance, but had to act as intermediary (aka human shield) in a couple of more occasions. I knew this Director would not help me in my career. Several female colleagues were equally mistrustful but couldn’t do much due to his seniority, so a few months later a (female) Senior Manager took me under her wing and helped me find a brilliant job opportunity in another team. I was very happy to move on.

There Is Always Hope, thereisalwaysh

Healthcare Media and Arts

My colleague reported me; she is worried I would not allow a man to follow a girl into the female toilets

I care because I know from experience, & research, that males – no matter how they identify – expect women to give way to them.  They are taught that women are inferior in all respects. 

The trans agenda is based on mantras designed to silence debate in order to remove female rights to privacy, safety & dignity.  

My main concern is over the safeguarding of girls & women:  I have even been told women who have been sexually assaulted need to be re-educated to accept males as women.

I do not believe sex can be changed.  I spent years teaching Equal Opportunities; children learned their sex (female) & race/colour (black) did not make them inferior, it was society’s gender & race stereotypes which did this. 

I care because LGBT+ training, Stonewall & Mermaids, is based on lies.  Our children & women deserve better from society.  They are putting the fetishes of males above the lived lives of women & girls.  Males need to become responsible for themselves, especially their violence, & allow women to become their authentic selves.

I have raised the issue at my place of work.  A place which I am told it is well known children (generally girls) are brought as part of the grooming process.

I have discussed aspects of the trans ideology with colleagues.  This has to be done quietly and in corners as my place of work is a Stonewall Champion.

The company lays on (voluntary) LGBTQ+ training sessions each year; we are encouraged to support the Pride march throughout town, add our pronouns to the end of emails & wear Pride & personal pronoun badges.

I have written to my line manager & head of the company.  I listed the trans mantras which a colleague quoted to me as fact.  I showed by provable research that the mantras were deliberately confusing & based on lies; e.g Trans women are women; children know they are born in the wrong body at 3 years old; trans people are the most vulnerable in the world, thousands of trans people are killed each year for being trans etc. etc.

I have also contacted my MP, who is sympathetic & understanding but not prepared to do anything.  I have contacted my local Council pointing out the errors regarding use of confusing & ambiguous language in their Equality & Diversity Policy.

My colleague reported me; she is worried I would not allow a man to follow a girl into the female toilets.  Her view and that of my line manager is that were I to question him I might upset him as he may be a trans woman.

I have been told I am to be given an official reprimand.  It has not taken place as the company closed down due to COVID-19 the day it was to be administered.

I have been told I am not to allow anyone to think my views are those of the company I work for.

Outside work: due to my views I have left the Labour party, I have left the Women’s Equality Party, my friends laugh at me – as they think climate change is more important, they tell me I have a one track mind, they tell me it is too late (that was from someone high up in the GMB union). On the positive side; I have raised the issue with the local primary school headteacher.  He had no clue what I was going on about but we agreed I had opened the conversation and we could continue if need be at a later date.

AnonymousJ, Sex is real.  Males cannot become women/female

Healthcare Others

I pointed out that the Labour Party Rule Book does not refer to the Equality Act

This matters to me because it is not possible to change sex, and because women and girls suffer in various ways if men are allowed in spaces where they are vulnerable, undressed or asleep. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for women but the law is widely misquoted and misinterpreted due to the systematic policy capture by extremist transactivists. 

Many trans people do not support the demands of transactivists for the legalisation of  ‘self-ID’ ‘gender identity’.  I’m appalled by the silencing of many academics who support the retention of existing sex-based rights for women, and by the suspension and banning from social media platforms of gender critical people  – mainly women. Safeguarding of children is also threatened by trans ‘affirmation.

I have proposed two GC (gender critical) resolutions in my Labour Party CLP.  I organised Defend Women’s Rights meetings locally. I attended several Womens Place UK meetings.  I’m active in Labour Womens Declaration Working Group. I constantly post openly on Facebook and Twitter. I am an admin of several secret GC facebook groups. 

