Nine out ten of those who responded were women, and most talked about women’s rights, and the ability to talk about the reality of women’s lives:
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 am a woman and I care about the rights of women to speak about our lived experiences, to have spaces of our own, and to be homosexual without being shamed.
This matters to me as I cannot stay silent while women’s sex based rights are removed along with our voices.
Women need to be able to name ourselves. We need the ability to describe ourselves, differentiated from men. I’ve been a feminist all of my adult life, I’ve campaigned on many causes from reproductive rights to fighting sex stereotypes.
I’ve never seen feminism so threatened; the very word ‘woman’ has been rendered meaningless by the take-over of language by gender ideology.
I am concerned because women can no longer say ‘woman is adult human female’ without being accused of transphobic and biological sex classes are now up for debate.
I have been a radical feminist for 45 years and I cannot remember an attack on women like this.
Single sex spaces
Many talked about the importance of retaining single sex spaces
I have an elderly mother, a teenage daughter & I’m in my 40s. We are all impacted by the loss of single sex protections for different, but entirely biologically female reasons… Loss of privacy, dignity, safety, recovery from trauma and the right to participate in public life – we all have reasons for the need of female only provisions across many aspects of our lives.
I believe women have the right to single sex spaces. It is patently unsafe to allow men who self id as women into women’s toilets, prisons, hospital wards, refuges, changing rooms. If a third space is needed, it should not replace female space
Of course, I think single sex spaces are essential for women to go about their lives without worry or fear or embarrassment.
I fiercely believe that everyone has the right to choose the circumstances under which people of the opposite sex see them undressed as well as the circumstances under which they see members of the opposite sex undressed. This is true for situations that affect me, such as public bathroom usage and the sex of the doctor who performs my pap smear, as well as for situations that don’t and hopefully never will, such as having to share a prison shower with a biological male or being pressured to wax male genitalia.
Maintaining single sex spaces is important for my sense of dignity and safety. As a parent, it matters that my children, both male and female, are able to use single sex spaces for their privacy and dignity, but especially to protect my daughters from sexual harassment.
As a doctor my fear is that predatory men will take advantage of “gender identity” rules to assault vulnerable women in hospitals, as they have in prisons already.
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.
Survivors of abuse
Some women highlighted their own experience as survivors of male violence , or working with survivors and perpetrators of abuse:
I think that it is crucial for female only spaces to exist. I was raped in a changing room and I do not wish to see a woman with a penis in a changing room or in the showers of my gym.
As a survivor of sexual assault I cannot stand by and allow men to invade the spaces where women should feel safe.
A woman who had spent more than 20 years providing advocacy and support for victims of male violence said:
For the last few years have watched too many abused women and their children walk out of services other women fought tooth and nail to have provided for them, safe spaces away from men and the risk of abuse. They are walking out because they are no longer being treated as single sex spaces and the main services providers for some reason want to pretend this is OK women are being made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable by the services meant to help them.
Another who had worked for twenty years with the victims of sexual assault and in child protection said;
I have seen first hand what male predators do and the lengths they will go to to commit their crimes. I have no fear of transexual women, fully support them, but I am certain that self-ID will allow abusers to use the trans community as a cover. They will self ID their way into women’s spaces. You will read this and perhaps think I’m paranoid or hysterical, but the things I’ve seen leave me in no doubt of what’s happening here – the targeting of youth online, the anime, the gaming, the grown men disguising themselves as little girls, sliding their way in the LGB movement in order to make themselves seem respectable.
Three quarters of those who responded are parents, and many of those who responded talked about their concern for children, given the rapid rise in children with gender dysphoria, and push for children to transition. As one mother writes:
I have a 13 year old daughter who has a close group of girlfriends. Three out of six of these girls want to have gender reassignment. I feel it’s almost become a “trend”.
Another mother says:
trans-ness has catapulted into society at a speed no other cause has done. I feel as if those in authority have not done enough to satisfy themselves that what they are being told by pressure groups is good and ethical and safe. There should be alarm bells ringing over the increase in referrals [to gender identity clinics] and yet no-one seems to be batting an eyelid.
I see girls being told that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, at a time when they should be being encouraged to explore themselves and come to like and love themselves. What’s worse is that they are also being put on a path to unnecessary and hugely damaging medication and surgery. I
Some parents wrote about their own children wanting to transition;
My child identifies as trans and is aiming to access hormone treatment while still a teen. My child only recently identified as trans and has self diagnosed their gender dysphoria. Taking medication will affect my child forever. However, because I am uncertain that opting in to a potential lifetime of medical intervention at the age of 15 is something to question, I am thought of as transphobic.
