Let’s talk about sex… and gender ideology

Dr Jessica Taylor

23 Feb 2020

I have been meaning to write about this for months. There is no doubt that it has become dangerous for women to write or speak about their views of gender, but that wasn’t what delayed this post.

What delayed this post was the sheer amount of information I would need to convey in this article to do the topic justice.

I am going to try to cover some main points relating to my stance on gender ideology. As a psychologist, an academic researcher, a lesbian and a woman who has worked in sexual and domestic violence with women and girls for over a decade, I have many perspectives and interests in this conversation.

Before I start, I would like to take the opportunity to state that I do not support any groups who mock, abuse or humiliate trans people. I refuse to support ‘feminists’ who are very clearly transphobic in its real sense, and use the guise of feminism to mock trans people and gender theory. However, I am certainly gender critical (in its real sense).

My main points will be:

1. The concept of gender is being wrongly discussed and defined which has confused millions of people

2. Telling children and adults that they are born in the wrong body is abusive and biologically impossible

3. You can’t challenge the gender role binary by upholding the gender role binary

4. Biological sex is real, important and remains a protected characteristic in law

5. Gender ideology has some repressive and homophobic ideas within it

6. Issues around gender present serious dilemmas for safeguarding

7. Gender ideology, like any other ideology, does not have to be accepted or supported by anyone else

The concept of gender is being wrongly discussed and defined which has confused millions of people

The word ‘sex’ has been used since the 15th century to mean the binary biological categories of mammals based on genetics and sex characteristics.

The WHO (2020) defines gender as ‘Gender refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, attributes and opportunities that any society considers appropriate for girls and boys, and women and men. Gender interacts with, but is different from, the binary categories of biological sex.’

My view is that there is no such thing as ‘gender’. I don’t believe gender is innate or biologically predisposed. I don’t believe it exists at all. As a radical feminist, I believe that the only way for all adults and children to be free from gender roles and gender is to eliminate it completely.

The word ‘gender’ has Latin and french origins. It meant ‘type’ or ‘kind’.

The term gender role was first used 1955 to mean ‘all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself as having the status of boy or man, girl or woman.’

Stereotypes, basically.

In the 1960s and 1970s, second wave feminists such as Betty Friedan wrote about women’s gender roles being used to keep them in the kitchen and as slaves to men at home. Her book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ about the feminine gender role stereotypes was an extremely influential book for women who felt oppressed in the gender role expected of them.

During the 1970s, academic journals started to use ‘learned sex roles’ interchangeably with ‘innate gender roles’. However, by the 1980s the academic consensus was that sex was innate but gender roles were learned. From then onwards, gender (or gender roles) have been known to be socially constructed norms based on notions of masculinity and femininity.

The concept of ‘gender’ as we know it now actually comes from the phrase/concept ‘gender role stereotypes’ which was first written about and criticised in the 60s by second wave feminists. Gender role stereotypes were originally defined as a set of behaviours and characteristics that were socially constructed to relate to the roles of men and women. Women were described with and defined by a set of these ‘rules’ and so were men.

Women were feminine, quiet, pretty, submissive, content, polite, domesticated, kind, natural caregivers with no need for a career, education, opinion or ambition. They wore dresses and skirts, they wore make up, had long hair, wore high heels and existed to be looked at and adored by men. The gender role stereotype prescribed that women were heterosexual and wanted to be wives and mothers.

Men were masculine, strong, loud, dominant, aggressive, stoic, firm, goal-oriented with job roles, responsibilities, educations, opinions, the right to vote and the opportunities to progress. They wore trousers and suits, grew facial hair, never wore make up and existed to make money and protect their family. The gender role stereotype prescribed that men were heterosexual and wanted lots of sex with lots of women before eventually finding a wife and becoming a father to children (usually sons were desired) to continue their heir line.

These are gender role stereotypes. Anyone falling outside of those gender roles would be seen as weird, ill, mad or even possessed by demons – for a very long time. Women were routinely sectioned and tortured for being lesbian. Women who didn’t want to marry could be sent to asylums. Gay men could be tortured and killed. Women who didn’t conform to gender role stereotypes could be burned at the stake or sent for psychiatric treatment to make her more feminine and submissive to match the gender role she was pigeon-holed into.

The point of the critical discussion around gender roles was to argue that males and females could look, present, experience and explore life in many different ways without it being a disorder or an abnormality or a condition or a problem. For example, a girl could be masculine presenting, interested in things that society had constructed as ‘male’ or ‘masculine’ and it still doesn’t mean she’s a man or a boy – she’s a girl who loves stuff and wants stuff and experiences stuff that the world had told her is ‘man/boy’ stuff.

More recently, we have conflated biological sex with these gender roles. In academia, this started to happen in the 90s and 00s in certain disciplines. Instead of talking about gender roles and gender stereotypes, we are led to believe that gender is actually an expression of an innate identity or biological/neurochemical reality.

It’s as if no one can see how ultimately damaging this will be to society at large. Gender roles (now just shortened to ‘gender’ or extended to ‘gender identity’) are a set of sexist, misogynistic, homophobic social norms that are placed on humans to make them ‘fit’ into pre-agreed binary categories.

We have stopped talking about this definition of gender and instead been forced to accept a new definition of gender. A definition that many of us do not subscribe to.

Telling children and adults that they are born in the wrong body is abusive and biologically impossible

As someone who has worked with children and adults for over a decade, this narrative deeply worries me.

I don’t believe anyone can be ‘born into the wrong body’ and there is no scientific basis for this assertion. I note that no one has answered the question of where the ‘right’ body went during the gestation process or where the ‘wrong’ brain went as the baby developed inside of the female body. It is biologically impossible for a human female body to construct foetuses which contain ‘the wrong brain’ or ‘the wrong body’.

There is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ body or brain. We can definitely feel dysphoric, we can disassociate, we can become disconnected from our bodies – but we are never physically made out of the wrong body parts or brain parts. We are whole. We might not fit into the binary – but we are all whole people. Our bodies are not wrong, society is wrong.

What I do believe is that humans exist on a massive spectrum and society tries to fit them into feminine girls or masculine boys – most of us actually sit somewhere inbetween.

Until I was around 11 years old, I lived ‘like a boy’ and looked ‘like a boy’. I had short hair, I played on the boys football team, I only had boy mates, I refused anything pink, feminine, girly or maternal. I loved my brothers toys. I never wanted to be a mum. I was mistaken for a boy for years. People used to think my mum had two sons.

People used to say to her, in front of me: ‘oh boys will be boys!’ When me and my brother argued or play fought. My little sister was the most feminine, maternal, girly and cute little girl I knew. There was no mistaking that we were very different. She used to love playing with dolls and babies. I just didn’t get it. I’d much prefer playing with my brother’s cool toy that shot darts across the room.

