Trans rights for the confused and bewildered.
Beware the trans-excluders!
You may have stumbled upon the discussion involving trans rights, steeped in hyperbole, vague proclamations and possibly, counter intuitive assertions.
The issue of trans rights and those trying to quash equality protections have devolved the language into esoteric whimsy, Hitchcockian terror and prophecies of the destruction of everything that has ever existed, and even some things that have never existed but nonetheless still excite philosophers.
Like reading Shakespeare written in black country dialect, upside down through a mirror, a casual observer can be left confused, and should they stumble upon something approaching coherent discourse,the euphoria is likely to be seduced by gish-gallop propaganda and contrarianism.
Using simple terms I will try to cover some of the current arguments bouncing around social media and mainstream press, pertinent to the UK laws and conversations.
This has been covered an almost infinite number of times already, yet the same anti-trans voices and organisations deliberately misdirect and misinform, allow me to add another reverberation to the hum.
1 Sex-segregated spaces.
Since 2010 The Equality act has been in place, with protections for trans people hidden in plain sight and ignored by the vast majority of the UK public, that is until, the press attempts a hatchet-job on trans rights and misrepresents the legislation to feed a frenzy of demagoguery.
The key elements for this discussion are;
Gender re-assignment. Protections & exemptions.
The protected characteristic of ‘Sex.’
Single-sex exemptions are most misunderstood by the rank and file ‘experts’ that inhabit the trans exclusionary corridors of the internet.
Their determined assertion that trans women are ‘men’ is an obstacle to their understanding, in the same way Everest can be described as an ‘obstacle’.
Single-sex exemptions state when it is permitted to provide separate services for men and women. That’s it. Single-sex exemptions cannot be used to expel trans women from womens spaces.
The guidance for single-sex exemptions include both cisgender women and trans women as the same and equal, expelling cis men and trans men from female spaces.
Gender re-assignment protections, state trans women should be treated as the gender they present as by default.
A gender recognition certificate is not required to be covered by the equality act for this protection.
It is possible to exclude trans women from female spaces under the ‘gender reassignment exemptions’.
However there is a bar that must be reached, to be proportionate in achieving a legitimate aim. Legal guidance suggests the starting point for this is domestic violence refuge’s (most of whom currently accept trans women), it is very unlikely toilets, changing rooms, hospital wards etc can argue this exemption is justified. Gender reassignment exemptions must be on a ‘case by case’ basis, a blanket ban is unlawful.
A gender-recognition-certificate (GRC) carrying trans woman would require an even higher bar to exclude than that of a trans woman without one, but to reiterate, a GRC is not required to be protected by gender re-assignment protections.
This has worked almost perfectly since 2010.
2 Trans women shouldn’t be allowed in sex-segregated spaces because 70,80,90% retain a penis and may rape.
Even the most oblivious bystander in the trans ‘culture-war’ should be able to see the deliberately inflaming framing used.
Trans exclusionary commentators will douse most conversations with jarring, scary and emotive language to induce a reaction like the example above.
Lets unpack it a little…
How many trans people exist in the uk in raw numbers? We don’t know.
Some trans people have yet to work out they are trans, some may battle on against their impending transition in an attempt to hold onto the life they and their loved ones have become invested in. The realities involved in estimating the trans population are complex and multi-faceted. Current attempts to make room for this question to be posed on a national census are being challenged by those who would prefer trans people to pretend to be otherwise.
Current estimations observe a trans population of around 500,000.
This is arrived at through extrapolations, and number juggling.
Let’s say that 500,000 is made up of trans women, trans men, and non-binary identities, we would be guessing again at how many of each type make up the whole sum. This holds true anytime you stumble across any assertion that X% of trans people are….or do…..or think…..or behave.
We cannot assert what a percentage of trans people do, the starting point of working out percentages is not known.
Trans women who opt for genital surgery(GRS) are put onto a waiting list which is growing faster than operations are performed.
There are less than a dozen specialist surgeons. The resources when running at maximum capacity allow for a few hundred surgeries to be performed each year in the UK. Some trans women have the resources to go abroad, thus more trans women have surgery than the UK can actually achieve inhouse.
Those who exclude trans women, often take an estimated number of post-op trans women, as a percentage of the entire trans community, as though there were 500,000 trans women, to arrive at the lowest possible percentage of trans women who have had surgery as a scare tactic.
The crucial point is that gender dysphoria can manifest itself in different ways, some trans women may choose not to undergo surgery for many reasons, sometimes medical, other times their gender dysphoria doesn’t manifest itself in that way, it can be more geared towards social interactions. Even when this is the case the vast majority will eventually seek hormones and hormonal changes.
The idea that any particular person is more likely to have the deranged mentality it takes to rape someone before surgery than after surgery (lack of genitalia notwithstanding)as though somehow it changes someones entire mental makeup and morality is a disingenuous one.
