Transgender schools guidance produced by transgender and LGBT organisations promotes a new ‘affirmation’ and social transition model which has been shown to increase persistence of gender dysphoria in children. The model fails to take into account the various reasons for childhood cross-sex identity, which can range from perfectly normal developmental exploration, through difficult family dynamics all the way to previous trauma or sexual abuse. It may also be a result of homophobic bullying, emotional and psychological issues, ASD or simple social contagion, particularly in cases of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria seen predominantly in teenage girls.
We feel that to simply take a child’s words at face value and respond with a one-size-fits-all approach is a dereliction of duty of care for children and adolescents, and this approach should not be forced upon schools.
Published transgender schools guidance also fails to take into account sex-based rights and protections already in place to protect the privacy of all students and in particular the welfare of girls. This guidance misrepresents Equality law in placing the rights of transgender students above those of other students, with no requirement for equality impact assessments. The prioritisation of ‘gender identity’ above biological sex as the distinction between boys and girls gives weight to a belief over material reality and obviously raises issues of safeguarding as well as the right to name reality.
We felt there was an urgent need for clear factual information for schools seeking advice on a very recent and unprecedented phenomenon, guidance which is based on protecting the welfare and rights of all children.
We have developed a comprehensive schools resource pack, in consultation with teachers, child protection and welfare professionals and lawyers. Our aim is to arm schools with all the relevant facts so that teachers feel more informed and confident in creating a safe school for all pupils, including non-conforming children and those who identify as ‘transgender.’
Our resource pack covers advice for school leaders, tips on how to create a school culture of acceptance of gender non-conformity without denying biological sex, communication, primary schools and secondary schools, existing safeguarding policies and guidance, the legal situation for schools, and a glossary of terms.
We also include factual information about the social and medical transition of children, testimonies from young people who have desisted or detransitioned, and a statement from a teacher who has witnessed the increase in the number of young people identifying as ‘trans’ in their school. We have included a statement from the Lesbian Rights Alliance in recognition of the fact that the number of teenage lesbians who are choosing to identify as ‘trans men’ has recently grown so significantly.
We have designed the document to be fully comprehensive and cover all areas because this is such a new phenomenon that teachers are facing and existing guidance is so one-sided, but each individual section may be printed out and used separately if needed.
Download the pdf here:
It was presented, at first, as a simple case of injustice in the prison system. The Observer ran the story with the headline “Transgender woman in male prison ‘nightmare’ on hunger strike”. The facts given were these: Marie Dean, 50, is refusing food in protest at being held in HMP Preston on an indeterminate sentence for burglary without access to “hair straighteners, epilator or any makeup”. The report linked to a Change.org petition demanding that Dean be “moved into the female estate as quickly as possible”. Some detail, though, seemed to be missing. If you wondered why a burglar would receive an indeterminate sentence, the answer wasn’t here.
But a cursory Google explained it. Before she transitioned, Dean, aged 42 in 2009, was convicted of over 30 offences including voyeurism, aggravated burglary and assaulting police officers. Dean broke into homes, dressed in teenage girls’ underwear, and filmed herself in their bedrooms engaging in what the court reporting coyly called “sex acts”. “Your victims,” said the judge, “undoubtedly regard you as being a dangerous man within the community and the sort of dangerous person that will give them every reason to be careful or worry when things go bump in the night.” (Dean’s 2003 trial for charges related to an indecent video of children ended in a not-guilty verdict.)
That’s why the crimes came with an indeterminate sentence: because Dean was a sexual offender with an escalating pattern of behaviour against women. After complaints, The Observer updated its report with details of Dean’s crimes, but the fundamental outline of the story remains as it was, while the Pink News version still only mentions burglary. Alarmingly, it was only possible to learn this because Dean had made a relatively minor name change. One unhappy consequence of the well-intentioned taboo against “deadnaming” (using a trans individual’s pre-transition name) is that past actions are able to slip from the record.
At this point, I think it’s OK to ask where women figure in all this. This is someone who presents a manifest danger to women, someone whose victims live in the long shadow of violation in their own homes; yet media outlets have given an uncritical platform to demands for Dean’s transfer into the female estate. If being denied hair straighteners can be presented as a cruel and unusual punishment, one might imagine that housing female prisoners with a voyeur would rate somewhere even higher. But in prison, as everywhere else, the expectation appears to be that women’s safety comes last.
Where trans inmates are housed is, at the moment, a matter of discretion for prison authorities. And simplifying these cases (by, for example, obscuring the sexual nature of Dean’s crimes) does an immense disservice to the pressures on prisons, where resources are sparse, violence rife, and self-harm and suicide hideously prevalent.