I realised I was attracted to girls by 12 years old but thought it was a bit weird, ignored it and never told anyone. I had boyfriends and I think I did fancy them but not in the way I fancied the girls.

I hated my body and I hated my breasts. I used to slick all my hair back after a shower and wonder if it would be better if I was just born a boy. I used to wonder what my name could be if I was a boy. I never ever told anyone about this. By 13 I was well into puberty and had 30F breasts I could do nothing about. I hated dresses and skirts. I didn’t wear makeup and I didn’t care about learning to do hair or nails or anything (still don’t).

However, I definitely remember being sucked into ‘performing femininity’ because of comments from boys and men in my life. I definitely remember starting to self-sexualise and see myself as some sort of object/entertainment for men and boys.

I found feminism at 21 and learned that it was completely okay for me not to conform to notions of femininity. It was the first time that I realised it was normal to be a woman but not to conform. I loved learning about the way gender role norms expect women to speak, look, act, walk, exist in a certain way and suddenly lots of things started making sense to me. I realised that lots of the ways I felt about my body and myself were being pushed on to me by societal gender roles. This information was so liberating for me.

It wasn’t until I was 27 that I started to question if I was gay. I realised I was married to a man but I wasn’t attracted to him and I really just didn’t want to be around or with men. I started to dress more like how I wanted. Stopped trying to fit in. Stopped trying to conform. Found radfem and lesbian networks. Most of my friends are lesbian women, butch women and gender non conforming women. I hadn’t ever realised that I seemed to click much more with these women – they say you attract your clan. It seemed I did.

Last year I left my marriage to my husband and told my best friend I was in love with her. I have been openly lesbian for only about 9 months. In reality, it was much longer. Decades longer.

I often think that if I was born a decade later, I would be one of those girls being told I might be trans and I could live as a boy and bind my breasts and take hormones and so on.

I disagree with the entire concept of telling children or adults that just because they don’t conform to masculinity or femininity, or that they are gay or lesbian or gender non-conforming – they must be trans. They must be ‘born in the wrong body’.

Why can’t they just be male or female but with their own personality and look and style and ideas and beliefs?

You can’t challenge the gender role binary by upholding the gender role binary

One of the parts of this debate that makes the least sense is the concept of challenging binary notions of gender roles… by transing between two notions of gender roles.

Surely, the way to challenge the way society forces us into oppressive gender role stereotypes is to not conform to any of them.

Be the femme gay guy. Be the butch lesbian. Be the bisexual person who is completely ambiguous. Be femme one day and butch the next. Be whoever and whatever you feel. Present how you like when you like. Be a het guy who likes make up and dressing up. Be a het woman who hates all things feminine.

These are the ways to break the gender binary. Transcend it. Make gender irrelevant – that’s the thesis of radical feminism. Smash the patriarchy. Dismantle gender.

These aren’t just t-shirt slogans – they are fundamental aims of radical feminism.

However, we still have a gender binary. Even where people claim it is a spectrum, it really isn’t being talked about or perceived as a spectrum.

Why does a boy who doesn’t conform to masculine ideals need to trans to a girl? Why does a girl who hates femininity and feels more comfortable with masculine gender roles need to trans to be a boy?

Doesn’t that just support the binary? Doesn’t that just support the notion that you can either be masculine or feminine – but you can’t exist in between these categories?

‘If you don’t fit in one, you must be the other’ is literally a binary.

Society created gender roles of masculinity and femininity. And we force them on humans from birth. Not conforming to them doesn’t make us trans, it makes us human.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with girls or boys who don’t feel their ‘gender’ – I think the world is wrong. I think they should be allowed to be who they are without us telling them they must be a boy in a girls body or a girl in a boys body. Why should we medicate and mutilate them for not conforming to gender norms we have been trying to dismantle for decades?

Biological sex is real, important and remains a protected characteristic in law

It’s a very strange experience to watch the world of academia, wider society and the press try to perform the most incredible mental and linguistic gymnastics to pretend that sex is socially constructed the way gender roles are.

‘Sex observed at birth’?

‘Assigned male at birth?’

‘Cissexist’?

‘Cisgender’?

All these new words and phrases that are completely meaningless. Biological sex exists. If it didn’t, why do people even need hormone replacement therapies and hormone blockers?

If biological sex didn’t exist, why do all trans women start out as men before they identify as women? Why do they seek the same surgeries and the same medications? Why aren’t there any women who trans to become trans women? Sex has to exist for the transition to make sense.

Why do trans men need to bind female breast tissue but trans women seek breast augmentation? Why do trans women seek female hormones? Why do some trans people seek to have their biological genitals removed or changed? If sex was socially constructed, none of these things would need to happen for someone to transition to their identified gender. They could just do it. No surgery or hormones would be required if sex was socially constructed.

If biological sex is socially constructed, why do trans men need to take testosterone (male hormone) to cause changes to the body, whilst trans women need to take oestrogen (female hormone) to cause changes to the body?

Surely this demonstrates a biological basis of sex? If the correct sex hormones for each of the two biological sexes are used in transition processes, then surely this shows that biological sex exists and is not a social construct based in language and observations?

The reality is, sex is a biological, genetic, immutable fact. Gender roles are socially, historically and culturally specific. They are slightly different depending on time period, where you are in the world and what community you are in. Gender roles even change with social class. They are therefore not innate or biological in nature.

Whilst we are told ‘gender’ is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010, this is not actually quite right. Sex is the protected characteristic in EA2010. The other protected characteristic is ‘gender reassignment’ or ‘transsexual people’. Both of which are considered by some to be outdated language.

However, this is important because it differentiates biological sex and gender reassignment. The law rightly protects trans people from being discriminated against by employers, institutions, education settings, businesses etc.

However, the same is true on the basis of biological sex. The EA2010 sets out the rights for males and females to have single sex spaces such as wards, toilets, prisons, hospitals, refuges, mental health provisions, education settings etc.

It is important to understand that biological sex is a real, factual, objective category for mammals. There are significant differences between human males and human females that must not be ignored.

For example:

The leading cause of death in males under 35 is suicide. This is not the same for females. Males are more likely to die by suicide than females. This is actually more likely to be linked to the way we socialise males into the masculine gender role which can be quite harmful to their own mental health and general well-being.

1 in 3 females will be raped or attempted to be raped by males in their lifespan. This is not the same for males. The statistic for men is around 1 in 20. This is not based on reporting to the police or convictions – it is based on anonymous self-reporting and therefore cannot be simply explained by saying that males report less.

The most common cancer in females is breast cancer, but the most common cancer in males is lung cancer (Cancer Research, 2020). This is not socially constructed. This is a sex difference. Breast cancer does occur in males, but it is extremely rare in contrast to female breast cancer.