I have emailed my MP with detail several times, as well as lobbying Labour Party NEC members and MPs. I pointed out that the Labour Party Rule Book does not refer to the Equality Act (!) and incorrectly references the protected characteristics. (Unchanged in 2020 edition) 

I am writing my story “Musing on the sex and gender morass: how my life changed on 18th Nov 2017”  (when I found out about transactivist demands for Self-ID  

I have lost two dear friends as a consequence of my views on sex and gender. Very painful… And I think probably many other less close friends and acquaintances will have distanced themselves. Hard to know. Most people I think say nothing, knowing that it’s ‘toxic’ 

I have repeatedly been called ‘bigoted’ ‘hateful’  ‘transphobic’ – none of which are true.  I left the Labour Party because of this in 2018 and then decided to rejoin in 2019 – but was rejected as a member because I ‘mis-gendered’ a young man who identifies as a woman, and had been elected as a women’s office in the party. (and because I’m a supporter of Palestinian rights) Currently awaiting appeal hearing 8 months later. It’s been my choice to proritise this issue, but that has come at a very significant cost.

Diane Jones, Socialist feminist, retired researcher. Art music literature for sanity retention

Academics and researchers

I am a social scientist and bad questionnaires make me very cross

I am a social scientist, and bad questionnaires make me very cross. In 2018, became aware that Edward Lord of the City of London corporation was doing a survey to consult on their ‘Gender Identity Policy’. I wrote to the Camden New Journal as follows:

“Speaking as a survey researcher, the questionnaire being used for this consultation is perhaps the most poorly designed I have ever seen.  The first few questions give you the general flavour. Do you agree or disagree that:

  1. A person may come to feel that their gender is different from that assigned to them at birth.
  2. A person who consistently identifies in a gender which is different to the one they were assigned at birth should be accepted by society in their stated gender identity.
  3. A person who consistently identifies in a gender which is different to the one they were assigned at birth should be able to access services commonly provided to the gender with which they now identify.

These are leading questions, designed to guide the respondent to give a pre-determined answer. They are also written in purest gobbledegook.

Imagine trying to respond to this survey if you were a recent immigrant with strong religious views, but without the benefit of a degree in cultural studies.

Can the corporation explain why a supposed consultation on ‘inclusion’ is being carried out in such a blatantly exclusionary way?”

 (The CNJ ran a story rather than my letter – tellingly, they had had no idea before I wrote to them that the consultation was taking place).

I soon realised that what was happening at the City of London was happening everywhere. Policy was being developed under the radar, and without democratic consultation. And people who believe that sex is a real and socially significant category were being silenced and called bigots.

I was astonished. I found the fact that so many people were willing to profess to believe in nonsense deeply unsettling.

I have written about the threats to academic freedom and to sex-disaggregated data collection. I signed a letter to the Guardian from academics supporting academic freedom to discuss sex and gender. I have banged on about what is happening on social media. I have given talks, including at my local Labour party branch.

I am one of the founder signatories to the Labour Women’s Declaration. I took a motion supporting academic freedom to my union congress (which, shockingly, was narrowly defeated). I am one of the founders of UCL Women’s Liberation, which co-organised a conference at UCL with WPUK in February 2020. I have alerted my fellow quantitative social scientists to the threat to the sex question in the 2021 Census, and  co-ordinated a letter from eighty social scientists to the census authorities.

I published a paper “Sex and the Census: Why surveys should not conflate sex and gender identity” in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

Everyone who signed the letter to the Guardian on academic freedom in 2018 was targeted with online death threats from a Facebook page run by an anonymous person and followed by a number of enthusiastic students.

I reported this to the police, but they said there was little they could do. This was frightening of course.

Following UCU congress in 2019, myself and other women who put a motion supporting academic freedom to support sex and gender faced defamation from an academic at another university who falsely accused us (on twitter) of advocating violence, including sexual assault, of a junior female academic. The man who made these extraordinary and absurd allegations is an increasingly prominent figure in the union. His branch exec supported him, and a complaint to UCU against him was not upheld.

A small number of academic staff at UCL tried to shut down the UCL Women’s Liberation/WPUK (Woman’s Place UK) conference. While only 10 UCL academics signed a letter to the provost demanding the conference be shut down (for context, UCL has over 7,000 academic staff), six of these had EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) roles, and they succeeded in creating time-consuming administrative problems for us.