Campaigners for prisoner self-identification usually refer to three trans women who died in custody in 2015: Vikki Thompson, Joanne Latham and Jenny Swift. But of the three, only Swift had asked to be moved to a women’s prison. An inquest found that Thompson hadn’t intended to kill herself, and hadn’t requested transfer. Latham had made a request to transfer to another prison, according to the report after her death, which did not record any request of transfer to the women’s estate. The report concluded that the prison she was incarcerated in “appropriately supported Ms Latham’s decision to live as a woman”. It is also uncertain whether such a move would have even been possible, given that Latham had been assessed as exceptionally dangerous and was being held in a close supervision centre, which only exist in the men’s sector.
QotD: “If femininity is so powerful, who do men make no attempt whatsoever to become more feminine?”
If femininity is so powerful, who do men make no attempt whatsoever to become more feminine? Why do men want to remain masculine if masculinity is fragile but femininity is empowering? If femininity is empowering, why are the few feminine men there are being mocked by society? Why would femininity only be empowering for women? That would imply empowerment looks different for women than it looks for men.
This rethoric about femininity being so ~empowering~ is funny to me because the women who use that rethoric fail to see that men try to force femininity upon women (and not on themselves). If something is truly empowering, it cannot possibly be forced upon you. If something is being forced upon you, it is far more likely it is a tactic used for keeping you in a subordinate role.
This season has seen the phenomenon turned up to eleven however, and me riveted to all and any interaction between India Willoughby, a news presenter, journalist, and trans woman, and the various other housemates. Now I do realise, yes, that trans women are not a monolith, and I don’t doubt there are many in the trans community have been watching Willoughby alienate as many viewers and potential allies as possible from between their fingers, just wishing she wouldn’t. But still, she has, and the uncomfortable truth is that in her behaviour, I can recognise instantly a near perfect microcosm of some of the larger trans activism I have been observing over recent times.
For seven days I have remained glued as a group of adult women, all trying their camera ready best to be as respectful and supportive as possible, attempt to deal with a sulking, bullying, manipulative, and aggressive Willoughby, as she in her turn contrives to continually centre herself and her needs in all things, and ensure others feel obliged to do the same. Even in a mixed sex environment, she has remained at the epicentre of all house conflict, showing next to no interest in the feelings and needs of others, and managing to maintain a steady narrative of victimhood, even as her peers dance desperate attendance in their varied attempts to appease her. One can feel a bit dirty considering this entertainment, but there is empathy too. Willoughby comes across as almost pathologically self absorbed, but at the same time so abjectly miserable, that a want to help ease her distress is only natural. It is in this response to Willoughby, and its fascinating parallels in the way wider society (and in particular women) have responded to the huge and sudden rise of trans ideology, that I am most interested.
For those sensible enough to give a wide berth, I offer an example of an incident occurring with all the women together in the kitchen. The chat is easy, amicable. Willoughby then enters the room, at which they all immediately stop what they are doing and stand alert, looking nervous. Upset and angry at having been misgendered by Amanda Barrie, an actor in her eighties, and having already refused to accept Barrie’s multiple apologies, Willoughby straight away adopts a combative stance, squaring her shoulders and jabbing at the air with a pointed finger: “I am the transgender person here,” she says, “and I am annoyed.” Nobody at first speaks a word, except eventually Barrie, whose one turn at speaking up for herself prompts an immediate accusation of aggression. At this Barrie stands down as others then scurry to try to placate Willoughby and diffuse the situation. The women lower their voices and make soothing noises: of course, they can completely understand why she’s upset. But this appears only to infuriate Willoughby further, who responds by becoming louder and yet more intimidating, air jabbing hard in Barrie’s direction and shouting right at her: “I AM A REAL WOMAN OK? I’M GLAD THAT’S SINKING IN. I’M GOING TO SAY IT ONE MORE TIME SO IT REALLY PENETRATES — I. AM. A. REAL. WOMAN!!” By which point Barrie looks genuinely alarmed. “Yes darling,” she says, far too quickly, her voice pitching at a high octave. Others nod vigorous affirmation: “Of course you are and I totally respect that.” Yet still Willoughby is not satisfied, and still she continues on the offence. As a last, rather desperate grasp, it is suggested that perhaps not talking about it at all might help to make it less of an issue? This is clearly the final straw, and a furious Willoughby storms from the room.
On Friday night India Willoughby became the first contestant to leave the Big Brother house, and I don’t doubt for a minute her fellow contestants all breathed a large sigh of relief. Nobody likes eggshells between their toes. As a viewer I also breathed a sigh of relief. It is painful to watch a fellow human engage in such blatant self sabotage, continually projecting their own lack of self acceptance onto others. Rejection as self fulfilling prophecy is not my idea of a good time.