The leading cause of death in males is heart disease whilst the leading cause of death of females in dementia (Public Health England, 2017). This is a recent sex difference finding – as the leading cause of death in both males and females used to be heart disease. However, heart disease in females has fallen whilst dementia in females has risen. This is not socially constructed, this is a sex difference.

Females are at risk from female genital mutilation in many different countries in the world. Males are not at risk from FGM. This should not really be a contentious point but I know a number of incredible activists working in FGM who have been called transphobic for saying that FGM is only done to females.

Males commit 97-99% of all global crime according to FBI global crime statistics (2017). Females are hugely underrepresented in crime, except for fraud and financial crimes in which they tend to commit around the same amount of crimes as males.

Males are the most incarcerated sex in the world, making up over 98% of the prison population. Offender management and offender rehabilitation research and interventions have therefore been based on male offending and male socialisation. This is important because we are now beginning to find that interventions that have been developed and tested with males in prison do not work with females. Conversely, we know that interventions and therapies that work with females have little to no effect with males. This one is more complicated, because it is likely to be due to the interplay between biological sex differences and gender role stereotype and socialisation differences.

Both historically and presently, females are the only sex to get pregnant or ever give birth. This is important because blood changes when females become pregnant and carry babies. Lots of medical research has found that males cannot receive a blood transfusion from females who have had a baby, because blood from females who have been pregnant have a different immune system response to males. Research from a 10 year study showed that males who received blood from ever-pregnant females were 1.5 times more likely to die from the transfusion (Middleburg, 2017).

Biological sex is real. Reproductive sex is real. Everyone knows which sex to go to when they want a surrogate mother for a baby. There are currently zero surrogacy agencies exploiting male bodies. There’s a reason for that. No one is going to pay for a male in a developing country to carry their baby.

Even in our own privileged countries, trans people and pro-trans activists who want to have babies after transition still know which process to follow to have that baby. They know that they either need to preserve their ovum, keep their uterus, have IVF or commission a surrogate. These are all exclusively female issues. Trans men who want to have a baby may still be able to do so because they have a uterus and ovaries. Trans women who want to have a baby would need a female partner or a female surrogate mother. Biological sex is inescapable when it comes to reproduction. It is interesting to see that even people who claim biological sex is a spectrum or that biological sex is actually just socially constructed or ‘observed’ – still know how to make a baby.

These are just a few examples of sex differences off the top of my head.

Sex differences are apparent in literally every medical, psychological, criminological, sociological, developmental and neurological discipline.

Therefore, sex differences remain extremely important.

What happens when a transwoman is in a serious accident and needs a blood transfusion but has had all of their medical records changed to say they are female? What if the transfusion kills them?

What happens when a transman needs an urgent X-ray or operation and their documents all say they are ‘male’ – so no one checks to see if they could be pregnant before the procedure?

In my view, it is absolutely acceptable to talk about people wanting to present as feminine or masculine without claiming that biological sex doesn’t exist. People feel dysphoric when their sex doesn’t ‘match’ their gender roles – but that doesn’t mean their sex is wrong, it means our socially constructed notions of gender are too restrictive and oppressive to be useful anymore.

Gender ideology has some repressive and homophobic ideas within it

One of the concerns that is often raised about believing that gender role stereotypes are actually innate feelings of ‘gender’ – and that biological sex is offensive and irrelevant, is what this means for gay males and lesbian females.

If sex means nothing and should be deconstructed, what does the word ‘homosexual’ even mean?

If children who are gay, lesbian or gender non-conforming are being told they are actually the opposite sex but trapped in the wrong body and are actually straight – what does this mean for gay rights and the perception of gay people?

Well, I can tell you what it means. It means homophobia can get a huge second wind under the guise of gender progression. Almost like palatable, socially acceptable, modern homophobia all dressed up as something kind and positive.

Case in point: Iran

Iran has the second highest numbers of transwomen in the whole world. Unlikely finding in a conservative Muslim country? Not really.

Iran has adopted the belief that being trans is better than being a gay guy. Instead of being a gay man, he can trans to be a het woman. Problem solved. Gay is an ‘illness’ that needs to be cured by transition in Iran.

Being gay in Iran is still punishable by death – whereas transsexuality was made legal in 1987. This means that Iranian activists such as Shadi Amen are now starting to speak out about the way the government is encouraging men to trans to women in order to ‘cure them’.

Whilst this direct approach is not yet being taken in the UK, the underlying ideology does exist. We know that many children who express gender dysphoria will go on to be gay or lesbian adults. The danger here is that we are essentially seeing a new wave of conversion therapy of gay and non-conforming kids.

To me, this does not look progressive. This does not look like a step forward for humans.

The second part of homophobia within the gender ideology is the argument that lesbian same-sex attracted females should date males who identify as transwomen.

I am being deliberately specific in my language here because I am not seeing the same pressure on gay males to have sex with transmen. And I sure as hell can’t see the pressure on het males to have sex with transwomen.

The pressure sits solely with females, mainly lesbians but also het females who are being coerced into accepting their male partners who come out as trans. This is misogyny in action.

A pressure on same-sex attracted people to have sex with someone of the opposite sex who says they identify as a man or woman – is homophobic. It’s not only homophobic, but it really does challenge our notions of informed consent.

No one is entitled to sex with anyone else, no one has a right to sex.

So therefore, everyone has a right to be HUGELY picky about who they have consensual sex with. You literally have no right to sex with anyone who doesn’t want sex with you. It doesn’t matter even if they say something absolutely ridiculous like ‘I’m not attracted to people with blonde hair’ or ‘I would never date a guy who voted republican’ or even ‘I am just not attracted to short men’.

It doesn’t matter, because it’s their right to choose who they have sex with and when they have sex and how they have sex.

This right is extended to lesbians. Lesbians do not have to accept or date or have sex with males who identify as transwomen. Just like lesbians do not have to have sex with other lesbians they don’t fancy – but they certainly do not have to have sex with males. Even males who have transitioned. No one can ever make them do that and it would be homophobic to infer otherwise.

This is why there are entire activist groups and movements about lesbian erasure and the way lesbians are being silenced and removed from conversations and events. Groups like ‘Get the L Out’ are considered ‘hate groups’ for talking about the way lesbians are being erased.

They are considered to be lying or exaggerating – or accused of being plain old hateful.

But in fact, they are raising extremely important points in radical feminism, in lesbian rights and in human rights.

If biological sex is ignored, gender roles become enshrined in law as ‘real’ and ‘innate’ and lesbians are seen as hateful bigots for not having sex with males who say they are women – lesbianism ceases to exist linguistically and politically. Whilst actual lesbianism (females who are same sex attracted) will continue forever, it is homophobic and dangerous to keep suggesting that lesbian women should give over more and more space to males.

