Categories
Healthcare

Women’s rights were hard won. They shouldn’t be dismantled as though granting them was a favour

Women’s rights were hard won. They shouldn’t be dismantled as though granting them was a favour. I’m sick of black women being used as evidence that black people are not really people. I’m personally insulted at the racist, homophobic and misogyny of most trans narrative.

How have women’s rights and needs advanced incrementally by millimetres, but trans issues are now forefront of public and private policy?

I have shared schools guidance with friends worried about the school decision to turn toilets into mixed sex areas with no consultation.

I have challenged at work (raising safeguarding implications), discussed with family and friends, donated to crowdfunding and amplified the voices of those doing the hard work on social media.

I have been warned off for flagging implications for other protected characteristics. I’ve also been accused of attacking a trans person in a private and left-politics Facebook group for providing alternative information to challenge the statement that trans people started Pride and Stonewall.

Barbarara, Sister, not Cister

Categories
Parent

The gender dysphoria is not viewed as a mental health issue and must be accepted at face value and be continually validated

My daughter is adopted from care. She has suffered neglect and abuse. As a very little girl she was powerless to stop that abuse. Now at 17 she believes she is a boy, suffers from depression and a dissociative disorder.

All three are caused by her trauma but the gender dysphoria is not viewed as a mental health issue and must be accepted at face value and be continually validated

I have raised my concerns about the affirmative approach with school – who did not inform us when our daughter started expressing discomfort about her gender to 2 male members of staff.

College view her as a boy and when I raise questions about the cause of a trans identity I am treated with incredulity that I could hold such out- dated opinions! Fortunately social services and our psychologist are more curious.

Not really experienced consequences – other than being viewed as a transphobic dinosaur by some college staff. We tread a very tricky path with our daughter but she is still with us despite knowing our deep concerns. This does put a considerable strain on family life.  

E, Adoptive parent

Categories
Healthcare

I saw a person with severe learning disability develop mental health problems after one of their live-in carers transitioned… and not being able to discuss it because “be kind”.

I care because I saw a person with severe learning disability develop mental health problems after one of their live-in carers transitioned MtF (male to female), and not being able to discuss it because “be kind”.

I work with people with learning disability.  I was working with a man with severe learning disability who was suddenly suffering from anxiety.  Met with staff team (24 hour support) – one of them was clearly a late-transitioning TIM (trans-identifying male) – had previously worked there as “Charles”, now referring to himself as “Charlotte”.  I was discouraged from mentioning this as part of the psychological formulation. 

I also work with women and girls with learning disabilities, and elderly people with dementia, who are reliant on personal support with hygiene etc – always have same sex support.  I am horrified at implications of it becoming same gender under self id.

I’ve been to Women’s Place meetings, posted on Twitter, tried to start conversations at work, but fear professional consequences.  I have successfully had conversations with family and friends where I can be more explicit.

I have had death threats on social media, and the usual abuse, in horrible sexual language.

S, Supporting People with LD and Autism

Categories
Healthcare

My instincts are to welcome gender non conforming ideas and folk because the world needs more kindness and less constraining gender roles

I’m a woman and a feminist. I have studied social science and social theory. I have personal experience of misogyny, sexual harassment, rape, miscarriage, abortion, childhood abuse, mental ill health, IVF and infertility. Those experiences have been embodied.

My instincts are to welcome gender non conforming ideas and folk because the world needs more kindness and less constraining gender roles.

That said, I have experienced being told that using the words woman and mother at a breastfeeding support group is transphobic and I find this ludicrous and offensive.

Non binary and trans folk are of course entitled to use words such as chestfeeding parent etc but the idea that talking about breastfeeding and mothers is transphobic when these are experiences that women (not all women of course) have had forever is ludicrous. Social constructionism in meaningful as a critique but we cannot disembody ourselves even if our dysphoria makes this an attractive option.

I’ve talked to friends. I don’t talk much on social media about this.

Kittycat

Categories
children of trans parents Healthcare survivor

My biggest struggle has been explaining to my 3-year old daughter where grandad has gone and why she had to become gran

I care because human rights are important for everyone. It has become very personal as I now have a daughter, my dad recently identified as trans, I work in mental health which includes young people who identify as trans and females who have been victims of male violence. All of these people have rights – how do we balance them and not sacrifice one excessively for the sake of another group?

I care because I am part of the me too generation. Because I was so socialised to gender roles I allowed my ex to convince me it wasn’t rape. This socialising started before I even recognised my own gender. There has to be a space to think about this – but that space seems to be disappearing. Trans women do experience misogyny but do they have the same internalised misogyny from early childhood? This is not to diminish the massive internalised stigma and dysphoria that they experience – but these are different experiences.

I have discussed with people I trust. I have tried to educate myself – understanding all sides of the argument.

My biggest struggle has been explaining to my 3-year old daughter where grandad has gone and why she had to become gran. All books written for that age group on the topic refer to boys not liking pink (or similar) which goes against everything I try to teach her!

