Trans - a serious issue
On two days this week senior members of the Labour Party have mentioned me by name when being interviewed by the British Media. Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn during an interview on Andrew Marr’s TV programme on Sunday last and 2 days later Harriet Harman mentioned me and my criticism of one young Trans women representing women in the Labour Party. In Jeremy’s case he said he would be willing to talk with me on the same topic of Trans women’s role in the Party. You can imagine my surprise as being mentioned by name on National Television and Radio, but now several days later, and my leaving messages on Jeremy’s office number I have had no reply of any kind. I am now feeling like a ‘reverse beard’. A beard was the name given to women invited to accompany a gay man to a public event so that he might appear to be heterosexual. In the current case I am being named as a out lesbian, who happens to be critical of moves the reinforce the oppressive concept of gender.
And I have been bold enough to argue my political position on gender. And it has resulted in considerable attacks of me from those Trans women who think they have a right as people who were previously designated men to tell women what to do. It particularly offends me to be called a ‘cis’ woman’ to signify that we are not Trans women. This to me is equivalent of me being described as a ‘non-White’ (person?), and frankly I will not be silent about the insult that it gives to all women born and recognised as female from birth.
And what offends me about the politics of gender is that they are in opposition to the politics of sex. These Trans women claim that by changing their bodies they can become women. But this does not change your history of having been privileged as a male from birth even if you did not like and did not ask for male privilege. But the culture of maleness in the UK, (and I shall not speak about cultures of which I am unfamiliar) continues to privilege boys and men. Admittedly this culture is or can be oppressive, but the answer is to change it.
We feminist have sought to change the culture of inferiority into which most of us have been schooled, we have gained more power and autonomy and pride in who we are. Much more work needs to be done, not least in achieving equal pay in reality, and more importantly the end of the murder and rape of women and girls which still blight the lives of all women and impacts upon where we travel and when. Violence against women is not supported or encouraged by Trans women, however the movement for Trans politics is having the effect of reducing the space and opportunity for women to speak about our experience of male violence.
Are there really races of human beings? And if so what are their characteristics? I am not sure than anyone can say but they can l tell you what different external features they may possess. Women generally look different to me but the only significant difference between men and women are our reproductive organs and different physiques probably arising for differential access to food. But what is really at issue is whether aside from physiological difference are there any other signifiers that could make a women into a man and vice versa? Even if penises can be added or removed would that make a person not the sex they were at birth? I don’t know but the issues are surely not about anatomy. The issue of gender is about power, and when the ideology of women’s inferior and men superior status was codified as gender became the justification of men’s superiority legal as well as physical status.
I object to the ideology of gender, as I object to the ideology of racism but there are real human beings who believe in these concepts. And we mean different things by the words we use to describe male and female, men and women.
I and other feminist like me have not just a critique of gender but a rejection of the concept of gender. I think that we can call ourselves what we wish, and wear what we want but what is at issue is the need for equal power and status of men and women. One would have thought that Trans women might have considered this power thing, but in the main they seem to have used their power as males to tell women what they demand. For my own part I shall not more allow a racist to define me because they think they are superior to me than I shall allow a man or women to demand that I reinforce a system of gender which oppresses me and most women. I have spent all of my adult years pondering and fighting against racism, and I can recognise systems of oppression when I experience them. And if I am wrong, show me how widespread this new phenomenon of reassigning gender is?
What I mean is which procedures are being and have been carried out where and in which years: what are the ethnicities of those participating in gender reassignment. The anecdotal impressions I have is that it is rather White and recent.
I do not hate those who argue in favour of these Trans politics or practices, but I remain gender critical. I still hope that people who are unhappy with the culture of masculinity will explore the possibility of dismantling gender for the benefit of all people- men and women, boys and girls.