By definition, males cannot be lesbians. To suggest they can is homophobia.

There are other groups who support het women whose husbands of many years identify as transwomen and are then expected to support that process or even stay in a relationship with the father of their children whilst he rejects decades of his own life (and her life, and their kids lives) and instead begins to call himself by a new name, dresses in feminine clothing and seeks surgery.

Most people would agree that the woman does not need to accept, support or stay with the male who decides to transition to be a transwoman. However, lots of wives in this position have been accused of being transphobic, bigoted and hateful if they do not stay with the husband and become a faux ‘lesbian’ couple, referring to her husband as ‘she’ and pretending to the outside world that she is same-sex attracted. Either way, the het female in this situation cannot win.

Note how this part of the blog is not about the erasure of gay males or het males – because this isn’t happening (yet).

Issues around gender present serious dilemmas for safeguarding

Some of the safeguarding issues we need to consider here include some rather contentious topics. Just because they are contentious does not mean they are untouchable or not up for discussion.

The first is the link between gender dysphoria and trauma from child abuse.

Having worked in this field for over a decade now, I can tell you that questioning your sexuality and identity after rape and abuse is very common and normal. We’ve always worked with children and adults who experience this trauma response – it is nothing new to those of us doing this work.

It is fairly common for sexually abused girls to start to reject everything female and feminine about themselves, hate their breasts, hate their vulva, wish they were a boy, start harming parts of their bodies.

Equally, it is fairly common for sexually abused boys to start to question their sexuality, reject their own bodies, hate sexual arousal, wish they were a girl and start self harming.

A couple of years ago, I spoke out about the amount of UK social workers who had been contacting me and talking to me about children on their caseload who begin identifying as trans after being abused, exploited, trafficked and raped. Social workers I have spoken to are concerned that the ‘affirm, affirm, affirm’ approach to gender is stopping them from being able to work through the dysphoria with children who have been subjected to life changing abuse. It is absolutely vital that we acknowledge that gender and body dysphoria is a coping mechanism and normal trauma response to sexual abuse.

This does not mean that all trans people were sexually abused, of course.

But it does mean that children who start to hate their bodies and talk about wanting to be a boy or girl need support and compassion. We also need to check why this is happening and what it might mean. Further, this means that we cannot simply ‘affirm’ a gender identity of an abused or traumatised child who might be naturally responding to serious abuse they have been subjected to.

Children being transed by their parents is now happening at an earlier and earlier age, claiming that children fully understand the concepts of sex and gender – when most adults don’t even understand sex and gender.

Parents and practitioners argue that the child understands that their gender doesn’t match their sex and that they wish to transition, take puberty blockers and medically transition. I reject this notion completely.

Not many people have studied the concepts of gender roles or where the terms come from. Some people can’t even correctly discuss the differences between sex and gender without conflating them. I do not accept that children can do this and then make life changing medical decisions.

I believe this will eventually come full circle and we will be presented with thousands of adults who underwent medication, surgery and social transition by (sometimes) well-meaning adults – who then come back and question us about why we allowed them to do that at such a young age.

I believe we will face thousands of law suits and investigations into the medical transitioning of children and adolescents in the decades to come, where we have left those humans infertile, ill, injured and scarred.

Actually, this is already happening within the detransitioner movement.

Children should never be transed, encouraged to bind or use packers, to take medication or to have surgery – and yet more and more children are being referred for treatment in the UK under the NHS and many more are being ‘treated’ privately.

As someone who works heavily in the abuse and grooming of children, I also tried to speak out about the potential for sex offenders to groom trans kids online a couple of years ago. Instead of anyone taking that safeguarding risk seriously, I was subjected to a number of vexatious complaints. Thankfully, I wasn’t merely making these cases up as they claimed and it was easy to back up. Complaints were not upheld and I was okay.

However, the cases were real. Social workers were holding UK cases in which kids who identified as trans were going online, seeking support and being groomed by sex offenders who were sexually exploiting and abusing them. In all of the cases I was made aware of, the abusers were men who identified as transwomen.

I can’t go into too much detail because the cases are so specific, but they included the abduction of a trans child who met transwomen online in a support group. The transwomen groomed the child to believe their parents hated them and would never accept them, convinced them their parents were transphobes and then trafficked the child hundreds of miles where they raped them and kept them there for days.

Another case of a trans child who was groomed on the internet by older transwomen was being given wigs, make up and money for images and videos of sexual acts.

When I tried to talk about this, I was immediately shut down and accused of making up these real cases. The reality here is that males make up 97% of all sex offenders. Therefore, it is more likely that transwomen (males) will sexually offend against children than transmen (females) would. There is no evidence to suggest that males who identify as women offend in any different ways to males who do not identify as a different gender.

Sex offenders can be anyone, this includes trans people. This might make everyone uncomfortable but it’s true. People accused me of using the same old argument as ‘gay men are paedophiles’. However, I was talking about real cases held in the UK – and I was talking about them for a reason.

My reason was that in both of those cases, the social workers were being limited as to what they could and couldn’t say or do. This was because they were being told by authorities that there were fears about being seen as ‘transphobic’ if they spoke about or reported on cases where transwomen had been grooming trans kids online.

It reminded me very much of the way we all gingerly tip toed around Pakistani sex offenders abusing children because the police claimed they didn’t want to be seen as ‘racist’.

Just like most Pakistani men are not sex offenders, most trans people are not sex offenders. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about these cases. In fact, the only common denominator in sex offending and domestic abuse is male offenders. Biological sex is the underpinning factor. Maleness. That’s why we call it male violence.

I know that if this blog reaches as many people as it usually does, there will be hundreds, maybe thousands of social workers, psychologists, therapists and doctors thinking about their own cases of children they are working with. I know there already many professionals in the UK who are questioning how best to support children who are exploring their identity and sexuality – without necessarily affirming anything, directing them anywhere or suggesting they are trans or born in the wrong body.

I would argue that in studies of trans adults and trans kids, there is significant trauma history and abuse history. This cannot be ignored and needs to be discussed.

Gender ideology, like any other ideology, does not have to be accepted or supported by anyone

My final point is fairly frank.

Ideologies exist, theories exist, perspectives exist.

We are not required to believe them, adopt them, accept them or conform to them.

I do not and will not respect racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic people or theories.

To an extent, we are not even required to respect them. For example, I do not and will not respect or support the perspective that paedophilia is a normal sexual orientation and that children can consent to sex. This is a common narrative in my field at the moment and it scares me to death.

Specifically, gender roles and gender identity are just theories and ideologies. We do not need to change the entire way we live, speak, write and legislate because we are being told to accept an ideology.

