I’m coming out — as a gender critic
I’m what is called a “gender critic”.
If you haven’t got involved in the “debate” about trans/women’s rights, you probably think that transgender people deserve human rights, and that anyone who disagrees is bigoted and transphobic.
The thing is, we are not debating whether trans people deserve rights.
What we are debating is whether trans people’s rights should override the existing, hard won, sex-based rights and protections of women and girls, and whether child safeguarding should be put aside to speed up the process of transition for children who think they are/identify as trans.
People who support retaining female sex-based rights and protections, and who question, challenge or oppose what’s become known as the “affirmative approach” to trans identifying children, have become known as gender critics.
If you’ve only dipped your toe in the water of this debate, you’re likely to be under the impression that gender critics are mainly women, and in particular older feminists, who hate transgender people and are “bitter” about the usurping of their movement by the younger, cooler, more progressive generation.
You’re right that most of us are women. Many of us are older and remember what it was like before 70s feminism won us some rights. But the rest of it is misinformation.
My name is Bea Jaspert, and I’m a gender critic.
I’m an older woman and a feminist. I’m writing this piece to explain why gender criticism is the only legitimate position that liberal lefties who care about equality and human rights can afford to take.
Gender critics reject the socially constructed strictures & norms foisted on the two sexes — male and female, support the sex-based rights and protections of women and girls, and dispute the notion that sex is a feeling or essence that can be identified into/out of, rather than a biological fact.
Contrary to the myths and smears, gender critics agree that transgender people, like all human beings, deserve human rights, civil rights, equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
Gender critics do NOT:
-oppose trans rights
-hate and fear transgender people
-deny that transgender people exist
-invalidate transgender people’s ‘identities’
We are not fascists, bigots, fundamentalist Christians, or far right fanatics.
We are whistleblowers, drawing attention to the concerted ideological attack which is being waged upon the rights, wellbeing and safety of female people and children.
As a gender critic I do feel pretty bitter, but its not sour grapes because I’m old and past it. I’m bitter at the way liberal, progressive people are permitting, and joining in with, the vicious misogynistic attacks on women who stand up for their sex. I’m disappointed at the way people who have little if any understanding of the issues at stake feel competent to dismiss our concerns as transphobic rubbish. I’m fed up of kneejerk opinions based on uninformed assumptions, frustrated and angry at the unquestioning swallowing — and repeating — of smears and slurs, and outraged at the disregard for child safeguarding and sex-based legal rights and protections.
This is why I’m a gender critic.
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My Twitter account dates from 2014.
I tweet about the abuse of power, trying to highlight the use of smears and victim-blaming against vulnerable groups, including for example immigrants, ethnic minorities, and victims/survivors of child sex abuse and domestic abuse. I follow, and am followed by, many survivors and advocates, as well as many leftwing and progressive individuals and organisations.
About a year ago my Twitter mentions started to fill up with (mainly) women protesting about something called “trans activism” and complaining in particular about misogyny from progressive, leftwing and Labour accounts.
At first I argued with these women — thinking lefties couldn’t be misogynist (silly me!) and insisted there was no conflict between trans rights and women’s/children’s rights.
However, people I admired and respected were protesting — campaigner for justice for female prisoners Harriet Wistrich, feminist campaigner Meghan Murphy, lesbian activist and journalist Julie Bindel, advocate for victims of domestic abuse Karen Ingala Smith, prison reform advocate Richard Garside and leftwing activists like Grenfell campaigner Pilgrim Tucker and McLibel and Spycops activist Helen Steel, and many others.
I wasn’t prepared to dismiss their concerns without investigation, so I researched, read articles in the mainstream and alternative media, scientific and medical studies, blogs, and activist websites, and made sure to look at both sides of the argument, every step of the way.
On the trans activist side, I read Judith Butler, Julia Serrano, Juno Roche, Shon Faye and many others including Stonewall, Pride, Pink News, Allsorts and Mermaids.
On the gender critical side, as well as Julie Bindel and Meghan Murphy, I looked at Woman’s Place, Fairplay for Women, Dr Jane Clare Jones, TransgenderTrend, Dr Kathleen Stock, Rebecca Reilly Cooper, and lots of stuff by gender critical transwomen like Debbie Hayton and Kristina Harrison.
I didn’t understand why intelligent, progressive, liberal, feminist people — and women in particular — were protesting, but hearing their protests, I got informed.
I haven’t suddenly become a bigot who hates nonconforming people and opposes human rights. I’ve researched and studied and got to grips with this complex and difficult argument. I can back up my opinions and arguments with examples and evidence. I want to be heard.
It is not acceptable to dismiss the voices of domestic violence organisations, abuse survivors, women prisoners and prison reformers, sportswomen, female academics, scientists, activists, detransitioners and transgender people themselves, and thousands and thousands of ordinary women — mothers, daughters, grandparents.
We are being misrepresented, and people need to hear what we have to say.
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The trans activist mantra is “trans women are women”.