In most cases these are daughters:
My 12 year old daughter announced she is trans and is socially transitioning ….strangers have been given access to and coached my daughter to delete her childhood and replace her future with their transgender story…..it feels like my daughter is being taken away from me.
My child identified as trans a few years ago. I wasn’t worried at first, but the more I learnt about the impacts for her and other transitioning young people, and the impact on women and girls generally, the more concerned I became. I am now convinced that this is medicine’s next big scandal waiting to break, and that trans activism operates as a cult.
Several talked about children with autism. or learning disability, as one mother wrote:
“our vulnerable learning disabled daughter in her early 20s and away at college confessed to us that she had been on the Tavistock Hospital’s waiting list for a year to have a physical “sex change” with surgery and steroids, leading to medical dependency and worsened health. Our daughter has been caught up in cultish behaviour with her college friends, one of the effects being that parents are regarded as “transphobic” if they voice any concern.
She is 15, autistic and has many mental health issues. School, mental health services and medical services have all changed her name and pronouns against my wishes.
Schools encouraging transition
Several parents wrote about how their child’s school was encouraging transition:
My 14 year old daughter (likely ASD, complex mental health history) told her Year Head that she wanted to transition to a boy. The Year Head embraces this with enthusiasm and formally transitioned her across the school behind our backs. When we found out and told him we wanted to do watchful waiting (non affirmative, giving her a neutral space to grow and develop) he told us we had no say as parents. I had no idea affirmation was pushed by lobby groups to school as the only acceptable approach.
Teachers and others working in education have their own concerns, but are afraid to raise at work. A teacher wrote:
I worry about the girls’ safety when using public toilets and changing rooms. I worry about competitive sport – will they be competing in fair competitions? I worry that we cannot speak our minds without being called bigots.
A healthcare professional working with autistic young people said:
this group is vulnerable to the influence of ‘transgender’ activism insofar as confusion over sexuality interacts with rigid thinking (e.g. I am a boy and I like other boys, therefore I must be a girl). This has the possibility of causing real psychological and social damage to such individuals.
An educational support worker said:
I have had to work with trans boys and refer to them as he …. the young trans boys who were on testosterone and wearing binders and EACH and EVERY one of them was on the spectrum. I could not say or do anything except affirm.
A child protection social worker said:
I see an increase in children who’ve experience significant harm now claiming to be trans. Sometimes they’re encouraged by their schools. Those children may develop to live as trans men or women and that is their choice, as adults. However we need to ensure a trans identity is not a maladaptive response to trauma, one that may leave the unmet underlying need while the young person seeks increasingly drastic physical changes to their body.
A teacher, parent and Girlguiding leader said:
This goes against all the safe guarding I have ever been taught. This matters to me because the safeguarding and single sex spaces exist for a reason and they are trying to be removed with no proper debate.
Another professional, a therapist in an LGBT setting said;
I’m being requested to see younger and younger kids (as an example a 13yr old the other day) who are very confused and feeling like they’re ‘in the wrong body’ etc, 99% are gay. The increase is not coincidental, and all of these kids (roughly 12/13 to around 17) are constantly online. They’ve been taught that if they feel it or suspect it, it just be so. I have to be very careful not to lose my job and feel like I can do
Another teacher wrote that she resigned from her job:
I could not be complicit in socially transitioning a very young child at my school (after a trans charity trained senior staff). I think that much better attention should be paid to children’s social adjustment and mental health, and to tackling bullying and gender stereotypes, before taking such radical steps, based on what I consider to be a belief system. I don’t understand how Safeguarding can be so easily discarded.
There were also responses from people who had questioned their own gender or detransitioned.
I spent 5 years of my life (14-19) actively buying into transgender ideology. I identified as male for a number of years and also nonbinary, I did a full social transition. I detransitioned in May 2019. Thankfully, I escaped before I got as far as medical intervention but I now see the other side. Transgender is a dangerous cult. I am proud to be a woman and proud to be a lesbian. Transgender ideology harms lesbians (female homosexuals).
Many lesbians responded:
As a Black lesbian, I’ve gone from fully supporting gender id politics to questioning some things to questioning everything. I realized how homophobic and sexist their rhetoric is, how riddled it is with contradictions and inconsistencies that I’m told I don’t have a right to question or challenge or have basic concerns about. This is not progress, it’s fascism.