I think we’ve got the balance right with religions as ideologies. Religious people are protected in law, they cannot be discriminated against for their beliefs and they have rights to their own spaces. However, no one else has to believe their religion, accept their god, pray, speak about their religion, support their religion or change their language to validate their religion.

Millions of religious people live their lives knowing that millions of other religious and atheist people don’t accept or believe or validate their ideologies.

When religious ideologies attempt to force their ideologies on others through law and government, we call that oppressive totalitarianism. We actually go to war over that sort of stuff. We legislate against governments forcing ideologies on to people.

I find it interesting that we are not noticing the similarities in ideological totalitarianism here.

There are ways to protect trans people from harm, oppression, discrimination and abuse without forcing entire populations to accept gender theory and gender identity ideology.

I would never accept the persecution, oppression, abuse or harm of people with different ideologies and religions – just like I would never accept the persecution, oppression, abuse or harm of trans people (or people who believe gender ideology and gender theory).

If we can do it with multiple world religions that often conflict, we can definitely do it with gender ideology.

No one should be forced to change their language and thoughts to conform to a theorised ideology that isn’t even fully accepted in academia, let alone the vast complex world.

We can do this without oppressing and abusing trans people. We have to find a way through this raging debate that repositions gender as a theory and not as a reality that everyone else must validate.

Written by Dr Jessica Taylor

62 thoughts on “Let’s talk about sex… and gender ideology

  1. Doctor – my first reaction was “surely, this movement of facilitating gender switch is not done for the greater good”, and I mean this in generic terms. Never before have £ been made available for “health” reasons, not biological or mental. £ are made available when there is a sure ROI – return on investment. So, I strongly suspect, someone somewhere is profiting from this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant.Thank you.As a radfem from the 60s I was beginning to doubt my own views.I was beginning to think my education and studies with OU had all been misguided and wrong!Please send copies of this to the female Ok about Party leaders.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. First thing I’ve read as a puzzled elder heterosexual woman, trained as a biologist, and now criticised as a TERF, that makes sense to me. I was writing a play about reproduction and a mentor said ‘don’t touch the trans thing’ . In the arts world it’s mostly emotion and little evidence it seems.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Excellent article. I have got into arguments with people, and been called a terf, for saying that giving credence to the trans arguments is just another way of silencing women.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is very, very transphobic. Have you ever talked to a trans person? Maybe in future pieces you can talk to trans people about their perspective instead of just pushing your opinion on them? Very wild that you are well-educated and this ignorant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This piece does not in any way convey transphobia. It directly discusses the protection of trans people all the way through. Just because we have different perspectives on what ‘gender’ means does not mean I, or anyone else, hate trans people.
      Shouting ‘transphobia’ isn’t helping this conversation.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agreed with most of this article, though the grammar could have done with a bit of tidying up in places. The fact that you went out of your way to insist you were not ‘transphobic’ (whatever that is!) yet still got accused of ‘transphobia’ proves there is no pleasing these people. That comment from Riley Carden proves that no-one can do right for doing wrong. They scream, “No debate!” before anyone’s even started. They scream, “Transphobia!” as soon as anyone does start. If this article is “very, very,” I imagine a good 95% of the population must be “very” to the power of 100. To most of us, the very idea of a “gender identity” is self-obsessed bunkum. Saying, “Talk to a trans person,” is obviously ridiculous, because all they ever do is close down any attempt at conversation. So many times on social media I’ve seen people politely ask what transgenderism is, only to be fobbed off with no answer, obscure references to psycho-babble, insults, threats, and swearing. Frankly, I wouldn’t waste a moment of my time trying to have a rational dialogue when you only have to mention “biology/ woman/ uterus” or whatever, and you are told to F off. Their intolerance is intolerable.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Happy to expand. The idea that a trans person shouldn’t be allowed to do what they want (which is often NOT enforced by outsiders as the piece claims) to feel comfortable in their gender and body is transphobic. It doesn’t matter if you think they should ignore the gender binary. That’s your opinion that you are placing on others who may not feel the same way. Trans people are allowed to take measures they see fit to feel safe, happy, and fully themselves (same as everyone else).

        To have an opinion on what trans people do with their bodies is analogous to pushing a perspective on how women use their reproductive organs, or how people enact their own religious views. In order for this to a rigorous and compelling commentary, it MUST include trans voices. I look forward to your inclusion of trans perspectives.

        Like

      2. The idea is not that you can’t do what you want. You can. But someone telling you your body is ok and you don’t need to take drugs or surgery because there’s nothing to fix, is not an imposition, but actualy a call out for anyone feeling bad about their bodies to reconsider puting their health at risk. We do this all the time with friends saying they are going to have surgery because they hate their nose or their “small” tits. The autor has the right to speak her mind, not only because of freedom of speech, but because she’s saying she felt like this (felt like she was a boy) during a period in her life, and you can not ban her from reflecting on it.
        Also, we are all entitled to opinionate about each other. I (happily) pay for the education of my whole country, their healthcare, their unemployment pay, their security, and the protection of their children. So I think I can say whatever I want, without personalizing on anybody, about whatever I deem apropriate. And finaly, I don’t want anyone I love or anyone I’m in charge of, such as my children, to think it’s ok to take dangerous drugs or surgery to change a body that, in principle, might not need any fixing. And I’m more than sure I wouldn’t allow them to do it until they are adults, because children are, well, children, and if they can barely tie their shoelaces or avoid pissing in bed, then surely they cannot reflect on their identity, (frankly, they do not even know how to define that word), and of course they do not understand the long-term implications of undergoing these treatments or operations.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Would you argue that a person with anorexia should be able to do whatever they want in order to feel comfortable in their bodies?

      A trans person hates his or her body as much as an anorexic hates hers (most anorexics are female). If that weren’t so, no trans person would refer to drugs, surgery, or using the biologically wrong pronouns as “expressing my true self”. Your true self is the one you were born with and you’re drowning it.

      I’ve seen trans perspectives all over the place. Most of them are bats**t. I can count on one hand how many haven’t been, and even some of those individuals went off the deep end eventually. I don’t care if the way I put that offends you. I’m tired of being expected to sit quietly and put up with being gaslighted. You don’t just hate yourselves, you hate women too. Go be abusive on a desert island where none of us have to put up with you if we don’t want to.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh ur….

        The lack of self awareness in a feminist calling trans activists batshit.

        (My god…😂)

        Eg: #killallmen,
        Femetheist on YouTube, Gloria Steinem working with CIA, etc etc.

        Your movement is full of nutters and dodgy characters.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve taken an interest in this subject recently, as I have a six year old daughter. It was the thought of he having to share changing rooms with a confused boy, or compete at sports with such. It’s been difficult enough to get her to find a sport, which she likes.