If every trans woman in the UK had surgery overnight, the trans-excluders would simply move the argument to ‘trans women could violently beat up cis women’, but grounding the argument in ‘male genitalia’ is a deliberate tactic (see no.9).
3 Trans women have an unfair advantage in sports.
There is no evidence to suggest this is true.
Whilst this is counter-intuitive to some people who are fed propaganda and encouraged to think of trans women as cisgender men, the evidence is against this position.
There are no elite athletes in women’s sport who are trans women, since 2004 when trans women were invited to take part in the olympics, there has yet to be a trans qualifier.
It is true that trans women find themselves splashed over the media should they dare to win an occasional event, the obvious conclusion is that maybe trans women would be accepted by the constipated-right as long as they are losing. Which they do, a lot!
There are many hormonal changes, checks and balances before trans women can compete at a competitive level. A VERY over-simplified argument I like to make to help people understand is this, imagine female muscles trying to throw around a typically male skeleton. Would this be easier or harder than moving a typically female skeleton?
Muscle mass and strength drops dramatically due to female estradiol and testosterone levels.
To repeat, there are no elite trans women in women’s sports, the notion of trans women conquering women’s sport is a huge myth, equivalent only to the idea that the average trans-excluding twitter user has a measurable I.Q.
4. Being Trans is a fetish.
I wasn’t even going to dignify this, but as we have just finished sport, I’ll use it as an example…
I won’t profess to be an expert on this, however the idea that a fetish is a precursor to getting up everyday, training, making sacrifices, eating right, and dreaming of sporting excellence…..is a hell of a lot of effort to go to for a solo boff.
In 2019 and the wonders of the internet, sex shops, dating apps etc Occam’s razor suggests that maybe those inclined to enjoy leftfield sexual pursuits, solo or otherwise, probably wouldn’t pick one and extend it into running about in all weathers, let alone one that results in hormone-related penis atrophy.
5 Trans kids are just gay and lesbian kids.
An amount of gender variant kids, will quite likely grow up to be gay or lesbian. Trans people can be gay or lesbian too.
We have gay and lesbian adults, however we still have trans adults who were once kids. Some expressed their trans identity as children some did not, some expressed it vociferously whilst others expressed it tacitly and unnoticed.
If we take a group of kids who express atypical gender, it is indeed quite likely the majority will be gay or lesbian, or possibly bisexual, in simple terms they are less likely to be heterosexual and cisgender.
However if you take a group of kids who express atypical gender ‘identity’ and identify as the opposite sex, then it is very likely those children will grow up to be transgender adults.
The problem is, gender can be so strictly policed it causes all atypical kids to question where they fit into the rigid frameworks they see in the wider world, and this can lead to discomfort as they mature. Gender variant kids can find themselves referred to trans support groups, and CAMH services. From here they will speak with experts, who will try to sort the homosexual/bisexual gender variant apples, from the transgender pears. Pre-2013, all children who were distressed enough in their atypical gender, may be considered to be gender dysphoric, and could technically meet the criteria for a gender dysphoria diagnosis, although at this point it was called ‘gender identity disorder’.
Studies pre-2013 have suggested the majority of children referred to such services are likely to desist their confusion as they become more aware and comfortable in who they are. This is weaponized to undermine the care of trans children.
In 2013 something very important to this discussion happened, the diagnostic criteria changed.
In previous studies some of the children involved had never even thought or uttered the language to convey they considered themselves to be the opposite sex. This was not required to be diagnosed as suffering ‘gender identity disorder’ which is the basis for understanding transgender identities.
This changed in 2013, now only children that insisted they were the opposite sex could be diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, and revealingly, those who expressed this in previous studies were generally those that persisted into adulthood. Since 2013 there are no studies to suggest the majority of ‘trans kids’ diagnosed, desist.
5.1 But I heard theres a huge increase in those assigned female at birth being referred to Gender Services?
Its worth remembering those who were assigned female at birth, some who will become trans men, have been left out of this conversation for years and ignored to demonise trans women, this in itself is a type of misogyny.
Historically the only trans people mainstream visible, were trans women who were also over-represented in data during this time.
Referrals alone do not tell us anything, without the stats and data to see if the numbers of those diagnosed with gender dysphoria have risen sharply, it is almost meaningless in terms of the trans population, in that referral and diagnosis are two very different things as noted above. It may well in time become a pertinent discussion of gender and the pressures of conforming to societal expectations. Trans people are at the sharp-end of societal pressures and expectations, breaking down these stereotypes is beneficial to everyone. A gender variant explosion in both expression and identity would simply be a reflection of natural human diversity.
5.2 I heard about someone who was trans but desisted, what about desisters?
In my experience, including some fairly high-profile-in-the-trans-debate tales of desistance, usually they were never actually diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
There are some people who think they may be trans, explore it, and realise they are not, this is not equivalent to desisting a diagnosis.