I was de-platformed from a research methods seminar by Natcen (National Centre for Social Research) for asserting the value of sex-based data. I never believed such a thing could happen within quantitative social science. This was a huge shock, and I agonised about going public. But I am very glad I did. If we don’t speak openly about these things, most people will remain genuinely clueless about the idiocy and authoritarianism of the genderist movement.

Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology, UCL

Academics and researchers

Women can never fully escape the consequences of their reproductive role

This matters to me because after embracing feminist beliefs for my entire adult life I have now accepted that women can never fully escape the consequences of their reproductive role. This does not make women inherently weak or vulnerable (far from it), but in patriarchal societies it does create periods of economic dependency (on individual men or women or on the state, in which patriarchal concepts of citizenship are deeply embedded) and has longer-term consequences for how women are positioned in the labour market and treated in society.

It is not possible to fully escape biological reality. However, what feminism can do-and has done-is to ameliorate as far as possible the social, economic, political and legal consequences of this through legislation (women’s rights/women’s human rights) and by working to change socially and culturally embedded ideas about gender and gender roles. 

Transgender ideology, and self-ID specifically, puts all these gain in jeopardy. On an intellectual level, I understand Butler’s (et al) purpose -and intent-in arguing that sex is a social construct.

However, a wishful idealism that denies material reality is doomed to fail. The political project is thus naive, yet jeopardises all the concrete gains made by feminists over decades of struggle.

In so far as it challenges all boundaries, it can also enable bad actors that pose a risk to vulnerable groups.

I work in a university, most closely with feminist colleagues sympathetic to Queer Theory. I am generally supportive of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda. However, I have spoken out publicly (email, meetings) about the dangers of this agenda being  hijacked and I have publicly spoken out against no platforming.

Interestingly, some Queer Theory/feminist colleagues have told me privately that they agree with me, so too a Non Binary colleague who now believes that no platforming is not the way to resolve this conflict. That’s good enough for me.

If we can have public debate, free from intimidation, I believe gender critical feminists will prevail and we can then move on to a constructive discussion on how to tackle the discrimination faced by trans people, without sacrificing women’s sex-based rights.

I have outed myself twice on Twitter (were I am not anonymous), with no serious consequences for me,  but I generally do not engage on Twitter on this or any other matter. Anonymity removes accountability for comments posted and the growing factionalism and polarisation squeezes out moderate voices.

I accept that engagement on social media was necessary when MSM (Mainstream Media) and politicians wouldn’t touch the issue and I admire the courage of those who have spoken out at great cost to themselves during this time. However, I fear the debate on Twitter is now so toxic that it is better to utilize other spaces and possibilities for discussion, more of which are opening up as the tide turns in the favour of gender criticals (in the UK at least).

I resigned from the Labour Party over the Woman’s Place debacle. I have written to the Labour Party about the issue. I have supported numerous crowd funders.

Any backlash was likely to come from trans and non binary colleagues and students, but it hasn’t happened (yet) and, as above, some colleagues have told me privately they agree with me. One non binary student approached me after a lecture and complained about my “cis language.” I invited them to talk to me later when we had more time to discuss their concerns. I feared an official complaint was in the offing, but I never heard from them again.

That said, I do not feel that I can be completely honest about my views. To the extent that I actively self-police, I acknowledge that there is still a problem and we have some way to go. We all need to engage with our colleagues respectfully and with civility, but it is necessary to air important matters in ways that do not obfuscate the issues. This is not happening in my institution or indeed across my wider feminist network. Instead, both sides are dealing with the conflict by not confronting it.

I am also experiencing this on a personal level. I know my daughter agrees with me on certain issues-e.g. that trans participation with decimate women’s sport and that bad actors will exploit self-ID in ways that put women at risk. However, she lives in one of the Wokiest cities in the UK where most of her friends and much of her social support comes from her LGBT network. We have discussed in the past, but recently she has asked me not to talk to her about this (a way of not confronting her own feelings, I think) and so we don’t, even as we are very close and can talk openly about just about any other subject.

Annys, Academic

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