    In the wider debate here, it seems that TW and their supporters are full of rage and won’t be questioned. They are often dishonest, with statistics and scientific / medical information.

    I read about WPUK and the violent protest, as the Police stood by as women were threatened and assaulted. I’ve seen some of the online threats, to rape and murder women, who don’t agree that TWAW and would like to retain their women only spaces and facilities. To me, that shows that the Trans movement has lost the argument and damned well knows it.

    Thanks for your interesting and informative article.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I have done a lot of journalistic research into alternative “medicine” and their sometimes political lobbying and also spent considerable time analysing claims and/or strategies by other political pressure groups. I have never come across a political movement that spreads as many falsehoods as the trans lobby. Never. They are right there with hardcore esoterics and the like – who fortunately are not a political movement. I find this irritating and annoying and in online discussions it frequently forces me to correct literally every statement of fact they make. I think this is also highly detrimental to the interests of trans people. It is very hard not to identify them with the movement that claims to represent them. Also, it would appear that the movement successfully drives a lot of younger trans people into highly problematic states of cognitive dissonance, further aggrevating an undoubtedly difficult situation for them. And even after three of four years of following this on and off it is highly puzzling to me why this movement is not only not laughed out of wherever they appear but seems to gain ever more influence. It defies all common sense.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. What happens when a transwoman is in a serious accident and needs a blood transfusion but has had all of their medical records changed to say they are female? What if the transfusion kills them?

    Um… blood transfusions aren’t segregated by sex.

    Neither are bone marrow transfusions.

    Bone marrow-derived cells from male donors can compose endometrial glands in female transplant recipients by Ikoma et al in Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;201(6):608.e1-8

    Transplanted human bone marrow cells generate new brain cells by Crain BJ, Tran SD, Mezey E. in J Neurol Sci. 2005 Jun 15;233(1-2):121-3 :

    These show that a bone-marrow transplant recipient’s bodies gradually become genetically identical to the donor due to cell turnover. Even the brain. Even the reproductive glands.

    There are many formerly “genetically male” men who are now “genetically female” according to their blood tests, many years after treatment for leukemia or radiation poisoning which involved bone marrow replacement. They are still men.

    These misapprehensions about biology and biological sex seriously undermine the author’s thesis, which is unfortunate as there’s much good there, despite the quicksand foundation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ve misunderstood that paper.
      Bone marrow is not blood.

      The point I made, using a huge 10 year study of blood transfusions showed that when males were given female blood from females who had been pregnant, they were 1.5 times more likely to die.
      Hence, we need to know the biological sex of both the donator of blood and receiver of blood

      Liked by 3 people

      1. But the study had limitations. For example, because the patients in the study received blood transfusions from only one type of donor, these patients tended to receive fewer transfusions than the average transfusion patient. (The chances that a patient received transfusions from more than one type of donor increases with the number of transfusions.) So it’s unclear how well the findings apply to the general population of transfusion patients (who may be sicker than those in the study), the researchers said.

        In addition, the finding of an increased risk of death among men who received transfusions from ever-pregnant women was true only for men ages 50 and younger. “This makes the findings very tentative, and they require validation in other studies,” the researchers wrote.

        There have been no subsequent studies that have supported the 2017 hypothesis.

        Like

      2. There was more than one study that found this.
        Second, there is absolutely no proof that blood or any other type of surgery changes male and female DNA.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. The question was about blood transfusions, not marrow transplant. Try to keep up.

      It’s even worse. BLOOD BANKS and the FDA allow blood DONORS to state their gender identity as their sex on their donor forms. Because you had better *bet* they track what sex the donor was from which that pint of blood originated. They have to, so they don’t kill the man receiving it. So what happens when a trans man donates, and she’s had a baby before?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. From 2017
    Gloucester County School Board v. G.G – submission by interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, et al.

    This case raises issues central to amici’s mission as advocates for intersex youth. Petitioner maintains that the word “sex” in Title IX must refer only to an Individual’s so-called “physiological” sex, rather than the sex with which an individual identifies and lives every day. This is so, Petitioner argues, because “physiological” sex—purportedly unlike gender identity—is binary, objective, and self-evident. The intersex youth for whom amici advocate are a living refutation of this argument.

    Petitioner’s simplistic view of “physiological” sex is demonstrably inaccurate as a matter of human biology. Moreover, it demeans many thousands of intersex youth by erasing their bodies and lives and placing them outside the recognition of the law. Physicians who treat individuals with intersex traits recognize that the key determinant of how individuals navigate sex designations in their lives is their gender identity—their internal sense of belonging to a particular gender.

    Amici Have a strong interest in ensuring that The Court does not endorse Petitioner’s misguided View of “physiological” sex, and in seeing the Court interpret Title IX in a way that respects all children.

    Notably, the legal system has struggled for decades to answer the definitional question that Petitioner simply begs. By the time Title IX was enacted, courts well recognized that “(t)here are several criteria or standards which may be relevant in determining the sex of an individual.”
    M.T. v. J.T., 355 A.2d 204, 206–08 (N.J. App. Div. 1976) (listing chromosomes, external genitalia, gonads, secondary sex characteristics, and hormones, as well as gender identity).

    Commentators have noted the “variability of standards that courts employ” in making such determinations.

    Even courts in the same jurisdiction have disagreed about how to determine sex when physiological features do not align.

    Petitioner and its amici also assert that “physiological” sex has the virtue of being an “objective” classification. Pet. Br. at 32; McHugh Br. at 3–6, 12–13.

    Gender identity, they suggest, is “fuzzy and mercurial,” id. at 8, while “physiological” sex simply is. But the foregoing discussion should make clear that this assertion is similarly flawed. An intersex student’s “physiological” sex may depend entirely on which Physiological trait one chooses to privilege. Indeed, because of the diversity of medical perspectives, trained experts can and do disagree on the “correct” sex to assign to an intersex child.

    Interpreting “sex” to refer to a student’s gender identity would avoid (or at least mitigate) these problems. Unlike “physiological” sex, all parties appear to agree on what gender identity means: it is “[an] individual’s ‘innate sense of being male or female.’” Pet. Br. at 36; cf. Resp. Br. at 2 (similar). It is not subject to competing definitions depending on which expert or court is consulted. Moreover, unlike “physiological” sex, a student’s gender identity by definition cannot be subject to differences in medical opinion: each student is the ultimate arbiter of their own gender identity, as they (and they alone) experience it first-hand.

    Accordingly, when Congress enacted the provision at issue here, it knew—or, at minimum, should have Known—that not all students could be straightforwardly categorized as “male” or “female” based on Their anatomy alone. Congress could not have believed otherwise without ignoring millennia of Western history, science, and law.