I have occasionally made attempts to discuss aspects at work.

I have been aggressively challenged when reflecting on my feelings about my personal situation (apparently it is not ok for me to have any difficult feelings about my dad identifying as trans – I am 41). I have been accused of misgendering by referring to her as “dad” (this was something I discussed with her and agreed I would do.

I feel this is a hugely important topic but do not dare raise it as the trans lobby is so powerful I worry I would be putting my professional registration at risk. One trans person raising concerns could be all it would take. Even though my experience would suggest most trans people would not share the view that my attempts to balance all needs are transphobic.

D.R., Mental health worker

Categories
Healthcare

I’m angry that our centuries of shared experience of constant male subjugation and harassment is, apparently, forgotten.

I am a woman. I am a mother to a daughter, and I don’t want her to feel she must accept male bodies near her in toilets, changing rooms in school and elsewhere and I don’t want her to be forced to compete in unfair situations in sport.

I have an elderly mother and I fear for her dignity in healthcare provision. I fear for women for whom written language is a problem who don’t access healthcare because they don’t realise they’re people-who-menstruate, etc. I feel bad for women who will be excluded for public life due to religion or disability who can’t access gyms, loos, shop changing rooms, etc. I feel bad for women who miss out from all-women shortlists, etc, because of men taking their place.

I worry about young people being subjected to experimental treatment. I worry for the mental health of those who aren’t resilient enough to cope with words like ‘woman’ without self-harming or committing suicide. I worry about crime stats, and male crimes being recorded as female. And I’m angry that our centuries of shared experience of constant male subjugation and harassment is, apparently, forgotten.

I have only discussed this with a few close women friends or anonymously online. All I have spoken to in real life have expressed the same concerns, including an experienced clinical psychologist.

I haven’t spoken up in my own name. I frequently opt out of the conversation online because I find it distressing and frustrating. Thank you for this opportunity.

WildRedWord, Woman

Categories
Healthcare

It’s a small life, I can’t trust all that easily and the wounds I carry bleed from time to time, but it’s a life and I owe that to the women that looked after me as soon as I left the airport.

I care about this issue because at the age of 14 I was raped to try and correct my homosexuality. I came to the UK as soon as I could at the age of 18 to seek asylum due to the harassment I received in my home country following the very public trial.

The people that raped me knew what a woman was, if I’d have been a gay man they would have hit and physically assaulted me and not raped me. It is important that we acknowledge and deal with the issues at the heart of violence against women in the UK as well as internationally.

If women coming to this country to seek asylum for MVAW (male violence against women) cannot tell their stories and get meaningful help because their language is now hate speech or exclusionary then how much of a safe refuge is this country?

I was broken when I came here in 2001, I’d experienced an unwanted pregnancy due to the rape and tried to abort at home due to abortion being illegal in my home country. It didn’t work and I was forced to carry my trauma with me for 9 months only to give birth to a child that only survived for 76hrs due to damage caused to his brain by my attempts to terminate. I have to live with this. A lot of women have to live with these kinds of wounds.

We need a place and a language to talk about our issues and to heal. To find support that demands nothing from us, not validation, not that we change our language, nothing.

I managed to get the help I needed and have managed to carve out a life here. It’s a small life, I can’t trust all that easily and the wounds I carry bleed from time to time, but it’s a life and I owe that to the women that looked after me as soon as I left the airport. The female doctors and nurses I was able to ask for, the female therapist who was with me for 15 years and delayed her retirement to help me stand on my own. The lecturers at my university who guided me and helped me gain a degree and become financially independent of the state. The lesbian community that helped me accept myself. They became my tribe, I am thankful.

I have written to my MP, I have been to his surgery to speak to him. He seems sympathetic, he’s from a Religious minority group himself and seems sympathetic but I’m not sure he has really done much about this as his party is firmly pro trans.

I have joined online forums and signed petitions and donated where I could. All the people I speak to seem to be very sympathetic and understand the insanity of where women find ourselves but many fear speaking publicly as do I.

I’ve lost friends. I work in an NHS mental heath setting and most of the people I work with understand the insanity of the current trans movement but this is whispered in dark corners and can never be said openly.

Everyone is scared, I had a colleague say to me a while back that we, as mental heath services, are going to pay dearly for this in a few years time but we daren’t go against the Stonewall lobby that is everywhere in our Trust.

As a mother, grandmother, feminist, educationalist, woman, this matters to me for a number of reasons. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I know how vital to me were women only spaces. I would not have been able to get the support I needed if I had not been confident that specific spaces were open only to women. The fear of such spaces being available to male-bodied people, however they identify, is very real and, I believe, would prevent women from accessing safety, support and much needed resources.

Sex is real. Women are women. Women’s oppression is based on sex. Women’s hard-won rights are in real danger of being eroded. Trans people have rights and, obviously, shoukd do. These are safeguarded in law. As are sex-based rights. The two are separate. One set of rights should not, and need not, trump another. Women are women, transwomen are transwomen and both should be safeguarded.