But considering we are now at a point in our history at which many are pushing for an ill defined concept of gender identity to replace sex as both a protected characteristic, and the way in which we categorise others as either male or female, I believe it is worth exploring how responses to India Willoughby in the Big Brother house might reflect wider societal attitudes. For as Willoughby pointed an accusatory finger at Amanda Barrie and shouted that she is a real woman, so too do transactivists and their supporters point fingers at the masses, shouting that there can be no debate; that trans women are women, and if we do not align with this new idea we can consider ourselves terrible people, dicing on the wrong side of history. To which the general response can be summed up neatly as, ‘Yes darling! Of course you are and I totally respect that.’
The problem is that while you can perhaps legislate for speech and expression, you cannot legislate for conviction. In other words, you might be able to force people to say a certain thing, but you cannot force them to truly believe it. The contestants in the Big Brother house felt bound by enough social pressure to express a belief in Willoughby as female, (as I too feel bound by enough social pressure to concede, as a matter of courtesy, female pronouns to an individual I do not, in fact, believe to be female,) but their true feelings leaked fast out of every interaction they shared. Crucially, it was in this gap between expression and belief that so much of India’s distress seemed to lie.
It is a fact that no natal woman has ever felt the need to approach another, and shout at her that she is a real woman. And in return, no natal woman has ever felt the need to say to another, of course you are and I totally respect that. Such an exchange serves only to reveal that neither party wholly believes what they are saying. And so here lies the crux: trans women know they are not women in any concrete, material sense, which is what has given rise to all the various mental gymnastics regarding sexed brains and souls trumping the bare facts of ones reproductive system. In an attempt to relieve distress and provide a theoretical framework for validation, the truth must necessarily be bent, squeezed, and hammered square into a round hole. But the actual truth of our physical selves does not require endless validation. As a biological woman of average height and blue eyes, I’ve no need to harangue, manipulate, or bully others into confirming my femaleness, or the fact that I am 5’4″ tall, because these facts are self evident. I’ve no need to develop mind bending theories around height or eye colour, and insist that others subscribe to them under threat of being made a social pariah, because I am secure in the knowledge of what is real and true about myself. Nobody has ever once felt the need to say to me, “I believe you have blue eyes and I respect that,” because in the face of an obvious truth, this would be a ridiculous thing to say.
The root of Willoughby’s rage, and that of the trans activists demanding ever more outrageous expressions of validation, lies here. When we are asked to go along with such blatantly false claims as trans women have periods and can get pregnant, it is because any previous acknowledgement that trans women are women simply wasn’t enough to fill the void created by that undercurrent of self doubt. Trans women know exactly what the majority of women (and some men too) are doing: placating, humouring, pitying, and playing along, either due to a belief that it is no skin off their nose, or out of fear, and a self serving need to be seen as right and good. The behaviour of the Celebrity Big Brother contestants is being writ large across the country, as is India’s response. Understand that it will never be enough to state that trans women are women. Instead we must change everything: our language, our social behaviour, and even our inborn sexualities.
The danger of course, as perfectly demonstrated by the conflict in the Big Brother house, is that this level of pretence corrupts human relationships and ultimately causes more distress than it relieves. We cannot get along while lying to each other on such a fundamental level, and legislation that forces us to do so paves the way for more problems than it solves. There is no respect inherent in dishonesty and — more importantly — absolutely nothing at all wrong with the truth: that trans women are trans women; distinct from natal women by virtue of their biology, but entitled to live as they wish, worthy of the same rights, respect, and representation as anyone, simply by virtue of being human beings. There is nothing wrong with embracing the reality of being trans.
What is wrong though (and not only wrong, but a doomed and deeply flawed strategy) is to force people — either by law or social coercion — into pretending to believe something they do not, in the hope that they will eventually come to accept it. That way lies anger, resentment, and almighty, explosive backlash. There is space in this world for everybody, but living successfully with others requires generosity, open discussion, compassion, and honesty.
Women are sexist too. Even avowed feminists are found to be unconsciously biased against women when they take ‘implicit association’ tests. Mary Ann Sieghart asks where these discriminatory attitudes come from and what we can do about them. Evidence for women’s own sexist biases abounds. In one example, female science professors rated the application materials of ostensibly male applicants for a lab position considerably higher than the identical documentation of ostensibly female candidates, in an experiment with fictitious applicants where only the names were changed. The reasons for the pervasive bias seem to lie in the unconscious, and in how concepts, memories and associations are formed and reinforced from early childhood. We learn from our environment.. The more we are exposed to sexist attitudes, the more we become hardwired to be sexist – without realising it. So what to do? Does unconscious bias training help? Or could it make our implicit biases worse? A good start might be to tell little girls not that they look so pretty in that dress, but to ask them what games they like to play, or what they are reading. And so teach them they are valued not for how they look, but for what they do.
The tweets speak for themselves really, the March on Vancouver has chosen a trans-identifying male ‘sex worker’ as a speaker, confirming their commitment to men, the sex industry, and patriarchy in general.