Several highlighted that formerly straight men identifying as lesbians are marginalising lesbians within lesbian and LGBT communities:
I became increasingly concerned about the increase in welcoming formerly straight men, now identifying as lesbians to our group. This is gaslighting lesbians, especially those who are perhaps more recently come out ….I was accused of transphobia (by a small number of other women), I eventually left the lesbian group, having been a very active member for 20 years.
My sexuality is being rebranded as a gender preference and I’m increasingly being marginalised within the LBGT community in favour of heterosexual men who when they identify as women claim a lesbian sexuality.
Another wrote about the experience of being approached by men on lesbian dating sites:
Most of them didn’t declare this and I worked it out. I felt humiliated and a bit scared that I might have met someone in person without knowing they were biological men. It chilled me to the bone. I can now spot them and block them, but it was unpleasant and degrading for me at the time.
One women told how a longstanding women’s centre was closed down after a trans rights activist joined:
We asked him to leave. He refused. He came to a brunch, made a speech about how he’d come to educate lesbians about transgender issues and, as women tried to leave the room, forcibly hugged them. They made complaints to us. We banned him from lesbian events for touching women without their consent and took the issue to the police who did nothing. The trans-identified man said he’d take the women’s centre down. And he did.
He applied to become a committee member. The committee at that time was dominated by straight white Momentum Labour women who welcomed him. The BAME women, many of whom are not allowed by their faith to attend events where there is a man present, took their funding and left. Many of the lesbians boycotted the women’s centre events in protest. The women’s centre closed down.
Some talked about women’s sports:
I want sports to be fair; I want young female athletes to benefit from them the same way I did, and I want elite female athletes I look up to to have the wins they deserve.
Self ID worries me immensely because it feeds in the idea that the physical reality of sex no longer matters and could lead to exclusion of women from work and sports especially in minority communities. In a word it is not progress.
Both my daughters play sport to a high level and I see the strength, resilience and confidence this gives them. I don’t want female sport ruined by having to compete against men.
Women’s sports exist to provide a level playing field and allowing trans women with women to compete distorts this level playing field. It will have a negative impact on the careers and livelihoods of women athletes which is already underfunded and under resourced compared to mens sports.
Many people wrote about how not being able to talk clearly about sex is detrimental to their ability to to do their job, and about conflict with policies at work:
I have to be careful about my views at work for fear of repercussions especially when trying to raise safeguarding concerns for young children and people who say they are trans.
I was silenced in a work meeting by managers. It was Trans awareness training within an NHS hospital. My manager came to sit by me and told me not to speak or I’d risk dismissal.
Many people working in health and social care voiced concerns:
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 – one of them was clearly a late-transitioning trans-identifying man – 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.
As a nurse I wish to safeguard children and maintain single sex wards for women
As a medical professional I am increasingly concerned about the conflagration of sex to gender. On medical forms we increasingly now have to ask someone their gender not their sex and I have personally examined patients who declare their sex to be female but turn out to be biologically male with male genitalia.
A woman working in HR said
I have supported a male colleague through transition. He subsequently gaslighted me and started using the female toilet 24 hours after becoming a trans woman, in the flick of a switch. I am supposed to disregard the fact that he is in fact in possession of full male sexual organs. I ended up triggered and in counselling and uncomfortable to now use the shared toilets.
A woman working for an international NGO said:
In my organisation, I have found that the constant blurring of sex, gender and gender identity in organisational policies, blogs, guidelines and training materials at best undermines their effectiveness, and at worst installs regressive and harmful stereotypes….– without a serious policy framework language must be agreed on an exhausting and time consuming case-by-case basis. Hours have been spent drafting detailed policy recommendations that carefully address conflicts of rights which are swiftly ignored or rebutted with the mantra ‘we will be inclusive’ with no time spent engaging in any of the substance.
Freedom of Speech
Many people talked about freedom of speech and the suppression of debate:
I have never seen such brutal silencing of women’s voices, just for stating basic scientific facts
[We are] being asked to lie and to deny reality in order for others to feel more comfortable, whilst seeing those rights being taken away. My belief in free-speech is not only to protect my right to speak, but also to hear.
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.
These are the key themes emerging from the hundreds of stories.
"TERF" Abuse autism biology children detransition feminism free speech gay rights Labour party language law Lesbians medicine mental health misogyny Prisons safeguarding school science Scotland sexism single sex spaces social work sports stereotypes survivor women's rights work
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