LGBT organisations including Stonewall and Pink News tell us that to dispute this is transphobic and hateful, and councils, government offices, the police, public charities and organisations like Amnesty International and the Woman's March agree.
The point behind the mantra “trans women are women” is to say that there is no difference between transwomen and non-trans women.
Well meaning people, who celebrate diversity, who pride themselves on being tolerant and inclusive, take this to mean that transwomen are no less valid as human beings than (non-trans) women — they are just as worthy of respect, and just as deserving of human and civil rights, equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
All of which is true.
But objectively, factually, scientifically, physically, transwomen are different from women in one key respect. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, class, sexuality, etc , all women have one thing in common — their membership of the biological sex category Female.
The same well meaning, tolerant, inclusive people who chant along with “transwomen are women” seem oblivious to the significance of ignoring the biological sex difference between males and females.
But sex difference in humans is of enormous political significance, because female people — who make up 52% of the global population — continue to be subjugated, exploited, enslaved, trafficked, abused, raped and murdered on account of their membership of the female sex category.
It is impossible to fight for the rights and protections of female people if we deny that sex difference exists, or that it matters, and even more so if we insist that the very definition of woman must be rewritten to include males.
Some people seem to think sexism is no longer a problem, and women are equal. This is patently untrue.
In the west, the ‘gender’ (sic) pay gap, the glass ceiling, the burden of care work, the undervaluing of female labour not just in terms of economic reward but in terms of recognition and prestige, the under-representation of female people in politics, and in positions of power and influence generally — in the media, in business, in science and medicine — are all clear examples of the persistence of sex discrimination.
The #MeToo movement revealed the ubiquity of male sexual abuse of female people across all social strata. So too the horrific statistics on serious sexual assault and rape — male perpetrators account for 99%, and 84% of victims are female. Domestic abuse victims are vastly more likely to be female, and perpetrators to be male. Females account for 77% of victims of child trafficking.
In the developing world and in Islamic countries the situation is far worse. Female infanticide, FGM, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, dowry deaths and acid attacks target female people, not male people who ‘identify as’ female. Sharia laws that permit the stoning to death of female adulterers and rape victims, that forbid female drivers, that exclude women by law from politics, medicine, teaching, and the law — are aimed at people who are members of the biological sex category female.
They don’t care how these people ‘identify’. If you’re female, you’re not equal. Maybe you’re not even (fully) human.
International law recognises that female people are targeted on account of their sex, and this is why sex is a protected characteristic in law, and why sex-based rights and protections for female people are legally protected.
Yet these are being flouted in the name of progressive politics, tolerance and inclusion. Women’s prisons house male prisoners who ‘identify as’ women — even after they’ve raped women and children. Domestic abuse shelters accommodate male domestic abusers — if they ‘identify as’ women. Males win women’s cycling events. Males lead the Women’s March. Males lead Amnesty’s Women’s History event.
This needs to stop.
Violence against women & sex discrimination still exist.
Women need reserved places, separate spaces & distinct services.
Women who have escaped abusive relationships, and women who have been raped, suffer ongoing and often crippling post traumatic stress.
When asked, survivors have repeatedly made it clear that they do not want male people to be housed in their shelters and refuges, no matter how those people ‘gender identify’.
54% of women in prison are survivors of domestic abuse. Many more are survivors of sexual abuse as adults or children. Almost all serious sexual abuse (99%) is perpetrated by male people. Women prisoners who are housed with males cannot walk away. They are forced to remain in close proximity with male people, including convicted male rapists and paedophiles.
This is a clear breach of the human rights of female people.
It is not possible to gather accurate data about sexual offences, violent crimes and domestic abuse if sex is not taken into account, yet already government agencies are ignoring Equality Law and allowing convicted male criminals to self-define as women and so have their crimes reported in the media, and officially recorded, as women’s crimes.
Data on health, the pay gap, female inclusion in politics and equal opportunities will all be meaningless in terms of protecting female people if it ignores sex difference and accepts male people who ‘identity as’ women as the same as women.
Allowing male people to compete in women’s sport is deeply prejudicial to the aspirations and achievements of female people. Female sports are already underfunded and undervalued. Women and girls have so many hang ups about their bodies, which porn culture and the selfie generation are only exacerbating. Sport offers empowerment to young girls and women, a chance to take pride in the strength and power of their bodies.
This is all under threat because male people have natural advantage over female people in sport, yet transwomen are being allowed to compete against women, and are winning all the medals.
Martina Navratilova and many other female sportswomen have spoken out about this. All have been branded transphobic. Martina has been removed from the board of Athlete Ally, yet Rachel McKinnon, transwoman cyclist who beat the female competitors and who tweeted that “cis” (non-trans) people should all “die in a grease fire” remains on the board.
Women’s shortlists for example in the Labour party were created to address the fact that female people make up only a tiny percentage of MPs. Yet males can take their places if they ‘gender identify’ as women. Women's awards likewise are intended to provide some opportunity to redress the male/female power imbalance. They mean nothing if males can win them.