I am deeply concerned at what is being promulgated in schools and what children and young people are being told online. Feminism has fought for years to break down gender stereotypes. Our nonconforming children should be allowed/encouraged to be just that. Dress wearing boys and tomboy girls should not be told they are in the wrong body.

It’s clear that many young people, disproportionately girls, disproportionately those with conditions like autism, are being put on a path to medicalised transition too early, too quickly and often inappropriately. There is insufficient research into the impact of puberty blockers and what evidence there is suggests not the ‘pause’ as is often cited but the first step in an increasingly inevitable pathway.

Women are being silenced. We are afraid to speak for fear of casually being labelled and abused as transphobic. We are not. Generally, we are progressive women with histories of fighting for human rights and many causes. We haven’t suddenly become bigots. We are not transphobic. We ARE supporters of women’s rights.

I’ve made social media posts, attended consultation at House of Lords and submitted evidence to the Gender Recognition Act consultation.

P, Women matter

Categories
Healthcare

I am a social worker and I know that people have lost their registration from saying what I think

Any issue where debate is stifled is frightening. This one in particular feels so cultural and of its time and yet it has real long term consequences for the lives of women and men. I’m also deeply uncomfortable with the medicalisation and (invasive) treatment of something that feels like it is more about social factors -trauma, inequality, mental distress.

Such a lot of campaigning effort and big money is being put into protecting the gender identities of a sub group of vulnerable people – but I suspect that the reason many of these people adopt these identities is because they suffer wider deprivations/exclusions.

When my trans friends ask me to call them by their preferred pronouns I do it to protect them from a reality which is hurting them, not because I believe that this is their actual gender.

It feels like a society-wide avoidant strategy which obscures the real issues of poverty, inequality, social disconnection and mental distress by landing on one coping strategy of many and fetishising it. Which hides the pain, and devalues the suffering of countless others.

I am a social worker and I know that people have lost their registration from saying what I think. Fortunately for me, when I worked in children’s social care I did not have any cases where there was a safeguarding concern related to gender identity, otherwise I would have been forced to be more vocal, but at that point I would have sought professional support before doing so.

M, Social worker

Categories
Healthcare Others

I was fortunate enough to attend the WPUK conference and was inspired by so many wonderful speakers and to be in a room with 1000 women who ‘get it’

I care because it’s the absolute injustice of it. It’s just not fair. If men and women were truly equal then swapping between wouldn’t be an issue, but we’re not and there are a few meagre provisions we’re allowed for our safety and progression and now we’re told we’re bigots if we won’t give them up to narcissistic men with a fetish. The gender stereotypes I fight against for myself and my daughters are now being pushed as intrinsic and deviation from these is seen as a reason for mutilation.

I have posted on Mumsnet, Twitter and my personal Facebook. I have had countless conversations with friends. I am also involved with Safe Schools Alliance.

In December I called a radio phone in and asked Jo Swinson what a woman is, she struggled with the answer and I was allowed to ask further follow up questions.

It was widely reported on (appeared in newspapers and on GMB) and seemed to show the crux of the argument – you can’t have women’s rights if you don’t know what a woman is. In February this year I was fortunate enough to attend the WPUK conference and was inspired by so many wonderful speakers and to be in a room with 1000 women who ‘get it’ and would actually like to get out of the ‘cul-de-sac of identity politics’ and back to the fight against everything else women are facing.

I have had some difficult conversations with friends who feel like I’m being unkind, gay friends especially. I’m at the age where about half my friends have children and that seems to be the dividing line. Pre-kids it’s easier to believe that equality of the sexes exists but once you go through pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, maternity leave, reduced employment opportunities, mental load – the full force of the patriarchy hits home, and men donning some lipstick and claiming womanhood feels incredibly offensive.

Anna, from Warwickshire

Categories
Education Healthcare

I know what a social construction is and what material reality is

There are males on lesbian dating apps who reply with aggression when they are politely told that they don’t belong there (that’s happened to me twice).

A woman I know personally was banned from a lesbian dating app for telling a male person that they did not belong there.

I am concerned about the physical and emotion safety of female prisoners who are already very vulnerable, if male violent or sexual offenders are housed in female prisons.

I need to teach the small children in my care that they are correct to be wary of men and I cannot do that if the words we use to describe them are taken away.

We (women, females) cannot organise properly to defend our rights if the words we use are taken and redefined.

The children in the primary school I taught at were taught that you can be born in the wrong body, and it is not true and it’s harmful. A teenage lesbian I know has been convinced that she is a boy and is going to start undergoing serious medical interventions which will cause potentially permanent changes to her body, because of stereotypes. The idea that your personality tracks your sex or your sex tracks your personality are fundamentally regressive positions. I know what a social construction is and what material reality is and I wont pretend not to.

I have spoken to some friends in real life and I lost a couple. I have posted occasionally on social media but not under my real name as I am scared of professional consequences.

LD