    While based on objectively measurable characteristics, sex is at least as much a social construction, differing from place to place and time to time, as the debunked binary model of gender.

    Science 1974 Dec 27; 186 (4170): 1213-5

    In an isolated village of the southwestern Dominican Republic, 2% of the live births were in the 1970’s, guevedoces…These children appeared to be girls at birth, but at puberty these ‘girls’ sprout muscles, testes, and a penis. For the rest of their lives they are men in nearly all respects. Their underlying pathology was found to be a deficiency of the enzyme, 5-alpha Reductase.

    To a researcher like myself this is fascinsting. To a sometime counsellor sucb as myself, providing psychological support to such people is very much a matter of agency. Many enthusiastically welcome the change. Just as many look on it as nightmarish. Another third look on it as an interesting life experience.

    See RE: SALLY (SPECIAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE) [2010] FamCA 237
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FamCA/2010/237.html

    Like

    1. The issue with a lot of this is that it is based on genetic intersex conditions – which is not the same as gender identity or transgenderism or transsexualism.
      Intersex conditions affect less than 0.1% of the global population and those people are not trans.

      Further, there have been campaigns by intersex advocacy and charity groups for us all to stop using intersex as a trans or gender argument – because they wish us to stop using their medical condition for point scoring in an argument about gender ideologies

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Fascinating. Personally I think that this helps Jesica’s argument, that we need to be cellar about referring to sex (biological genetics, not behaviour fornication) and gender. This emphasises the social construction of gender AND the importance of biological sex at whatever age it manifests. “In the Dominican Republic, the Guevedoces are accepted and their transformations are celebrated. Here they believe there are in fact three sexual categories: female, male and pseudohermaphrodite. Cases of the genetic disorder have also emerged in the Sambian villages of Papua New Guinea, although there the children are shunned, and are often seen as flawed males.”
      https://www.buzzworthy.com/where-little-girls-are-turning-into-boys-at-puberty/
      And ins’t it good to be able to debate this respectfully, without resorting to abusive comments?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. “While based on objectively measurable characteristics, sex is at least as much a social construction, differing from place to place and time to time, as the debunked binary model of gender.” I’d like to see some evidence for this claim.

      All I know – and your post btw. is just another example of this – is isolated issues torn out of context and deliberately misrepresented so as to support this claim. The classic example would be the Yoruba whose language offers some more distinctions who clearly refer to social roles, i.e. gender, and who are frequently presented as basically having no concept of sex because of their language. Now, this ethnicity unfortunately also practices FGM more widely than most peoples in Africa. Why would they do that if they had no concept of female sexual organs and thus of biological sex? Somehow, this sadistic tradition is always left out when they are presented as evidence that biological sex is a social construct.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. At least 95 percent of intersex people are still either male or female, it just so happens that they have extra parts or are missing parts or something developed atypically.

      One reason we are confused about this is that we declared genitalia to be primary sex characteristics. As the existence of intersex people proves, t’ain’t so. The gonads, or ovaries/testes, are the primary sex characteristic because without them none of the rest of it develops and reproduction will never happen.

      (If a guy lets his wife get pregnant with donated sperm that isn’t his, he’s not reproducing. If a woman uses a donated egg, she is not reproducing. Biology 101, folks.)

      Because we think genitalia are the primary sex characteristics (and we must be forgiven for that error; the vast vast majority of people’s genitals match up with their actual sex), we then think a person with atypical genitalia are somewhere “in between” when all that’s really happened is they didn’t develop typically and may therefore have trouble facilitating reproduction should they ever wish to do so. But just as a woman with malfunctioning ovaries does not stop being a woman as a result because she DOES still have ovaries, a woman with a large clit is not suddenly male. Because she still has and was born with ovaries.

      (Just as you do not reproduce if you’re using donated gametes to stand in for the ones you can’t make, you don’t become the opposite sex just because you get someone else’s gonads transplanted into you. I might as well head you off at the pass right there.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. All your rights must be weighed against others rights, and theirs against yours.

      Where they conflict, compromise is necessary.

      Like

  9. Well-written, thought-provoking piece. I deeply appreciate how you frame it as “gender theory.” The term is accurate and neutral and acknowledges that these ideas are part of a proposed framework for understanding the world but it lacks scientific rigor in the same way psychoanalysis and Marxist theory does. It keeps the focus on the fact that it is theory, not fact, and people are not crazy or phobic or hateful to reject its contradictory and nonsensical claims.

    You might find it interesting that there are an increasing number of gay men complaining about being hit on by trans-identified females and sometimes pressured to have sex with them and accused of “transphobia” if they refuse. It took a while, but it’s happening now (probably at least partly because of the massive increase in FtM persons lately, but also because the level of acceptance of the movement has emboldened more people). Obviously, FtMs generally lack the size and strength to force the issue, and males are less likely than females (in general) to be successfully coerced by social pressure, but it is happening all the same.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. While I thought the article was well made, there was one thing I wanted to correct. I recall seeing a US government published research paper a few years ago showing the statistics on male, female, trans male, and trans female violent crimes. While the the piece here is correct that trans women continue to have similar crime rates like males, it also showed that trans men also have similar crime rates to males.

    Like

    1. Yep. Though trans men don’t have the long years of socialization to tell them it is OK to attack a woman in a public restroom or a locker room, and they usually don’t have the equipment to do it, either, which is why I’m not afraid of trans-identified females using female privacy facilities if I would have had to tolerate bearded trans-identified males in there anyway.

      I really think something weird goes on with testosterone under certain circumstances; for instance, I don’t believe T plays nicely with certain forms of mental illness. None of this is really reflected in the DSM, but the evidence is there. I’m reminded of a man (ordinary man, not trans-identified) who wrote an article from death row a couple decades ago about his experiences as a rape-murdering serial killer and how Depo-Provera totally quieted down his impulses. He was horrified because if he’d known about that treatment some years earlier, six women would still be alive. He said he was impatient for them to go ahead and execute him.

      Modern medicine better start trying to understand this and address it, especially with women losing what few public safe-ish spaces we have in the first place.

      Like

      1. Urthboundmisfit:
        I have never been taught it’s ok to attack women anywhere…and I don’t know any men that have. Especially in our part of the world.

        Careful… your misandry is showing.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. There are no citations on this piece. For example, males are 97% of sex offenders? Or, “Social workers were holding UK cases in which kids who identified as trans were going online, seeking support and being groomed by sex offenders who were sexually exploiting and abusing them. In all of the cases I was made aware of, the abusers were men who identified as transwomen”? Having referenced sources might improve the value of this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are citations all the way through this piece – 97% of sex offenders are male is a very well known stat, but contained within the FBI stats, MOJ stats and UK gov stats – easy to find

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “97% of sex offenders are male”, who are on average 4% of the male population, based on offender statistics, up to 2017.