There are already serious impacts on homosexual rights and protections, predictably, particularly, for female homosexuals — lesbians.
Homosexuality is same-sex attraction, but the same organisations that fought for equal rights — to marriage, to pensions, to parenthood, and to free expression of love between people of the same sex, are decrying same-sex attraction as transphobic, calling female people who are only attracted to female people “gynocentric” and “genital obsessed”.
Amnesty International Women’s History month was led by a transwoman. The Woman’s March London was led by a transwoman. Opportunities for female people are scarce enough. We have been written out of history for long enough. Women had to fight for the vote — only 100 years ago. We had to take men’s names to be successful authors. Even after finally winning the right to be educated (in the West at least), our contributions to art and science were hidden, appropriated and denied. And now we are being told by progressive liberals and the left that we must cede our hard won places and spaces to males, because they ‘identify as’ women.
This is not acceptable. And it is not ok to call us transphobes for calling out the injustice here, to silence and no-platform us, and to smear us as Nazis.
Nor is it ok to look away.
It is perfectly possible to support the rights of transgender people without jettisoning the rights and protections of female people. It is in fact impossible to support the welfare of transgender people if trans rights are set up to be in conflict with women’s rights, and if the health and safety of transgender children is threatened by the silencing of those — including health professionals and experts in gender dysphoria — who raise concerns over the push to medicalise children who think they may be, or identify as, trans.
As many transgender people (transwomen in particular) have pointed out, none of this serves the interests of the trans community.
What it serves is a bullying, misogynistic, homophobic and misopedic ideological agenda.
The Equality Act gives people legal protection from discrimination.
It lists nine protected characteristics, one of which is SEX — in recognition of the fact that female people suffer discrimination on the basis of their biological sex characteristics.
Gender reassignment is a separate protected characteristic, which refers to discrimination against transgender people.
The law recognises that discrimination on the basis of sex and discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment are not the same thing.
If you’re discriminated against because you’re a transgender person, this is unlawful discrimination because of gender reassignment. It’s not sex discrimination.
— Citizen’s Advice UK
Legal sex exemptions exist that allow female single-sex spaces, facilities and services to exclude male people, however they ‘gender identify’.
These are there for a purpose — because the law recognises there is a need for female single-sex spaces and services in certain situations.
The law hasn’t changed, despite the best efforts of the trans activist lobby to remove these exemptions. Yet standing up for Equality Law gets you denounced as a hateful transphobe.
Equally, standing up for child safeguarding — including speaking out about the welfare and the health and safety of children who identify as trans — is a no go for trans activists.
Schoolchildren are being taught by trans activist organisations (with full access to schools and a place on the curriculum) that if they don’t fit regressive gender stereotypes they may very likely be “trans”.
Female students who express discomfort with boys in their changing rooms or sports are told to get over themselves. Teachers cannot question the trans activist agenda, or raise concerns, without risking not just disapprobation, but their jobs and livelihoods. Health workers are pressured to affirm children who say they’re trans, without proper assessment/support.
The known risks of puberty blockers and hormones, including lifetime medicalisation and infertility, are ignored.
Girls are advised on breastbinding and parents on getting dummy “child penises” for their trans identifying daughters.
After all the dreadful experiences with child abuse rings, Jimmy Savile, and predatory males having access to vulnerable children, Girlguides now admits males, including adult males, at sleepovers — providing the males “identify” as women/girls.
Only trans activist groups and organisations are permitted to advise, risk assessments are jettisoned, whistleblowers are gagged or sacked.
And we should stay silent?
Academic rigour is being stifled — Academics are being harassed over their research into transgender issues.
In a letter of protest to the Guardian 54 academics protested:
We are … concerned about the suppression of proper academic analysis and discussion of the social phenomenon of transgenderism, and its multiple causes and effects. Members of our group have experienced campus protests, calls for dismissal in the press, harassment, foiled plots to bring about dismissal, no-platforming, and attempts to censor academic research and publications.
Important research, including research that could help transgender people themselves and trans identifying children, is being stopped in its tracks. As Julian Vigo writes in Quilette:
Trans activism has undermined the efforts of clinicians and researchers who have sought to investigate the issue of gender dysphoria. There is perhaps no other area of human behaviour where ideologically motivated actors have been so successful in creating what are in effect no-go zones for academics, and even for facts themselves.
This is not progressive. It is regressive and suppressive.
It needs to be called out, and it needs to be stopped.
I will not stop talking about this, I will not be disheartened by lack of understanding or indifference, I will not be intimidated by smears and slurs and personal attacks. If anything is worth fighting for it is human rights. And human rights apply to all humans, no one group gets to demand that another group gives up its rights and protections to accommodate or satisfy their needs and desires.
And frankly — entitled, aggressive, misogynistic, homophobic males are the last people on my list to get to call the shots on human rights.
Trans rights are human rights.
So are the sex-based rights of women and girls.
And so are children's rights.
You're either for rights or you're against them. You can't have it both ways.
Get off the fence and join the protest. Become a gender critic.