Desisters do exist, however most estimates and data put this figure to be less than 4%, and sometimes less than 1%. These people deserve our understanding and compassion. Gender identity can be an elusive and unquantifiable abstract, it would be unrealistic to think some confusion does not exist in this field of personal discovery. These people, as I myself, can only refer to our personal experience and is not relevant to anyone else’s experience or understanding of gender dysphoria.
6 Isn’t Gender Dysphoria like Anorexia?
This comparison is one that I have seen repeated on social media, people who have no real understanding of either conditions will chime in with their ‘Eureka’ moment, ironically, should the parts of the brain they have engaged to come to this conclusion be dropped into a bathtub of water, it would struggle to break the surface film.
Anorexia…. Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is a serious mental illness where people are of low weight due to limiting their energy intake. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. As well as restricting the amount of food eaten, they may do lots of exercise to get rid of food eaten. Some people with anorexia may experience cycles of bingeing (eating large amounts of food at once) and then purging.
The way sufferers see themselves is often at odds with how others see them — they often have a distorted image of themselves, and think they’re larger than they really are. They experience a deep fear of gaining weight, and will usually challenge the idea that they should. (Beateatingdisorders.org)
Gender Dysphoria…..The medical consensus in the late 20th century was that transgender and gender incongruent individuals suffered a mental health disorder termed “gender identity disorder.” Gender identity was considered malleable and subject to external influences. Today, however, this attitude is no longer considered valid. Considerable scientific evidence has emerged demonstrating a durable biological element underlying gender identity. Individuals may make choices due to other factors in their lives, but there do not seem to be external forces that genuinely cause individuals to change gender identity.
Although the specific mechanisms guiding the biological underpinnings of gender identity are not entirely understood, there is a consensus that being transgender is not a mental health disorder. (The Endocrine Society)
As you can see from the above descriptions Anorexia is like Gender Dysphoria in the same way a pineapple is like sarcasm.
Though many trans-excluders will assert they have no gender identity and furthermore it does not exist, the objective reality is that something experienced, shared and described by 40+million people around the world, is probably better evidence than the words of people who have nothing better to do than this…
7 Trans people are so aggressive and demanding.
You mean like Antifa, Black lives matter, Stonewall riots, even The Suffragettes?
How about anti-frackers, Anti-Austerity protesters, Allied forces of WWII, Native Americans?
Did you expect us to be quietly grateful at the attempts to dismiss, demonise, and legislate against us? Did you expect us to fade away and give up?
Should we drop to our knees and beg kindly for our rights and freedoms?
Aggression is the name our oppressors gave to our pain.
Also, if 500,000 trans people were as aggressive as some quarters like to paint us, only our cisgender allies would have survived the cull. There would be no need for articles such as this, and I would have trapped and trained Germaine Greer to play the harmonica whilst cossack dancing to entertain trans kids.
8 Big Pharma conspiracies.
Lets keep this succinct.
Female hormones are some of the cheapest drugs available, and 99% of the instances of use are cisgender females. If you would prefer to think there is a global conspiracy to flog >1% more estrogen pills for a few quid per box, whilst keeping it off-license so it is nigh on impossible to find a GP to prescribe without spending up to three years banging heads against a wall at the miniscule number of gender clinics…..look up!! It says gullible on the ceiling!
What about surgery mutilating healthy tissue for profit you say?
The cosmetic surgery industry is busy with cisgender people having all sorts of nips, tucks, boob jobs, even a designer vagina if you so wish…. is that also a conspiracy?
If you answered yes, god bless you and good luck on your travels!
If you answered no, you may be beginning to see how this anti-trans framing works.
9 Define a woman.
All women are different, with infinite variations of experience, self-awareness and context. If I ask a cisgender woman how it feels to be a woman, they usually struggle to pin down exactly how that feels. If I ask a trans-excluding woman, they will point to their genitals. I am more than my genitals, I don't defer to them when explaining the human experience of my existence. I may be missing something but my genitals are not the most sentient of conversational partners.
I could lose my genitals in a tragic accident, it would make not a jot of difference to how I feel about discussions of gender and gender identity and my inward persona and outward expression. Just as when I have surgery it will make no difference to my sense of self, but will alleviate elements of my dysphoria.
I don’t know exactly what the private lives of those trans-excluders entail, but I think they give genitals far too much credit. Though they can certainly be fun ‘n all, I am of a mind to consider them over-rated by the genital obsessives.
If they think, therefore they are …..a genital. Who am I to argue? Be warned, calling them slang terms for genitals is generally frowned upon, despite their candour at being defined by them.
Like a glitching dalek ‘exterminate’-ing into the ether, trans-excluders are likely to be found polluting social media accusing the world of misogyny as a defence mechanism and counter-attack, in the absence of lucid thought or self-awareness.