The response to criticism from ‘Hailey Heartless’ and other sex industry advocates is to threaten physical violence against radical feminists generally, and Meghan Murphy in particular, including the creation of a hashtag stating ‘fuckmeghanmurphy’.
That’s fuck radical feminists, not fuck violent men, because liberal feminism is all about ‘protecting’ violent men.
Comrades, we are a group of Labour women who want to ensure all-women shortlists stay reserved for females and that women’s representation in the party increases. We believe that the election of transwomen as women’s officers and their inclusion on all-women shortlists is reducing and undermining female representation in the Labour party.
We are absolutely committed to trans people, as a marginalised group, living free from discrimination and violence: we need trans representatives, trans councillors and trans MPs in our party. We are socialists and we are egalitarians. However, trans representation must not happen at the expense of female candidates and we are furious that we are having to fight another battle for women’s representation, just 100 years after the suffragette victories.
We have been advised that a legal challenge to the Labour party on this could be winnable. The party has recently allowed males to be elected as women’s officers and males to be selected over females in all-woman MP candidate selections. This has happened because Labour, in practice, has started to define ‘women’ by sex AND by self-identification. Self-id is not legally recognised (as defined by equality act exemptions) whereas sex IS but Labour, nevertheless, relies on these two antithetical definitions of ‘woman’ which is causing a conflict of interests which needs resolution.
As socialists we understand class analysis and we know the most meaningful way to classify women is by sex. Sex, along with poverty, age, disability and race, is one of the major oppressive hierarchies in the world today. Women’s biology has always the basis for our oppression worldwide BY MEN. Feminism is defined as the movement to liberate all women from sex-based oppression.
Self-id also impacts on lesbians and gay men who, by definition, are not homogenderists but homosexuals. Lesbians and gays are currently afforded legal, sex-based protections from discrimination and these are already being diluted by self-id. We believe gender is a manmade, toxic set of stereotypes, used to restrict men and women and we want to see it abolished, not codified into law. We support all gender non-conforming people: be they lesbian, gay or trans. Feminists have always been at vanguard of the fight for people to live their lives in a gender non-conforming way and will continue to do so – but never at the expense of women’s rights and representation.
We do not classify people based on a set of gendered ideals by which most will fail: the superficial markers of clothing, hairstyles and make-up… or by body type, weight, or perceived femininity or masculinity. We do not assess people’s worth by the way they look or speak – women and men succeed as women and men simply by being. The same is true for girls and boys. All girls are acceptable as girls and all boys are acceptable as boys, however they dress, look or behave. We condemn the medicalisation of pre-pubescent kids who are encouraged to take puberty blockers if they play with the ‘wrong’ toys or want to wear the ‘wrong’ clothes. Conservatives see a boy in a dress and want to change the outfit, liberals see the dress as fine but want to change the kid’s body. Socialist feminists want kids to be kids and wear what tf they want.
Every penny of the money we raise will go entirely on our legal funds, we will produce all our bank statements, legal bills and legal updates and upload to this site. We want our donors to make the decisions on how to move forward and we will crowdfund direction as well as money. We will follow where you lead, and will keep in regular contact by email, so we can democratically decide how we do this, what we want to achieve, how we go about it and who we employ to act on our behalf.
Your support will mean a great deal to women, it will mean there are people who care, who have not forgotten them. It will mean they are not politically homeless: we stand with them.
Please do not give more than you can really afford, it’s not necessary… and don’t feel you have to donate – your support and your help in sharing the crowdfunder is enough and IS appreciated.
Any left-over funds will go to fight against self-id, against the medicalisation of children and to keep women’s spaces female-only, specifically: women’s hospital wards, gyny screening, prisons, domestic violence shelters, changing rooms, saunas, spas, sleeper train carriages, scholarships, quotas and national and international women’s sports.
We all know that only the Labour party has the best interests of women at heart. Please help us to overturn the decisions of the party liberals, weather vanes and bureaucrats to prove this is the case. Self-id is a tory manifesto policy for heaven’s sakes… which gives us all an idea of just how bad an idea it is.
Your solidarity is appreciated and ours is eternal.
Jennifer James Garston and Halewood CLP
Anne Ruzylo Bexhill and Battle CLP
Dr. Viv Pointon Derby South CLP
Emma Salmon Bexhill and Battle CLP
Suzanne Weaver Stroud CLP
Pilgrim Tucker Vauxhall CLP
Christine Bayliss Bexhill and Battle CLP
Venice Allan Lewisham Deptford CLP
Samantha Marshall-Cameron. Sheffield Central CLP
QotD: “I’d like to see schools teaching kids that there’s no feeling, desire, way of dressing or way of being treated that’s off-limits to girls”
I’d like to see schools teaching kids that there’s no feeling, desire, way of dressing or way of being treated that’s off-limits to girls