ER Editor: For a truly eye-opening read, see this article by Frank Furedi from January of this year, titled Free period products for trans boys in UK schools is about ideology, not pupils’ needs.
The trans ideology of less than 1% of the UK population has bullied the other 99%. Here’s why I, as a real woman, reject it
JOANNA WILLIAMS for RT
Transgenderism has taken root in our institutions and is eroding women’s rights, putting children at risk, and stifling free speech.
This is the damning conclusion I reach in a new report, The Corrosive Impact of Transgender Ideology, published by the think tank Civitas this week. I explore how, in under two decades, the term “transgender” went from describing a tiny number of individuals to representing a powerful political agenda, embraced by activists and campaigning organizations, and driving significant social change.
The total number of transgender people remains small (government estimates are 200,000-500,000 trans people in the UK, way less than one percent of the population), but – as a social movement – transgenderism punches way, way, way above its weight. The belief that sex, as inscribed in our bodies and chromosomes, is irrelevant and, instead, we all need to reveal our inbuilt sense of “gender identity” to a readily-accepting world, is now taken for granted by those in charge of our schools, prisons, police force, media and health service.
Everywhere, people in positions of power have been prepared to coalesce behind the demands of transgender activists. So lacking are they in self-belief, so panicked about their capacity to lead, they look to the transgender community as an apparently victimized group to provide them with a source of moral authority. Few seem to care if this puts women and children at risk.
We are told repeatedly that males, replete with penis, chest hair and beard, can become women simply by saying the magic words: “I am a woman.” Such statements must be accepted as a matter of unquestionable truth. Like a modern day catechism, we must simply reply: “Trans women are women.”
This belief, that a man becomes a woman upon the utterance of a few words, has led to women prisoners being sexually assaulted by male inmates; school girls being expected to share toilets and changing rooms with boys; women’s refuges no longer being female-only spaces; female athletes losing to bigger, stronger males; and all-women shortlists being rendered meaningless.
Yet dare to question any of this, dare to ask if trans women with male bodies are women, and institutions pull rank. Tweet your objections and, as happened with Harry Miller (see featured meme), the police will be on the phone to “check your thinking.” Raise questions at work and, like Maya Forstater, you’ll find yourself out of a job.
Every day, the limits of what can and cannot be said about gender become narrower. Just this week, comic scriptwriter Graham Linehan has been permanently suspended from Twitter. His crime? After that most British of institutions, the Women’s Institute, wished all its transgender members a happy Pride, Linehan pointed out that “men aren’t women tho.”
Meanwhile, the black lesbian barrister Allison Bailey has been investigated by her employer for tweeting in support of the LGB Alliance – a group of lesbian and gay people who believe that same-sex attraction means exactly that, and not same brain-based, gender-identity attraction. This week her CrowdJustice fundraiser, set up so she could defend her job, was taken down following complaints from trans activists. It has since been reinstated but is no longer able to accept donations.
Transgender activists are quick to argue that people should be free to define as anything they want, but the expansion of transgenderism has gone hand in hand with increased regulation of speech and behavior. This highlights a significant difference between today’s transgender movement and the gay rights campaigns of a previous era. Whereas the gay rights movement demanded more freedom for people to determine their sex lives unconstrained by the law, transgender activists demand the opposite: they want increased state intervention into everyone’s life.
The British government has recently hinted that it will roll back on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act and drop plans to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. Good. But we need a broader cultural shift to reclaim our captured institutions.
Back in 2018, an internal survey conducted by the BBC suggested that over 400 transgender people are employed by the corporation: in other words, transgender people are four times more likely to be employed at the BBC than found within the general population. Media coverage of transgender issues is out of all proportion to the actual number of transgender people.
But when women push back against any of this, they receive the most heinous abuse. When J.K. Rowling dared to suggest that a person who menstruates is, in fact, a woman, she was insulted and threatened with rape, repeatedly, and in the most vile and graphic terms. Transgenderism is now the legitimate face of misogyny.
Rowling can probably cope with this. But children increasingly find themselves being asked to question their gender identity and, once they head down the path of transition, find it far more difficult than adults to extricate themselves.
Last year, over half of all the children seen by the Tavistock, the UK’s national clinic specialising in treating children who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity, were under the age of 14. The number of 13-year-olds referred for help in the past year rose by 30 percent to 331, while the number of 11-year-olds was up by 28 percent on the previous year. The youngest patients were just three years old. Three quarters of children who want help to change their gender are girls.
It may be the case that some of these children are simply experimenting or going through a phase. But allowing children to transition socially paves the way for medical interventions which can begin with hormones to stop the onset of puberty and may, for older teenagers, also include cross-sex hormones. (ER: see the two articles on this topic we linked to above)
It is good that the government is planning to drop proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. But we need to go further and insist upon the right to debate the impact of transgender ideology upon society. Discussion immediately sheds light on the conflict between sex-based rights and rights accrued according to gender-identity.
The mantra that “trans women are women” unhelpfully pretends no such conflict exists and erases the possibility of even talking about what women and children may lose by the advance of transgenderism.
The Corrosive Impact of Transgender Ideology is free to download here.
By Joanna Williams, the founder of the think tank Cieo and the Director of the Freedom, Democracy and Victimhood Project at Civitas. She is the author of Women vs Feminism, Why We All Need Liberating From the Gender Wars and is a regular columnist for Spiked. Follow her on Twitter@jowilliams293
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