        But yes that minority of men disproportionately commit those crimes.

        And are despised by the other 96% or so of us.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I can’t ‘cite’ the real cases social workers are holding because they aren’t published data, they are real, current cases involving children. Do you understand citation?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Interesting perspectives – thank you. Just one comment; FGM is (rightly) mentioned but you say that men do not face GM. No mention of the circumcision of baby boys, then? Cf “A cut too far, Male circumcision; BBC 1 18/7/2019?

    Like

    1. Boys who are circumcised without their consent are definitely abused in my opinion. However, their genitals are not sewn up so they don’t work, they aren’t cut out so they feel no pleasure, they are not repeatedly sewn back up so women can’t have any pleasure. Boys are not sewn up or mutilated so their period blood and urine cannot come out of their bodies.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is the conversation I have been having with my 20 year old. It is fascinating to see how influenced she is by the ‘societal norm’ of her age group, propped up I suppose by social media and influencers of the same ages. This articulates my opinion so well, I am going to ask her to read it and consider the points made.

    Like

  14. I found this blog from the article about “whataboutery” Published January 3, 2018, and I really enjoyed it.
    I wholeheartedly disagree with many of your points in this post, but overall I think there’s a lot of miscommunication on both sides.
    I agree that there are sex characteristics that we are born with that we can never change, and I didn’t know the things you wrote about blood differences – that is definitely information worth knowing.

    Trans people know that we can’t change the past, we know we can never change the sex we are born as. When we say things like “trans women are women” (to give an example), we don’t mean that we are saying this person was born female – we mean that they deserve to be treated as a woman would be treated, regardless of how their body looks.
    I understand – and in some parts partially agree – with your fear in the potential dangers of telling kids their bodies are wrong, but you don’t seem to understand the very real dangers of telling trans kids that their bodies are right.
    The whole issue does not boil down simply to gender roles, which I understand is your belief. It’s hard to describe unless you have experienced it, but dysphoria is more than just believing that your behaviour must match your genitals, or vice versa. The fact is that those are the only words we have to concisely describe how we feel, in truth, you will understand what it is like to be trans as much as a trans person will understand what it’s like to not be trans.

    Of course, I can’t talk for every trans person. I don’t even fully identify as trans, myself, I just know that my brain does not fit either “male” or “female”. For me it has nothing to do with how my body looks (I’m lucky in that regard). I do know that being called a woman makes me very uncomfortable and disorientated, like when there’s one less step at the top of the stairs. It has nothing to do with how society stereotypes men and women. You could show me a cisgender woman who is exactly like me, who likes the same things, who dresses the same way, etc, and I still wouldn’t want to be referred to as a woman. The same would happen if you showed me a cisgender man who was the same as me, I still wouldn’t want to be referred to as a man. (As an aside, because I don’t want to be misunderstood by anyone – “cis” or “cisgender” is a way of referring to people for whom their birth sex matches their gender identity, and is not used to be offensive. It is similar to using “het” to describe people who are not gay – it’s a way to avoid referring to cis het people as “normal people” and all of the associated implications of doing so).

    You make the point that sex doesn’t equal gender, and I agree. You make the point that we shouldn’t have gender at all, and I disagree. I am non binary and I prefer to exist without gendered pronouns, and I dislike being put into a box that I don’t fit into. However, for some people, having a gender category to fit into is a blessing, even if that gender doesn’t match their sex. I don’t think it’s fair to take that away from them, when they are hurting literally nobody, and when doing so could cause that person a lot of trauma. The best way I can describe it from my own viewpoint is that I have ADHD, and I wasn’t diagnosed until May 2019, when I was 27 years old. I spent my whole life thinking I was wrong because I couldn’t do things my peers could do (to put it very simply because this comment is already the length of war and peace), but it turns out that those things are because I have had undiagnosed ADHD. It’s not ideal that I have a neurodevelopmental disorder, however, now that I am diagnosed, I understand so much more about myself and why things are different for me than it is for my friends and colleagues. Being diagnosed doesn’t change anything; I still have ADHD, I will never not have ADHD. However, now, I don’t have the guilt, I don’t beat myself up as much, and I have access to things that actually help me manage my life. For the first time – ever – I feel optimism for my future. In the same way, having a gender label which doesn’t match you and knowing something isn’t right for your whole life can be damaging, and finding out that there are words like “trans” and “non binary” to describe that experience and let you know that you’re not alone can change your life in a positive way. Yes, being trans is not ideal (nobody chooses to be trans just as nobody chooses their sexual orientation or just as nobody chooses to have ADHD), but I guarantee that people who identify as trans wouldn’t want it to be taken away from them.

    Speaking of taking stuff away, trans people do not want to take away the rights of cis people. I mentioned earlier that I enjoyed the article on “whataboutery”. The same phenomenon happens when we try and talk about trans issues, we get replies of “what about the rights of women?”. Nobody wants to harm the hard-won rights of women. It’s probably because of women’s suffrage and feminism that we are even able to freely talk about trans rights now. We just want to exist in the right way for us – which doesn’t and shouldn’t harm anyone else.
    I understand there are fears that, for example, a cis man could identify as trans in order to assault people in women’s restrooms. However, if a person really wants to assault you that much, they are not going to be deterred by a label on a door. Trans people are already assaulted all the time for using the restrooms that society dictates they must use.
    As my mum said to me when I talked to her a few weeks ago “surely more women is a good thing, regardless of how they were born?”

    If you read all this, thank you. I didn’t come here to start arguments, I just wanted to attempt to say my piece without anger. I believe feminism and trans rights can coexist and work together, and I don’t believe that the way we are going about it now is going to achieve that. If you genuinely want to ask questions about what I’ve said, I’ll gladly reply. Please don’t reply just to invalidate my identity or regurgitate bullshit statistics – I see enough of it every day in the media as it is. There’s nothing you could say that hasn’t already been thrown in the face of me and mine, so don’t waste your efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for that. I think I’m too used to engaging in these sorts of discussions where people aren’t as open to reading opposing viewpoints, and I was a bit strung out by the time I finished writing (and rereading and editing and rereading again) that comment.

        Like

    1. “ I believe feminism and trans rights can coexist and work together, and I don’t believe that the way we are going about it now is going to achieve that.” yes agree with that and with much of what you say, nevertheless I too found your last sentences rather accusing. We do need to protect hard won and still tenuous women’s rights. Full stop.

      Like

  15. A really informative post and what I really needed to read. I’ve been reading a lot over the past few days to try to comprehend the gender / sex debate; I felt a bit like I was losing my mind and for some reason it was making me quite anxious.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s